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Renewing our commitment to equality and diversity

Renewing our commitment to equality and diversity
07 March 2023

The council's cabinet has renewed our commitment to equality and diversity to help ensure our services and work are accessible to all.

In the last four years, since the equality policy and objective were agreed, an equality and diversity trainer has been appointed and more than 76% of our staff and 75% of councillors have received training to ensure they treat colleagues, residents and partners equally and with respect.

The training encourages staff and councillors to consider residents’ needs, such as disability or age, in their day to day work so decisions are made which benefit everyone.

Following the training, 61% of the 1,344 who attended said they would change the way they approached issues of equality and diversity in future.

To ensure equality and diversity are considered in all aspects of the council’s work, an equality advisor group and equality reference group have been set up.

The groups, made up of staff from across the council, meet quarterly to discuss and investigate specific issues. Thanks to these groups work has been undertaken to look at issues faced by women in the workplace and an LGBT+ network has been set up to provide a safe space for staff to meet colleagues and allies.

The new objective, which was open to public consultation, reinforces the council’s dedication to all aspects of equality and diversity.

It states the council will “provide ongoing training and support for staff and members to help them meet their duties under the Equality Act of 2010, raise awareness of the equality policy and ensure residents of Darlington are treated with dignity and respect, and continue to report on progress.”

Following comments from residents, work is also taking place to ensure residents and staff can easily access support if they suddenly find themselves with a protected characteristic such as a disability.

Mike Renton, cabinet member for stronger communities, said: “As a council we are committed to promoting equality and diversity amongst staff and residents. We believe that everyone has the right to live their life with dignity and respect and this new objective reinforces our commitment to ensuring Darlington is a safe place for everyone and a place where everyone can get the support they need to reach their potential. This work has already had a real benefit for residents across the town and I am delighted that this is set to continue."

Anne-Marie Curry, Mayor of Darlington, said: “As Mayor I have been very lucky to meet many of the diverse residents of Darlington. Part of my role is to welcome new UK citizens in the citizenship ceremonies and it's been wonderful to get to meet and welcome people from all over the world to our community. Having lived in two countries, as well as England, I truly understand and welcome the need for diversity in our communities."

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