Improving decision-making and transparency: Hampshire County Council
The National Concessionary Fares Scheme in England provides free public transport after 9.30am on a weekday and all day at weekends and bank holidays to people over the age of 60, as well to disabled people who are eligible. The scheme was managed by district, borough and city councils, but in April 2011, the responsibility for the scheme was passed to county councils. Many district councils had enhanced the scheme by providing discretionary concessions or by allowing bus travel at other times, using their own funds. In Hampshire, some of these provisions had been in place for a long time, including some which were introduced before the National Scheme was set up. There was therefore an issue for the County Council about whether they should maintain the arrangements set up by district councils, or just implement the National Scheme.
In order to make a more informed decision, Hampshire County Council assessed the impact on equality of providing only the National Scheme. They also consulted service users and others about a range of options for providing an enhanced version of the Scheme. They found that removing the enhancements was likely to be detrimental to disabled people as well as older people. They considered how they could minimise negative impacts and weighed the estimated cost of each option.
Using the information about the impact on equality, the Council decided to provide people with the National Scheme, plus selected enhancements in order to meet the needs of older and disabled people. The Council has published relevant documents supporting its decision as well as the costs of the scheme for 2013 to 2014.
Find out more about equality at Hampshire County Council on their website.
Improving public trust and confidence: Thames Valley Police
In 2010, our report showed that police use of stop and search powers that require reasonable suspicion resulted in black people being up to 6 times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people. This was seen to negatively affect community relations. The report showed that rates of disproportionality varied significantly between some forces. The Commission concluded that where no justification could be provided, the practice might be unlawful and discriminatory.
In response to the findings and contact with us, Thames Valley Police implemented an 18 month programme which included a revised policy, training for all officers and detailed statistical monitoring of stop and search patterns. The work was scrutinised by a senior management group and a community reference group.
The actions led to a reduction in the disproportionate use of stop and search. Overall the police found that they needed to use their stop and search powers less and this had no negative impact on crime levels, which continued to decline. Where stop and search requiring reasonable suspicion was used, it was more based on intelligence and better targeted. This helped police officers to explain why and where they were using stop and search. Police managers were also able to identify and challenge any officers who were, without justification, disproportionately using the powers.
Find out more about our stop and search work.
From March 2011 to August 2012 Thames Valley Police’s black: white disproportionality fell from 3.5 to 3.2, and its Asian: white figure from 2.5 to 1.9. The overall number of stops and searches recorded in the same period fell from 5,916 in the first quarter to 4,758 in the sixth quarter.
Mainstreaming equality in an organisation's culture: Newcastle City Council
Newcastle City Council has since 1995 engaged with disabled people to develop strategies to promote equality. One of the issues raised was a lack of public play equipment for disabled children, along with a lack of information about the location and types of play areas. Play equipment for children with complex disabilities or sensory impairments for example had traditionally been located only on specialist school sites.
The Council discussed with disabled children, parents and carers what new equipment they should install, and where it would be best located. They assessed the existing play areas according to their condition, play value and accessibility. ‘Playability scores' for play equipment and spaces were developed, in consultation with children. Sites were identified for redevelopment using these scores as well as other information such as the number of children living nearby and local poverty levels. Parks near hospitals were considered a priority as many families with both disabled and non-disabled children used them. The Council then consulted children and families to develop designs for the play areas. A number of ways to promote the new facilities were identified, including putting information on DisabledGo’s website.
The feedback from disabled children and their carers enabled the Council to focus on the needs of users and provide and promote more accessible play areas. Previously, they had viewed equipment suitable for disabled children as being specialist and separate, but engagement made them re-think the type of equipment when parks were redeveloped. As a result, the new equipment can be used by both disabled and non-disabled children, providing more choice for parents of disabled children. An additional advantage is that this has increased interaction between disabled and non disabled children which can help break down barriers and change perceptions of disability.
Source: Newcastle City Council officers, Equality Diversity Forum, 2013. ‘Submission to the Government’s Equality Duty Review'
Last updated: 19 Feb 2019