Leeds City Council’s commitment to equality has once again received an ‘excellent’ rating in the Equality Framework for Local Government from the Local Government Association (LGA).
A group of external peer assessors validated the council’s approach to equality. The council have received feedback that the peer assessment team were ‘impressed by what it saw and had no hesitation about awarding the ‘Excellent’ level to Leeds City Council and looks forward to working with the council in future to help the rest of the sector continue to meet diverse needs and address inequalities.’
The peer assessors identified a range of notable strengths which include:-
- The vision of a compassionate city and council is much more than rhetoric and was seen in the behaviour of elected members and officers. The team felt that this is quite rare and that other councils could learn from this approach;
- The city benefits from effective partnerships and good practise;
- The organisational culture and ethos of the council is very positive and constructive;
- There is a strong focus on communities and addressing inequalities; and
- The development of community hubs which are helping to ensure diverse needs are met, as well as, empowering communities.
The council were able to demonstrate that by focussing on the needs of individuals they have improved service provision whilst at the same time achieving its budget targets. The peer assessors also stated that they felt that the council are able to sustain their approach to equality as they have strong foundations, with strong leadership at elected member and officer levels.
The strong relationships which the council has with a range of community groups and organisations were also identified as extremely positive. One example is the Equalities Assembly which is the council’s corporate consultation forum and works with the city’s equality groups. This assembly provides a platform for engagement and more importantly challenge.
Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for employment, enterprise and opportunity said:
“As part of our continued commitment to be a compassionate city, we want to ensure that no person irrespective of their age, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender in Leeds feels excluded and that they are not being given the same chance to access the opportunities and support that is available.
“I am particularly pleased that the peer assessors recognised that our approach to equality is having a positive impact on individuals and communities. It was also positive that during the assessment staff were able to express their pride working for the council and how much they enjoyed being ambassadors for the city.
“It is fantastic news therefore that the council’s equality work has been recognised with another excellent rating by the LGA and I look forward to seeing continued improvements being made in this area in the future.”
Jocelyn Brooks MBE, Leeds City Council Equalities Assembly, faith hub rep said:
“Leeds City Council is committed to building a harmonious and cohesive society and to that end is sensitive to the needs and aspirations of people of all faiths in the city. Religion and belief is respected and encouraged in many different ways and people feel able to express their identity through cultural and faith activities and by being urged to become involved in all aspects of decision-making through their access to council services via the hub system."
John Welham, Leeds City Council Equalities Assembly, age hub rep said:
“As the age hub rep I fully support Leeds City Council in its aspiration to be the best city in which to grow old. Hub meetings provide the opportunity to ensure the voices and concerns of older citizens are being heard.”
Tim McSharry, Leeds City Council Equalities Assembly, disability hub rep said:
“Leeds City Council`s peer engagement and partnership approach to equality and diversity must be applauded. This achievement justly recognises the hard work and co-production that lays at the very heart of excellence in public service, developing community trust, confidence and true equality of participation, really outstanding news for our great city of Leeds.”