Equality And Diversity Role Leaves Scilly Councillors Confused

wesleyan chapel 2Isles of Scilly councillors appeared baffled by the role of their Equality and Diversity Champion when they were asked to elect someone into the position at last week’s Full Council meeting.

They didn’t know who the current post holder was or what they do. And one councillor asked if they would be sent to prison if they didn’t have one.

It’s a statutory position to comply with the Equality Act 2010 and comes up for re-election every May.

The person holding the role is expected to ensure that the Council is treating all sectors of society fairly when they’re drawing up policies, providing services and employing staff.

But at the meeting, Cllr Andy Guy had to point out that he wasn’t in fact the current Diversity Champion as listed in the reports. He had been voted in last year as Health and Safety Lead instead.

It was actually Cllr Steve Sims who had taken on the role.

Steve said he’d be happy to continue with it, but added, “The only input I had on this was accepting the nomination last year.”

Cllr Gordon Bilsborough asked what the Equality and Diversity Champion actually does.

Council Chairman Amanda Martin said the last person who could explain it in detail left the Council in 2012.

But Cllr Christine Savill reminded members that most of them had attended diversity training in November. “We all have a little certificate now,” she said.

Cllr Bilsborough asked, “If nobody chooses to do it, who’s going to compel us? Are they going to throw us in jail?”

At that point, Cllr Gaz O’Neill offered to take on the position and was duly elected into the role.

Admin Officer Sue Pritchard warned the role was likely to grow this year, as new policies are formed.

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