Harlow Council is committed to the principles of equality of opportunity, fairness and quality for all, both in the services that it provides to the community and in its role as an employer. We believe this can be better achieved by a workforce that values and reflects diversity.
Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act 2010 replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act. It simplified the law, by making the existing equality laws simpler, more effective and easier to understand. The Act introduced a Public Sector Equality Duty, which applies to public bodies and others carrying public functions, for example local councils, police, hospitals, schools and fire service.
It requires that a 'due regard' is given to the need to:
- eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010;
- advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not share it; and
- foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
The general duty is supported by specific duties that require:
- an annual publication of relevant information that demonstrates compliance with the Equality Duty
- setting specific and measurable equality objectives every four years
Protected characteristics are the grounds upon which discrimination is unlawful. The characteristics are:
- gender reassignment
- pregnancy and maternity
- race-this includes ethnic or national origins, colour or nationality
- religion or belief- this includes lack of belief
- sexual orientation
- marriage and civil partnership (but only for the requirement to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination)
Equality Framework for Local Government
The Council is part of the Equality Framework for Local Government (EFLG). The EFLG comprises five performance areas:
- Knowing your communities
- Leadership, partnership and organisational commitment
- Community engagement and satisfaction
- Responsive services and customer care
- A skilled and committed workforce.
More information of the EFLG is available from the Local Government Association
Two Ticks Scheme
The Council is an accredited member of the Two Ticks Scheme, which was awarded to the Council by Jobcentre Plus in recognition of the commitment regarding employment, retention, training and career development of employees with disabilities. Applicants with a disability who demonstrate that they meet the essential criteria of a job will be guaranteed an interview.
Religious holidays and festivals
As an increasingly diverse community, it is important that we are all aware of festivals and events of significance to members of our community and are able to either participate or respect others' observance.
- BBC website - Religion offers detailed explanations about main religions and religious celebrations