I am delighted to present the Welsh Government’s Annual Report on Equality, covering the period between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019. This is the 3rd Annual Report on our Equality Objectives and Strategic Equality Plan for 2016-2020.
During 2018-19, the Welsh Government continued work to drive advancing equality of opportunity in the face of increasing demand for quality public services, the pressures of ongoing austerity, and work to develop the arrangements to leave the European Union.
We have also invested widely to promote fairness and challenge discrimination. The Equality and Inclusion Funding Programme 2017-2020 funded 7 lead equality organisations. The programme supports the important work of the Third Sector, including community groups, delivering across Wales, reaching a variety of people with different protected characteristics and supporting us in achieving the equality objectives.
I am extremely grateful to the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Wales for their advice and support. Their work during 2018 to 2019 included the “Is Wales Fairer?” report which looked at all areas of life in Wales which has proved to be a valuable and essential source of evidence to help us ensure our decision-making is robust and that our policies and services take account of peoples’ needs and are accessible to all.
Tackling inequality is a clear priority for the Welsh Government. The drive for greater equality is built into the fabric of this government and it continues to influence everything we do. I look forward to continuing this work and to reporting next year on further developments, including the outcome of our important Gender Equality Review, launched in March 2018, and the work we have begun to strengthen and advance equality and human rights in Wales.
Jane Hutt AM
Deputy Minister and Chief Whip
Chapter 1: Introduction
Wales has always been a country with a strong tradition of inclusivity and respect for diversity, partly thanks to our industrial and maritime heritage. We have continued to build on the ties that bind communities together to ensure that “a welcome in the hillsides” remains a refrain that is recognised and respected across the world, embracing those who have been here for generations, others who have left and returned as well as people who have newly arrived.
Our policies and decisions must be informed by those most directly affected by them. Engagement with experts, equality groups, individuals and communities provides us with support and advice to help us to understand the needs, issues, barriers and experiences of those with protected characteristics. It is a fundamental requirement of our Welsh specific equality duties.
Throughout the year Welsh Ministers have engaged regularly at many events and meeting with groups representing people with protected characteristics, to understand their priorities and the challenges they face on a daily basis.
The Welsh Government has also established forums through which we engage with advocates and representative groups to discuss equality matter. These include:
- The Disability Equality Forum
- The Faith Communities Forum
- The Wales Race Forum
- The Strategic Equality Board
- The Budget Advisory Group on Equality.
All of these forums are chaired by ministers or a senior government official. Some of them are unique within the UK in the way they enable equality stakeholders to engage directly and regularly with the most senior levels of government on the issues that concern them.
This report highlights some of our work during the period from April 2018 to March 2019 to create a more equal Wales. It outlines how we have applied our responsibilities under equality legislation to integrate equality into our policy development and decision-making. We welcome the challenge which comes with equality legislation to carefully consider how our work affects different groups of people and enables us to provide services that meet the diverse needs of all citizens living in Wales. As well as reducing the risk of negative impacts of our decisions, the legislation also drives us to consider how we can positively contribute to the advancement of equality for all.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) report ‘Is Wales Fairer? (2018)’ was published in October 2018 and provided substantial fresh evidence to drive and underpin the work of all policy makers and delivery agencies seeking to build a more equal Wales. The report was a valuable tool to help ensure our decision-making was robust and that our policies and services took account of peoples’ needs and were accessible to all.
It collected evidence from across 6 areas of life:
- living standards
- justice and security
- participation in politics and public life
Prospects for disabled people, some ethnic minorities, and children from poorer backgrounds have worsened in many areas of life. This inequality risks becoming entrenched for generations to come, creating a society where these groups are left behind in the journey towards a fair and equal country.
This year, for the first time, Welsh Government published open data spreadsheets to accompany its 2017-18 Employer’s Equality Report. Following this we worked with, and supported, public bodies by sharing guidance on publishing open data tables, circulating FAQs and hosting webinars to share best practices.
Chapter 2: Meeting our equality duties
This report fulfils our duties provided for by The Government of Wales Act 2006 and sets out what we have done to incorporate the statutory reporting requirements of equality legislation into our policies and practices, in particular the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) and the Welsh Specific Equality Duties. The Government of Wales Act 2006 places a duty on the Welsh Government to have due regard to the principle that there should be equality of opportunity for all people. The duty further ensures that we give weight to promoting equality.
The Equality Act 2010 places a duty on the public sector when carrying out its work, to have due regard to the need to:
- eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, and victimisation.
- advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not.
- foster good relations between those who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not. This duty is known as the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), and also as the ‘general duty’.
In order for specified public bodies in Wales to better perform and demonstrate their compliance with the PSED, the Welsh Government legislated to bring in Welsh specific equality duties. These duties, which are set out in Equality Act 2010 (Statutory Duties) (Wales) Regulations 2011 (also referred to as the Welsh Specific Equality Duties) apply to specific Welsh public sector organisations as listed in the regulations, known as ‘listed authorities’.
The Welsh Specific Equality Duties place responsibilities on the devolved Welsh public sector covering engagement, equality impact assessments, pay differences, procurement, equality and employment information, review and reporting arrangements. This annual report is published in accordance with regulation 16 of the 2011 regulations to demonstrate Welsh Government’s compliance with the general duty.
During this reporting year (2018-19) the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Wales undertook a monitoring exercise looking at how the 73 listed public bodies were performing against the duties, specifically how they were using the duties to drive improvement in workforce diversity and service delivery. The commission published their findings in 2019 and have subsequently met with senior representatives of many of the listed authorities to discuss sectoral issues and how compliance with the PSED can be improved.
Programme for Government
Taking Wales Forward is the 5-year strategic plan for the Welsh Government, setting out what ministers want to deliver between 2016 and 2021. It is a bold, strategic and ambitious programme that focuses on delivering real improvements in the every-day lives of people in Wales.
Prosperity for All: the national strategy takes those commitments, and sets out how they will be delivered by bringing together the efforts of the whole Welsh public sector.
The national strategy has been created within the framework of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and sets out our contribution to delivering the seven well‑being goals, including ‘a more equal Wales’ and ‘a Wales of cohesive communities’.
The Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 compliments the role public bodies in Wales can play in strengthening the implementation of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) by improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural well‑being of Wales in a sustainable way.
The wider picture
Many other Welsh and UK laws, as well as international treaties and conventions, underpin equality and human rights in Wales. This includes laws relating to particular aspects of life and work, such as employment, education, health or justice, as well as those relating to particular groups of people such as refugees, disabled people or children. It is important to remember that the Equality Act and Well-being of Future Generations Act are not the only relevant pieces of legislation.
The Human Rights Act 1998 sets out the fundamental rights and freedoms for everyone in the UK. It incorporates the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into domestic British law.
The ECHR derives from the Council of Europe (not the European Union) and is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was the first international agreement on the basic principles of human rights, accepted by nearly every state in the world. The UK remains a signatory to both the ECHR and the Universal Declaration.
