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Stevenage Equalities Commission 2021 Terms of Reference

Background

Following the brutal killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA in May 2020 and subsequent demonstrations exemplified through the Black Lives Matters movement globally, nationally and locally in Stevenage, Stevenage Borough Council agreed to establish an Equalities Commission.

Whilst there has been some progress on equalities issues in Stevenage over a number of years, there is clear recognition that more needs to be done. The Equalities Commission will drive forward a number of recommendations in order to create lasting change for communities across the town and where all residents feel included.

Purpose

The Equalities Commission is being established as a body that is independently chaired, focusing on the disproportionate impact of inequalities on the lives of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals and communities (BAME). The Commission will undertake a strategic assessment of the nature, extent, causes and impact of race inequality in Stevenage and make recommendations for tackling them.

The commission will also consider wider issues of inclusion for other sections of the community where inequalities are experienced and will maintain an effective dialogue with the town’s Social Inclusion Partnership to tackle these.

It is anticipated that The Commission will be launched in July 2021 and initially sit for 12 months, with a draft report being prepared in December 2021 when a formal review of progress will be undertaken.

Objectives

  • To consider the nature, extent and impact of racial disparities on BAME individuals and communities in Stevenage and the implications for the Town as a whole.
  • To invite written and verbal evidence from a wide range of interested parties across the town (and beyond it) particularly those with lived experience.
  • To consider evidence on what has worked with regard to reducing racism and race inequalities within the town and elsewhere.
  • To establish a wider community dialogue with the town’s BAME communities to make further clear recommendations to the council and other public bodies on further actions required to tackle discrimination and reduce inequalities across the town.
  • To ensure that Stevenage Borough Council’s HR and management policies fully meet the requirements for equalities, diversity and inclusion in the recruitment and career progression of all staff and to promote best practices to all employers in the town.
  • To stimulate and listen to debate amongst the people of Stevenage about inequality and inclusion.
  • To work with our partners in Stevenage Together to ensure we are all listening and engaging with our BAME communities as we plan the future of our town together.
  • To engage with Hertfordshire County Council to address systemic issues of racial inequality and disparities and their impact on BAME communities across Hertfordshire.

In view of the potential wide scope of this inquiry it is envisaged that the Commission will prioritise a number of issues for its consideration, for example:

  1. Education
  2. Criminal Justice
  3. Health
  4. Business and Employment
  5. Civic Life and Communities
  6. Sport and Culture

Specific questions to be determined. It is envisaged that sub-groups will be established and also an Advisory Group of Community Voices will be available as a resource to tap into.

Membership

The commission will appoint an independent chair, with support and facilitation provided by Stevenage Borough Council.

The membership of the commission will be:

  • 6 Representatives from BAME communities, including young people
  • Representative from SBC inclusion partnership
  • Stevenage Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Communities, Equalities and Community Safety
  • Hertfordshire County Council
  • Hertfordshire Police
  • Health
  • Education/ Training
  • Business

Frequency of Meetings

The commission will meet on a bi-monthly basis. Mixture of formal, public meetings and Community engagement events.

Reporting

The Equalities Commission will report to the Stevenage Together Board. The Equalities Commission will report its initial findings in December 2021 and a Final report will be produced in July 2022.

Secretariat

Stevenage Borough Council will provide secretariat to the group and a budget will be available to enable member’s attendance and community engagement activities.

Review of the Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference will be reviewed after 6 months.