New equality standard to be launched for local government

Socpo has backed a new equality standard for local
government to be launched next week.

The Employers Organisation for Local Government has joined
forces with the CRE, DRC, and EOC to produce one single assessment criteria for
equality in local government.

The Equality Standard will help assess leadership and
corporate commitment, consultation and community development as well as service
delivery and customer care.

It is planned that the standard, which will also help
benchmark equality in employment and training, will replace the CRE’s 1997
Racial Equality Means Standard and will be incorporated into Best Value.

Rita Sammons, a former president of Socpo and county
personnel and training officer at Hampshire County Council, believes that the
new targets will have a direct effect on recruitment and retention of staff.

“It is an excellent move extending the well established
standards of the CRE across the whole equality agenda. Many discrimination
issues have a similar origin, so similar good practice solutions can be used
across the board.

“The benefit is that they focus on employment issue and
service delivery, however it must be ensured that organisations use common
sense and do not increase bureaucracy.”

Julie Mellor, chair of the EOC, is optimistic that the new
standard will improve services.

“Taking an integrated approach to gender, race and
disability will enable local authorities to get the most out of all employees
and to plan better public services.” 

By Paul Nelson

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