Everyone's Essex: our plan for levelling up the county 2021 to 2025

Equalities and levelling up

Essex has a proud track record of addressing inequality across the county, but we know that there is always more to be done.

Consistent with the Government’s focus on levelling up, we are making addressing inequalities and achieving levelling up a key pillar of our new plan. There are financial and economic reasons why we should care about levelling up, but there is also a very strong moral argument that a person’s potential should not be defined at birth by who their parents are or where they live. We believe that individuals should define their own destiny, and we think the council should play
a role in helping people do that.

Embedded in our plan and reflected in our twenty commitments, is a renewed commitment to addressing inequalities and levelling up life chances for our residents. And there are some defining features that will underpin our approach.

These are:

  • it is levelling up - we are not interested in making everyone equal if that is achieved at the expense of making some people or places worse off
  • it is both place and cohort focussed - this recognises that inequalities affect both people and places, and we need to address both
  • it is long term - we don’t believe that there are quick fixes here and we believe the council and its partners will have to demonstrate its commitment over the long term
  • it is a shared endeavour - as expressed in Everyone's Essex the actions to address levelling up will need to take place right across the council and the wider system
  • it is cross-cutting - levelling up will not be achieved issue by issue, but by joining up our work at a place and / or people level
  • it is structural - we want to address root causes, not symptoms
  • it embraces our statutory equalities responsibilities - which remain the legal bedrock in tackling inequalities
  • it builds sustainable change - supporting aspiration, enterprise and opportunity among individuals, families and communities, rather than creating dependency
  • it requires a diversity of approach - blending service delivery, strategic place shaping, local capacity building, devolution and using our convening power
  • it does not have a ceiling - nobody should be held back from opportunities to succeed in life

Levelling up has a strong economic component. You cannot level up society without levelling up the economy – by giving people the opportunity to access good jobs and a decent income. But levelling up is not only about the economy. It demands that we address all the issues that shape a person’s life chances. That is why levelling up is embedded in our plan across all our new strategic priorities and why it will be taken forward by the council in all its work.

Addressing inequalities and tackling levelling up are certainly not new agendas for the county council. To some extent they are at the core of our work, but we are determined through this plan and this approach to create a new dynamism and ambition in the council’s work in this area.

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