Agenda and minutes
Venue: Denham Room, Priory Street, York
Contact: Jayne Carr Democracy Officer
Welcome and Introductions
The Chair welcomed Marije Davidson from York Independent Living Network to the meeting. Introductions were carried out.
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. None were declared.
To approve and sign the minutes of the last meeting of the Group held on 11 November 2010. An “easy read” version of these minutes is also attached.
RESOLVED:That the minutes of the meeting of the group held on 11 November 2010 be approved as a correct record.
A member of the group had expressed concerns about the accessibility of the
papers provided for EAG meetings. The Chair sought the group’s views on
this issue. Members of the group stated that they found the easy read minutes to be very useful and that generally the papers were accessible. Some members stated that they found it difficult when information was presented in table form. Officers stated that if members of the group had difficulties with the information provided, they were welcome to meet with them.
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 Group’s 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 5.00pm on Monday 14 February 2011.
It was reported that there had been no registrations to speak under the council’s Public Participation Scheme.
Responses to Community Issues
Officers will be present to discuss the following issues raised by community groups at the last meeting:
Officers responded to the following issues raised by community groups at the last meeting:
(i) Equalities Profiling Form
Copies of the Equalities Profiling Form that had previously been agreed by the Group were tabled. Simon Rodgers reported that the LGBT Forum had discussed the matter further at their last meeting. The LGBT Forum recommended that the following wording be used on the Monitoring Form:
“Which of the following best describes how you think of yourself?
· Bisexual 
· Gay Man 
· Gay woman/lesbian 
· Heterosexual/straight 
· Other ______________
· Prefer not to say ”
The Group agreed that the council should be asked to use the wording suggested by the LGBT Forum.
Referring to the section on the form about learning disabilities, Fiona Walker informed the Group that the Partnership Board had agreed wording in respect of dyslexia and learning disabilities. She would forward this to the Equalities and Inclusion Manager for inclusion on the Equalities Monitoring Form. It was noted that, with effect from April 2011, the form would also need to ask if the person was a carer.
It was suggested that the council needed to consider how the Monitoring Form could be made more accessible so that people could complete the form in confidence without asking for help. It was requested that the font size be increased and that it be made available in different formats on request in order to meet individual needs. It was also important that the form was used across all council services to ensure consistency.
Members of the group stated that more needed to be done to make all council documentation more accessible. It was noted that the council was working towards ensuring that information was provided in size 14 sans serif font. Details were given of the work that the Valuing people Partnership Making Information Accessible cross-sector task group was carrying out to encourage the council and other organisations in York to commit to a charter of minimum standards for accessible information.
(ii) Accessible Toilets
Following issues raised at the last meeting regarding the fact that the alarms in the toilets were not linked to a source of help, the Head of Neighbourhood Pride Services was in attendance to discuss the Group’s concerns. He informed the Group that other local authorities had been approached to find out what systems they had in place but none had alarms that were linked to a call out system. The ambulance service had stated that they were unwilling for the alarm to be linked into their system because of the possibility of false alarms. Service providers had been approached about possible solutions but a way forward had not been found. Consideration had also been given to linking the alarms to the Eco Depot but this would not resolve the problems, as there could be no guarantee that the person on duty would not have been called out to attend to other issues.
Members of the Group suggested that the alarm be linked to the Warden Call ... view the full minutes text for item 19.
This item presents an opportunity for community representatives on the Equality Advisory Group to raise further equality and inclusion matters about council policy and services as they affect the groups they represent.
Community representatives were invited to raise further equality and inclusion matters about council policy and services as they affected the groups they represented. The following issues were discussed:
(i) Family Carers and People with Learning Disabilities
Maureen Ryan gave details of forthcoming events including a workshop on Hate Crime that was to be held on 18 February 2011. Although the focus of the workshop would be on disability hate crime, other strands would also be brought in to the discussions.
Marije Davidson informed the group that the Royal Association for Disability Rights (RADAR) was looking at issues as to why disabled people were reluctant to report hate crime.
(ii) Representation on Equality Advisory Group
Sue Lister, referring to the discussions that had taken place at the previous meeting, stated that she had concerns at the decision that community groups would no longer be required to nominate one male representative and one female representative. She stated that it was important that a good gender balance was maintained on the group. Members of the group agreed that it would not be appropriate to implement a quota and that the arrangements that were in place should allow there to be some flexibility when appointments were made. It was agreed that if it became apparent that there was a gender imbalance on the group, the situation would be reviewed.
It was noted that the group’s working arrangements were due to be reviewed after May. It was suggested that, at that time, consideration should also be given to ensuring that the group had representation from all the strands, including enabling the views of carers to be heard. It was suggested that the Carers’ Centre should receive copies of the group’s agendas and minutes and be offered the opportunity to bring issues to the group’s attention. This arrangement should also be extended to young carers1.
(iii) International Women’s Week
Information was circulated on events that were planned to take place during the International Women’s Week Centenary celebrations from 5 to 12 March 2011. The events included a theatre production entitled “Encounters”.
(iv) York Older People’s Assembly
Details were given of an auction of 50 promises that was to be held during a fundraising banquet arranged by York Older People’s Assembly.
