WOKINGHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL is preparing to unveil its new equalities strategy.
“We have set up a group to look at equalities,” said Cllr John Halsall. “We had a consultation which yielded a good response and we’ve studied the Local Government Association framework.
“We’ve put together a first paper in terms of an action plan, which will soon go to the Executive committee and then a full council meeting.”
He pledged that the council would also reach out to minority groups who got in touch so that their views can help shape the final plan.
“We’re not acting in the wake of last summer’s Black Lives Matters protests, we’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do.”
Cllr Halsall added: “We are the lowest funded unitary council in England, and we have the lowest calculated deprivation index. Almost by definition we should be able to determine where our deprivation, poverty and equality issues lie, and they should be a relatively small population of the borough.
“Our strategy is to create the architecture for a permanent and continuous examination and action on these issues – long after I’m dead and buried, either politically or in fact.”
The council’s 1,200-strong workforce had also been consulted.
“What we are doing is not applying the equality strategy to groups, but ensuring that every individual in the borough, whatever their issues are, feel valued, listened to and is worthwhile.
“Our mission as a borough is to make people as healthy as possible, as secure as possible, and as happy as possible.
“How can you do that if you don’t address the equality issue?
“While people might want to focus on their own issue, the borough really has to focus on all the protected characteristics of each and every individual throughout the borough.”