The actions of the Welsh Government must be compatible with international obligations, as set out in Section 82 of the Government of Wales Act 2006, including the 7 UN Conventions signed and ratified by the UK State party. This section provides the Secretary of State with powers to intervene in relation to action by the Welsh Ministers etc. which the Secretary of State considers to be incompatible with such an obligation or to direct the Welsh Ministers etc. to take action which is within their powers if this is necessary in order to give effect to an international obligation.
The Welsh Government works alongside the UK government and other devolved administrations to ensure Wales is fully represented in the presentation of reports to meet our United Nations and European obligations. On 26 February 2019, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is signatory to the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) took part in an examination on its compliance with the convention.
Welsh Government officials attended the one‑day examination on 26 February 2019 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva as part of the UK delegation, alongside officials from UK government and other Devolved Administrations. The presence of our officials ensured that Wales and Welsh issues were represented and raised during the examination process. The examination was an opportunity to highlight the work of the Welsh Government to promote and protect the rights of women and girls, and also identify ways to build on our progress.
On 11 March 2019, the UN Committee on CEDAW published its Concluding Observations. The Concluding Observations contain a list of recommendations for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to take forward over the next 4 years.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be required to submit a report in March 2023 outlining its progress in implementing these recommendations, as well as other actions relating to the advancement of the rights of women and girls since the 2019 examination.
Chapter 3: Welsh Government Strategic Equality Action Plan 2016 to 2020: achievements and challenges
The Equality and Inclusion Funding Programme provides a strategic and coordinated approach to deliver advice and support to citizens and community organisations throughout Wales across a range of key equality and inclusion issues.
The programme supports the Welsh Government’s Equality Objectives 2016 to 2020 and protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010; it consists of an Equality Grant for representative organisations and Inclusion Projects for 3 specific areas of work.
We have published a programme summary document which provides details of the services delivered under the programme and relevant contact details:
We collaborated with our partners, including 7 lead agencies for the programme, to provide support across Wales in relation to:
- gender (WEN Wales)
- disability (Disability Wales)
- Gypsies, Roma and Travellers (TGP Cymru)
- refugees and asylum seekers (Welsh Refugee Council)
- sexual orientation and gender identity (Stonewall Cymru)
- race (EYST)
- hate crime (Victim Support Cymru)
|Ethnic Youth Support Team (EYST)||£120,000|
|Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales||£119,900|
|Tros Gynnal Plant||£181,000|
|Welsh Refugee Council||£426,000|
Equality and Inclusion Programme: performance monitoring
We took steps to improve the quality of the performance monitoring data collected by the organisations funded by the Welsh Government’s Equality and Inclusion Programme. We met with each organisation individually to assist them in developing more outcome focused performance measures.
For example, this included organisations obtaining information regarding the percentage of individuals who, following the advice and support they received, know more about the services and support available to them; and feel their voices are more likely to be heard.
Together with illustrating the quality of the services delivered by the organisations funded by the Equality and Inclusion Programme, this piece of work will serve to enhance the body of evidence the Welsh Government holds in relation to groups of individuals with protected characteristics.
During the 2nd year of the project (2018 to 2019), all organisations spent their full allocation of funding and successfully delivered their agreed objectives.
During the year, we undertook extensive engagement and consultation with disabled people and their representative organisations to inform the development of our fully revised framework: ‘Action on Disability: The Right to Independent Living’.
This work was overseen by a steering group chaired by the Chief Executive of Disability Wales.
Formal consultation on the new draft framework ran from 22 October 2018 to 18 January 2019. Disabled people told us that local action is crucial, so the framework was designed to strongly encourage Welsh public services, employers and organisations at every level to take note and take action. Further changes were made to the framework as a result of the consultation and the final version was published in September 2019.
The equality evidence base
In order to give proper consideration to the aims set out in the general duty, we need to have sufficient evidence of the impact our policies and practices are having, or are likely to have, on people with different protected characteristics.
In 2018-19, we published a range of statistical outputs, which helped to inform us of the effect our policies are having, and where we need to do more. They also enabled our stakeholders to identify where further progress is required and to hold us to account. The Welsh Government publishes its statistics at gov.wales/statistics-and-research. Some of these statistical outputs include:
- Well-being of Wales report
- Future Trends report
- Academic achievement by pupil characteristics
- Absenteeism by pupil characteristics
- School census results
- StatsWales tables on Further Education including Age, Gender and Disability
- Learner Outcome Measures for Further Education, Work-Based Learning and Adult Community Learning
- Young people not in education, employment or training
- Higher Education Statistics
- StatsWales tables with data on equality strands (e.g. Annual Population Survey data)
- National Survey for Wales (including information on health and health reported lifestyles previously reported as part of the Welsh Health Survey)
- Poverty statistics for Wales (produced from the Households Below Average Income dataset)
- Sexual identity statistics
- Adults receiving care and support
- Children receiving care and support
- Health Statistics Wales
- GP Access
- Welsh health and care statistics mapping tool
- Affordable housing provision
- StatsWales tables on Homelessness
- Welsh Government Flying Start
- Jobs Growth Wales.
In 2018-19, this information, as well as further guidance from our statistical teams, was used to inform our Equality Impact Assessments, our advice to ministers regarding proposed new policies or changes to policies, and for contributions to Committee inquiry sessions.
We constantly endeavour to improve arrangements for identifying and collecting equality information, wherever practical and cost effective.
In order to enhance our equality information we undertook the following activity in 2018‑19:
Gender Equality Review (GER)
To inform Phase One of the GER being undertaken by Chwarae Teg we undertook a comprehensive review of equality evidence in Wales available by gender. Where possible the collated statistics were stratified by the other protected characteristics, covering different areas of life, including education, work, living standards, health, justice and security, and participation in society.
Variations in Sex Characteristics
In collaboration with the UK Government Equalities Office (GEO) we facilitated a roundtable event to inform the Variations in Sex Characteristics call for evidence being run by the GEO which sought information on the experiences and needs of people who have variations in sex characteristics.
Well-being of Wales report
As part of our commitment to provide an update on progress being made in Wales towards the achievement of the 7 well-being goals we released a new version of our Well-being of Wales report. This includes a chapter on ‘A More Equal Wales’, which comprises a summary of the most up to date equality related statistics applicable to Wales.
ONS Centre for Equalities and Inclusion
During 2018-19 we established closer links with the Office of National Statistics Centre for Equalities and Inclusion to discuss future collaboration and contributions to the data audit being run by the centre.
Future plans to improve our equality evidence base include:
Availability of disaggregated data
We will continue to publish all statistical analyses by protected characteristic where sample sizes allow, and explore options to improve the availability of disaggregated data in Wales. Any work in this area will need to take account of practical issues such as the relatively small sample sizes associated with the national surveys undertaken in Wales, and the cost effectiveness of boosting survey sample sizes and exploring data linkage opportunities to counteract this.
