Equality, diversity and inclusion in local government and public services

Achieving equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within local government is vital to the future success and sustainability of the sector. In our work, we have identified best practice examples where local government has begun to improve representation. But has it gone far enough and is the pace of action to deliver change sufficient to close the gap? At Shared Intelligence, we have worked across a myriad of clients to identify ways that local government can become more inclusive and deliver diversity, ultimately striving for a fairer and more equal society. This has included ways to advocate for an EDI-first approach to policy, strategy and service delivery.

There are two core strands to our work in this space. The first relates to the local government workforce itself, supporting with evidence-based data and effective reporting to ensure clarity of direction for improvement. The second is working with councils and the wider public sector to identify how best to deliver engagement to improve service design and delivery. Here is an example of each of these:

1.      Delivering change from within local government

For the past two-years we have delivered research with the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) on levels of diversity within the local government workforce. Despite some progress to improve representation being made from one year to the next, our research continues to reveals a low level of comprehensive reporting on workforce ethnicity and ethnicity pay (gap) data. Both reports highlighted the very real challenges local government experience when reporting workforce and EDI data and identified best practice for the sector. We recognise the opportunities and are eager to support councils in understanding and overcoming these barriers. You can read more about this work here.

2.      Delivering engagement to improve service design and delivery

Local government and the wider public sector also play a fundamental role in creating an inclusive and equal place. In our work last year for the Greater London Authority, we partnered with the East London Business Alliance to deliver implementation support for the Building a Fairer City plan. This plan aims to address structural inequalities in London and enhance the lives of its residents. By delivering a support offer, we identified EDI strengths and weaknesses in London-based organisations – to improve equity in public services, improve labour market inequality, and build on civil society strength. You can read more about this work here.

We know how important it is to actively champion and take steps to promote EDI in both contexts, whilst recognising the intersecting nature of protected characteristics. Through this, local government and the rest of the public sector can create vibrant, cohesive and fair workplaces and communities, effectively reflecting the communities they serve. Common to both of these strands is the need to:

  • Enhance decision-making culture and processes to improve leadership as an organisation and as an anchor in a local community.
  • Develop an equity-led approach to promoting fairness and building trust within communities to improve engagement.
  • Improve services and service delivery by truly understanding the local population and its respective needs.
  • Achieve a long-term goal of addressing social inequality.

We appreciate EDI is not a destination councils need to reach, but rather is an ongoing journey that is constantly evolving. Our goal is to assist councils in this journey, by identifying an EDI-first approach to improving local services across a range of policy domains, to better represent and support each local population. If you would like any further information or would like to hear more about how Shared Intelligence can support you, please contact: lisa.mccance@sharedintelligence.net


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