Equality, Fairness and Respect Strategy 2015/16

Serving the residents and businesses in Surrey

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Annual progress report 2015/2016

As lead Cabinet Member for Equality, Fairness and Respect and chair of the Surrey Equality Group, I am delighted to introduce the annual progress report. The Equality, Fairness and Respect Strategy is the Council’s commitment to equality and diversity. We aim for all our services to be fair and to meet the needs of all Surrey’s communities. We also want our staff to work in a respectful and safe environment and for us to be representative of the population we serve. Despite the severe financial pressures we face, the Council continues to provide high quality services for vulnerable groups and this report shows how our services reach out to communities and adapt their provision to meet different needs.

The Equalities Act 2010 sets out nine protected characteristics. These are age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership (protect but not promote). Carers are protected by association. Through our equality and diversity work we ensure our services adapt to meet the needs of all of these groups.

The Surrey Equality Group is a forum made up of representatives from protected characteristic groups. They give feedback on the Council’s services and work with us to ensure we are reaching their members. The Surrey Equality Group has met four times over the past year. The group has considered: how mental health crisis care and mental health prevention services can reach out to all communities; how we can encourage different groups to volunteer; how services can best meet the needs of Syrian refugee arrivals and how NHS Healthchecks can be accessed by all.

The Council assesses all policy changes for impacts on protected characteristic groups. Council officers complete Equality Impact Assessments to identify where groups might be disproportionately impacted by a change. This enables Councillors to consider these when making decisions and ensures any negative impacts are mitigated where possible.

Our procurement department ensures that all our contracted services meet the same equality standards as services provided directly by the Council.

Surrey County Council provides services to help children and families to lead independent lives. The Council acts as a corporate parent for children in care, safeguards children from harm and supports all children to make a good start in life. Children are covered by the protected characteristic of age. However Children, Schools and Families targets and supports many different groups of children. Services adapt to meet the needs of the individual. Here are some examples:

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children
The Council supports unaccompanied asylum seeking children. The foster care service supports carers with language translation services and cultural awareness guidance to ensure we meet the needs of these children.

Syrian refugee resettlement programme
The Family Support Programme is focussed on the needs of the individual families. They coordinate help for families when they are experiencing a range of interwoven problems that are impacting on their family wellbeing. The Family Support Team has been supporting Syrian refugee families being resettled in Surrey. They work to ensure families become integrated into our communities.

Brighter Futures strategy for Gypsy Romany Traveller (GRT) communities
Surrey’s GRT children and young people have some of the poorest life chances when compared with Surrey’s 0-19 population generally. Multiple factors prevent GRT children and young people from benefiting from our services in the same way as their non-GRT Surrey peers.

  • Community isolation
  • Inter-generational patterns of exclusion and deprivation
  • Experiences of insensitivity and discrimination can deter families from accessing services

The Brighter Futures strategy aims to improve educational outcomes, improve GRT access to domestic abuse services, better understand needs of GRT young carers , improve health outcomes, tackle deficits in GRT accommodation, support GRT families impacted by economic exclusion and/or welfare reforms and ensure our services work effectively with GRT. Our aim is that life opportunities for Surrey’s GRT children and young people should be no different to the life opportunities of the majority of Surrey’s 0-19 population.

Special educational needs local offer
The Council is improving its local offer, bringing together all the services for children with special educational needs in one place. The service provides children with choice of control over their care. https://www.surreysendlo.co.uk

Surrey’s Family Support Programme
The programme is on target to help 3,660 families turn their lives around over the next five years. The programme was launched in response to the Government’s commitment to help families with multiple problems improve their lives and future opportunities. Such problems may include poor school attendance, unemployment, alcohol or drug misuse, caring responsibilities or involvement in crime and anti-social behaviour. By focusing support on the needs of the whole family, the programme recognises that many of the issues are interlinked and are better tackled together rather than in isolation.

Adult Social Care provides services that support older people, disabled people and their carers. Helping people live independently continues to be an important objective of the Council. Last year, our Adult Social Care services:

  • supported almost 8,500 older residents to live at home
  • supported 11,451 carers of all ages to help them have a life beyond caring
  • enabled 7,777 people to have more control of their care through personal budgets
  • helped 2,778 people regain their independence through re-ablement services.

Implementing the NHS Accessible Information Standard
The NHS Accessible Information Standard applies to all health and social care providers. Commissioners are required to support providers to be compliant. The standard says that people should have access to communications materials in a format that is accessible to them and people should only have to tell services their requirements once. The Council has been working to ensure social care systems record different requirements and highlight these to staff. Accessibility guidance is being prepared for staff. This includes a guide to providing accessible formats and organising accessible events. All Council services provide information in accessible formats on request. Adult Social Care has also created a list of accessible venues to use around Surrey – this is publically available.

