Equality, diversity and inclusion action plan 2021 to 2022

Our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) action plan for 2021 to 2022 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.

By April 2021, we will:

  1. Update and work towards a mandatory EDI training package for all staff so they better understand and meet the needs of colleagues and residents with protected characteristics.
  2. Support our Employee Reference Groups (ERGs) - staff networks for people with protected characteristics - to develop their role and profile.
  3. Improve the quality and visibility of our staffing data to identify and monitor EDI issues across colleagues with protected characteristics.
  4. Enable more staff to feel confident to declare information on protected characteristics, such as disability, to improve the support we can provide for them.
  5. Make policies designed to support and protect our staff clearer, such as grievance, bullying and harassment policies, and ensure colleagues who use them have the right support in place.
  6. Ensure our approach to agile working benefits all staff and supports improved productivity and wellbeing.
  7. Strengthen support for colleagues with disabilities who require reasonable adjustments to deliver their roles effectively.

By the end of the 2021 to 2022 financial year, we will:

  1. Strengthen our recruitment processes to focus on attracting the best talent and minimise potential sources of bias, such as more diverse recruitment panels.
  2. Continue monitoring and taking action to narrow the Gender Pay Gap (PDF).
  3. Develop and introduce ethnicity and disability pay gap reporting.
  4. Work with ERGs to identify accreditation from leading organisations to work towards, such as Race in the Workplace accreditation.

2. Leadership

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

By April 2021, we will:

  1. Ensure each Directorate appoints an EDI champion who is responsible for identifying and acting on the local EDI issues, and provides support and challenge to colleagues.
  2. Prioritise staff from protected groups to attend our Career Sprints Leadership Programme to increase diversity in the council's leadership and management.
  3. Recruit an EDI Programme and Change Lead to drive delivery of the action plan.

By the end of the 2021 to 2022 financial year, we will:

  1. Work with partners to provide leadership on EDI across Surrey towards a common agenda and seek opportunities for collaboration.
  2. Support Members to lead on the EDI agenda by building their knowledge and awareness.
  3. Hold a Member-led review into councillor diversity and inclusion at Surrey County Council, ensuring that our practices support councillors of all backgrounds to work effectively.
  4. Seek to integrate and learn from best practice with other local authorities to adopt approaches to improving the diversity of the council's senior officer leadership.

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.

By April 2021, we will:

  1. Work with the voluntary, community and faith sector (VCFS) EDI group to collaborate on and deliver initiatives to make Surrey a fairer place to live and work.
  2. Support growth and development of a Faith Links Network across Surrey with faith partners.
  3. Develop Locality Profiles to better understand the needs of communities at neighbourhood level.

By the end of the 2021 to 2022 financial year, we will:

  1. Provide guidance and tools, such as an EDI toolkit, for strengthening anti-discrimination in Surrey.
  2. Develop a Leader's No-one Left Behind Advisory Panel, bringing together experts from equality groups and VCFS organisations to shape, influence and guide the county's approach to EDI.
  3. Use insight gathered from Locality Profiles to identify key EDI issues in each place and develop measures with communities to address them.
  4. Ensure we gather robust equality information from our data and insight and ensure all consultation and engagement is inclusive.

4. Communications and Engagement

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

By April 2021, we will:

  • Develop tools, support and guidance for staff to improve the accessibility and inclusiveness of our communications. This includes compliance of our website with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations, and guidance for officers to communicate with diverse groups.

By the end of the 2021 to 2022 financial year, we will:

  • Raise awareness with residents, partners and staff of the organisation's radical agenda through a comprehensive communications plan.

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.

By April 2021, we will:

  1. Ensure services are equipped to assess, and understand the importance of, the equality implications of their policies and service decisions through Equality Impact Assessments.
  2. Support an inclusive approach in the Communities transformation portfolio, such as Local Community Networks, Your Fund Surrey and Libraries, so all residents can participate in decision-making and benefit from inclusive accessible services.
  3. Strengthen our policies and training in Procurement and Commissioning so we work with suppliers who share our commitment to EDI and support us to tackle inequalities.
  4. Ensure the council's buildings are inclusive and accessible for all.
  5. Produce a digital accessibility policy and governance to support residents and staff to access digital information and products with ease.

By the end of the 2021 to 2022 financial year, we will:

  1. Monitor progress of the Organisation Strategy 2021 to 2026 equality objectives through the council's outcome-based plans for each of the four strategy priorities.
  2. Ensure equality impacts are understood as part of decision making for emergencies and/or serious incidents and put mitigations in place where needed.

Files available to download