14 Jan 2021

Leeds joins national pilot for workforce race equality

Adult social care Children's services Equality

Leeds City Council has joined a number of local authorities in pioneering a new social care Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES).

Led by Chief Social Workers for England at the Department of Health and Social Care, the new model aims to tackle discrimination and inequalities faced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) social care practitioners in the workplace.

Alongside the 18 councils involved, Leeds will develop an action plan and contribute learning to make national recommendations in a future report.

Currently 25 per cent of Leeds City Council social care staff are from Black, Asian or minority ethnic communities compared to 19 per cent of people living in Leeds.

A working group of practitioners set up the new standard to highlight the need for a national benchmark of anti-racist practice and culture within the sector, and they aim to improve BAME representation at leadership level.

Although informed by the recent Black Lives Matter movement, the standard was inspired by the 2017 Adult Principal Social Worker Network report, which demonstrated that leadership in the social care sector does not reflect the diversity of the workforce.

“Leeds city council is delighted to be part of the national pilot seeking to improve the experience of its Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff. Having a truly inclusive workforce means that the strengths and gifts, experiences and knowledge of all staff are maximised. Leeds City Council believes that an inclusive team is a strong team and enables the council to better serve the people of Leeds,” Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adults.

“Leeds children’s and adults’ social workers are collaborating on the Workforce Race and Equality Standard to raise awareness of discrimination and inequalities. We are looking forward to developing ideas and methods to ensure that we further develop our workforce to represent the city’s diverse population.” Councillor Fiona Venner, Executive Member for Children and Families.

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