Overview We celebrate difference and work to ensure that no one is disadvantaged when accessing services, employment or public life in Essex. The Equality Act 2010 sets out our duty in this area. We provide information about how we comply with our equality duties each year and we review our equality objectives at least once every 4 years. Our community-focused equality objectives We are committing to addressing inequalities and levelling up life chances for our residents and communities. We will achieve this by: developing a Levelling Up strategy to connect those most in need to opportunities focusing on working with children, young people and partners to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable working with partners to deliver an effective response to tackling hate crime working with partners to update and deliver the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy working with partners to tackle violence against women and girls, and improve feelings of safety in public spaces developing a series of resources from the 2021 Census on the needs of our communities that will inform future policies and practices to be inclusive improving our understanding of the race disparities that exist in our services and work in partnership to address them Our equality objectives are aligned to our 4-year plan for Essex: Everyone's Essex. Our workforce-focused equality objectives We are committing to being an employer that values difference. Recruiting talented individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds. We will support and encourage our employees to be the best they can be at work, and provide them with contracts that are fair and inclusive. We will achieve this by: making selection pools for senior roles more diverse in terms of gender, disability and ethnicity developing a ‘women in leadership’ programme to increase the proportion of women in senior leadership promoting and encouraging people with disabilities to apply for roles identifying roles where women or men are under-represented and encourage applications from that group placing strategic adverts and approaching agencies who support black and minority ethnic candidates, and other under-represented groups using our Ways of Working programme to challenge how, when and where we work, opening up opportunities for more diverse talent reviewing our diversity and inclusion training and its effectiveness having inclusive recruitment training in place ensuring any talent programmes include the ability to track people's career progression creating listening forums for senior leaders to understand the workforce's experiences Equality Objectives Progress Report Our Equality Objectives Progress Report (PDF,278.74 KB) sets out the progress we have made since setting our equality objectives in May 2022. This report will be updated annually. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy Statement The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy Statement (PDF, 252.81kB) sets out our responsibilities and commitments in this area. It recognises the importance of tackling discrimination and advancing equality between different groups in the community, whilst also addressing the diverse needs of individuals. It also covers the council’s own employment policies and practices, the provision of services and public functions, and our system leadership role in tackling deprivation and inequality. Assessments Our services are assessed by the Local Government Association using the Equality Framework for Local Government. Our last inspection was in June 2019 and we were reaccredited as 'excellent'.