In Kensington and Chelsea we want to help improve the quality of life and life-chances for everyone. Following the Grenfell tragedy, we have been taking practical steps to change as an organisation. We have sought to improve services to residents living in social housing, and we have also tried to reconnect with all the borough’s communities so as to serve them better.
But we know that there is more we can do to tackle racism, social injustice and inequality. Our commitment to equality goes beyond just 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 everyone to be able to voice their hopes and concerns about their future; regardless of their background, beliefs or characteristics. This will help us shape our policies and deliver our services in a fair and equitable way.
Following on from the Grenfell tragedy, the events of 2020 - including the Black Lives Matter movement and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our residents and businesses - have rightly driven the Council to redouble our efforts to tackle inequality.
As a Council we are committed to:
- Working with our communities to improve our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy. Our new Equalities Strategy (to be published shortly) will aim to ensure that all of our actions result in fair and better outcomes.
- Improving our collection and use of equality data. This will help us identify patterns of inequality, exclusion and unfairness. It will also help us to pinpoint the precise causes of any unfairness so decision on what can and should be done are made in a considered and informed way.
- Engaging with residents with protected characteristics and other minorities to make sure their life experience is drawn into the design and delivery of Council services - and other local services. This will involve:
- Establishing a Citizens Panel – a representative group of residents and service users that will advise the Council on how to identify priorities and their solutions.
- Partnering with advocates of residents with protected characteristics and other minorities in order to improve our direct engagement with those they represent and ensure that the barriers preventing participating in civic life are understood and removed.
- Increasing the broad diversity of our workforce, particularly at senior levels, to more closely reflect our residents and service users and bring us closer to our communities. This will be driven through:
- An extensive equality, diversity and training offer to all staff.
- Decisive action to create an inclusive culture for all staff, including a reiteration of our ‘zero tolerance’ approach to bullying and harassment.
- An independent review of our pay and grading to make sure it is fair.
- A review of our recruitment practices, ensuring diverse shortlists and panels.
- Encouraging our service suppliers and contractors to adopt similar equality, diversity and inclusion strategies; as well as being clear that we particularly welcome black, Asian and minority ethnic owned/run businesses to tender for any public service contracts.
- Reviewing and benchmarking our progress with external support to help us identify where further work is required. This will include producing an annual impact report on the Council’s progress.
Cllr Anne Cyron, Lead Member for Communities said:
“At the forefront of the Council’s values is a commitment to ‘Put Communities First’. Challenging racism and social injustice wherever we encounter it means inequality will play no part in how we deliver our services, to ensure fairer and better outcomes for the people we serve in our communities. It is therefore completely right and important that we have publicly adopted a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Statement of Intent”.