A new service has been launched to help local authorities boost their levels of diversity awareness.
The government’s Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) is to provide peer reviews to help councils meet level three of the Equality Standard.
The standard recognises the importance of fair and equal treatment in local government services and employment. It was developed to help local authorities promote age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation throughout council policies and practice at all levels.
More than 70% of local authorities are rated at levels one and two of the standard. These levels require self assessment only, but to reach higher levels councils must undergo external assessment.
Angela Mason, national adviser on equalities at the IDeA, said: “Using peer challenge for the external review needed to meet level three of the equality standard allows councils to share innovation with others in the sector.
“Rather than using external consultants, council progress is reviewed by experienced colleagues based on local government experience.’
Prior to the launch of the scheme the IDeA ran pilot programmes with several councils.