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Lambeth Equality Commission Newsletter

Equality commission

Foreword by Cllr Lib Peck, Leader of Lambeth Council and Chair of Lambeth's Equality Commission

lib peck

Here is the first update since the launch of the “final report and recommendations” of Lambeth’s Equality Commission.

The report was the result of months of hard work getting under the skin of inequality in Lambeth, with the help of our expert commissioners and dozens of local people.

But we’ve always said – and, more importantly, we’ve always been told – that this whole process will be judged on what it achieves. That’s why we pledged first to set out how we would implement the recommendations, and then report on what progress has been made by the council, its partners and the community, in addressing the inequality that we exposed.

Commissioners knew that, to achieve real progress, we’d need to focus our efforts and so chose four top recommendation areas to focus on:

  • Increasing council workforce diversity at all levels
  • Raising achievement for our black Caribbean children and young people 
  • Tackling low pay and poor working conditions
  • Reducing the impact of youth violence

We also made a commitment to looking at what the council needs to do to raise the profile, and understanding of disability. The council and partners have been working hard to implement them and we are pleased to be able to share this update on our achievements so far.

But we all recognise that the issues we are trying to tackle are big ones, and that our focus on them needs to be sustained. We also know that we can’t do it alone.

The recommendations were many and varied: they cover actions that need to be taken by government, the Mayor of London, our public-sector partners and the entire community – as well as the council – if we are to tackle the scourge of inequality. That’s why at the end of this newsletter, we’re asking you to step forward and do what you can to make Lambeth a fairer place.

Workforce diversity and leadership in the council workforce

The most important element of any organisation is its people, and at Lambeth we have a workforce whose skill, dedication and diversity are key to delivering quality services for our residents.

Overall, 60% of council employees belong to a Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) group. However, only 19% of staff at senior management and leadership level are BAME. Just 7% of our staff declare a disability, a figure which shrinks to a tiny proportion at senior management and leadership level.

We want to achieve better representation for BAME groups across the organisation so over the past six months we’ve been developing an Equalities in Employment Action Plan, in collaboration with council staff.

Read more about what we’ve been doing on this since the report was published here.

Educational achievement – black Caribbean pupils

In January, the council’s Research and Statistics Unit launched its research on the Achievement of Black Caribbean pupils. This included a report that set out good practice, much of it coming from Lambeth schools with a range of key factors.

The Lambeth Schools Partnership has set up a working group to drive implementation of the recommendations from this research across Lambeth schools, with the aim of rolling out approaches that focus on early intervention, increase engagement and reduce exclusions, and diminish the attainment gaps between black Caribbean pupils and their peers.

You can read more about what we are doing to tackle under-achievement here.

Low pay and working conditions

Lambeth Council is clear about its responsibility to show leadership in tackling low pay.

The council became a London Living Wage (LLW) employer in 2012. But we have not stopped there. We have, for example, managed to encourage all 30 of the council’s adult social care providers to pay the LLW to their 2,217 employees, three-quarters of whom live in Lambeth.

We are delivering a number of different programmes aimed at “supporting transitions into work for those furthest away from the job market” – as per the recommendation in the Equality Commission report, and we are also increasing the targeted employment opportunities for disabled residents.

There is a lot more that we have done on all of these issues, as well as on a range of other employment outcomes that you can read here.

Youth violence

The Equality Commission challenged us to find new ways of tackling youth violence, and reduce the impact it has on Lambeth’s young people. We want to go even further than that, setting ourselves the aspiration that all “young people in Lambeth should be free from violence”.

The council will achieve this by developing the borough’s first "Tackling violence against young people" strategy. This will adopt a new approach to the issue by addressing the fundamental risk factors which cause violence to occur in the first place, based on the public health approach - rather than purely enforcement, diversion and intervention - as we have previously. 

It will be the first time Lambeth as a borough brings together all its work into a single place with a single vision and purpose for us to remove the risk of youth violence from our young people – both now, and for future generations.

Read the full "Tackling violence against young people" strategy here.  

Focus on disability

The Equality Commission made a range of recommendations relating to disability, including a number relating to the role the council should play in improving services and outcomes for disabled people. In acknowledgement of this, a Cabinet report on implementing the Commission’s recommendations made a specific commitment to producing an analysis of our current approach to, and performance on, a range of key disability issues. 

This work took place between November of last year, with council officers working with a task and finish group of disabled residents and representatives to develop the scope of the work, and based on its findings, to make a set of recommendations to the council. 

These are captured in the final report, which went to Cabinet on 19 March, and cover a range of areas where change is needed including: awareness and understanding; service delivery; participation and representation; equality of opportunity for disabled staff; and leadership. 


Disabled Go

Did you know that you can get accessibility information for over 300 Lambeth venues including our newly-refurbished Town Hall, Civic Centre, GPs, post offices, pharmacies and community centres, using ‘DisabledGo’?

The council contracts DisabledGo to undertake assessments of important local venues, and we’re pleased that we’ve been successful in securing additional funding through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to assess around 50 additional venues this financial year. 

The refurbished Town Hall and new Civic Centre

Town Hall glass bridge

Lambeth Town Hall has now reopened following refurbishment, with the newly-built Civic Centre due to open in April 2018. These buildings – and the services we deliver in them - need to be accessible to all, especially disabled people. With this in mind, the council has invited disabled residents and representatives from disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) to visit both buildings and feed back on the facilities and planned approach to delivering new services. The council received a lot of very helpful feedback from these visits, and is committed to responding to these. 

New funding to help people with disabilities find work

The Lambeth European Social Fund (ESF) Community Grants Programme will help Lambeth residents to find support to overcome barriers to working. Sign up now for a workshop on how to apply.

The 2014-2020 Lambeth European Social Fund (ESF) Community Grants Programme launched on 19 February 2018 at “We are 336”, in Brixton. We are now inviting Local voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations to bid for grants to help Lambeth residents with a disability or long-term health condition to find (or maintain) work. The programme is co-financed by Lambeth and the ESF. The Grants Programme will address the root causes of poverty which create barriers to work, so more people move into – or at least closer to – work.

Find out more about the programme and what kind of projects are eligible for a grant here. 

Stay involved

The Equality Commission is a long-term commitment to the people of Lambeth, and its work will continue for some time into the future. You can keep in touch with our work at our website, or by opting into our mailing list to ensure you’re contacted directly every time there’s more news.