Local Area Agreement and the Race Equality Duty

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2008 Local Government Service Group Conference
22 February 2008

Conference notes the significance attached to Local Area Agreements (LAAs), new ‘partnership’ structures, and the significant role that they are playing in the delivery of public services by bringing together public, private, private and voluntary sectors. Conference believes that this has an impact on Local Government UNISON members working in these sectors. Conference is concerned that equality issues are not included in the comprehensive area assessment and believes that we need to ensure that the impact of the equality duties placed on local authorities in relation to the recruitment of staff, staff development, and their terms and conditions are not undermined by these arrangements and that the duties placed on the local authority become de facto duties of any new local area agreements or ‘partnership’ structures.

Conference notes that Black people continue to be discriminated against both in the workplace and as service users and believes that particular emphasis needs to be placed on the Race Equality Duty and how this can be utilised to protect and recruit Black workers.

Conference notes that a requirement of the Race Equality Duty is to promote racial equality and good race relations and believes that this should extend to all partners that a local authority is engaging in through local area agreements.

Conference believes that equality impact assessments can highlight discrepancies in service provision in relation to having a diverse work force that reflects the communities served and covered by LAAs. Consideration therefore needs to be given to LAAs and how they affect recruitment within their locality. The targeting of under represented groups ensures that Black people are being recruited and would not be under represented in the work force.

In addition, LAAs and their impact on Black people within the community both as service providers and as service users should be included within their targets.

Conference therefore calls on the Local Government Service Group Executive to seek measures to:

1)Extend the equality duties placed on local authorities to any other organisation engaged in public service provision through partnership working and through local area agreements;

2)Enable local authorities to include within procurement documentation matters that reflect their equalities duty (including race monitoring) and specifically a requirement that such matters may be material factors in procurement decisions;

3)Encourage branches to seek representation for a trade union seat or at least observer status on their local strategic partnership executive board;

4)Provides guidance to branches.