Accessibility of equality evidence
We will continue to review how we can improve the ways in which our equality statistics are published to be more accessible and suitable for a wide-ranging audience. For example, we will ask for information on how the Well-being of Wales report is being used and will incorporate this feedback in the work we are undertaking to improve future versions of the report. We will also work with the public sector to ensure PSED data is published more accessibly as open data, and will provide a single location to enable straightforward access to this information.
Integrated impact assessment
Successful policies, programmes, investments and legislation tend to be the ones which have been properly assessed for their impact before they are implemented. An important part of policy making is the undertaking of an equality impact assessment. In July 2018 a new, introduced. The purpose of the tool was Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) tool was to enable Welsh Government’s departments to consider the impact of government policy and actions across a wide range of issues, including poverty and protected characteristics, as well as the impact on children and young people. It also supported a greater emphasis on monitoring the long-term outcomes for people living in poverty and those with protected characteristics. The tool has helped to simplify and standardise how we undertake impact assessments and helped to reduce duplication.
External organisations provided expertise and quality assurance during the development of the tool. Those organisations included the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the Future Generations Commissioner, the office of the Children’s Commissioner, Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA), Children in Wales, and the NHS Wales Equalities Network.
Equality impact assessment of the budget
In order to assist us in embedding equality considerations into our spending plans the Welsh Government Budget Advisory Group for Equality (BAGE) met during 2018-19, in July 2018 and January 2019.
- provided advice and support to improve equality considerations for successive budgets
- to help to map and improve the equalities and socio-economic evidence base in order to inform future budgetary considerations
- to assist in the analysis of equality evidence and strengthen the understanding of inequalities in Wales in order to improve Welsh Government’s future Equality Impact Assessment of its budget.
Public service bodies in Wales spend around £6.4 billion each year on buying goods, services and works from suppliers. It is important every pound is spent wisely, achieving best value for the people of Wales.
Fulfilling the Procurement Duty in Our Welsh Specific Equality Duties
As part of our Welsh specific equality duties, we must:
- consciously consider whether it would be appropriate for the award criteria of a contract to include considerations to help meet the 3 aims of the PSED (see Annex 1), and
- consciously consider whether it would be appropriate to stipulate conditions relating to the performance of a contract to help meet the 3 aims of the PSED.
Our procurement policy
The Wales Procurement Policy Statement (WPPS) consists of 10 key principles which all Welsh public sector organisations should adhere to when delivering their procurement activity. The WPPS has been widely adopted by major public bodies in Wales, with all 22 local authorities having confirmed adoption and uptake being monitored.
The policy statement provides that Value for Money should be considered as ‘the optimum combination of whole-of-life costs in terms of not only generating efficiency savings and good quality outcomes for the organisation, but also benefit to society, the economy, and the environment, both now and in the future’.
Embedded within the policy statement are a number of key drivers which influence the delivery of equality considerations including:
- ensuring equality is addressed appropriately at supplier selection stage
- ensuring key policies such as Community Benefits are built into contracts
- simplifying the procurement process and lowering barriers for suppliers
- ensuring equality is addressed appropriately at supplier selection stage
- advertising contract opportunities through the Sell2Wales website
- completing a Sustainability Risk Assessment (SRA) when planning a procurement to ensure public contracts consider their equality duties when contracts are discharged.
Wales is leading the way on tackling Modern Day Slavery and ensuring fair pay for fair work throughout public sector supply chains. This sends out a strong message that we only want to do business with responsible and ethical suppliers. In 2018-19, 20 Public Sector, 9 third sector and 59 private bodies signed up to the Code of Practice for Ethical Employment in Supply Chains.
Mainstreaming and embedding equality within procurement: results
In 2018-19 Welsh Government spent around £700 million on externally procured goods, services and works. The Commercial team at Welsh Government worked with the business to embed our Welsh Equality duties in our contracts by:
- Applying the Sustainability Risk Assessment to all Welsh Government contracts over £25,000, ensuring equality duties are considered and action taken in contracts where appropriate.
- Applying Community Benefits clauses in appropriate contracts to deliver employment and training opportunities for disadvantaged people and target educational support across communities in Wales from our suppliers.
- Signing up to the Code of Practice for Ethical Employment in Supply Chains and adopting best practice in our procurements.
- Reviewing our standard documentation to ensure specifications and contract documents meet best practice.
Chapter 4: Looking ahead
Creating a more equal Wales, where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential and is able to contribute fully to the economy, will enable Wales to be more prosperous and innovative. We are committed to working with the public sector in Wales and the EHRC to achieve these goals.
A priority for the Welsh Government is to take action to safeguard and advance equality and human rights, particularly in the context of EU Transition.
Strengthening the Implementation of the Public Sector Equality Duty in Wales
During 2018 to 2019, the EHRC carried out an extensive monitoring exercise to assess how well the Welsh public sector was fulfilling the PSED and Welsh specific equality duties. The exercise found that none of the 73 listed bodies were fully compliant and the EHRC recommended that the Welsh Government should review how specific duties could be strengthened to better achieve focus and action on the key inequalities persisting in Wales.
Looking beyond 2018 to 2019, the Welsh Government has started several vital strands of work:
- Announced the commencement of the socio-economic duty in Part One of the Equality Act 2010, to require certain Welsh public bodies to consider the impact of their strategic decisions on the poorest people and groups.
- Reviewing the Welsh Specific Duties under the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), to ensure they are up to date, proportionate and effective.
- Working closely with the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Wales to review PSED monitoring and reporting arrangements, so that equality data and reports from Welsh public bodies are easy to find and understand.
- Developed an Implementation Plan to address recommendations arising from the Gender Equality Review.
- Commissioned research on wider options to strengthen and advance equality and human rights in Wales, which, among other things, will consider the possible incorporation of UN conventions into Welsh law and whether there may be a need for fresh legislation, such as a Human Rights Bill for Wales. This research is expected to report by the end of 2020.
- Our proposals for a statutory Social Partnership Council coupled with provisions to leverage greater social benefits from public procurement and drive our fair work agenda forwards will provide a framework to deliver greater social equality across the Welsh economy. The proposals form part of our response to the findings of the Fair Work Commission, which made a series of recommendations in spring 2019 about how the Welsh Government should encourage fair work practices across Wales. The Fair Work Commission made a specific recommendation to put social partnership arrangements on a firmer statutory basis. The Bill will invigorate our social partnership arrangements, providing certainty and structure in a more complex, integrated, collaborative landscape of public service delivery and regional economic partnerships.
An update on these areas of work will be the subject of future annual reports.
Case study: Stonewall Cymru Role Models Programme
Aim: Advance equality of opportunity for LGBT people
Feedback from a Role Models Programme candidate:
“When I first heard about the Role Models Programme, I thought that it was definitely something I wanted to do, having only started an LGBT network within my workplace a few months before, I thought it could be really useful (particularly as the co-chair) to hear from other companies about what they’re doing for LGBT staff and how I could become a leader within my organisation.
