Equality diversity and inclusion
Recent post from BBC
Elections are for making the voice of the people heard. In May, elections for the Senedd and Police and Crime Commissioners are being held in Wales, alongside elections at a myriad of levels in England including District, County, Mayoral plus Police and Crime Commissioners. Many of these elections should have taken place in May 2020 which roughly coincides with the time when we all began to understand that Covid 19 would be a long-term battle that would change the world leaving few untouched. It has also brought in to sharp focus the great disparities between different sections of our population.
This recent report by the BBC showed this disparity through the take up of the vaccine. In those over 65, over 90% of white people have received at least one dose, when looking at black communities this falls short to between 65% and 73%.
Now, more than ever, we felt it imperative that we review our internal processes and what we deem as best practice, which has came to light through our new equality, diversity and inclusion guide (EDI) in consultation and engagement. The document offers a practical guide to inclusive engagement for anyone looking to gather the thoughts, feelings and opinions of the public.
At Grasshopper we firmly believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to have their voice heard and to be able to have equal access to consultation and engagement processes. We feel this principle should be applied wherever and whenever possible and should be partnered with a genuine commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Our research found widespread promotion of the ideals of EDI through legislation, policy and research. Many organisations have an equality, diversity and inclusion policy and its definitely an area that is gathering momentum and attention. Examples of this include as far back as 2005 when the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (remember that?) published a document titled Diversity and Equality in Planning – A Good Practice Guide.
More recently in 2019, Charlotte Morphet from the Planning Officers Society gave a presentation to their annual conference titled, Addressing Equality, Inclusion & Diversity in Planning and the same year the Town and Planning Country Association published London, Planning For Just a City which explores how local planning authorities are embedding equality and inclusion in planning policy. It’s an interesting read. In December 2020, the Royal Town Planning Institute published a document titled The Future of Community Engagement which explores how the pandemic has changed public decision making, and what this could mean for the future with a particular focus on using digital technology in engagement.
Despite all the positive steps that have been taken by the industry, those stakeholders and community members engaging in consultations can often represent only a small section of the population and it can still be hard for minority groups to make their views known. We have created an easy-to-use equality, diversity and inclusion guide with a comprehensive checklist to support us to ensure that all engagement is as effective for one individual as it is for the next. Rather than present the theory we have sought to offer ideas of how to do this in practice and we will be checking all our engagement against this approach from now on.
What does the guide cover?
In the guide we cover:
- Understanding your engagement audience
- How protected characteristics can limit engagement
- How to alter your engagement practice to be as inclusive as possible
- The importance of feedback
At the core of our guide is the basic understanding that everyone deserves the ability to voice their opinion. Therefore, over the next few weeks leading up to the elections we’ll be releasing a series of blogs to offer our take on different aspects of the process, highlighting the importance of letting everyone have their say.