The Public Sector Equality Duty requires us to publish one or more specific and measurable equalities objectives every four years that demonstrate areas where we are tackling inequality. We have identified five overarching objectives to reduce inequality, which affect specific groups in Southampton and within the council itself. Below our actions to be taken to achieve these objectives are outlined, including some specific targets.
Improving health and wellbeing of all residents, with a focus on reducing health inequalities within Southampton:
- Ensure that children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND) have their needs met in local, inclusive and high-quality settings including the opportunity to access, participate in and shape a range of cultural and leisure opportunities.
- Reduce childhood obesity levels in Southampton by increasing take-up and expanding scope of Healthy Early Years and Healthy High 5 Award schemes.
- Deliver Southampton’s Suicide Prevention Plan to lower levels of suicides in Southampton, including focusing on high risk groups, such as: men, particularly middle-aged men; people experiencing mental health problems or relationship difficulties, particularly separation for men (most commonly occurring life event identified by the Southampton Suicide Audit); and physical health problems, particularly disability and chronic pain.
Facilitating life-long learning and skills development to encourage higher-skilled, higher-paid jobs:
- Deliver the School Attendance Action Plan aimed to improve school attendance and attainment, which results in better education outcomes and greater opportunities to succeed for young people in Southampton. This will involve working with young people to better understand and tackle root causes.
- Increasing the number of care leavers and those still in care into education, employment, and training. This will be through targeted support to those ages 16-19 who are most at risk of not being in education, employment or training (NEET), and expanding the role of the Virtual School which promotes educational attainment for our looked after children to promote education opportunities for all children aged 0-18 who have, or have ever had, a social worker. Targets include reducing the percentage of 16-17 year-olds NEET below our baseline of 7.6%, and for the percentage of care leavers age 19-21 in Education, Employment or Training to be above our baseline of 57%.
- Help more of our residents to get the qualifications and skills that are right for them, through supporting them to get ready for work and helping them understand how to access opportunities. This will include offering targeted education, health, and care service support for 16-25 year-olds with complex needs.
- Increase the quality, scope and take-up of vocational opportunities, including number of apprenticeships, internships, and work experiences with employers in the city; leading the way ourselves as an employer.
Give communities more influence over local decision-making and create child-friendly neighbourhoods:
- Work towards Southampton becoming accredited as a UNICEF Child Friendly City.
- Create a Southampton Youth Council that allows young people to influence decision-making.
- Improve the condition of children’s play areas within neighbourhoods and work towards introducing more play equipment within neighbourhoods that do not have any.
Create more resilient communities by coordinating support for those in need and enabling people to live independently for longer, including those with disabilities and those close to retirement age and older:
- Reduce food poverty by supporting the voluntary and third sector to establish a strong food distribution network.
- Deliver an improved Southampton Information Directory so people have better access and can choose how best to help themselves.
- Increase the number of accessible homes in Southampton that support independent living.
- Work with partners to support more people to remain at home following discharge from hospital.
- Provide support so people can be more independent in their own home, including creating better access to their local community and making best use of digital tools including Telecare.
- One target is to increase the percentage of people with eligible needs supported to live independently to be above our baseline of 72%.
Deliver on the council’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Pledge, to promote and champion diversity throughout the organisation:
- Rewrite and publish the council Equality Policy.
- Ongoing delivery of D&I learning sessions for employees and specific manager’s sessions on D&I, Ethics and Values, and Bias.
- Diversify the colleague affinity networks to include a Young Workers group and others that are identified as wanted.
- Ask employees to update their diversity data (e.g. ethnicity and sexual orientation) to enable us to track progress against D&I initiatives, including through video of internal lead officer and Frequently Asked Questions and Answers intranet page on diversity data collection for employees.
- Ongoing celebration of festivals, national days and events, such as Diwali, Ramadan, Pride, International Women’s Day, Black History Month etc.
- Provision of menopause information document and cafés.
- Introduce a preferred language document for employees.
- Review recruitment processes to ensure they are as accessible and fair as possible, including for those with disabilities and neurodivergent people.