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Our approach to equality

Considering equality throughout different areas of our work is an important part of making sure people in Sunderland fulfil their potential. We describe the way we do this in our Equality Scheme.

Where can I find out about Equality Law and what the council are doing to meet their statutory duties?

Our Equality Scheme makes it clear what we are doing to meet the needs of the Equality Act 2010 and Public Sector Equality Duty. The Scheme provides information on the arrangements we have in place to ensure consideration of the nine protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation and marriage and/or civil partnership (and more factors that are not protected by law), underpins all that we do in order to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations. More information on the legal context can be found in Appendix 1 of the Equality Scheme. You can find out more about the law from the Government or you can get information the law and your rights from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

What is the council's Equality Objective?

Our equality objective and outputs are published in Appendix 2 of our Equality Scheme. For 2017-21 our focus is to "Maximise the collection and use of quality data and intelligence to support effective policy and practice".

What arrangements are in place for delivering on equality?

Our Equality Scheme explains who is responsible for equality, which groups promote equality and the mechanisms we have in place to promote equality (section 2).

Where do the council publish information on service users?

We publish information about  that helps inform our general understanding of equalities. This supports services who give further specific consideration of equalities intelligence relevant to their service area, for example through needs assessments. This intelligence approach underpins planning, service review, partnership working, needs assessment, commissioning and the way we understand the impact of all that we do.

What areas of work consider equality?

It is important that equality is considered in all of our work from our initial contact with customers to strategic plans and everything in between. Section 3 of our Equality Scheme describes how equality is considered in customer service, strategic planning, use of intelligence, partnership working, financial planning and how we use Equality Analysis to understand needs and impacts. Equality Analysis is a structured way of assessing what impact (positive or negative) our activity might have on equality. This is important when we are shaping, facilitating and commissioning services. Equality Analyses are required as part of the decision-making process and are therefore published with Cabinet papers on the council's Committee Management System.

How do the council ensure equality through employment?

We set out how we consider equality through employment in section 4 of our Equality Scheme. This includes recruitment and selection, pay and benefits, managing employees, workforce monitoring and a range of employee policies and procedures that recognise the importance of supporting individual needs. It also covers employee development dismissal/redundancy and how we have a number of Equality Allies that include our networks of champions, Supporting Equality Network members, and Equality Advisors. We advertise our vacancies on North East Jobs - Equality and Diversity where we also state our commitment to equality. We are also Stonewall Diversity Champions.

How do the council measure equality progress?

Progress in relation to the objective is published annually. An update on the Equality Scheme - November 2019 is now available. We also publish an Annual Corporate Workforce Equality and Diversity Report that considers equality issues in employment.

How does the council work with others in relation to equality?

Section 6 of our Equality Scheme gives case studies of how the council works with a number of key partnerships in the city to positively influence issues relating to equality. This includes the Safer Sunderland Partnership, the Health and Wellbeing Board, the Economic Leadership Board and the Education Leadership Board.

Can I have my say on what the council does in relation to equality?

The consultation on the draft Equality Scheme 2017-21 has now closed. However, there may be future opportunities to give your views on various pieces of work the council does. We put all of our consultations on our online system. If you register your interest we will email you when something new is published. The council also work in partnership with a number of equality forums, supported by Sunderland Partnership. Visit their pages to find out more about how you can be involved.

What do I do if I'm concerned about a hate crime or incident?

If you're concerned about an incident or crime that you think is related to your age, skin colour, gender identity, national origin, ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation or disability visit our anti-social behaviour pages.

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