The Council's overall aim is summed up as:
"Working in partnership for the well being of all in the community".
Achieving the well being of everyone in the District means understanding that some people face particular difficulties and challenges, and taking action to address these difficulties.
Mid Sussex is fortunate in being a generally affluent area, whose residents in the main enjoy good health and have above-average life expectancy. Crime rates are relatively low, and are falling, and most people believe they live in a cohesive community. But behind this generally positive picture there are residents who do not enjoy these benefits. There are pockets of deprivation, where poor skills and low incomes combine to limit residents' opportunities. Many women live in fear of violence within their home. There are health inequalities with, for example, gypsies and travellers and those in deprived areas having substantially lower life expectancy than the norm. Some residents may find it difficult to access the services they need, or to participate in decisions that affect them, due to disability, language difficulties, poor skills, living in a rural area, or a range of other factors. And although the District's age profile is fairly balanced at present, a 63% increase in those over 65 is anticipated by 2030, and a 59% increase in those over 85 years.
The Council recognises that it has three key roles in promoting equality and diversity:
- As a community leader, working with our partners, to ensure a combined effort to tackling inequality. Our aims are set out in the Mid Sussex Sustainable Communities Strategy.
- As a service provider, ensuring that our services are tailored to the needs of the individual, and that staff are aware of and responsive to the needs of different sectors of our community.
- As an employer, seeking to employ, retain, develop and reward a wide cross section of the community by welcoming diversity in the workforce, and by having appropriate policies in place to ensure equal pay and so that staff can balance their work and home commitments.
Our Equality and Diversity Scheme 2016-20 sets out the Council's commitment to equality of opportunity and respect for diversity. The Scheme includes the 2015 Progress Report identifying the service improvements that we have made in respect of the nine protected groups identified in the Equality Act 2010 of age; disability; gender reassignment; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation; and marriage and civil partnership. It also sets out our broad equality objectives and an Action Plan for achieving them. The latest and previous progress reports are provided below:
- 2016 Equalities and Diversity Progress Report
- 2014 Equalities and Diversity Progress Report
- 2013 Equalities and Diversity Report
- Equality and Diversity Progress Report 2011
- Equality and Diversity Annual Report 2009/10
It is a requirement of the Equality Act for the Council to have a set of Equality Objectives and to review them at least every four years. The Council's original five Equality Objectives were adopted in 2011 following a consultation exercise and were included in the Single Equality and Diversity Scheme 2013-16 , which also included the progress Report 2012. These have been reviewed to retain the essence of the original objectives and a revised set of four objectives is included in the 2016-20 Scheme. The revised Equality Objectives are:
1. We will show leadership and commitment in promoting equality and diversity.
2. We will consider the needs of individuals across the whole community, and especially those groups protected by the Equality Act 2010. when we plan and deliver our services.
3. We will seek to prevent discrimination and to promote good relations between different sectors of our community.
4. As an employer, we will seek to promote equality and respect for diversity in the workplace by providing appropriate policies, training and support.
A further requirement of the Equality Act is for the Council to publish equality data relating to the services that we provide and our workforce. The data is intended to help people to judge how effectively the Council is eliminating discrimination, advancing equality and fostering good relations. This information is included in our Equality Data, made up of a Mid Sussex Equalities Profile and statistics about the Council's staff.
Equality Impact Assessments
You can find out more about how we are ensuring that the Council's services are appropriate for all sectors of the community by looking at our Equality Impact Assessments
Neal Barton, Policy and Performance Manager
Telephone: 01444 477588