Equality Strategy

Introduction to our Equality Strategy

This is the Equality Strategy for the Lake District National Park Authority 2019 - 2023. It sets out how the Authority intends to meet its requirements under the Equality Act 2010 and associated Public Sector Equality Duty, and replaces our previous document, the Joint Equality Scheme.
We take our responsibilities under the Act very seriously, but more than that, we feel it is only right to treat everyone with dignity and respect, to act in an inclusive and welcoming manner, and to offer equality of opportunity to all people.

Our Equality Vision

The Authority exceeds the requirements of with the Equality Act 2010 and the associated Public Sector Equality Duty.

Through strong leadership and a commitment to promote equality and diversity throughout the organisation, our equality vision is to:

  • Live our values in the way we plan and manage our services;
  • Champion equality, diversity and inclusion throughout the Lake District National Park Partnership and through our own internal strategies, policies and procedures;
  • Fully understand the equality, diversity and inclusion implications when taking decisions on the delivery of our strategy and business plan;
    Create opportunities to challenge and further improve our products and services to ensure we lead by example in the delivery of the Equality Act 2010 and the associated Public Sector Equality Duty;
  • Be an employer of choice in the way we recruit, develop and manage our employees, members and volunteers;
  • Listen to all our stakeholders in planning and managing the Park;
  • Treat all employees, members, volunteers and service users with understanding: recognising, respecting and valuing differences.

Where are we now?

The Authority is subject to equalities legislation, and a number of other influencing factors:
Legislative Context

The Equality Act 2010 sets out the Public Sector Equality Duty which all public bodies must comply with. Under the general duty, the Authority must therefore have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act.
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

There are also specific duties, which require the Authority to publish equality objectives and equality information.

National Context

In October 2015 the Equality and Human Rights Commission published its statutory five year report on equality and human rights progress in England, Scotland and Wales. The report concludes that there has been progress in many areas, but highlights 8 key challenges that public bodies need to address:

  • Improve the evidence and the ability to assess how fair society is;
  • Raise standards and close attainment gaps in education;
  • Encourage fair recruitment, development and reward in employment;
  • Support improved living conditions in cohesive communities;
  • Encourage demographic participation and ensure access to justice;
  • Improve access to mental health services and support for those experiencing (or at risk of experiencing) poor mental health;
  • Prevent abuse, neglect and ill-treatment in care and detention;
  • Tackle targeted harassment and abuse of people who share particular protected characteristics.

Local Context

The purpose of the Lake District National Park Authority is to inspire a sense of freedom and wellbeing for the nation so people and this spectacular landscape flourish.

The Authority works in partnership with a range of other organisations to achieve the long term Vision for the National Park. The Vision agreed by the Lake District National Park Partnership following public consultation in 2006 is:

“The Lake District National Park will be an inspirational example of sustainable development in action.
A place where its prosperous economy, world class visitor experiences and vibrant communities come together to sustain the spectacular landscape, its wildlife and cultural heritage. Local people, visitors and the many organisations working in the National Park or have a contribution to make to it, must be united in achieving this”

To achieve our Vision the following key outcomes have been identified for the 2021 - 2024 Business Plan.

Our priorities for action are:

We make change happen

We make achieving more possible by working with others to deliver the Vision. We do this by combining the resources of the Lake District National Park Partnership. The Lake District is an evolving masterpiece and it is our duty to make sure we develop the right strategies and policies to guide inspirational developments while protecting the special qualities of this spectacular landscape.

We deliver sustainable development in practical and visible ways

We want to be leaders in showing the world our stewardship of this spectacular place. We demonstrate sustainable development in action for the Lake District, through our practical delivery and managed development on the ground.

We support our communities

We want to create vibrant and prosperous communities. We do this by making sure people have their say in deciding priorities for improvements in their community through our Distinctive Area teams, and through the work of special interest groups such as the Business Task Force. We engage with visitors to the Lake District to help them understand and enjoy this special place.

