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On 18 March 2021 Stroud District Council voted to approve their Draft Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy for the period 2021 – 2025 for public consultation.

The draft policy includes the following (emphasis added),

“Section 1 of the Equality Act, the Socio-economic duty, requires public bodies to adopt transparent and effective measures to address the inequalities that result from differences in occupation, education, place of residence or social class (the additional characteristics not explicitly covered by the Public Sector Equality Duty).
Although implemented in Scotland, the UK Government has not commenced the duty in England – so local authorities are not bound by it. However, the Council believes the socio-economic duty offers a useful tool for public authorities to actively consider the way in which policies and strategic decisions can address inequalities, within the wider Public Sector Equality Duty requirements. This piece of work has been included in the year one action plan.”

Approval of this policy could have a significant and positive impact for those experiencing socio-economic disadvantage within the council district. The action plan would see due regard to reducing socio-economic disadvantage placed at the heart of decision making; including both strategic decisions and council decisions.

At the meeting on 18 March 2021, the Council also voted:

  • To approve the formation of a permanent Equality Working Group with the appointment of elected Member to the group at the Council’s AGM; and
  • To require officers to report annually to Council on progress made against delivering the Equality Objectives and publish the report on the Council’s website.

Following the close of the public consultation on 1 September 2021, we look forward to the Council approving the draft policy with the inclusion of the new socio-economic duty.