More people using equipment to stay independent
More older people are able to stay in their own homes for longer, thanks to the equipment service jointly commissioned by the county council and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). The service is provided by Millbrook Healthcare, which supplies, delivers, collects, cleans and maintains the equipment – including walking aids, hoists and bath lifts. This service has been extended to Saturdays to help people leave hospital more quickly. The number of people being helped to remain at home has risen from 22,000 to more than 27,100.


Surrey Hubs
The purpose of the information Hubs is to ensure people can access information in an accessible venue in their community and support. They also offer peer to peer support which is often so valuable and a venue for people to access specialist clinics and sessions. thesurreyhubs.org.uk

The Surrey Hubs provide information about hate crime and act as a third party reporting centre. They can report an incident on behalf of a victim and provide advice and support.

The Woking Hub has supported the True Honour project which combats so called honour based violence. The Hub hosted a coffee morning inviting members of the community to come along to improve understanding of ‘Honour and ‘Shame’.

Mental health safe havens
Surrey has set up a £1.5m scheme to transform mental health crisis services. Five “safe havens” have been set up in Camberley, Epsom, Guildford, Redhill and Woking to offer 24-hour support in an emotional or mental health crisis. The safe havens are community locations that provide a welcoming space for people with mental health issues to visit. They provide an alternative place of safety to Accident and Emergency departments and detainment in police custody. Services are currently working to better engage black and minority ethnic groups with the services.

Surrey invests in tailor-made education for young people with autism
There are about 1,500 students with significant autistic needs in Surrey, a 50% increase since 2009. While many of these young people will attend mainstream secondary schools, high levels of stress and anxiety can make this difficult for some. As a result, young people may end up being placed in independent schools that can be far from their homes. The council in partnership with the National Autistic Society opened two NAS Cullum Centres last year and is opening a third in September 2016. A fourth is planned for 2017. These are highly specialist, purpose built centres, located in outstanding local secondary schools. They are expected to achieve excellent outcomes for young people and save around £1.7m a year.

PENfriend device enables visually impaired to choose their audiobooks
Visually impaired library visitors no longer have to rely on someone else to help them find the right audiobook on the library shelves. Library users in Woking, Camberley, Horsley and Farnham can now point an electronic device, called PENfriend, at the code on an audio book and hear the title and author of the book, as well as a synopsis of the story. By the end of 2016, PENfriend will be available in all Surrey libraries.

Engagement groups
The Council regularly engages with the Local Valuing People Groups (for people with Learning disabilities) and the Disability Alliance Network meetings.

LGBT History Month at Surrey History Centre
Surrey History Centre celebrated LGBT History Month in February 2016. This included a display on Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty & Love and a drop-in LGBT coffee morning with LGBT charity Outline. LGBT History Month enables the stories of the county’s LGBT community, past and present, to reach a wider audience. This stimulates interest, promotes research and encourages further records to be placed with Surrey History Centre for posterity. Each year, more stories from the past are uncovered through detailed research using the archives and local studies. This builds a bigger and better picture of LGBT community in the county.

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse but statistics show that women are disproportionately affected. Children are often severely impacted by domestic abuse in a family home. Surrey County Council community partnerships team works closely with the police and local communities to tackle domestic abuse. We want to encourage reporting and do not set a target on the number of recorded incidents but aim to maximise help and reduce reoffending.

Surrey Police recorded 14,498 incidents of domestic abuse between April 2015 and March 2016, and of these 7,545 were classed as crimes (assaults, criminal damage etc.). The remaining 6,953 were non-crime incidents (arguments etc.) It is estimated in these incidents, 75% of the victims are female and 25% are male. Surrey County Council’s outreach service received 3,837 new referrals between April 2015 and March 2016 of these, 3,442 (89.7%) were female victims; 395 (10.3%) were male.

The outreach services monitor referrals from a number of at risk groups and record breakdown for ethnicity, age, disability and sexual preference. There were 28 (0.8%) referrals from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community; 38 (1.1%) referrals from the LGBT community; 262 (6.8%) from the BME community

The Council’s domestic abuse literature is designed to be inclusive of LGBT and ethnic minority communities using pictures of people from those communities and the headline, “anyone can be a victim of Domestic Abuse”. The Surrey Against Domestic Abuse logo incorporates the LGBT rainbow element.