Being the best we can

We are driven by a clear sense of purpose to deliver the Vision and live our values. People recognise our passion for this special place through our ability to innovate, meet our customer’s needs and create new ways of bringing in money to invest in the park and our people. We do this by developing our people, simplifying our systems and exploring new ways of working to make us more effective.

The key objectives within the Business Plan for 2019 - 2022 which highlight our commitment to the Public Sector Equality Duty include:

  • Improve sustainable transport, access and recreation opportunities;
  • Improve accessibility of information or visitors;
  • Engage and involve communities in decision making and delivery;
  • Develop our culture by making sure people have the right skills, information and understanding to do their jobs well and safely.


Our Values

Our values support the delivery of the Vision and our purpose; they are our identity. Our values specify how we will accomplish our goals and guide how we make decisions.

Our values underpin the delivery of the Equality Strategy. It is important to the Authority that we have a workforce that feels nurtured, where we build good relationships, partnerships and networks and everyone is treated fairly. We seek to respect the needs and opinions of others, to deliver the best experience, service and environment that we can for our many different stakeholders and to sustain the Lake District National Park.

Our values are:

  • Empowered
  • Forward thinking
  • Leaders
  • Nurturing
  • Proud
  • Team player

What is working well?

Equality Information

Where relevant the Authority publishes equality information annually on the Authority website. This information demonstrates how we comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty.

We publish two annual reports which show the following:-

  1. Employment Equality Report, which includes information disaggregated by protected groups on:
    1. Composition of the workforce
    2. Reasons for leaving
  2. Gender Pay Gap Report, which includes pay gap information.

Equality Analysis

Although Equality Impact Assessments are no longer compulsory in law, the Authority is committed to ensuring that equality and diversity issues are considered in relation to policy making, service provision, operational and strategic decision making.

The reasons for doing this are:-

  • To consider if there are any unintended consequences for some groups,
  • To consider if the policy or procedure will be fully effectives for all target groups.

Where equality issues become relevant, we follow the rules outlined in the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014, to detail:

  • The decision taken and the date the decision was taken;
  • The reason(s) for the decision;
  • Any alternative options considered and rejected; and
  • Any other background documents

Operational and Strategic Decisions

Our sound decision making processes are the key to the successful operation of the Authority, forming a valuable tool to support the delivery of our Vision for the National Park.

This commitment to equalities and diversity, supports our equality vision, to live our values in the way we plan and manage our services; champion equality and diversity throughout our business policies and objectives and be an employer of choice in the way we recruit, develop and manage our employees, members and volunteers.

Working, Learning and Development

The Authority is committed to being an employer of choice for people from all communities. We take a zero tolerance stance towards discrimination or harassment of any kind, and strive to offer equality of opportunity in recruitment, employment and learning and development to ensure that all employees, members and volunteers are able to flourish and give their best.

We recognise and value the differences, skills, abilities and experiences that people bring to the workplace. We are committed to having a workforce being free of harassment, bullying and discrimination, where people are treated with dignity and respect.

We are committed to have a workforce which is reflective of the local population.

We provide employees, members and volunteers with the training and development they need to enable us to achieve our equality objectives. We have required all employees and members to complete mandatory equality and diversity training.

We ensure equal pay is always implemented. We aim to achieve and maintain high levels of employee engagement across all staff groups.

We have developed innovative working practices, to support employees to work flexibly and effectively, for example through work life balance initiatives and family friendly policies.

We have supported our employees to improve their emotional and physical health and wellbeing.

When members are appointed to the Authority, we seek to understand if reasonable adjustments are needed to fulfil their role with the Authority.

