Agenda item

Pre-Decision Scrutiny of the New Strategic Equality Plan 2020 (Strategic Equality Plan to follow).


The Council is required to present their Strategic Equality Objectives within a Strategic Equality Plan (SEP). This plan is the Council’s third such SEP and replaces the version 2016 – 2020 on the 1st April 2020. The plan was brought to the committee for pre-decision scrutiny prior to adoption.  The officer briefly presented the plan, given that the context had been discussed during the previous item when the committee scrutinised the performance of the previous year in delivering on the council’s legislative responsibilities.  The chair invited questions.


·       In terms of the Well-being of Future Generations assessments having be undertaken on all decisions, I could only find one out of thirteen for the budget decisions.  Similarly, in terms of the Cumulative Impact Assessments you refer to, I haven’t seen these and I would be interested to know how they were they calculated and what policies were included in the drafting of them.

The WFG assessments should be undertaken for all decisions and to my knowledge, I thought they had been. I have seen the Cumulative Impact Assessments so I can locate those and send them to you.


·       There is no mention of homelessness in this report, which seems like an omission to me, because whilst I cannot provide evidence, I have been made aware of instances of homeless people from Monmouthshire presenting as homeless in Newport because there are more services there.  

I will need to check with our Housing Manager on this as we tend to only include issues where evidence suggests there is an issue, but I will certainly follow this up after the committee and before finalising my report.


·       I cannot see any mention of the Income Equality Grant in this report and yet there was cross party agreement for this last year, so it feels like not enough progress is being made and I’m not sure if that is a lack of political will.

I will also check on this.


·       The gender pay gap is mentioned, but I’m not sure it is adequately captured through the objective in the report and I’m unsure as to whether it accurately reflects the disparity in the county and the real situation.

This is something I can take back and discuss with colleagues in finalising the report.


·       The language used feels overly strategic and as a result, it just feels very ‘tick boxy’, and yet under closer scrutiny, it lacks the detail I would expect.

That is helpful and is something I can address for future documents.


·       The definition of poverty is a real issue in my view, because I want to understand the benchmark by which assessments can be made and particularly when there is no agreed definition of poverty? I am unsure how we can say we have embedded something that we cannot even define?

I recognise what you are saying here and the ability to define poverty is something we have struggled with and perhaps I need to review the statement regarding ‘embedding’.


·       I feel there should be more analysis on improvement and I would have liked to have seen a section on what worked well in the last plan, what didn’t and so forth. I feel this plan needs to be bolder, if we are serious about tacking poverty on a cross-party basis. 

This is something I can take back and think about for the next plan and I will pass your views to the cabinet member ahead of finalising the plan.


Chair’s Conclusion:


I feel we have given this sufficient scrutiny and have raised issues for consideration prior to the final draft of the plan being taken to council. We will ensure that the comments and views of members will be reflected to the cabinet member and relevant officers after the meeting to enable them to refine the report prior to consideration by Council.  


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