Equality, diversity and inclusion action plan 2022 to 2023

Our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) action plan for 2022 to 2023 aims to make EDI central to the council's culture. We have radical ambitions for EDI, and we will be transparent and open with staff and residents about our intentions and how we will take responsibility for achieving them.

The action plan covers five themes:

  1. Employee Experience
  2. Leadership
  3. Knowing and engaging our communities
  4. Communication and engagement
  5. Delivering inclusive services

Actions for each theme are set out below:

1. Employee experience

We will strengthen the diversity of our workforce and move to an inclusive culture that values difference, where all staff feel they belong and have opportunities to succeed.

We will:

  1. Develop fairer recruitment and selection processes, including accessible advertising and documentation, fair shortlisting and interview processes
  2. Enable our whole workforce to fully participate and be supported with agile working
  3. Working with our Employee Reference Groups (ERGs), commission reviews on experiences of LGBTQI+, disabled and minority ethnic staff who work for the Council
  4. Finalise development of a Trans at Work Policy that supports the trans community and balances the need of all other protected characteristic groups
  5. Agree EDI training priorities, including any mandatory training, based on a training needs analysis
  6. Continue development of ERGs, including formation of new groups
  7. Enhance our workforce data on protected groups by encouraging staff to report this data on the new My Surrey Enterprise Resource Planning system to inform our priorities for creating a fairer, more compassionate and inclusive workplace
  8. Introduce pay gap reporting for ethnicity and disability

2. Leadership

Members and senior officers are champions of EDI, acting as role models and demonstrating their commitment to tackling inequality.

We will:

  1. Ensure representation and inclusivity is a key factor in succession planning for leadership positions
  2. Make EDI central to talent development to enable diverse, representative organisational leadership
  3. Design and launch a programme in June 2022 aimed at developing and supporting staff with protected characteristics to enter leadership roles

3. Knowing and engaging our communities

Using the best information available and fostering good relations with and within our communities, to work with them to address their needs and maximise local participation.

We will:

  1. Continue to deliver a research programme to further the council's understanding of the experiences of residents from protected groups and those experiencing other forms of inequality, such as poverty
  2. Work with residents and representative groups, such as the Surrey Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Reference Group, to identify priorities for improving outcomes and services and increasing local community participation
  3. Recruit Engagement Link Workers, skilled in inclusive practice, to work with communities who are less able, or willing, to participate in life in their local neighbourhoods.
  4. Support a project to increase the number of young people taking part in volunteering opportunities to improve their health and wellbeing, confidence and employability prospects

4. Communications and engagement

Clearly communicate a radical approach to EDI across the organisation and to residents.

We will:

  1. Continue our work to make our websites accessible for all residents, staff, partners and businesses
  2. Raise awareness with residents, partners and staff of the council's EDI agenda through our Communications and Engagement service
  3. Develop messaging in formats, media, language and imagery that is accessible and inclusive
  4. Use resident insight, data and feedback to ensure no-one is left behind when delivering messages about council services and organisational objectives
  5. Provide communications and engagement support for stakeholder organisations that further evidence our commitment to EDI

5. Delivering inclusive services

Our services are responsive to individual needs so all residents can access services easily and have opportunities to improve their outcomes.

We will:

  1. Relaunch tools, support and guidance on Equality Impact Assessments for services
  2. Continue supporting the voluntary, community and faith sector to deliver inclusive services
  3. Support procurement and commissioning activity to ensure social value in contracts is measured and maximised
  4. Support a pilot to provide domestic abuse refuge provision for LGBTQI+, adult male, traveller and any other victims not currently well served
  5. Enable development of a digital employment portal for to support disabled people to access employment opportunities across Surrey
  6. Invest in services to support the mental health and wellbeing needs of groups disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, such as minority ethnic groups.