Our Equality objectives

The Authority will comply with the Equality Act and will work towards the delivery of our equality vision by:

  1. Operating within the Equality Policy
  2. Publishing and then delivering against the Authority’s Equality Objectives
  3. Putting people at the centre of our decision making and operations

To support the delivery of our ‘equality vision’ we have developed the following strategic equality objectives. Each is supported by a number of measures, and our progress against these will be monitored and reported upon annually:-

  1. We will take action to tackle and reduce unwanted behaviour.
    1. We will take action to improve the following indicators, which are in our questions in the employee survey:
      1. I can have challenging conversations in a constructive way (in the most recent staff survey, 82% of staff agreed that they can have challenging conversations in a constructive way)
      2. I am able to raise and resolve issues at work (in the most recent staff survey, 86% of staff agreed that they are able to raise and resolve issues at work)
      3. How much do you agree that you are treated with dignity and respect at LDNPA (in the most recent staff survey, 86% of staff agreed that they are treated with dignity and respect at LDNPA)
      4. The values of the LDNPA guide the way we make decisions (in the most recent staff survey, 60% of staff agreed that the values of the LDNPA guide the way we make decisions)
      5. The organisation as a whole is good at partnership working (in the most recent staff survey, 69% of staff agreed that the organisation as a whole is good at partnership working).
  2. We will reduce the proportion of unknown equality data we hold.
    1. We will reduce the proportion of unknown data held on employees by equality characteristic which was reported in the annual Employment Equality Report 2018. (As at 31 May 2018, 47% of employees prefer not to say regarding their gender, 51% of employees prefer not to say regarding their disability, 42% of employees prefer not to say regarding their ethnicity, 52% of employees prefer not to say regarding their religion and beliefs and 51% of employees prefer not to say regarding their sexual orientation).
  3. We will improve access to mental health services and support for those staff experiencing (or at risk of experiencing) poor mental health, supporting the Authority in the delivery of the Health and Wellbeing agenda.
    1. We will measure impact of mental health awareness training and planned Autumn 2019 campaign and also monitor Occupational Health referrals.
  4. We will ensure accessibility of the Park and our services for all sectors of society
    1. Accessibility to the Park is reflected in our planning and development policy.
    2. We will partner with external groups who advocate for under-represented groups on relevant policy and project development.
    3. We will work with these groups to understand and break down the barriers that prevent people accessing the park.
    4. We will proactively build links to understand how we can involve hard to reach groups in our work, for example through our Growing Engagement group.
  5. We will seek to have a volunteering service which is reflective of the local population.
  6. We will raise awareness that National Parks are available for everyone to access, championing equality of opportunity to all people.

Implementation and Governance

The following arrangements are in place to effectively manage and monitor equality and promote diversity across the Authority.

The Executive Board has approved the strategy and will review the annual monitoring information and any subsequent actions.

Every decision taken by our Members at Authority or Committees takes account of the equality and diversity considerations of the decision.

We will work with our Trade Union and / or Staff Representatives, colleagues and with partners from external groups and networks on:

  • policy development work of relevance to equality and diversity issues,
  • project developments, ensuring equality and diversity matters are considered in project development,
  • monitoring progress and constructive challenge around equality, diversity and inclusion across the Authority,
  • sharing of best practice,
  • promoting equality and diversity issues internally.

Equality Policy

Introduction

The Lake District National Park Authority is committed to eliminating discrimination, victimisation and harassment; advancing fairness and equality of opportunity and fostering good relations between different people and groups. This applies both to the Authority’s role as an employer, and to the provision of services by the Authority.
The Authority’s Vision for the Lake District National Park is that:

“The Lake District National Park will be an inspirational example of sustainable development in action.
A place where its prosperous economy, world class visitor experiences and vibrant communities come together to sustain the spectacular landscape, its wildlife and cultural heritage.
Local people, visitors and the many organisations working in the National Park or have a contribution to make to it, must be united in achieving this”

This commitment extends to all people, including in particular those with the protected characteristics recognised by legislation, which relate to age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage / civil partnership; pregnancy / maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; or sexual orientation.

The Authority will treat all employees, members, volunteers and service users with understanding, recognising, respecting and valuing differences.

The Equality Policy is important in helping to deliver the values of the Authority, which include:
Empowered – we think creatively, encouraging innovation, adapting to change and being willing to take risks.

