Agenda and minutes
Venue: Denham Room, Priory Street Centre, York
Contact: Jayne Carr Democracy Officer
Declarations of Interest
At this point Members are asked to declare any personal or prejudicial interests they may have in the business on this agenda.
Members were invited to declare at this point in the meeting any personal or prejudicial interests they might have in the business on the agenda. No interests were declared.
At this point in the meeting members of the public who have registered their wish to speak regarding an item on the agenda or an issue within the Groups remit can do so. Anyone who wishes to register or requires further information is requested to contact the Democracy Officer on the contact details listed at the foot of this agenda. The deadline for registering is Wednesday 1 July 2009 at 5.00 pm.
There were no registrations to speak under the Council’s Public Participation Scheme.
To approve and sign the minutes of the last meeting of the Group held on 13 May 2009. An “easy read” version of these minutes is also attached.
RESOLVED: (i) That the minutes of the meeting of the Group, held on 13
May 2009, be approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record.
In accordance with the Group’s request that their recommendations were tracked to ensure that they were being actioned, an update was given on matters arising from the previous minutes:
· First York had agreed to send a representative to the next meeting (minute 47)
· National Express had confirmed that, in response to concerns expressed by the SIWG, the Station Management Team had been briefed that when a platform change occurred, a member of staff would approach passengers waiting on the platform to advise them in person that the platform change had occurred and would direct them to the altered platform. This would be in addition to the visual displaying flashing to indicate a platform change. It was hoped that the additional face-to-face interaction would help overcome any difficulties experienced by passengers with hearing difficulties or for whom English was not their first language (minute 47).
· The application in respect of the barriers at the railway station was due to be considered by the West and City Centre Area Planning Sub-Committee at their meeting on 16 July 2009 (minute 47).
· The Democratic Services Manager would be meeting with the Equality and Inclusion Manager in August to give further consideration as to how the Equalities Impact Assessments for Democratic Services could best incorporate the suggestions put forward by the SIWG (minute 48).
· In response to the request by SIWG representatives that there be a named contact at the City of York Council to whom incidents of a racial nature could be reported, it had been agreed that the same arrangements should be in place as for the reporting of hate incidents (telephone 01904 551552). The Group suggested that it was also important to have a contact who would deal with media enquiries regarding incidents of this nature (minute 49).
· Following the meeting, the Interfaith Group had contacted the Equality and Inclusion Manager regarding the proposed collecting of information on the needs and views of people from the equality strands. It had been suggested that it was important that the forms made clear the reasons why the information was being requested. The Equalities and Inclusion Manager informed the Group that she would welcome their views as to appropriate wording (minute 51). Concerns were expressed regarding the length of the questionnaire and the feasibility of including it with all consultation exercises carried out by the Council. It was noted that the questionnaire was based on a model recommended by the Government.
RESOLVED:(ii) That, at the next meeting, further consideration be given
to the proposed questionnaire.
(iii) That the advice of the Marketing and Communications Team and the Valuing People Partnership be sought on issues in respect of accessibility of information1.
(iv) That samples of questionnaires used by other councils be obtained to identify examples of good practice2.
To introduce the new Chair and Vice-Chair to the Group and to offer the opportunity for community groups to introduce their work to the new Chair and Vice-Chair.
Councillor Ayre and Councillor Crisp were welcomed to their first meeting as Chair and Vice-Chair respectively.
Community Groups gave an introduction to their work and brought the following matters to the attention of the Group:
(i) Ethnic Elders Group
The SIWG had provided support in the setting up of an Ethnic Elders Group in the city. The group was flourishing and an increasing number of people were attending its events. The project was helping to eliminate isolation. YREN was now hoping to work with the Youth Service Equalities Team Leader to develop a project targeted at young people.
(ii) Valuing People Partnership
An update was given on the work of the Valuing People Partnership, including the “Making it Happen” project. The Group’s attention was also drawn to the impact of the Welfare Reform Bill and events that were being arranged to make the Bill more accessible to carers and to people with learning disabilities.
(iii) Pride in the Park
Details were circulated of the Pride in the Park Picnic that was to take place on Sunday 16 August 2009. The theme was “Maskerade”. Further details were available from www.yorklgbtforum.com
Concerns were expressed that the Council did not appear to be doing enough to ensure that access issues were given appropriate consideration by the planning and building regulations departments. An example was cited of the re-opening of the Odeon cinema which had been welcomed by the Council but which was not accessible beyond the ground floor. The Group suggested that the Council should be doing more to encourage businesses to improve accessibility to buildings.
(v) “Bridging the Gap”
Information was circulated on “Bridging the Gap” – a day of diversity and inclusion arranged by York Older People’s Assembly in association with SIWG. The event would take place on Saturday 26 September 2009. Further information was available on www.yorkassembly.org.uk.
Community Groups were requested to complete the form to indicate how their organisation could contribute to the event by holding a workshop, a display, a talk or a performance. It was noted that the SIWG display board, led by YREN, was expected to be available for the event.
