Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
What does it mean to us?
'We want to create a working environment that celebrates and embraces difference, enables a sense of belonging and provides equal opportunity for all. Staff should feel comfortable bringing their 'full selves' to work. Surrey should be a place where different beliefs, life experiences and backgrounds are treated equally. The residents we serve should feel respected, listened to and valued as members of our community'.
Ali Jafarey, Equality and Diversity Inclusion Lead
Meet our inclusion networks
Our Women's Network is a professional and confidential space where a multitude of colleagues from across the council come together to discuss equality, experience and empowerment. Having female representation within our senior leadership team allows for opportunities for women from all backgrounds and careers to come together and help shape the future of the Council ensuring equality is at the forefront of the agenda. Whether it be through external talkers, interactive topics or useful training, I have always felt included and encouraged to discuss my own familiarities of challenges and successes in the workplace.
Early Careers Network
The Early Careers Network (ECN) is a network which pulls together all employees under 30 together to talk, collaborate and share experiences of working in Local Government. The group was set up over a year ago by a few young employees who wanted to build relationships with other young people in the organisation. With a growing number of younger employees working together to stimulate thinking and taking action to raise our profile, we hope to encourage more young people to work and develop their careers at Surrey County Council.
Our LGBTQI+ Network took off this year and has already had great success. From celebrating and sponsoring Surrey Pride and the fantastic events that ran alongside it such as dance clubs, virtual speed dating and raising our very own rainbow flag over County Hall, we also tackled the wide range of subjects surrounding or influencing some or all in the LGBTQI+ community. Through open and honest conversations about equality in the workplace, our network continues to add invaluable input to the narrative around EDI whilst celebrating, valuing and encouraging difference.
'"Although the Surrey MEGA (Minority Ethnic Group for All) Network is in the early phases of development, it has already done great work to promote the culture and diversity that our BAME colleagues bring to the organisation – through discussions, events and meetings. As we look ahead, we see a key role for the network in helping BAME colleagues in their professional development; supporting wider council commitments to have a far more representative workforce and leadership".
Vincent Anane-Nimoh, Cabinet Policy Advisor
"Following the success of other networks, a disabled employees network was launched in July 2020 to raise awareness of disability across SCC, ensuring managers and staff understand reasonable adjustments and the help Access to Work can offer. SCC is a member of the Business Disability Forum who provide lots of useful information for staff and managers. With around 20% of the UK working age population with a disability we are focusing on addressing unconscious bias and sharing knowledge of all disabilities including invisible disabilities. Our network is in its early days but we have made some significant steps"
Vikki Cole, Social Worker