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Derby CityChildren's Social Care Procedures

1.1.3 Equality and Diversity Policy

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter explains how Derby City Council promote equality and diversity - both as an employer and in the delivery of services.

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

Please read in conjunction with Equality, Dignity and Respect Policy (October 2018) (intranet access is required)

This chapter was added to the online procedures in March 2021.

Contents

  1. Equality, Dignity and Respect Policy
  2. Promoting Diversity and Positive Identity and Potential
  3. Race, Ethnic Origin and Nationality, including Citizenship
  4. Religious Beliefs
  5. Gender, Gender Identity and Transgender
  6. Sexual Orientation
  7. Disability
  8. Age
  9. Providing Early Help and Children’s Social Care

1. Equality, Dignity and Respect Policy

Derby City Council is genuinely committed to promoting and providing equality and diversity in all our areas of responsibility, both as a major employer and leader in the city and also as a key service deliverer. We believe in treating everyone fairly and with respect. We see the diversity of our city as a real strength. We want to build strong communities with a sense of togetherness and we want to tackle disadvantage. We want everyone to be able to reach their full potential and to benefit from the strength of our city.

We will challenge unfair treatment, prejudice, discrimination, harassment, victimisation and bullying; including discrimination by association and perception.

In service delivery we will follow and adhere to the key standards, including equality monitoring, laid out in the Equality, Dignity and Respect Policy (October 2018) (intranet access is required).

Equality and Diversity Training

All staff are required to take a mandatory e-learning course on equality, dignity and respect. In addition, Workforce Learning and Development for CSC provide the following courses, which can be found here Workforce Learning and Development - WFLD (intranet access is required):

  • Working with Children and Young People with a Disability - Practically based course focusing on communication and engagement with children and young people who may have a diagnosed disability or additional needs;
  • Working with Difference and Diversity - This course aims to enable practitioners to develop a holistic understanding of difference, diversity and cultural competence whilst taking into account their own values and experiences as well as those of children and families;
  • Working with Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children - The aim of this training it to familiarise attendees with the common experiences and needs of unaccompanied asylum seeking children and the role of Local Authority when supporting children from these backgrounds. The objective is to provide attendees with the knowledge and confidence to enable them to provide appropriate care and support to unaccompanied asylum seeking children in line with current guidelines and statutory duties.

2. Promoting Diversity and Positive Identity and Potential

Ethnic origin, linguistic background, faith or religion and culture are of importance to the developing identity of all children and young people.

In this document, the term culture describes the moral values, behaviour norms, lifestyle, social and artistic pursuits espoused by a family and taught to their children. A shared religious belief, ethnic background, language, history or economic background will often lead to similar cultural norms and expectations.

Cultural competence recognises, affirms, fosters and values the strengths of individuals, families and communities; and protects and preserves the worth and dignity of each; emphasising treating service users as individuals, respecting their views and wishes, promoting equal opportunities and respecting diversity and different cultures and values.

Sensitising children social care service provision to the ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic needs of children involves a number of practical considerations. These include the need for multicultural play, reading and display materials in order to:

  • Provide an environment in which a child is comfortable;
  • Promote positive black and minority ethnic images and role models;
  • Provide visual illustration which promotes discussion of issues of difference, ethnicity, culture, religion and language;
  • Assist in discussion of issues concerning identity.

All children and their families are entitled to equal access to services which do not discriminate on the grounds of religion, ethnic origin, linguistic background, culture, gender, disability or sexual orientation.

Considerations:

  • A workforce which is representative of the community it serves;
  • Delivering services in an appropriate community setting;
  • Avoiding physical features that make it difficult for people with a disability; and making reasonable adjustments to improve the environment;
  • Improving access to information, premises, safe environment, transport and communication.

3. Race, Ethnic Origin and Nationality, including Citizenship

Derby is a diverse city, rich in culture where people get on well together. The profile of Derby is changing all the time with new communities arriving and we want everyone to feel welcome. In children’s social care, we will ensure that we:

  • Support our communities to have a sense of belonging to their neighbourhood and the city;
  • Support young people in the city by recognising their importance and role in the life of the city;
  • Challenge extremist activity of any sort;
  • Support those who are vulnerable and isolated in our city;
  • Try to address the impacts of migration.

We will work with focus groups and teams to ensure that our interventions remain appropriate and consistent with Derby’s approach.

4. Religious Beliefs

We respect and value the religion and beliefs of our employees and our customers, including those people with no religion or belief. We will do our best to make sure that we avoid the dates of important festivals and events when we are planning meetings or appointments.

We feel it is really important that our services are able to meet the religious and cultural needs of the people who use them. So, it is essential that our employees who deliver these services are sensitive to the needs of people’s faiths.

5. Gender, Gender Identity and Transgender

Children, regardless of gender, should receive equal opportunities and encouragement to pursue their talents, interests and hobbies. Gender stereotypes of behaviour must not be imposed or condoned. Encouraging staff and carers to model behaviour to children that demonstrates that there are gender variant roles and no specifically male, female and trans roles, is crucial.

