Hull Lib Dem councillors won the unanimous support of Hull City Council for its call for the Council to pursue a review of how the Council tackles discrimination.
The motion moved by Liberal Democrat Councillor Holly Burton called for a 'new approach' to create an 'effective discrimination policy.' The motion also called for a 'zero tolerance approach to racism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination as well as specific training sessions on equality and diversity.'
The majority opposition group on Hull City Council want to see the council lead on this issue in the city and set an example to other organisations in the area.
Lib Dem Councillor Holly Burton called for more to be done to tackle discrimination in the city:
"Equality is important and discrimination has no place in our city. More can be done to make sure that those who are victims of discrimination have a safe place to be able to challenge it professionally within Hull City Council. More training on around the topic of diversity is needed.
"It was heartwarming how well received my call for a review was by all of the parties across the Council. I hope that the review leads to a better anti-discrimination policy in the Council; one we can all be proud of.
"Getting a robust and proactive anti-discrimination policy is important, not just for the Council, but for the city - it sets an example for other organisations to follow and I hope the Council go on to lead against discrimination in the city."
Osaro Otobo, who is a former President of Hull University Union and founder of the Make Diversity Count campaign added:
“I’m delighted that Hull councillors are supporting the #makediversitycount campaign through passing this anti-discrimination motion.
"No one should be discriminated against and we need to make sure that policy is in place to stop that from happening.
"Each new campaign supporter takes us towards our goal of updating the 2010 UK Equality Act, ten years on from implementation, in order for people to be better protected in the spaces where they live, learn and work.”
'Make diversity count' campaign -
Quoted from the petition page:
"Under the Equality Act 2010 it is not a legal requirement for all workplaces and other organisations to have a policy visibly in place detailing what the procedure for reviewing reports of racism and other forms of discrimination is. Too often people complain about discrimination in the workplace, schools and wider society, only to find that their experiences get dismissed or not sufficiently investigated. It leaves you feeling like your lived experience is not valid and you are not protected in that space."
Motion moved by Councillor Burton on Thursday 19/11/20:
Proactive Discrimination Policy in Hull City Council
Mover: Cllr Holly Burton
Council condemns racism and discrimination, and welcomes the long overdue spotlight on persistent issues around racism and inequality that plague our society. Council believes it has a leadership role, both internally within the organisation but also across the city.
Council recognises that while there has been some improvements made within the council, there is still much more work required. Council notes that discrimination in the workplace will not only impact a person’s mental and even physical health, but could also lead to a lack of motivation and poor performance, or even frustration and aggression – potentially ending with the victim being penalised for something outside of their control.
Council appreciates that while cases can be very complex and will always require some discretion, the existing anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies may be confusing and ineffective. However, an accessible, coherent and robust policy that covers a range of potential scenarios will simplify the process, providing those wishing to share their concerns with the confidence and knowledge to do so.
Council calls for a new approach to be drawn up for the organisation that would cover a clear, visible and effective discrimination policy, have a zero tolerance approach to racism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination as well as specific training sessions on equality and diversity. Council refers this issue to the Health & Social Wellbeing Scrutiny Commission, so that further work can take place on developing the strategy.
Council recognises the need for more training and commitment from those in leadership positions to encourage a genuine shift in the culture and calls for a report to go to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee to set out what training can be rolled out. This would see a move from emphasis on mere compliance to creating a proactive approach which will help the council lead by example in changing the organisation for the better.
Council further notes that it is not a legal requirement for registered organisations in the UK to have a visible, clear and effective policy, detailing what will be done and how long it is likely to take. This undoubtedly causes confusion, anxiety and uncertainty for thousands of workers who may be at risk.
Council backs the calls of the “Make Diversity Count” campaign, which seeks to ensure allegations of discrimination are dealt with swiftly and effectively. Council requests the Chief Executive to write to the government setting out the council’s support for the implementation of the “Make Diversity Count” campaign in future legislation.