The knowledge I gained from the programme was amazing, I met some fantastic people from other organisations and it was a real opportunity to not only get some new contacts but also hear about how other organisations and networks have progressed. This knowledge, along with all the skills I learnt from Stonewall, has been really valuable to me and I’ve definitely applied it to the work I’ve done over the last year. After attending the programme I feel much more comfortable being a role model, particularly as a junior member of staff, and I can make sure that my behaviour in and out of the office reflects the values that both I and Stonewall hold.”
Stonewall Cymru’s Programmes Officer observations:
“I first met this person through our Role Models Programme in 2017 where they said at the opening of the day that they weren’t the most confident public speaker. Since attending the Role Models Programme they have been a guest speaker at one of our workplace conferences, have visited a school to speak at an assembly about their own experiences of being LGBT and have carried out LGBT awareness raising sessions within their workplace.
It’s been a pleasure to see their confidence grow and for them to now feel comfortable speaking to large groups of people publicly and with such passion.”
Case study: Gender Equality Review
Wales as a world leader for gender equality
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, and victimisation
- Advance equality of opportunity.
On 8 March 2018, International Women’s Day, the First Minister announced a Rapid Review of Gender Equality to be led by the Leader of the House and supported by the charity Chwarae Teg.
The main focus of Phase 1 was on gathering evidence from Wales, UK and other countries, and identifying opportunities for the in-depth work in Phase 2. The review looked at how Welsh Government policy is set, how decisions are made, the ways of working across government, and mapped the existing policies and legislative frameworks that address gender equality. It also examined examples from governments around the world so that we can learn from their models and practices.
The review adopted an intersectional approach, which involves working across different equality strands, including sex, race, disability and age, aiming to ensure that no one is left behind. We recognise that women and girls who experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination are often excluded from progress.
The phase 1 reports were published in June 2018.
Phase 2 of the review followed and continued into the second half of 2019, beyond the scope of this report. When complete, the review will provide a roadmap for achieving gender equality in Wales.
Case study: reduce inequalities, increase access to opportunities and enable better relations between communities
Nation of sanctuary
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, and victimisation
- Advance equality of opportunity
- Foster good relations.
The Welsh Government made a commitment to Wales becoming a Nation of Sanctuary on 29 January 2019. Our ‘Nation of Sanctuary – refugee and asylum seeker plan’ was co-produced with key stakeholders in the Third Sector and Public Sector. The plan addresses many of the recommendations made in the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee 2017 report – “I used to be someone” – as well as other important issues for refugees and asylum seekers.
Migration policy is not devolved, so solutions to some important issues lie with the UK government. We are working with the Home Office and other UK government departments, as well as Welsh stakeholders, to improve conditions in Wales.
The Welsh Government has allocated £1.065 million to the Asylum Rights Programme for 3 years, April 2017 to 2020, to provide support services to Refugees and Asylum Seekers. This programme has been extended for a further year, until 31 March 2021. The programme is delivered by a consortium of third sector agencies, led by the Welsh Refugee Council.
Annex 1: Our legal duties
The Equality Act 2010: The Public Sector Equality Duty
The Equality Act 2010 “the 2010 Act” replaces previous anti-discrimination laws for England, Scotland and Wales with a single Act. The Act protects people from discrimination because of:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation.
These categories are known as the ‘protected characteristics’.
The 2010 Act also introduced the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), which has 3 overarching aims. Those subject to the duty must have due regard to the need to:
- eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act
- advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not
- foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
The aim of the PSED is to ensure that those subject to it consider advancement of equality when carrying out their day-to-day business. For the Welsh Government this includes shaping policy, delivery services and in relation to our employees.
The Equality Act 2010 (Statutory Duties) (Wales) Regulations 2011 (the regulations)
In Wales, the public bodies listed in Part 2 of Schedule 19 to the Equality Act 2010 are subject also to specific duties found in the regulations. These regulations are also known as the Welsh specific equality duties.
‘Listed authorities’ refers to public bodies listed in Part 2 of Schedule 19. Where we have referred to the ‘Welsh public sector’ or similar, we are referring only to those bodies listed in the schedule and subject to the Welsh specific equality duties.
The aim of the Welsh specific equality duties is to enable the better performance of the PSED. They do so by requiring, for example, the publication of equality objectives together with equality impact assessments, engagement requirements, progress reports, collection of data and more. The equality objectives must, at their core, seek to address inequalities related to the 9 protected characteristics specified in the 2010 Act.
Regulation 16: Annual reports
Chapter 1 of this report fulfils partial compliance with regulation 16 of the Regulations that provide for the Welsh specific equality duties, requiring the Welsh Ministers to publish a report each year setting out how they are complying with the specific duties.
Chapter 1 includes a number of progress statements outlining how we are complying with the specific duties, including those regarding engagement, equality evidence and equality impact assessments.
Regulation 16 also requires listed authorities to provide an annual statement of the effectiveness of the steps we have taken to fulfil our Equality Objectives. We will be publishing a separate report covering this information by the statutory reporting deadline of 31 March 2019.
The Government of Wales Act 2006
The duty in section 77 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 (“the 2006 Act”) requires Welsh Ministers to make appropriate arrangements to help ensure that their functions are exercised with due regard to the principle of equality of opportunity for all people.
This duty further emphasises the importance that ministers place on mainstreaming equality in their work and ensuring it is given due consideration when making their decisions. The duty under the 2006 Act ensures that we give weight to promoting equality, as well as meeting our responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010.
Chapter 1 of this report includes examples and case studies outlining how we have exercised our functions with due regard to the principle of equality of opportunity for all.
Annex 2: Strategic Equality Plan 2016 to 2020
Our Equality Objectives strengthen our efforts to fulfil the 3 requirements of the general duty and help us to work towards a more equal Wales. They outline our commitment to removing the barriers which limit opportunities and hinder aspirations. They seek to address long standing, deeply entrenched and often inter-generational inequalities for those with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.
We published our 8 Equality Objectives in March 2016 following extensive engagement with stakeholders across Wales. The feedback we received supported retaining the essence of the initial objectives we published in 2012, whilst also strengthening the link with tackling poverty, and broadening the scope to include our work on inclusion and community cohesion.
We have drawn our high-level indicators from the Well-being of Wales Report 2018‑19, which reports against the Well‑being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. The report presents the progress we are making as a nation against the 7 well‑being goals by reference to 46 national indicators. Our equality objectives contribute towards the fulfilment of the well-being goal of a more equal Wales and our ambition to create a society that enables people to fulfil their potential no matter what their background or circumstances (including their socioeconomic background and circumstances). The data tells us that while some progress has been made; for example, the gender pay gap is narrowing, there is still much more that needs to be done to realise this goal.
