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Published 19 May 2021

West Dunbartonshire Council has set out its ambitions to advance equality and promote diversity and inclusion in West Dunbartonshire. 

The four year Equality Outcomes & Mainstreaming Report, presented to the Corporate Services Committee today, details the Council’s commitment to eliminating discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity and fostering good relations

The key aim of the plan is to improve the lives and experiences of the people and integrate equality into the day-to-day working of the Council.   The Council has taken into account the uneven impacts of COIVD 19, that have more seriously affected already disadvantaged groups most, when identifying our priorities

The revised set of Outcomes and Mainstreaming priorities for 2021-25 include increasing employment diversity; increasing Black Minority Ethnic, disabled and young people’s empowerment in the community and reducing attainment gaps between males and female and between different ethnic groups.

Work will also be undertaken to better meet accommodation needs of the Gypsy/Traveller and to widen participation in shaping licensing policy and practice particularly among under represented groups such as women, disabled and young people.

The Council will also review its policies and practices to ensure it can  attract more diverse talent ensuring there is no barriers to entering employment for Black  Minority ethnic residents and reduce occupational segregation within predominantly male and female roles by encouraging all genders to apply for vacancies. 

The Council also aims to reduce the disability pay gap ensuring there is no barriers for employees with disabilities.

In education, the Council will ensure young women, disabled and black and minority ethnic young people are supported and leave school onto positive destinations, as well as raising attainment in both male and Black and Minority Ethnic pupils in literacy and numeracy. The Council will also work with license holders, partners and other Council services to ensure inclusive and appropriate behaviour on and around licensed premises, that venues  are safe and accessible to all and to encourage residents feedback  in shaping services among under represented groups.

The Council will establish a new community group ‘Stronger Voices’ which will have representatives from existing community  groups and forums including West Dunbartonshire Equality Forum, the Community Alliance, and Community Councils forums.  The formation of the new group will help the Council to increase participation of under represented groups.

The Council also plans to increase the range of information available about  Council services in British Sign Language videos  and through equality monitoring with residents help judge access, impact and need, planning services to assist residents.

The Council is set to establish a new community ‘Stronger Voices’  group  which will have representatives from existing community  groups and forums including West Dunbartonshire Equality Forum, the Community Alliance, and Community Councils forums, and will  help to widen participation of under represented groups.

The report highlighted that more than 140 new teachers have attended four professional development sessions on Equalities and Diversity which has helped them develop awareness on equality and human rights, challenging inequalities and ultimately improving practice.

Councillor Ian Dickson, Convener of Corporate, said: “The Council is committed to tackling inequality and this four year plan sets out how we plan on ensuring West Dunbartonshire is a fair and equal place to live, be educated and work.  We all have a duty to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and we will continue to work with our communities to ensure West Dunbartonshire is a safe place to live, where everyone is treated justly and free from discrimination. I would like to thank everyone who has helped us  achieve our commitments over the past four years and I look forward to working with our communities to advance further still in the years ahead. “

Councillor Iain McLaren, Vice Convener of Corporate, said: “I would like to thank all our partners who have helped the Council shape this plan and consider the needs of our employees, residents and businesses. This plan will help us deliver our services with the help of our key partners and community groups to ensure our residents are at the heart of everything we do.  We have made good progress over the past four years and while the pandemic did impact on us achieving more, we are nonetheless focused and committed to delivering all our priorities within the new plan."