Council commits to taking positive steps on equality

Uttlesford District Council has committed to a series of actions that will ensure the authority and the district are inclusive and welcoming places for people to live, work and visit.

The Black Lives Matter demonstrations have focused the nation's conscience on what it means to be on the receiving end of racism and the continuing disparity in life chances and quality of life faced by our communities who are Black or who come from minority ethnic backgrounds. The council is clear that black lives do matter.

At a meeting of Full Council on Tuesday (21 July), councillors unanimously backed a joint statement that seeks to initiate a set of actions and send positive signals to residents and communities in the battle against racism, disadvantage and injustice.

The statement commits the council to:

  • reach the 'Achieving Level' of the Equality Framework for local Government by the autumn
  • establish community listening events and put together an action plan to address any barriers
  • set up an independent oversight panel to advise, guide, inform and assure the efforts of the council towards a fully inclusive work and social environment in the district

Further details about these actions will be made in the coming weeks and months.

Cllr Louise Pepper, Portfolio Holder for Equalities, said: "This is an historic moment for the district and a big step forward for the council in combatting prejudice and racial disadvantage which have no place in our society.  

"It is an emotive subject, as demonstrated by many who spoke, I would like to offer my thanks to the four members of the public who spoke passionately sharing their own experiences.  

By taking this positive action, the council is committed to redoubling its efforts and doing everything in its power to ensure the district is an inclusive and welcoming place for all."

The joint statement can be read in full here.

23 July 2020