The report contains a description and chart of recent trends for each of the 46 national indicators. The report provides links to the data sources and, where available, statistical publications where the indicators are analysed in more detail.
The full Well-being of Wales Report 2017-18 can be accessed on GOV.WALES.
Summary of progress made towards meeting our equality objectives in 2017 to 2018
In this section you can find more information on a selection of examples of activities helping to achieve each of the 8 equality objectives.
Objective 1: Service design and delivery
Put the needs, rights and contributions of people with protected characteristics at the heart of the design and delivery of all public services, in particular health and mental health services, education, housing, social services and transport. Specifically ensure support and tackle barriers to enable disabled people to enjoy their right to independent living and have a voice, choice and control in their lives.
The Housing Adaptations Steering Group convened in September 2018. The group consisted of key delivery partners and stakeholders involved in the delivery of aids and adaptations in Wales. 4 task and finish groups were also established and through a number of meetings during the year, the groups helped to take forward and deliver the recommendations made by the Wales Audit Office (WAO) report published in February 2018 and the subsequent report of the Public Accounts Committee in June 2018. The work of the groups was to ensure that the recommendations, taken together would enable service users to have equal access to services and support; that their views and requirements would be fully considered and that advice would be provided in relation to streamlining and simplifying the provision of aids and adaptations to support independent living. Ultimately, the work l assisted the Welsh Government’s efforts in ensuring the system of delivering adaptations is equal to all and is citizen focused.
Many of the recommendations of the Equality and Human Rights Commission report on Housing and Disabled People in 2018, informed our work with local authorities and wider partners to improve disabled people’s access to suitable homes. We have been carefully considering these recommendations help to inform our work with local authorities and wider partners to improve disabled people’s access to suitable homes.
Analysis of the data collection of the ENABLE funding programme identified some anomalies and data gaps in the recording of housing adaptations. The Welsh Government has been seeking to address quality and coverage of data by working with partner organisations. The analysis informed understanding of the delivery of adaptations in respect of the consistency and transparency of services across Wales.
Additional Learning Needs and Education
The Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill was scrutinised and subsequently passed unanimously by the National Assembly for Wales in December 2017 and received Royal Assent in January 2018. A draft ALN Code and associated draft regulations were published for consultation in December 2018. The consultation, which closed in March 2019, attracted over 600 written responses and the consultation events were attended by over 1000 people.
We have been utilising ALN transformation grant funding to support delivery partners (including local authorities, further education institutions (FEIs), local health boards, the Tribunal and Estyn) to prepare for transition to the new system. In 2018 we appointed 5 transformation leads who worked in their regions and across the further education sector. The leads provided advice, support and challenge to local authorities, further education institutions (FEIs) and other delivery partners to prepare for transition to the new ALN system. In doing so, they have drawn on the work of the expert groups set up, covering areas including ALN Coordinators (ALNCos), Health, Individual Development Plans and Training.
As part of the overall transformation programme we have funded a range of training delivered as:
- Core skills development for all practitioners. This has included the roll‑out of person-centred practice, a central aspect of our new approach, across all education settings/schools.
- £289,000 was allocated over 3 years to support post-graduate training. Advanced skills development for those who would be undertaking the role of ALNCos, replacing current special educational needs coordinators (SENCos).
- Specialist skills development through funding to support post-graduate training for local authority-provided specialist support services available to education settings, e.g. educational psychologists and teachers of the vision or hearing impaired. In 2018 for local authority provided teachers of sensory impaired learners.
National Carers Action Plan
We identified, in early 2019, a need for a new plan of action and we have now committed to development of a new strategic, national carers action plan.
The Carers Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) which was established in 2018-19, met twice in that year, is set to meet for the 5th time to advise in the construction of the new national strategic plan for carers. This will build on the 3 national priorities.
In 2018 we announced that an Engagement and Accountability group would be created. In 2019-20 this group is being established and will feed back into the Carers MAG and provide representation from a broader range of carers’ experiences, including young carers.
Following earlier development plans in response to calls from young carers and carers’ organisations, we began work and reviewed commissioned research, into a potential model for a national young carers ID card. This will enable young carers to access the support and recognition that they are entitled to under the SSWB Act 2014, when in contact with education and health professionals in particular.
Since early 2019 we have been progressing this work, and from summer 2019 actively engaging with Welsh local authorities to co‑produce the project.
Objective 2: Advice and advocacy
Ensure the adequate provision of high quality, accessible advice, information and advocacy services to enable people with protected characteristics to understand and exercise their rights and make informed choices.
Scores on the Doors
The ‘Scores on the Doors’ campaign for access certificates in public places, developed by Bridgend Coalition of Disabled People, and has been the subject of a petition to the National Assembly. I am supportive of the principles behind this campaign and am very pleased that this is being taken forward. The proposal links well with, and supports commitments we have made around the Social Model of Disability and accessibility in our new Framework, ‘Action on Disability: The Right to Independent Living’. We have asked Disability Wales to work closely with Bridgend Coalition of Disabled People to develop a pilot which is likely to be delivered later this year.
Digital Communities Wales
Between 1 April 2017 and 30 June 2019 Digital Communities Wales helped over 780 organisations to support over 67,000 people with the motivation and skills needed to use the internet effectively. In addition, 2,048 volunteers were placed and over 6,300 front line staff and volunteers were trained.
The programme trained 4,600 Digital Heroes (young volunteers) to help older people in hospitals and care homes to engage with digital technology.
Wider digital inclusion of our citizens, particularly our older population, can contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of the population, to continuously improve the quality of care provided and to ensure we get the maximum value from the resources we have available. Digital inclusion is key to ensuring that the health sector maximises the potential opportunities to improve access to information and introducing new ways of delivering care through digital technologies. Clearly, those who cannot use digital technologies will struggle to access digital health and wider services.
Additional Learning Needs and Education
The ALN Code sets out the requirement for LAs to provide advice and information on ALN in various formats to ensure accessibility to all relevant audiences. This might include, for example, producing leaflets or posters targeted at the different audiences and developing apps targeted at older children and young people.
A public consultation on the ALN Code and draft regulations took place between December 2018 and March 2019. In light of feedback from stakeholders, consideration will be given to how the Code can be made as clear as possible, allowing those with functions under the Act to fully understand their statutory obligations and to operate the new system.
In 2018, as part of the ALN Transformation Programme, 5 ALN Transformation Leads were appointed to provide advice, support and challenge to local authorities, schools, early years settings and further education institutions as they prepare for implementation of the new ALN system.
In 2018 we published rapid evidence assessments and guides on effective interventions to support children and young people with autistic spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Access Statements/Accessibility Guides remain a minimum requirement for participation in the Visit Wales Quality Assurance Schemes. The purpose of these is for businesses to describe their accessibility provision accurately so that visitors can make informed decisions as to where to stay in view of their requirements.
The Visit Wales Grading Criteria Booklets, indicate to tourism businesses the standards and facilities required to achieve a quality grading, and include best practice Accessibility hints and tips for Quality Advisers continue to signpost businesses to websites and organisations that provide further assistance.