(v) City of Sanctuary
Paul Wordsworth circulated information about the movement for York to become a City of Sanctuary. He explained that the vision was for York to be nationally recognised as a place of physical safety and security, in which people were free to live without fear of hostility, persecution, hatred, oppression or exclusion. The movement was grass roots driven and it was hoped that organisations would support the move. A public meeting would be held in May to provide more information about this initiative. The group would be kept updated on developments. The group expressed their support for this initiative.
EAG Poverty Awareness Raising Project
Discussion and finalisation of the details of the poverty project co-ordinated by the LGBT Forum.
Discussion took place regarding the poverty project that was being co-ordinated by the LBGT Forum.
Claire Newhouse informed the group that the Students’ Forum was willing to be involved in the project but it was important to establish the proposed context and audience for the DVD. She outlined some of the suggestions that the students had put forward. Members of the group suggested that consideration could also be given to a project focussed on young carers, student housing or drugs/alcohol. It was noted that it would be possible to carry the funding forward into the next financial year which would enable more time to consider how best to use the funding.
RESOLVED:(i) That a working party be established to move the project
(ii)That the membership of the working party include Claire Newhouse, Fiona Walker and Maureen Ryan (and any other member of the group who wished to contribute).
REASON: To ensure that progress is made in utilising the funding allocated for the poverty awareness-raising project.
Library Square Proposals
Discussion about proposed changes to disabled parking facilities at Library Square.
The group was informed about proposed changes to disabled parking facilities at Library Square. Officers explained that a scheme had been included in this year’s capital transport programme to improve the setting and access to the Explore Centre. The Explore Centre was a key facility and was currently used by around half a million people a year. This figure was set to rise to around a million. Unfortunately the environment around the building was very poor and there were concerns regarding safety and access.
Plans of the proposed development were circulated. Officers went through the proposals with the group. They explained that the scheme would include:
Officers informed the group that there would be a significant enhancement in overall disabled parking in the vicinity. The Group stated that they welcomed the fact that there would be more disabled parking in the area and that the area around the Explore Centre would be enhanced but they wished the following points to be taken into consideration:
Members of the Group asked if consideration could be given to changing traffic orders in Duncombe Place. Officers stated that there were no plans to do this under the current scheme.
Clarification was sought as to the arrangements that would be put in place if a member of staff at the Explore Centre required disabled parking provision. Officers stated that arrangements could be made for them to park at the rear of the building.
The officers thanked the Group for their feedback and stated that they would welcome the group’s involvement in the work that would be taking place to look at how access in the city centre could be improved.
The Group requested that when ... view the full minutes text for item 22.
Pedestrian safety in shared areas
Discussion about pedestrian safety in Cycling City and the Foot Streets Review.
Following concerns raised at the previous meeting, officers gave details about pedestrian safety in respect of Cycling City and the Footstreets Review.
Officers explained that there were currently two areas of shared use – Crichton Avenue and Beckfield Lane. Shared use was only implemented as a last resort. In the case of Beckfield Lane the scheme had been introduced primarily to ensure that children and inexperienced cyclists did not have to cycle on a busy route. The width of the road meant that there was insufficient space to put in place two cycle lanes and hence shared space had been used to provide a safe route for children cycling to Manor School. An equality impact assessment had been carried out.
In the case of Crichton Avenue, the scheme was currently undergoing a six-month pilot which had commenced in mid-February. After mid-July, a decision would be taken by the Executive Member as to whether or not the shared use arrangement should continue on a permanent basis. Representation could also be made at that stage should members of the group so wish. Representation on areas of shared use can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org
Details were given of the measures that were put in place to improve safety in shared areas, including the use of “hoof prints”. The group requested that they receive a copy of the design standards that were in place.2
Members of the group expressed concern that the use of shared space was not policed effectively and that such arrangements also encouraged cyclists to use footpaths in areas that were not designated as shared space. Officers explained the role of the Safer Neighbourhoods Team in enforcement. The group expressed concerns that shared areas made some pedestrians feel very vulnerable. It was important that pedestrians were the priority.
Officers stated that a review of footstreets was in its early stages and that this would include consideration of issues including:
The Group agreed that they would wish to be involved in the consultation that would take place as part of the review of footstreets. They expressed concern that, because of time constraints, it had not been possible to give this item the consideration that they would wish.
RESOLVED:(i) That a workshop on the review of footstreets be held as
part of the EIA Fair that was to be held in March3.
(ii)That, as part of the consultation on footstreets, a questionnaire be prepared to enable EAG representatives to consult with members of the groups they represent4.
REASON: To ensure that the views and expertise of the EAG were taken into account as part of the review of footstreets.
Report on the EAG meeting with the City of York Council Corporate Management Team and next steps.
The group had received a report that summarised the points that had been raised at the meeting between the Equality Advisory Group and the corporate management team that had taken place on 10 December 2010.
Due to time constraints this item was not discussed at the meeting.
Report from the informal meeting about the budget on 19 January 2011 and next steps.
The group had received a report that summarised the discussion that had taken place at the recent meeting of the Equality Advisory Group, during which the Group examined growth and savings proposals in the draft council revenue budget for 2011-12.
Due to time constraints this item was not discussed at the meeting.