Council Commits to Race at Work Charter
Gloucester City Council has joined over 600 employers in signing up to the Race at Work Charter, an initiative designed to improve outcomes for black, Asian and minority ethnic employees.
The Race at Work Charter is a public commitment to improving the experiences of black, Asian and minority ethnic employees in the workplace. It sets out five actions for signatories to take:
- Appointing an Executive Sponsor for race
- Capturing data and publicising progress
- Ensuring zero tolerance of harassment and bullying
- Making equality in the workplace the responsibility of all leaders and managers
-Taking action that supports ethnic minority career progression
Launched in partnership with the government in 2018, the Race at Work Charter builds on the work of the 2017 McGregor-Smith Review, which found that people from BAME backgrounds were still underemployed, under-promoted and under-represented at senior levels.
Last year Gloucester City Council also began the setting up of a commission to gain a better understanding of experiences of racism and inequality in Gloucester.
It is aiming to identify areas where it can help to improve the lives and opportunities for those who experience racism and disadvantage because of their race.
Internally the Council’s Equality and Diversity Working Group has overseen a review of recruitment and policies with regard to diversity and committed to raising awareness of equalities events including Black History Month, Gloucestershire Pride, and Srebrenica Memorial Week.
It has also put in place focused training for staff at all levels on how to deal with personal and institutional bias.
Councillor Jennie Watkins, cabinet member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said: “One of our key priorities is addressing inequalities and as a council we have been focussing on this issue but we know there is a still a way to go. We are looking at what part we can play in changing how we and others work as organisations, so that people aren’t disadvantaged simply by their backgrounds and ethnicity.”
Councillor Jeremy Hilton, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: “This is a crucial initiative and one we are proud to be a part of. We need to celebrate Gloucester’s rich and diverse communities and make sure that opportunities are open to everyone. By having these honest conversations and not simply sweeping these things under the carpet we will be taking a huge step forward towards our goal of being fully inclusive.”
Councillor Kevin Stephens, leader of the Labour Group, said: “I am delighted to support the Race at Work Charter and its commitment to breaking down barriers in the workplace. It is something that is hugely important if we are going to address the issues that we face as a society. We need to work together to tackle these fundamental issues if we are going to achieve equality and help people make the most of their talents and reach their goals.”