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 to make information accessible carried out by the Valuing People Partnership.
(ii) That further information be sought from the Planning Department regarding the issue of promoting accessibility to buildings when making planning recommendations and decisions1.