The work of the Council to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations is not limited to the published objectives. We have a long standing approach of mainstreaming equalities.
This means that officers take responsibility for implementing the Public Sector Equality Duty as part of their core day to day role. The following are examples of this approach in practice.
Faith Direct is a multi-faith event held every year for local secondary schools. It is an opportunity for young people to ask questions, in an informal setting, of representatives from the main faiths in the Borough.
The aim of the event is to challenge stereotypes and increase understanding of different faiths. On average 100 pupils attend each event with evaluation demonstrating that the learning from the event is shared back within schools, including pupils holding their own mini versions.
We deliver a number of projects focusing on improving the lives of residents living in our regeneration areas, which include Roehampton and the Winstanley & York Road Estates.
Improving the health and wellbeing of older people
Two of our current projects deliver health and wellbeing activities, including intergenerational activities for the over 60s living in Roehampton and Battersea. These include the Age Well Roehampton Project run by Hestia, and the Age Well Battersea Project delivered by the Katherine Low Settlement. The activities enable older members of the community to combat loneliness through socialisation and promote positive physical and mental health and wellbeing for this group.
Wandsworth Work Match
Our Work Match scheme was set up by the Council to help match out of work local people with new jobs in the borough. Although not specifically targeted at individuals with a protected characteristic, evaluation of these projects highlights that they have been effective at engaging BME residents and young people.
Hundreds of construction jobs, apprenticeships and other training opportunities are created in regeneration areas like Nine Elms on the South Bank and Wandsworth Town and the Work Match team work with the development companies to ensure local residents can apply before people from outside the area.
GAP Youth Club
Support for the GAP Youth Club for LGBT young people has continued and contains targets to increase participation from under-represented groups. This reflects the approach we take when developing service specifications, in that service user profiles targets are included to increase participation from under-represented groups.
Educational achievement for all pupils
To support and challenge schools to raise the attainment of vulnerable, underachieving and minority groups, the Council works with schools and partners in the voluntary sector to reduce attainment gaps between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.
Achievement for All
The Council works with a national charity, Achievement for All, in two secondary schools and seven primary schools in the borough to narrow educational attainment gaps for disadvantaged pupils and their peers. The programme will last for two academic years - 2019/2020 and 2020/2021.
Young people mentoring schemes
Pupils are identified for inclusion in secondary school mentoring projects run in a number of schools during the summer term. For example, St John Bosco has been very successful in running their mentoring summer school with up to 30 new pupils attending in summer 2019. The two-week programme included daily English and maths lessons, as well as activities focused on personal development, sports and creative activities. These pupils receive mentoring and learning support from trained older students from September 2019.
Year 5 and 6 pupils have also been selected to receive additional ‘catch up’ learning support as part of the Chandran Foundation ‘Get Smart’ clubs run in three primary schools including Allfarthing, Christ Church CE and St George’s CE. The criteria for selection was based on those not achieving to their full potential, usually because of low self-confidence. Several of the children have moderate learning difficulties and most are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Two tutors are attached to each school, visiting for one hour per week across the academic year working with a set of five pupils each.
Wandsworth Model United Nations General Assembly (MUNGA)
The 2019 Wandsworth Model United Nations General Assembly (MUNGA) was held at the Council Chambers at the end of June 2020 AND brought together twenty-four primary schools, to present article 17 from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child:
“You have the right to get information that is important to your well-being, from radio, newspaper, books, computers and other sources. Adults should make sure that the information you are getting is not harmful, and help you find and understand the information you need.”
Following a range of interactive presentations, schools were invited to compete in an inter-school debate on the motion for the day – that everyone should be a vegetarian. Facilitated by Noisy Classroom, the inter-school debate allowed pupils to exhibit not just their knowledge of vegetarianism but also to engage in a lively debate proposing and opposing the motion. The General Assembly held in the afternoon brought all schools back together to make amendments to the motion and cast their votes. In recognition of the fact that it is the 30th anniversary of the UN Rights of the Child, each school was presented with a copy of the UNICEF book ‘For Every Child’ by Mayor Councillor Jane Cooper and Deputy Mayor Councillor Sue McKinney.