Nine out of ten Surrey schools good or outstanding.
The majority of pupils in Surrey state-funded schools continue to perform better across all key stages and in the majority of performance areas than most of their peers regionally and nationally. Last year the percentage of pupils achieving five or more GCSE grades at A*-C, including English and mathematics, was 64.7%, compared to 57.3% nationally. This places Surrey in the top 10% of local authorities nationally for this measure.

Over 91% of Surrey schools were rated by Ofsted as good or outstanding at the end of March 2016, compared with 85% last year. 94% of secondary schools and 90% of primary schools were rated as good or outstanding. In 2015, more than eight out of ten parents got their first preference for their child’s primary or secondary school, and 95% were offered one of their top preferences.

Children eligible for free school meals do less well at most stages in their development than their counterparts nationally

a) Attainment is 7% points lower than the equivalent group of children nationally at Key Stage 2
b) Attainment is 2% points lower at GCSE
c) The outcomes gap between children in poverty and their peers is wider in Surrey than nationally (8% points wider at GCSE)

Surrey County Council is currently working with partners including schools, police and the health sector to explore how we address this and other inequalities in outcomes through the a joint Children’s Commissioning Strategy.

The County Council’s relationship with the school system will change significantly in coming years as the Government moves to a school led system. The Council will no longer have responsibility for key functions such as school improvement. The County Council is working closely with schools to support the transition to the new system.

Opportunities for young people cut NEETs
The proportion of 16 to 19 year olds in Surrey who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) fell to 1.6% last year, the lowest ever. Surrey also has the lowest proportion of young people who are NEET of any large local authority area in England.

At the same time, the proportion of 16 and 17-year-olds participating in apprenticeships increased in December 2015 to 3.9% compared to 2.8% a year earlier, reflecting the growing number of apprenticeship opportunities offered by Surrey employers.

For example, the Council has been working with its contractors and suppliers to provide apprenticeships for young people. During last year the county council and its highways maintenance contractor, Kier, agreed to develop an Education and Skills Development Plan, including a highways apprenticeship programme, as part of the extension of their highways contract.

University Technical College (UTC) plans move ahead.
Plans for Surrey’s £13m University Technical College (UTC) have made major strides during 2015-16. The college will provide an alternative career pathway for young people. Highlights include:

  • designing a computer science and engineering curriculum
  • developing a marketing and communications strategy for when student and public engagement begins
  • and procuring a contractor for the work.

The UTC is being developed by Surrey County Council with Royal Holloway University, IT management consultancy CGI, Guildford Education Partnership (a multi-academy trust) and Guildford College. The UTC will be based in the Park Barn area of north Guildford. It is scheduled to open in September 2018.

Public Health is a service at the Council with the purpose to improve and protect the health of people living and working in Surrey. We work closely with partner organisations to understand and address the wider issues that influence people’s health locally and:

  • Provide public health information and understanding to enable decisions that are based on people’s need and what is effective.
  • Commission services that support people to make positive changes to their health that are relevant throughout their life.
  • Work with partners to protect Surrey residents from communicable diseases and environmental hazards

There is a growing number of older people:
Surrey 65+ population 2014 – 213,633
Surrey 65+ population projection 2039 – 342,151

Children in low income families (under 16) – 2013
Surrey – 9.40%
South East – 13.70%
England – 18.60%

% population from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups
Surrey – 9.60%
South East – 9.35%
England – 14.58%

Proportion of adults in the population in contact with secondary mental health services
Surrey – 3.23%
South East – 4.45%
England – 5.27%

Public Health in Surrey leads, supports and funds advertising on health campaigns throughout the year. The campaigns listed below are examples of campaigns specially designed to target at risk groups.

Sugar Smart – Change 4 life
The campaign targets children and tries to reduce their sugar consumption. Campaign materials were specially designed to appeal to children and parents.

Stay well this Winter
The campaign was aimed at over 65s and those with long term health conditions. It aimed to improve winter preparedness within these groups.

HIV testing week
Extra HIV testing clinics were made available. Campaign publicity was specially targeted at risk groups such as men who have sex with men (MSM) and Africans.

0-19 Public Health services
The health visiting and school nursing services alongside the family nurse partnership and wider early years, schools and community settings for young people, deliver the Healthy Child Programme. The services are universal and work with all families across Surrey from a community to targeted approach to delivery. They have supported vulnerable families to access services and this will include families, children and young people who are Gypsy, Roma and Traveller, Home Schooled, NEETs and Young Carers. They also support the delivery of the Young Carer’s Pathway and the Brighter Futures project.