Financial assistance was provided to support tourism businesses and initiatives to improve their accessibility provision. Here are some examples:
- The Barmouth Beach Club, Barmouth received £60,000 to create a purpose-built 4 star guest accommodation that could cater fully for people with all different types of physical or mental impairments, with fully-qualified staff and additional accommodation for carers.
- Canvas & Campfires, Llanwnnen received £25,000 to add 2 fully-accessible safari tents.
- Seawake, Menai Bridge received support for a new purpose built 10m fully-accessible rib boat allowing access for wheelchair users and people with impaired mobility.
- Caswell Bay, Gower £68,000 provided towards an £85,000 project cost to create high quality ‘Changing Places’ facilities with specialist beach equipment. The facilities have been specifically designed for people with profound physical or learning disabilities, as well as other impairments that severely limit mobility. Visit Wales has been encouraging the sector to work with social providers to enable more people, and a wider range of people, to take a holiday in Wales.
Objective 3: Employment and skills
Identify and reduce the causes of the employment, skills and pay inequalities related to gender, ethnicity, age and disability including closing the attainment gaps in education and reducing the number of people not in education, employment or training (NEET).
Increasing the number of disabled people and those with limiting health conditions into work
Since the UK government’s publication of their 10-year strategy ‘Improving Lives the future of Work, Health and Disability’ the Welsh Government has continued to work closely with both the Work and Health Unit and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to link in with the delivery of increasing the number of disabled people and those with limiting health conditions into work across Wales. This has included actions to increase the awareness of DWPs Access to Work Scheme and increase the numbers of employers to become part of the Disability Confident Scheme in Wales.
In Wales, the Welsh Government’s Employability Plan (published March 2018) set out a cross-government programme of work to support people into employment and significant work has already been taken forward (see Action 3.1). In the Plan Welsh Government has committed to increase the number of disabled people in work.
The plan also supported delivery of the framework “Action on Disability: The Right to Independent Living”, which was published on 18 September 2019, to tackle inequalities and poverty experienced by disabled people, by promoting equality of opportunity and supporting them to more easily and readily access education, employability, and skills support and progress towards meaningful employment. This includes working with the public, private and third sectors, and the epartment for Work and Pensions to understand, and minimise, the barriers preventing disabled people, and others, from entering and progressing within sustained employment.
The framework is accompanied by an Action Plan which included commitments to support working-age disabled people into employment through the creation of a network of Disability Champions and the introduction of Welsh disability award scheme for employers.
We are working with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to review and strengthen the Welsh specific regulations for the public sector equality duty, which include duties around race and disability employment and pay gaps.
In December 2018, the Welsh Government launched the Inclusive Apprenticeship Disability Action Plan. The plan was co‑produced and endorsed by a group of disability employment specialists (Inclusive Apprenticeship Working group) and contained practical actions to remove barriers for disabled people accessing the Apprenticeship programme. We have been making good progress against the actions contained within the plan; creating more inclusive, accessible marketing materials, making changes to our eligibility criteria and improving support for both individuals and employers. Latest figures show, for 2017 to 2018 5.6% of all learners in a work‑based learning provision are disabled. We are working with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to review and strengthen the Welsh specific regulations for the public sector equality duty, which include duties around race and disability employment and pay gaps.
The Welsh Government’s Employability Plan (published March 2018) sets out the government’s ambitions to support people into work today, whilst also preparing the workforce for the challenges of the future. 10-year targets were set to close the gap with the rest of the UK to reduce unemployment, economic inactivity, increase qualification levels and increase disability employment.
The plan has 4 distinct themes:
- providing an individualised approach to employment support
- underlining the responsibility of employers to support staff
- closing skills gaps
- preparing for a radically changing labour market.
It presents an ambitious strategy to create a highly trained and inclusive workforce, one that can respond effectively to national and regional skills needs, and adapt well to the future of work. At the centre of this ambition, we committed to helping everyone achieve their full potential through meaningful employment, regardless of their ability, background or protected characteristic.
The plan has been designed as a complementary part of the overall picture of inclusive economic growth within a fairer society, which Welsh Government wishes to develop; and works across government, in pursuit of common goals, to deliver greater employability outcomes for the people of Wales. We are working collectively to focus our efforts, reduce duplication and maximise existing resources in order to achieve our ambitions.
The long-term improvements in the labour market continued in the year to March 2019, with an increase in the employment rate and falling unemployment and economic inactivity rates in Wales (Employment rate by Welsh local area, year and gender on StatsWales). The employment rate was 73.1% in the year to March 2019, up from 72.8% the previous year and the highest figures since comparable records began. Economic inactivity fell to 23.3%, the lowest on record, and the unemployment rate fell to 4.5%, which is very low in historical context. On all 3 measures, the gaps between the UK and Wales narrowed.
Disability employment rates also increased (Summary of economic activity in Wales by year and disabled status, up to March 2013 on StatsWales). Wales’ disability employment rate increased from 45.3% to 48.1% in the year to March 2019. This was below the UK rate of 51.4% but the gap has narrowed, with a faster increase in the disability employment rate in Wales than for the UK as a whole. The overall gender pay gap in Wales increased slightly in 2019 to 14.5%, compared with 13.7% in 2018 (2017 – 14.8%). (See below details of the robust public sector equality duty established to tackle pay and employment differences.)
The proportion of 16 to 18 years olds not in employment, education or training (NEET) has increased slightly by less than one percentage point to 10.3% in 2018, but remains one of the lowest seen in over a decade. Youth unemployment rose by 0.7 percentage points to 14.2% in the year to March 2019. (2018 NEET data is provisional).
The Energy Wales Unit (EWU) has worked with the nuclear industry’s UK wide “Women in Nuclear” (WIN) network to increase the membership of Welsh women members, promoting the message to potential WIN team members and organisations who may be interested in its work. The Nuclear Institute and Women in Nuclear (WiN UK) held the Wales Region Launch in October 2017, but work has been limited in 2018-19 due mainly to the suspension of Wylfa Newydd. A wider representation at the annual Digital event The Digital Festival was the ICT Sector’s flagship event. The Digital festival 2018 took place on 21 & 22 May in Millennium Centre, Cardiff.
The event attracted just under 2,000 delegates, of which there were 34% female (up 1% on the previous year). These are above industry average of approx. 19% female.
45% of the speakers were female and there were 60% female room hosts. There was also a Women in Tech lunch held on the 21st, where women from different areas of the tech industry were brought together for networking.
A workshop focussing on the recommendations of the Talented Women for a Successful Wales report was delivered to members of the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Cluster Companies.
During the year the Cluster also welcomed representatives from Careers Wales and the Regional Skills Partnership to their meetings where the opportunities to engage with local schools were discussed. This resulted in the development of a collaborative approach to ensure Life Sciences companies maximised their attendance at school events.