(vi) Efficiency Savings
Members of the community groups expressed concern at the impact of proposed council efficiency savings on service users. Confirmation was sought that Equality Impact Assessments would be carried out when recommendations on savings were being considered. The Group was informed that this would be the case.
(vii) Sharing of Information
Clarification was sought as to why it was not possible for different Council departments to share information to avoid service users having to provide the same information on more than one occasion. The present arrangements were a barrier to accessing services for some people. The Group was informed that this was one of the issues that would be considered under the efficiency review but that data protection implications also had to be taken into account.
RESOLVED: (i) That, at the next meeting, a brief presentation be
given on how ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
This report summarises the findings from the SIWG Development Day and requests that these be agreed to enable a SIWG Development Plan to be put in place.
Consideration was given to a report that summarised the findings from the SIWG Development Day. The Development Day had been very well attended and the Group expressed their appreciation of the work carried out by the Equalities and Inclusion Manager in arranging the event.
The report requested that the findings be agreed as a correct record to enable them to form the basis of a SIWG Development Plan. The Development Plan would be prepared by the Chair, Vice-Chair and the Equalities and Inclusion Manager and presented for consideration at a future meeting.
The following suggestions were put forward for inclusion in the Development Plan:
The Group stressed the importance of ensuring that there was an evidence base to demonstrate that their views were being actioned. Effective mechanisms also had to be in place to enable the SIWG to evaluate its work.
RESOLVED:(i) That the report be noted and the contents confirmed as a
correct record of the SIWG Development Day.
(ii) That a draft Development Plan, incorporating the views put forward at the meeting and at the Development Day, be brought to the Group for consideration at a future meeting1.
REASON: To summarise findings from the day and agree them so that a
SIWG Development Plan can be put in place.
This report asks members of the Social Inclusion Working Group to receive the draft Fairness and Inclusion Strategy and Single Corporate Equality Scheme 2009/12 and make further comment if needed. Comments received will be taken on board before the draft is finalised and approved.
Consideration was given to a report on the draft Fairness and Inclusion Strategy 2009-12. The Group were invited to comment on the draft strategy and their views would then be taken on board before the draft was finalised and approved by Councillors in Autumn 2009.
The following suggestions were put forward:
Discussion took place regarding the importance of having good recruitment, retention and training provision in place to ensure equality in employment. It was noted that the Fire Service had recently approved an Equality Scheme and had stated that they would welcome the views of the Social Inclusion Group regarding the scheme.
Details were given of the Equality Framework for Local Government. It was noted that a self-assessment had indicated that the Council was nearly meeting all of the requirements to be designated as “developing” and was moving towards “achieving”. Once the actions in the Single Equality Scheme had been met, the Council would be at the “achieving” level.
RESOLVED: (i) That the draft Fairness and Inclusion
Strategy 2009-12 be received.
(ii) That the suggestions put forward by the Social Inclusion Working Group be taken into account in developing the strategy1.
(iii) That the Fire Service Equality Scheme/recruitment targets be included on the work plan for the Social Inclusion Working Group to enable consideration at a future meeting2.
REASON: To ensure that SIWG receives the full draft of the Council’s Fairness and Inclusion Strategy that they had helped to put in place in the past year.
This report offers the opportunity for community groups involved in the Social Inclusion Working Group to advise officers about fairness and inclusion issues in the Council’s Corporate Strategy.
Consideration was given to a report that offered the opportunity for community groups included in the Social Inclusion Working Group to advise officers about fairness and inclusion issues in the Council’s Corporate Strategy.
Officers went through the Corporate Strategy with the Group and invited them to comment on the findings of the Equality Impact Assessment. Information was circulated on the three-year plan (Copy attached).
The Group were also asked if they wished to be involved in workshops that were due to take place later in the year.
The Group expressed their concern that the examples of the Council’s commitment to make York an Inclusive City (page 11) appeared to be focussed solely on housing and poverty and did not make reference to the strands referred to in the preamble. Inclusion should be inherent in every aspect of the Council’s work.
Concerns were expressed that the cost of producing the Corporate Strategy booklet had not been specified on the booklet.
RESOLVED: (i) That the Social Inclusion Working Group
requested that their comments regarding the Corporate Strategy and the Equality Impact Assessment be taken on board1.
(ii) That the Group be informed of the costs of producing the Corporate Strategy booklet2.
(iii) That further consideration would be given as to whether the SIWG would wish to be involved in the workshops once the arrangements for these were confirmed.
REASON: To ensure that SIWG had the opportunity to comment on the findings of the EIA and suggest any changes needed.
Holocaust Memorial Day
To discuss the Social Inclusion Working Group’s involvement in the Holocaust Memorial Day.
Details were given of events that would be taking place in January 2010 to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. The Group were asked to consider how they could contribute to the planned events. It was noted that the Chair and Vice-Chair served on the planning committee for the events.
RESOLVED: (i) That the SIWG would have staffed display boards at the
(ii) That further details of the Holocaust Memorial Day be forwarded to members of the SIWG.
REASON: To ensure community groups have the opportunity to participate in the events to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.