Equality and diversity policy

This policy is an integral part of the promotion of social inclusion as a key theme in the council's corporate plan

1. Introduction

North Lanarkshire Council is committed to promoting social inclusion, which is at the centre of our service planning process. This process incorporates the principles of Best Value. The attributes of a best value council include the following:

  • Commitment to best value an acceptance of 4 key principles (accountability, ownership, continuous improvement, transparency)
  • Political and senior management leadership
  • Performance management and planning framework
  • Programme of service reviews
  • Public performance reporting
  • Commitment to equality issues

2. Aims

We believe our responsibility for equality is wider than these areas covered by present legislation. We are committed to achieving equality for all by removing direct and indirect discrimination on the grounds of

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender and transgender identity
  • Health
  • Income, employment status, or housing circumstances
  • Marital status, civil partnership status, family circumstances, or caring responsibilities
  • Membership or non- membership of trade unions, or involvement or non- involvement in trade union activity
  • Race, colour, nationality, national or ethnic origin, including gypsy travellers
  • Religious belief or non- belief, or other beliefs
  • Sexual orientation
  • Any other ground that cannot be shown to be justified

We will do this by:-

  • Promoting equality of opportunity.
  • Promoting social justice
  • Promoting financial inclusion and ensure that people and communities have access to affordable financial services and the incomes they are entitled to.
  • Targeting services to support the most vulnerable people.
  • Providing positive action measures where appropriate and permissible by legislation.

This policy is based on the key principles of equity, equality, inclusion, engagement, partnership, visibility and shared responsibility.

3. Legislation

This policy was created taking into account and incorporating the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000, The Race Relations Act 1976 (Statutory Duties)(Scotland)(Order) 2002,  the Disability Discrimination Act 2005,  the Disability Discrimination (Public Authorities)(Statutory Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2005,  the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 as amended by the Equality Act 2006,  the Sex Discrimination (Public Authorities) (Statutory Duties) (Scotland) (Order) 2007,  the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

This policy contains principles that are underpinned by other council policies, guidance and codes of practice, particularly the council's policy on equality of opportunity in employment and the codes of conduct for Elected Members, Chief Officers and local government workers.

4. Scope

Like many local authorities in Scotland, we provide services and undertake duties through a range of services. In North Lanarkshire, our service and management structures are led by the chief executive, with executive directors heading up corporate services, environmental services, finance and customer services, housing and social work services, and learning and leisure services.

Every employee and Elected Member has a personal responsibility for ensuring that his or her behaviour is acceptable within the terms of the Equality and Diversity Policy. However, we acknowledge that specific responsibilities fall upon managers, supervisors and those individuals involved in recruitment and personnel administration or who receive requests for service provision. The council recognises its responsibility to train and support employees and elected members in their respective roles.

Managers will be responsible for implementing this policy within their service and for ensuring that employees are familiar with, and act in accordance with the policy, and those adequate monitoring arrangements are in place.

5. Management and Governance

The council has six roles:

  • provider and commissioner of service
  • employer
  • regulator
  • influencer
  • planner
  • key player in partnerships

Our overall democratic decision making process is the committee system. This is regulated to meet the council's objectives and is the way in which we can effectively, lawfully and democratically discharge our functions.

As part of the wider community planning process, we are committed to community engagement which is set out in our corporate strategy on community engagement.

We will do all in our power to address inequality and take every opportunity to raise issues at a national level and where appropriate.  We are well aware that achieving real equality in North Lanarkshire is a long-term aim and requires wider social change.

6. Council's Position

In driving forward equality and diversity issues we will incorporate diversity and equality and challenge discrimination and inequality within all of our core activities and corporate initiatives. We will do this when delivering services, when employing others to deliver services on our behalf and when providing funding to others and procure contracts to provide services to the people of North Lanarkshire. We will make equality a mainstream part of our work.  This means ensuring that all aspects of what we do such as our policies, plans, practices and procedures reflect and incorporate equality objectives and targets.

We seek to ensure that our workforce reflects the diverse communities we serve and that every employee is treated fairly during the whole of their working life. This is at the heart of the council's equality and diversity in employment policy.

We will evaluate and monitor the impact of our policies, services and functions on communities and make changes to them where they impact unfairly or adversely on any group(s) and publicly report on progress. The outcome of this evaluation is incorporated into the council's Equality Schemes on Race, Disability and Gender that sets out how we strive to translate this into practical action and outcomes.

We will use the Social Model of Disability as the basis for our work to promote equality of opportunity and to tackle discrimination against disabled people. This describes disability not as a medical issue, but one where disabled people face daily barriers in society such as attitudinal, environmental, institutional, information and communication barriers.

We will train our employees to implement this policy. We are committed to making available appropriate training and development resources to equip employees with the necessary aptitude, skills, knowledge and qualifications to effectively perform the duties and responsibilities of their posts. We recognise the significant contribution employee training and development can make to :

  • Improving the quality and standard of services it delivers
  • Meeting the challenges of change and adaptation
  • Achieving the organisation's corporate and service objectives
  • Meeting the needs of individual employees

We will consider the needs of all communities in the methods we use for communicating with customers, employees and residents to ensure access to all our services for all. This means ensuring that our communications are accessible and understandable for everyone. We recognise that providing good information in the right way is important in raising awareness of our services and in helping people to use them to maximum benefit.

We will consult with and engage with people from all the diverse communities in North Lanarkshire to help shape the services we deliver and our policies and practices and seek to make it possible for every one to participate fully in the life of North Lanarkshire.

Further information can be found in "Related pages" and "Downloads".  Please use "Contact Us" if you require any further information.