  • Forward thinking – we plan for the future, recognising that our future sustainability is in our own hands.
  • Leaders – we lead the way, delivering the vision and inspiring people and the landscape to flourish.
  • Nurturing – we nurture the Lake District, our teams and where we work, respectfully managing the Lake District National Park on behalf of those who live, work or visit here.
  • Proud – we are proud of the Lake District and what we do at the Lake District National Park Authority, which drives us to be our best.

Team player – we cooperate and work together, creating a sense of belonging where trust thrives.

Scope

This policy applies to all individuals associated with the Lake District National Park Authority and covers members of the Authority as well as all individuals working at all levels and grades, including senior managers, officers, directors, employees, consultants, contractors, trainees, part time, fixed term employees, volunteers, casual workers and agency staff (collectively referred to as “staff” in this policy).

Key Principles

The Authority will endeavour to ensure that all its staff work in an environment which is free of harassment and bullying and in which everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

All staff and service users are provided with equality of opportunity through a fair and consistent approach to the application of rules, policies and procedures. Equality is concerned with managing and embracing differences and so it is recognised that sometimes this will mean treating people differently. This commitment is relevant to all we do, how we manage ourselves and how we deliver our services.

The Authority will endeavour to treat all staff and service users with understanding, recognising, respecting and valuing differences.

The Authority opposes all forms of unlawful discrimination because of a protected characteristic, or on the grounds of working patterns or trade union membership.

The Authority will not tolerate harassment or bullying on these or any other grounds.

All staff will be treated fairly and with respect. Selection for employment, promotion, training or any other benefit will be on the basis of aptitude and ability. All staff will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential and the relevant talents and resources of the workforce will be fully utilised to maximise the effectiveness of the organisation.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Roles and Responsibilities

Members have a community leadership role and should:

  • Provide leadership and support
  • Ensure the Authority pays due regard to the aims of the Public Sector Equality Duty
  • Engage with the local community and promote equality and diversity to enable us to be an inclusive National Park
  • Undertake some form of learning or training to increase their knowledge and understanding on Equality and Diversity.

Executive Board, is the Authority’s most senior management group and provides leadership and direction. The Chief Executive and Directors who sit on the Executive Board have responsibilities to pay due regard to equality considerations in all their decision making, to demonstrate the Authority’s commitment to equalities, and to set a good example for all employees, members and volunteers.

Managers must:

  • Ensure that employees, volunteers, partners, stakeholders and visitors are treated fairly and with respect;
  • Be open and inclusive in the way that they manage employees and volunteers;
  • Challenge discrimination, harassment or any other assumptions of behaviour which go against the principles of equality, fairness and respect for all;
  • Undertake some form of learning or training to increase their knowledge and understanding of equality and diversity, and ensure that any employee or volunteer for whom they are responsible do so as well.

Employees and volunteers must:

  • Ensure that other employees, members, volunteers, visitors, partners, stakeholders and visitors are treated fairly and with respect;
  • Contribute to developing an environment where everyone feels valued and respected and is treated fairly;
  • Undertake some form of learning or training to increase their knowledge and understanding, and apply the principles of equality and diversity in everyday work and life;
  • Familiarise themselves with, and follow the Equality Strategy and Policy and any associated policies / guidance;
    Inform their line manager or the Equalities Officer of any apparent discrimination, harassment or equality concern in relation to employment or the provision of services.

Legislative Background

The Equality Act 2010 replaces with a single act, the previous anti-discrimination laws including, but not limited to, the Equal Pay Act 1970 and the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. It simplifies the law, removing inconsistencies, making it easier for people to understand and comply with the legislation. It also strengthens the law, to help tackle discrimination and inequality.

