The diversity of north Oxfordshire communities will be better represented, through a new ‘Including Everyone’ policy framework launched this week.
Published: Tuesday, 3rd November 2020
Approved by Cherwell District Council’s Executive on Monday 2 November, the framework reaffirms the authority’s commitment to listen to and learn from its communities.
Councillor Ian Corkin, Lead Member for Customers and Transformation, said: “The prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the inequalities exposed by the coronavirus pandemic this year have prompted us to revisit our policies on inclusion and to redouble our efforts to tackle racism and discrimination of all forms.”
Underscoring this, ‘Including Everyone’ recognises the inequalities experienced by many residents. Nationally, Black men and women are 1.9 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than white people, while males of Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnicity are 1.8 times more likely to die.
It also recognises that men in the Cherwell area earn on average £6,200 more than women. Capturing this data to recognise and respond to inequality will be a vital part of shaping council services in the future.
Cllr Corkin added: “Cherwell is, in many ways, a relatively affluent and fortunate district. But, when we scratch beneath the surface, we can see that there is still much to do to challenge inequality and offer greater opportunity to those who are marginalised in our communities.
“We know we don’t have all the answers but by listening to and learning from our staff and residents, we can make a difference. This is a hugely ambitious and important piece of policy development. It celebrates and welcomes diversity, embeds inclusion for all and sends out a strong message that equality will be at the heart of everything we do.”
The broad pledges made in the document are backed up by a series of more detailed commitments. They include:
• To improve the diversity of the council at all levels to be representative of the communities it serves
• To identify and tackle discrimination in all its forms
• To train staff to identify and avoid unconscious bias
• To better understand those using services and their needs by collecting their information and feedback
• To ensure the council’s information, website and digital services are accessible for all
‘Including Everyone’ covers 14 protected characteristics, exceeding the requirements of The Equality Act 2010. They are:
• Gender reassignment
• Marriage and civil partnership
• Pregnancy and maternity
• Race, including ethnic or national origins, colour or nationality
• Religion or belief
• Sexual orientation
• Those living with social deprivation
• The unique challenges of rurality
• Care leavers
• Those from the Armed Forces community
‘Including Everyone’ was also approved by Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet on 13 October.