6. Sexual Orientation

A number of young people to whom we offer services will be lesbian, bisexual or gay or unsure of their sexual identity. These young people should be able to expect acceptance, and sensitive understanding of their sexual identity from staff and carers. This aim should apply equally to those people who express uncertainty about their identity. This aim will be achieved by making appropriate referrals where requested by young people who may identify as gay, bisexual or lesbians or are questioning their sexuality to help them with their uncertainties or feelings, develop their self-esteem or identity or to establish a lifestyle and relationships which are safe, legal and with which they should feel contented and comfortable. Gay young people may also require counselling concerning their fears.

Where gay, bisexual or lesbian parent applies for a service on behalf of their child or the family as a whole, his or her sexual identity will only be relevant to the assessment or service offered where it is apparent that it is presenting difficulties for the parent or child.

Where a gay, bisexual or lesbian person or couple apply to foster carers, adopters or childminders, their application will be taken up in the same way as any other applicant. As with any other assessment, the quality of their relationship or their acceptance of their singleness will be considered during the assessment process in the context of the skills, experience and care they will or will not be able to offer to a child or children. It is recognised that prejudice on the part of some children or parents may make their caring task more difficult but their positive strategies for coping with and dealing with prejudice will be considered as part of the assessment.

7. Disability

It is important that social care settings involve parents/carers, the child and, if appropriate, specialist support staff, as early as possible in the planning process.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act, 1995the care setting must make reasonable adjustments to ensure disabled pupils are not placed at a substantial disadvantage to their peers. This may include providing additional staffing and accessible transport or ensuring the venue is appropriate to the needs of the child concerned.

We will make sure that we produce School Accessibility Strategies every three years and that the actions in them are reviewed regularly to make sure we do all we can to promote equality for disabled children using our schools.

We will make sure our Access Guide includes information for young disabled people so they can enjoy activities with their non-disabled friends. We will also keep our Local Offer up to date with information about many inclusive mainstream activities.

8. Age

We are committed to tackling age discrimination, which can affect both young and older people in services and when applying for jobs. We will continue to work closely with our young people’s forum as well as our own Derby Diversity Forum to make sure we provide appropriate services and opportunities for all ages.

Care leavers

Just like any parent, as corporate parents, we want the best for our children and we know that our care leavers face particular challenges. We will do all we can to support these young people, offering equal opportunities in becoming adults, such as getting a home and a job and offering emotional support in what may be a difficult chapter in their life.

We recognise that care leavers sometimes face more difficulties and challenges than their peers and so may need extra emotional and financial support. We also accept that care leavers are a diverse group of young people in their own right and many will be protected under the Equality Act, 2010. We have a moral and legal duty to make sure that care leavers’ individual equality needs are met.

9. Providing Early Help and Children’s Social Care

Referrals

Accurate and significant information must be taken at this stage in a variety of situations.

  • Nationality and ethnicity;
  • Languages spoken at home;
  • Religion and current cultural practice;
  • Sexual orientation;
  • Disability;
  • The child’s Birth and extended family, their ethnic and cultural origins, experience of racism and the role of religion in their lives;
  • The child’s view of his/her own identity and any identity confusion, experience of racism and quality of contact with culture/community;
  • Recording of names is important. Different cultures use different structures for names.

Assessment

An assessment and planning process involves gathering sufficient information to enable a judgement to be made about those aspects of the child’s health, welfare or development that requires some help and what services, if any the (local authority) should provide

Diversity and identity must be considered in order to make accurate judgements about a child’s needs. It is particularly important in cross-cultural assessment work to try to understand the experience of another’, avoiding cultural stereotypes brought about by a lack of knowledge.

Practitioners should raise the subject of diversity and identity in a manner which is appropriate, acceptable and fair. The culture must be one where families are valued equally and no form of prejudice towards adults or children is tolerated. For example, the need to enquire about heritage may be mistakenly seen as necessary only when working with children and families from a black and minority background and be seen as discrimination.

It is important not only to recognise difference but to appreciate some of the positive aspects of difference. A useful exercise is to find out as much information as possible about a minority ethnic culture, for example the role of extended families or arranged marriages, and then list some of the possible advantages. Customs and practices which a practitioner personally might find restrictive can be a source of strength and fulfilment to individuals brought up in a different culture.

Community based family support services may offer services which can assist in an assessment, for example setting up an initial meeting in familiar surroundings and providing bilingual support and advocacy.

Child abuse happens in all cultures and all children have a right to be protected. Cultural differences must not be used as a reason for non-intervention. Workers should be sensitive to the many differing factors which may need to be taken into consideration, depending on the child’s diversity or identity. If Practitioners are not sure, they should seek further guidance from their managers:

Planning

The plan for a child should address both immediate and longer term needs; it must take account of all information available on diversity and identity before finalising outcomes and actions. For instance:

  • Has the child been able to discover and express views about his or her ethnicity or cultural background?
  • Is the child in touch with his or her community or cultural or ethnic heritage? If not, what plans are there to keep the child in touch?
  • Is the child helped to develop a sense of belonging to his own culture?
  • Have staff or carers received relevant help and guidance?
  • Should outside organisations and individuals be involved in planning for the child’s future?

These issues should be considered again when the plan is reviewed.