As part of a package of support to Tata Steel, we provided financial assistance in apprenticeship and graduate recruitment, supported an increased number of female recruits into laboratory technician apprenticeships and the first female engineering apprentice the company have recruited in 3 years.
The National Digital Exploitation Centre, or NDEC, is a world-class dedicated technology hub situated in the South Wales Valleys. It began operation in January 2019 and has been co-developed by the Welsh Government, the University of South Wales, and technology company Thales, it has been set up for SMEs, academics, organisations and individuals that want to learn more about technology, access state-of-the-art facilities and obtain quality advice from respected digital experts. NDEC provides training in digital practices, plus gives help and support for companies looking to refine their ideas, develop their business and take advantage of the digital opportunities that Wales has to offer. They have close links with schools in Ebbw Vale and beyond, and offer a range of opportunities to young people interested in digital technology, including careers guidance, field trips and work shadowing.
Objective 4: Harassment and abuse
Reduce the incidence of all forms of harassment and abuse, including (but not limited to) violence against women, hate crime, bullying, child abuse, domestic abuse, and abuse of older people.
Anti-bullying in education
Between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019, we continued to carry out extensive engagement with partners and key stakeholders to inform the revision and update of anti-bullying guidance. Between 14 November 2018 and 15 February 2019, we publically consulted on the draft anti-bullying guidance, which supported by regional workshops. Representatives in attendance at these workshops included: children and young people from North and South Wales regions; charity and third sector organisations such as ‘Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (EACH)’, ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ and ‘Disability Wales’; the Police; local authority Gypsy Traveller Services and people from Roma and Gypsy Traveller communities in the South Wales region.
Feedback from the consultation and stakeholder engagement workshops has highlighted a number of areas where the draft guidance could be further strengthened to provide better support to all those involved in challenging bullying in schools. This included the request for clearer provision supporting individuals impacted by bullying on the grounds of additional learning needs, age, culture, disability, gender, sex, race, religion, and sexual orientation.
The revised suite of guidance and supporting resource toolkit was published for anti-bullying week 2019 (11-15 November 2019).
Barnados Cymru continue to develop the suite of Child sexual exploitation (CSE) resources, which will be posted on HWB along with the CSE film for year 6 produced by the All Wales School Liaison Core Programme.
Objective 5: Diversity and public appointments
Deliver a more diverse pool of decision makers in public life and public appointments by identifying and addressing barriers to engagement and participation for people from diverse backgrounds.
The Welsh Government is taking specific and targeted action to increase the diversity of public appointments in Wales. ‘Reflecting Wales in Running Wales’ is the Welsh Government’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy for Public Appointments. It been developed in partnership with senior leaders, under‑represented groups and the voluntary sector. It is a statement of intent and sets a direction to consider action to better raise awareness of public appointments and to ensure that the process is as inclusive as possible. The strategy outlines the strong moral, legislative and business case for diversity and inclusion and intends to build on the good work already undertaken by Boards. Broadly, there are 5 goals:
- to gather and analyse data (particularly diversity data) better
- to build a robust public appointment pipeline
- to ensure that we have open and robust and potentially new types of public appointment assessment processes
- to ensure Board members are fully knowledgeable and aware of equality and diversity, particularly in relation to their role
- to strengthen leadership in relation to inclusion and diversity.
Reflecting Wales in Running Wales was launched in February 2020 by the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip.
Sport Wales’s remit letter for 2018–2021 makes it clear that there is an expectation for them to invest effort and resources where they are needed most, where there are significant variations in participation and where there is a lack of opportunity or aspiration to be active. Furthermore, their recently-published Strategy sets out 6 areas of strategic intent, of which one is to ensure everyone has the opportunity to be active through sport – where sport is inclusive and provides a great experience for all. Sport Wales are also remodelling their approach to supporting the delivery of local sporting opportunities by introducing the Community Sport and Activity Programme. This has the aim of getting more people active through sport, with a focus on young people and those who face the greatest barriers to participation.
Planning Directorate e sponsored Planning Aid Wales to empower individuals and community groups to engage more effectively in planning issues affecting them, including the preparation of development plans and the determination of planning applications. It also ensured the views and concerns of third parties affected by development were taken into account by the Welsh Ministers, in the preparation of legislation, policy and technical advice. Planning Aid Wales were also used as a delivery mechanism for development and training on planning matters to these groups.
Wales Rural Development Plan (RDP) funds The Women in Agriculture programme which is part of the wider Farming Connect service. It aims to support women and new entrants to overcome barriers and develop the skills they need to establish and run a sustainable and successful business.
2 events for women in agriculture were held in June 2018 with 86 delegates, ‘The benefits of red meat in a healthy balanced diet’, was the topic for keynote speaker Dr Carrie Ruxton PhD, Nutrition Communications in the Bangor on Dee forum and in Llandrindod Wells, by Professor Robert Pickard, Emeritus Professor of Neurobiology at Cardiff University. An opportunity to have a brief one-to- one conversation with a number of well‑known faces in agriculture including representatives from government and industry boards, banking, the media, and specialist agri‑marketeers was available at this event. The programme for both events was concluded with Nuffield scholar and well‑known journalist and broadcaster Anna Jones addressing delegates on ‘Help or Hinder?’ coverage of farming issues in the news media.
During the reporting period, the programme also supported women within the industry to join together to share experiences and explore potential solutions expanding outside the normal commercial sphere through dedicated Agrisgôp groups. The Lampeter Women in Agriculture group travelled to London to attend the Meat Women in Business event. A number of groups of women are now working to add value to primary sector products which includes a focus on lamb, they discuss the issues in the supply chain impacting on their businesses and families. From this was borne the development of their own boxed lamb sales and the development of more convenience lamb products to meet the need of the growing demand for ‘quick to cook’ meals.
Encouraging future women leaders is also a key priority to sustain the equality agenda. The Women Leaders Agrisgôp group, established to encourage women to explore their strengths and weakness to understand the necessary leadership skills required to lead a thriving industry was central to this group’s development, events to encourage debating, explore what is required to make sound judgement in business including diversification were also on the agenda.
Objective 6: Community cohesion
Strengthen community cohesion by fostering good relations, inclusion, mutual respect and understanding within and between communities across Wales.
Hate Crime Criminal Justice Board
The Hate Crime Criminal Justice Board Cymru met 3 times during 2018-19, and discussed issues including hate crime reporting, age‑related hate crime and responding to terror attacks. The board brings together key partners from the 4 police forces, offices of the police and crime commissioners, the crown prosecution service, community cohesion coordinators and the third sector.
The board is a standing group to advise Welsh Ministers and policy makers about tackling hate crime. The 2018 Hate Crime Inspection report by the Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services highlighted the Hate Crime Criminal Justice Board’s consistent and coordinated approach as good practice.
