Context and Purpose
Our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion is integral to everything we do as a Council, whether it is in how we work with our residents, in the services we provide or through the recruitment of our workforce. Our commitment goes beyond complying with our statutory duties. It is about the Council and our partners actively removing barriers and supporting individuals and families to reach their fullest potential. We want to advance equality of opportunity, foster good relations in our local community and ensure that everyone feels valued, respected and included.
Our Council Plan 2019-2023 sets out our ambition for a borough where all residents can fulfil their potential and access the services they need in Kensington and Chelsea. This Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy supports those commitments and sets out the high standards we expect of ourselves in how we treat our workforce, engage with and deliver services for our residents and businesses. We will strive to:
- Narrow existing inequalities and differences in life chances for our residents and our employees, whether that be at work, in health, in housing or education. To do that we may need to treat some people differently, as we focus our resources and efforts on those who experience the worst outcomes currently, or those with the most urgent and pressing need.
- Value and recognise people’s diverse skills and abilities, which means taking difference into account in everything that we do. For our employees, diversity is an opportunity to bring together and develop a unique mix of individuals and skills, that reflect our communities and help us serve them better.
- Work together to create a safe, open, accessible and inclusive borough and workplace - where everybody thrives and feels valued, and the lived experience of our residents is heard.
The Grenfell tragedy and its aftermath raised fundamental questions about equalities, diversity and inclusion. The local response to the tragedy demonstrated the enormous strength of our diverse communities, particularly in North Kensington, and challenged the Council both to improve our understanding of those communities and to increase the reach and accessibility of our services. Since June 2017, we have reflected on what our communities have told us about what we need to do differently as a Council. Building on this, and our learning throughout these unprecedented times, we aspire to rebuild trust and reconnect with our communities by being open, inclusive and putting local people at the heart of decision-making. Our core values guide how we work: putting communities first, respecting others, acting with integrity and working together. They inform the way in which we involve and empower residents to have their say; how we design and deliver our services; and how we recruit and support our workforce.
The impact of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter have shone a light on structural inequality, including how we deliver public services. It has rightly prompted us to further explore our ability and ambition to improve equality of opportunity for all our residents, whatever their background, beliefs or characteristics. To do this well we need to continually examine our services and policies to ensure that they are accessible and that outcomes are equitable for those that current experience the worst outcomes.
The events of the last year have affected almost every community and are likely to be deep and long lasting as well as exacerbating some of the inequalities that already existed, around health, employment, opportunities and housing. It is critical that we stay connected with our residents, understand how the recent events are affecting their lives and ensure we make interventions that will have a genuine impact.