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Tower Hamlets Equality Policy

Our commitment to equality

The Tower Hamlets Equality Policy sets out a clear commitment to ensure equality is at the heart of everything we do from the money we spend, the people we employ, to the services we provide. 

The policy applies to all aspects of the council’s functions including: 

  • Development of policy and strategy
  • Provision of services
  • Commissioning and purchasing of goods and services
  • Recruitment, employment, training and development of staff
  • Grants to voluntary and community organisations
  • Landlord functions in respect of housing and other property
  • Exercise of statutory powers and responsibilities
  • Partnerships with other organisations
  • Community involvement
  • Consultation with local people
  • Communication and publicity.

The council has a legal duty under the Equality Act 2010 to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations. Tower Hamlets is a dynamic place where a thriving economy co-exists with high levels of poverty. Through this policy we are working to make our borough a safer, cleaner and fairer place to live and improve outcomes for local people, reduce dependency on public services and enable people to live more independent and fulfilled lives.

The council is committed to creating cohesive communities that are strong, fair and inclusive. We want Tower Hamlets to be a place where people have equal access to opportunities and where inequality is actively tackled. We recognise that we can only do this by working with our partners to advance equality, promote good community relations and tackle discrimination.

We know the diversity of our community is one of our greatest strengths and assets. We value the strength that comes with difference and the positive contribution that diversity brings to our community. The council will build upon this by working with our partners to provide accessible and responsive services that enable everyone to take part in the social, cultural and economic wealth of the borough. We are committed to using our leadership role to understand and meet the needs our community.

We recognise and accept that discrimination means some people may have not had equal access to services or employment or fair chances in life. Therefore we support the view that it may be necessary to develop or create some services or opportunities to specifically meet different needs.  We know that discrimination can be institutionalised and are committed to combating any unintended institutional discrimination by developing an anti-discriminatory organisational culture, placing equality at the centre of everything we do.

How we put this policy into practice

Equality is embedded throughout the council’s plans, services and activities and is a key driver for everything we do.  Outlined below are the ways in which we will achieve this.

As a community leader we will:

  • Advance equality of opportunity by undertaking equality analysis to assess the impact of our decisions on our community
  • Foster good relations between local people through commissioning and organising events and celebrations to promote community cohesion
  • Work with partners to address borough priorities including equality issues to tackle prejudice and discrimination
  • Actively engage with the local community through communication and consultation to ensure that our services meet local needs and are fully accessible
  • Regularly review our population and its needs using information from analysis, consultation and surveys
  • Monitor and identify any issues in the access and take-up of council services through equality monitoring.
  • Promote the community and voluntary sector and work with groups, individuals and organisations to provide culturally specific services, with equalities firmly embedded in those relationships and projects
  • Expect suppliers and contractors to fully comply with our equality policy statement and ensure it is embedded in our commissioning and procurement function.
  • Encourage participation in local democracy and representation on various bodies and in our processes, from people who may normally feel free excluded from, or underrepresented in, our decision-making
  • Ensure we learn from best practice.

As a service provider we want:

  • Service users to receive fair, sensitive and equal treatment when accessing services, and are treated with dignity and respect.
  • Services to be relevant and responsive to the changing and diverse needs of our local population, and are delivered without discrimination, prejudice or bias.
  • Our services, buildings and information to be fully accessible, particularly to those groups or individuals who face disadvantage or discrimination.
  • Our services, buildings and information to promote social integration and cohesion.
  • Information about our services and policies to be accessible.
  • External contractors comply with our equality policy
  • Empower service users to be aware of their rights and entitlements when receiving services.

As an employer

The council aims to provide a safe and accessible working environment for existing and potential employees, one that is free from harassment and discrimination, where individuals’ values, beliefs, identities and cultures are respected. All council employees are responsible for complying with this policy and must follow it as part of their conditions of service.

Council staff must not discriminate against anyone, persuade another employee to discriminate, tolerate or condone discriminatory practices, harass or abuse other employees or members of the public - for any reason. In return we expect our staff to be treated with respect and we will not tolerate discriminatory or abusive behaviour towards our staff.

We will

  • Be an employer where local people choose to work and make good careers.  We want to have a workforce that best serves our community.
  • Promote our code of conduct and values to ensure we act professionally and treat everyone with dignity and respect.
  • Provide equality and diversity training for staff including as part of our induction training for all new starters.
  • Ensure staff can access confidential reporting systems available for those who may face bullying, harassment, prejudice and/or discrimination.
  • Undertake regular staff surveys to help identify equality and diversity trends or issues that may need addressing.
  • Ensure that we consider individuals’ needs and make reasonable adjustments where appropriate in order to remove barriers for disabled people and resolve issues relating to disability.
  • Implement and review our policies to support the health and well-being of our staff and promote well-being at work.
  • Take action to protect employees who are at risk of violence while carrying out their duties.
  • Ensure staff can safeguard and promote the welfare of children, young people and adults. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.
  • Facilitate and support staff networks, where there is demand for them.
  • Publish workforce information including the differences in pay between men and women (the gender pay gap) and use it to develop initiatives and inventions to address equality issues including gender pay gap.
  • Develop, review and promote policies and practices that ensure equality of opportunity and eliminate discrimination in the workforce throughout all areas of employment (including recruitment, retention, learning and development, promotion, grievance, disciplinary and retirement).