Sexual health services
In February 2016, the Council’s Public Health service published a Sexual Health Needs Assessment (SHNA) for Surrey. The document gathered information from a comprehensive range of sources in order to build a picture of levels of need and current service provision with respect to the sexual health of the population of Surrey. The SHNA looked at need over the life course, looking more specifically at key population groups including people from Black and Minority Ethnic groups and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender and people with disabilities. The SHNA will be used to inform and guide future commissioning, with a new Integrated Sexual Health Service beginning in April 2017. The new service will be universal with targeted activity to increase access for at risk groups such as men who have sex with men, young people, sex workers and black Africans.

Substance misuse services
The services provide targeted activity to increase access for at risk groups including women suffering domestic abuse, those with co-existing mental health and substance use problems, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people and offenders and ex-offenders. A specialist service is also provided for children and young people up to the age of 21 (24 for care leavers and 25 for young people with disabilities).

Stopping smoking services
The services provide targeted activity for priority groups that are known to have a higher percentage of smokers. This includes young people (under 25), those working in routine and manual jobs and those from a Black and Minority Ethnic population. For example, staff from Quit 51 (Surrey’s local Stop Smoking Service) attended a recent planning meeting with the Gypsy Roma Travellers (GRT) health group and agreed to a number of actions to engage with the GRT community.

NHS Health checks
This is a countywide service for 40-74 year olds without a pre-existing cardiovascular condition. It checks circulatory and vascular health and is accessed through GPs, pharmacies and community providers. Priority groups include individuals with no known cardiovascular issues who are likely to experience poorer health outcomes. These include those from areas of deprivation, certain ethnic groups, those with unhealthy lifestyles, and those with a family history of cardiovascular disease. To give an example, Public Healthstaff recently attended the Surrey Heath Muslim Association EID event to promote health checks and take blood pressure readings.

Mental health
This is a targeted approach to promote access in areas/groups with known levels of higher mental health need. Groups known to be particularly at risk include: Black Minority Ethnic groups (BME); older adults; men; unemployed people; people with long term health conditions; carers; homeless people; victims of abuse; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender residents (LGBT); prisoners, veterans and their families and victims of emergencies (e.g. floods, power cuts, extreme weather).

Examples of targeted work with protected characteristic groups:

  • First Steps (mental health support) have met with the clinical lead physiotherapist for Musculosketal Physiotherapy in one area to look at supporting their team in the delivery of training around the long term condition of joint pain, which helps support people to manage their symptoms more effectively, understand more about the disease and what can be done to help in the long-term.
  • Four mental health awareness sessions were piloted by First Steps to victims of domestic abuse in outreach centres/refuges around Surrey. Overall they were considered helpful by recipients.

The Council would like its workforce to reflect the local population, with a focus on disabled people and younger people. For these groups we still have more progress to make to reflect the population.

3.2% of Surrey County Council staff declare a disability. This compares to 8.5% of Surrey’s population.

There may be some under reporting that needs to be addressed. There is a programme of activity and community engagement underway with the Surrey Coalition of Disabled People to work towards becoming a disability friendly employer of choice.

4.8% of Surrey County Council staff are under 24. This compares to 13.9% of Surrey’s population. The apprenticeship programme continues to support this target.

7.4% of staff are from black or minority ethnic backgrounds. This compares to 10.3% of Surrey’s working age population.

Almost 3 out of 4 Surrey County Council employees are women and over half of all staff work part time. The Council has very positive attraction and retention of women employees, with family friendly policies, benefits and good training and development.

There is still further work to do in collecting accurate and complete LGBT and Religion and Belief data.

Attraction and Recruitment
Significant changes have been made to ensure accessible and fair recruitment and selection practice. There is a system of automatic interview for disabled applicants who meet essential criteria for a role.

Workforce training and policies
There is a full suite of specialised equality and inclusion training, delivered by specialist trainers including obligatory one day wellbeing and inclusion training. There is a comprehensive set of policies, procedures, best practice and approaches to addressing equality impacts that enable the organisation to meet its duties under the Equality Act. We have improved our access and inclusion in learning and development and Access To Work guidance and support. Our internal staff networks offer direct support, complemented by our new occupational health and employee assistance programme providers, who offer additional services, including Dyslexia assessments.

Focus on Mental Wellbeing
The Council held a Time to Change event for staff to get people talking about mental health in a safe and supportive environment. The event included a market place and talks from senior managers. There has been a lot of focus on improving and maintaining good mental wellbeing in the workplace, including improved appraisal and supervision practice, individual and team wellbeing assessments and a wellbeing and resilience learning suite. The Council recently won a “Highly Commended” national award for Wellbeing in the Workplace at the annual Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion awards 2016.