New equality objectives for Oldham Council must deliver

by samalhamdani on 3 August, 2020

At the last Council meeting, I raised the issue of the delay on Oldham’s equality objectives – setting goals for ensuring that the organisation is delivering and embedding equality into all aspects of the Council’s work.

Those objectives were due – and indeed legally required – to be updated at the start of the year, an issue I have been raising since with the officers and Cabinet.

The response from the Council was to say that the Council is also reviewing its Equality Strategy, the method by which it delivers these objectives, particularly in light of the Black Lives Matter movement, and it wants to ensure that the Strategy and the Objectives are completely in line – and I agree that there would be no point setting Objectives without a clear method to achieve them.

However, as the new Objectives were due at the start of the year, it looks like this is still a failure of planning – it would have been much better to do the work on resetting the Objectives and the Strategy in 2019, so that both could be aligned, and put forward when they were due at the start of the year.

There is always more to do in a Council than can be delivered, but one of the roles of a good opposition – and a Council in waiting – is to “hold their feet to the fire”; to ensure that these things do not get missed.

When I raised the issue of the Equality Objectives, the information on the 2015–19 objectives was still on the Council’s website, as though it were current. Once I had reported this, they disappeared very quickly, and before long, a new Equality Strategy was being developed.

I look forward to seeing the new Objectives and Strategy; I hope that it will be ambitious and effective. In the meantime, it is pleasing to see that asking the right questions can get things done.

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