Equality, diversity and inclusion action plan 2023 to 2024

Our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) action plan for 2023 to 2024 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:

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.

1. Agile and accessible workplace

  • Continue roll out of the improved reasonable adjustment service, act on the recommendations of the workplace adjustments evaluation, and engage with feedback from staff networks and unions.
  • Continue to work towards working families and carer confident accreditation.
  • Work with the newly established Accessibility Forum to identify a 'Surrey Standard' for building accessibility and an agreed programme of works for remediation of issues with existing buildings.
  • Ensure that the new building projects are developed with user feedback and will provide access to the agreed 'Surrey Standard'.
  • Carry out analysis of our 'Reasonable Adjustments' budget across Surrey County Council (SCC) and Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS).

2. Understanding the experience of staff from underrepresented groups

  • Completing staff reviews focussing on the experiences of disabled, LGBTQ+ and minoritised staff in a way that produces good quality evidence.
  • Use evidence from the staff reviews to develop clear improvement plans, including around recruitment and retention polices for staff from underrepresented groups.
  • Develop a business case and options appraisal for a 'speak-up' service to support staff experiencing discrimination at work.

3. EDI training

  • Unconscious bias training to be rolled out and offered to all SCC staff.
  • Review current EDI training provision to ensure that staff have appropriate skills to support EDI. Develop new training provided as part of induction, training for managers and leaders, training on carrying out Equality Impact Assessments and training on Allyship and Shared Barriers.
  • Review what further training may be needed based on evidence from staff reviews and other feedback.

4. Recruitment and retention

  • Finalise the Inclusive Recruitment programme and implement actions arising from it.
  • Use data from staff reviews to improve recruitment and retention of staff from underrepresented groups.
  • Analyse data from new joiners, exit interview and staff surveys to measure impact of EDI work.

5. Staff data reporting and monitoring

  • Use the opportunity of moving to a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to encourage all staff to report their demographics through a 'check your data' day,
  • Use this data to carry out a refresh of the 'deep dive' that was produced in 2021 and to assess feasibility of carrying out ethnicity and disability pay gap reporting.

6. Guidance and policies

  • Produce and consult on a Transitioning at Work policy and guidance for managers (including training) and develop an Inclusive Language Guide.


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

1. Support for progression for staff from underrepresented groups

  • Continue to identify succession planning for Corporate Leadership Team (CLT) and senior leadership positions.
  • Pilot the Real World Engaging Transformational Leadership Model taking positive action, where necessary, to improve access to leadership development opportunities for underrepresented groups.

2. Training for culture change within management

  • Develop an EDI leadership training needs analysis and review of all current EDI training provision.
  • Continue to roll out the reverse mentoring programme for Leaders.

3. Career/leadership development for underrepresented staff

  • Refine and publicise the current career development offers, including targeting to underrepresented staff groups.
  • Review data on underrepresented groups at all levels of the council staff and outcomes of staff reviews. Use this data to inform a career development programme for underrepresented staff groups.

Knowing 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.

1. Research into experiences of lesser heard communities and groups

  • Develop a portfolio of examples of where and how existing research has improved service delivery and practice.
  • Draw together the strands of research and locality-based work (including the ethnographic research, the Local Area Coordinators and Community Link Officers, Healthwatch research) into a suite of compelling 'so what' stories to help service planners understand how to apply the knowledge to their areas of work.
  • Ensure the intelligence garnered through our community focussed work is used to inform Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) production across the council.
  • Continue to improve the council's ethnographic research base, including work on barriers to skills and employment, financial inclusion and cost of living.

2. Continue to work with residents and representative groups, such as the Surrey Black and Minority Ethnic Reference Group, to improve outcomes and services and increase local community participation

  • Seek regular updates from voluntary, community and faith sector (VCFS) colleagues on community participation work, any key feedback they are gathering, and opportunities for liaison and report on these as required.

Communications and engagement

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

1. Digital accessibility

  • Complete report on review of current digital accessibility work with prioritised list of actions.
  • Set up a Digital Accessibility working group to implement the immediate-term actions from this review.

2. Creating inclusive communications and campaigns for target audiences

  • Develop an agreed calendar of inclusion events and activities in agreement with the Staff Networks and other stakeholders to enable clearer focus and prioritisation of resources and budget to support these over the year.
  • Look to increase diversity in voices that are chosen to represent SCC communications both internally and externally. Use the 'Our Stories' page on the staff intranet as a way of boosting the visibility of diverse viewpoints and voices.

3. Working with partner organisations to ensure accessible and inclusive communications

  • Share the emerging data from the 2021 Census with partners and stakeholders across Surrey to inform our approach to accessible communications.
  • Communications support to help build an appreciation of different cultures in communities.
  • Communications support for the All-Age Autism Strategy and help raise awareness of other neuro diverse conditions.

4. Improve access to SCC information for all staff

  • Review methods of communication for SCC and SFRS staff who do not have access to corporate IT systems.
  • Consider non-digital options for 'all staff' communications for those who need it.

Delivering inclusive services

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

1. Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs)

  • Revise and refine EIA templates and guidance and align SFRS and SCC assessment templates and approaches.
  • Create a network of champions to support EIAs within service areas.
  • Enable Members to engage earlier with the EIAs relating to the council's budget (for 2024 to 2025) by bringing forward the process with services, in line with the council's integrated strategic planning approach.
  • Provide a training programme to EIA champions and colleagues who are involved with re/shaping policies and services.

2. Supporting and working with the VCFS

  • Support the VCFS sector to continue to improve EDI practice in the sector, including ensuring good value for money is achieved through the sector-wide EDI support project.
  • Work with the VCFS to ensure appropriate and targeted support to those most vulnerable to cost of living issues.

3. Embedding EDI in procurement and commissioning

  • Undertake a review of EDI guidance on procurement issues.
  • Embed elements of our EDI strategy into our procurement processes in order to use our supply chain to become advocates of our EDI approach.

4. Deliver domestic abuse shelters for underrepresented groups

  • Ensure final shelter goes live.
  • Monitor uptake and experience of underrepresented groups as people begin to use the shelters.

5. Community of practice

  • Continue to build our cross-council EDI community of practice to improve information sharing and service design and delivery from an EDI perspective.

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