Protected Characteristics

The Equality Act sets out nine characteristic groups who are protected from discrimination or harassment by law. It is therefore illegal to discriminate against people because of the protected characteristics below:

Examples where Equality needs to be considered in the workplace

Staff need to think about equality in all circumstances, some of which are day to day issues, and some occasional line management issues. Typically these can include:

  • Day to day management of the team
    • Deciding employee pay and benefits
    • Providing training opportunities
    • Setting a dress code
    • Giving everyone fair access to the facilities at work
    • Using positive action
  • People starting and leaving
    • Recruiting new people; including advertising vacancies, conducting interviews and selecting the right person for the job and feeding back to unsuccessful candidates
    • Promoting and developing people
    • Managing dismissals, redundancy and retirement
  • Other areas of employment
    • Maternity, paternity and parental leave
    • Determining requests from employees to work flexibly
    • Making decisions on time off, e.g. annual leave and sick leave.

The Public Sector Equality Duty

The Public Sector Equality Duty places an obligation on public sector organisations, in exercising their function, to have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act;
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not;
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

These are often referred to collectively as the ‘general equality duty’, which is the overarching requirement or substance of the duty. This is supported by specific duties which are intended to help performance of the general equality duty.

The Duty ensures that public bodies consider the needs of all individuals in their day to day purpose. There is no explicit requirement to refer to the Equality Duty in recording the process of consideration, but it is good practice to do so. Keeping a record of how decisions are reached will help public bodies demonstrate that they considered the aims of the equality duty.
The Equality Act explains that the second aim (advancing equality of opportunity) involves, in particular, having due regard to the need to:

  • Remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics;
  • Take steps to meet the needs of people with certain protected characteristics where they are different to the needs of other people;
  • Encourage people with certain protected characteristics to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low.

The Equality Act states that meeting different needs includes (among other things) taking steps to take account of disabled people’s disabilities. It describes fostering good relations as tackling prejudice and promoting understanding between different people groups. It explains that compliance with the general equality duty may involve treating some people more favourably than others.

To comply with the general equality duty, a public authority needs to have due regard to all three of its aims. However the Authority should not take actions which are unnecessary, inappropriate or disproportionate in the name of equality.

Dealing with complaints and disputes

If a customer, visitor or member of the public believes that the Authority, or a person acting on behalf of the Authority, has unlawfully discriminated against them, harassed or victimised them, on the grounds of a protected characteristic, in the provision of goods, facilities or services or in the exercise of any public function, they may:

  • Complain directly to the staff member or other individual concerned;
  • Submit a formal complaint directly to the Authority;
  • Approach a third person or other organisation to take up the matter on their behalf; or
  • Make a claim in court

If the Authority or an employee, member or volunteer of the Authority receives a complaint regarding any service provision in this form (including verbal or written), they must bring it to the attention of their line manager or Head of Service, or in their absence the Equality Officer (Authority Solicitor), as soon as reasonably practicable. The Equality Officer and appropriate Head of Service, or a person appointed by the Head of Service, will seek to establish the facts insofar as this is possible, to make an initial assessment about whether the alleged action(s) are likely to amount to unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation, and determine whether a formal investigation is required.

If this is considered to be appropriate, a suitable person will be appointed to carry out the investigation. If the complaint concerns an employee, the appropriate HR policies and procedures will be followed to protect the position of the individual and the Authority.

The Head of People and OD will be responsible for monitoring complaints and any trends, and reporting these to Executive Board.

Equality Monitoring

The Head of People and OD, working with the Trade Union and / or staff representatives, will undertake periodic reviews and data analysis to identify the effectiveness of the Equality Policy and identify where equality within the Authority can be improved.
The Equality Policy will be reviewed and if necessary updated on a regular basis, and any significant changes will be brought to the attention of the Executive Board.

Responsibility for ensuring that regular reviews are carried out lies with the Head of People & OD, in consultation with internal colleagues and partners from relevant organisations (where appropriate). The following documents are key tools used by the Authority to meet the commitments made in this Policy:

  • Business Plan
  • LDNPA values
  • Complaints Policy
  • Confidential Reporting Policy
  • Equal Pay Policy
  • Flexible Working Policy
  • Maternity Policy
  • Paternity Policy
  • Recruitment Policy
  • Shared Parental Leave Policy
  • Training and Development Policy
  • Grievance Procedure
  • Disciplinary Policy