The Council’s Widening Participation Programme is a very successful and established route to attracting under-represented groups into learning and developing new courses to engage them. The Council provides financial support to the fund and the lifelong learning team collaborate with up to 10-15 community partners each year to develop learning aimed at hard-to-reach and priority groups that experience diverse barriers to learning.
These groups include:
- People with disabilities and learning difficulties
- Adults suffering from mental health issues
- Adults requiring employability skills
- BAME groups
- Lone parents
- Older learners
Other learning programmes run by Wandsworth Lifelong Learning Programme include:
- A range of community informal learning (2703 adults enrolled in 2018/19)
- Apprenticeships (140 in learning during 2018/19 across 8 sectors)
- ESOL classes
- Programmes for young people who are Not in Employment, Education & Training (NEET)
- Courses to promote active ageing and wellbeing
Just under 6,000 children, young people and adults of all ages took part in all Lifelong Learning programmes in Wandsworth in 2018/19.
Accessibility for elderly and disabled taxicard users
From October 2019 people in Wandsworth who use taxicards will be able to double swipe enabling them to take longer subsidised journeys than before. Taxicards are used by people with disabilities and by older residents who suffer mobility issues. The scheme offers 104 subsidised journeys a year in licensed taxis and private hire vehicles. By amending the scheme to allow double swiping it doubles the amount of subsidy available - allowing card holders to take longer journeys at a cheaper proportional cost to them. These cheaper journeys assist disabled people and those who find it difficult to use public transport who rely on their taxicards to get out and about more often. As well as larger savings on longer journeys, the change them much greater scope and flexibility when using their cards.
On 4 July 2019, a Pride reception was held at Wandsworth Town Hall, hosted by the Mayor of Wandsworth Cllr Jane Cooper and organised in partnership with the Wandsworth LGBTQ+ Forum. The reception was only the second to be held in London, and was a chance to bring together and thank the many people from across Wandsworth's diverse community who have worked together to continue to fight for LGBT equality. It was also an opportunity to honour the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a landmark event which gave birth to the LGBTQ+ movement.
For the second year running Wandsworth marked Pride in London by flying the rainbow flag at the Town Hall, and we have pledged to continue working with the LGBTQ+ Forum and other groups to ensure equality remains at the heart of its work in the borough.
IHRA Definition of Antisemitism adopted
Wandsworth Council adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Definition of Antisemitism (‘IHRA Definition’) on 5 December 2018. The IHRA Definition has also been incorporated into our elected members’ code of conduct, including the IHRA working examples.
We have signed a pledge to do all we can to increase social mobility in the borough, and have vowed to build on work already done to improve the life chances of all our residents and staff. The pledge covers three main areas: working in partnership with schools to ensure quality careers advice and mentoring, providing access to structured work experience and apprenticeship opportunities and having open recruitment practices to promote a level playing field.
Becoming a Social Mobility Pledge accredited employer demonstrates our commitment to these goals, and Wandsworth is the first local authority to do so. Increasing social mobility is already embedded in the Council’s work through our Aspirations project, which launched in 2013. This set out to regenerate whole neighbourhoods, create more homes, help people get into work and encourage people living in Wandsworth to aspire to better, safer, healthier lives and is particularly targeted on wards in Battersea and Roehampton.
As an employer, we have also implemented a 'blind' recruitment policy, which means people are judged only on their skills and already provides training to help managers prevent unconscious bias when considering people for jobs. We have also been awarded Disability Confident Employer status by the Department for Work and Pension because of our commitment to ensuring people have the opportunities to fulfil their potential.
Equality Impact Needs Assessment (EINAs)
Equality Impact Needs Assessments (EINAs) are also routinely submitted to committee and the Executive as part of the decision-making process.
Since 2017, over 70 EINAs (previously known as Equality Impact Assessments) have been submitted in order to ensure that Members are able to take the Public Sector Equality Duty into account when making a decision.