Local Government Equality Framework (LGEF)

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2009 Local Government Service Group Conference
18 February 2009

Conference notes the Local Government Equality Framework (LGEF) replaced the Equality Standard in April 2009. It aims to enable local authorities to meet the public sector equality duties set out in the new Single Equalities Bill – which merges all the complex and single Equality Acts into one new Bill.

In October 2008 the Local Government Service Group consulted on the new LGEF proposals. The clear response from UNISON members was that the framework should encourage continued local government commitment to equalities and be fit for purpose in the context of a new era of Equalities and Human Rights.

Conference notes that there are no new equality requirements or challenges for local authorities in the draft Framework.

Conference further notes the following concerns raised in the Service Group’s member consultation:

1)Support needs to be provided to the new unitary status authorities

2)The removal of external scrutiny and the replacement for external assessment with a Peer Challenge

3)No national specified equality target for employers

4)Robust performance management through the new CAA

In response to these concerns Conference notes that the Service Group has urged all branches to seek the adoption of the Equalities Duties as a specific local improvement target through their local area agreements – or equivalents. Branches have also been asked to use new scrutiny committees to ensure local authority compliance and to use the framework (or equivalent) as an equality tool in local bargaining.

Conference calls on the Local Government Service Group Executive to maximise the benefit of the new Equalities Framework and the public sector equality duties for all local government workers by:

a)Working with self-organised groups and branch equality reps to ensure that branches have the tools to negotiate implementation of the equality duties and ongoing compliance

b)Updating the Green Book to ensure that the LGEF is detailed and replaces the references to the equality standard for Local Government

c)Producing guidance to ensure that local authorities implement the equality duties and equality legislation to ensure that equality is a requirement in procurement activities and that unions are consulted on equality plans

d)Supporting Regions and branches to work with Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships (RIEPs) to improve local government performance on equality and diversity

e)Work with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to ensure monitoring and addressing compliance issues and considerations of what action can be taken against councils who persistently fail to comply with the duties