Hate crime funding
£360,000 of additional funding was provided to Victim Support Cymru’s National Hate Crime Report and Support Centre. The additional money, on top of their annual funding, will help increase their capacity to provide support and advocacy to victims of hate crime. The service is free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Victim Support has specially trained staff and volunteers who can provide tailored emotional support for victims of hate crime to help individuals cope with their experiences.
£480,000 was provided to develop the Hate Crime Minorities Communities Grant for organisations who work with ethnic minorities and minority faith communities to deliver projects to tackle hate crime in Wales.
The Welsh Government provided £360,000 in 2018-19 to fund a network of eight Regional Community Cohesion Co-ordinators across Wales. The Co-ordinators played a vital role, working with local government, communities, the voluntary sector and local services to foster cohesion, tolerance and respect, and help counter the threat of extremism and hate crime.
In 2018 the Welsh Government developed a Communications Network to promote a pan-Wales narrative of inclusion, tolerance and respect. This involved sharing positive messages and challenging negative stereotypes around immigration, Gypsy, Roma and Travellers and the protected characteristics of Race, Religion or Belief, Sex, Disability, Sexual Orientation, Gender Reassignment and Age. Partners included local authorities, the grant recipients of the Equality and Inclusion Funding Programme, Welsh police forces, Trade Unions, EHRC, the Welsh Local Government Association, the 4 Police and Crime Commissioner’s offices and partners in the third sector. These messages were developed with partners and tended to focus on specific occasions or anniversaries in the year such as Black History Month or Hate Crime Awareness Week. The Welsh Government also provided funding to partner organisations to mark events on those dates.
The Equality and Inclusion Programme 2017 to 2020 funded representative organisations to provide services and support to people and communities throughout Wales under 7 themes:
- Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
- Refugees and Asylum Seekers
- Gypsies, Roma and Travellers
- Hate Crime.
The funded organisations, EYST, WEN Wales, Stonewall Cymru, Disability Wales, the Asylum Rights Programme consortium led by the Welsh Refugee Council, TGP Cymru and Victim Support Cymru worked closely with the Regional Community Cohesion Co-ordinators, and took part in regular networking events hosted by Welsh Government and by the organisations themselves to share knowledge and provide updates on current issues and on joint initiatives to promote equality and cohesion in Wales.
The Welsh Government’s ‘Nation of Sanctuary - refugee and asylum seeker plan’ was co-produced with key stakeholders in the Third Sector and Public Sector. The plan addressed many of the recommendations made in the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee report – “I used to be someone” – as well as other important issues for refugees and asylum seekers, and was published in January 2019.
Objective 7: Poverty and inequality
Reduce poverty, mitigate the impacts of poverty and improve living conditions for those groups most at risk of living in low income households, particularly disabled people, lone parents, certain ethnic minority groups, and families with disabled children.
The Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF) has supported 214,326 awards to the most vulnerable people in Wales, with £44.8 million in grants since April 2013. Demand continues for the fund with March 2019 seeing the highest number of applications received in a single month since it began in 2013. As a result of this rise in applications the budget has been increased by £2 million to accommodate the increase in need, thus ensuring the most vulnerable have access to this support.
The Council Tax Reduction Scheme is supported with £244 million of funding from the Welsh Government provided through the Local Government Settlement. As a result, almost 300,000 vulnerable and low-income households in Wales continue to be protected from any increase in their Council Tax liability, of which 220,000 continue to pay no council tax at all.
The Welsh Government is committed to ambitious target of providing a further 20,000 affordable homes during this term of government.
In 2018-19, new contracts were awarded to deliver the Warm Homes Programme Nest and Arbed schemes to improve standards in social housing and helping people on low incomes or living in the most deprived areas of Wales. The schemes were designed tackle fuel poverty by improving the thermal and energy efficiency of homes for people living on a lower income. In the reporting year, more than 15,600 homes received free and impartial energy saving advice through the Nest scheme and more than 3,800 households received a home energy improvement package. These improvements delivered an average estimated annual energy bill saving of £409. The area based Arbed scheme delivered home energy efficiency improvements to a further 145 homes in 2018-19.
Fusion: Creating opportunities through culture
The Fusion programme concentrates on helping those communities experiencing economic disadvantage. These communities traditionally face barriers in accessing culture and heritage, and the benefits they can bring.
Several Fusion partnerships worked successfully in 2018-19 in a targeted way with Refugee and Asylum Seeker groups. Examples include the City & County of Swansea, which held a series of arts, music, museum and creative writing workshops and visits for 250 refugees and asylum seekers, working with organisations such as Swansea Music Hub and the Dylan Thomas Centre. Swansea also ran Asylum Seeker and Refugee Awareness Training for 15 people from cultural organisations in the city. The partnership produced a short film on the programme to celebrate Refugee Week in June 2018.
Fusion is embedded within the Nation of Sanctuary Plan (see Objective 6 above) and grant terms and conditions were amended so that other Fusion areas were expected to work with refugee and asylum seeker groups in 2018-19.
The Fusion programme has provided a number of opportunities to individuals and communities with protected characteristics or who are disadvantaged or under-represented.
The Fusion Programme provided individuals in deprived communities with greater opportunities to take part in culture and heritage activities. Through it, Welsh Government has worked in partnership with museums, archives, libraries, castles, theatres, housing associations, schools and volunteering agencies.
The Fusion Coordinators have highlighted the following figures:
|Fusion indicator||2017 to 2018||2018 to 2019|
|F1 Supporting the Early Years and Family Learning||4979||13087|
|F2 Gaining a qualification||423||720|
|F3 Regular volunteering as route to work||332||761|
|F4 Completing a work experience placement||110||160|
|F5 Improved digital skills||50||997|
|F6 Improved attitude to formal learning||2689||3046|
|F7 Better able to manage mental well-being and physical health||2941||5400|
Objective 8: Welsh Government as an employer
Welsh Government will aim to be an exemplar in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion agenda by 2020.
As an employer, the Welsh Government is committed to promoting equality of opportunity and values individualism and diversity. All Welsh Government staff are expected to understand their responsibilities with respect to equality, diversity and inclusion.
The Welsh Specific Equality Duties include a requirement to collect and publish data on the number of people employed, recruitment information (both externally and internally), employment information by gender, training, grievances and disciplinary procedures and employees leaving the organisation. The Welsh Government captures and reports this data in its Annual Employer Equality Report.
Board Equality Champion and Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group
Work has continued this year to advance equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, supported by our Board Equality Champion, Diversity Champions and Staff Networks.
The Board Equality Champion ensures that workplace inclusion is considered at the highest levels of the organisation. The Board, chaired by the Permanent Secretary, discusses equality and diversity formally every 6 months. The Permanent Secretary is very clear about her commitment to advancing equality, diversity and inclusion within the organisation.
The Staff Diversity Network chairs attended the Board meeting in September 2018, to talk to the Board about their achievements, priorities, concerns or other issues. The Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group met 5 times during this period. Membership included the Board Equality Champion, the 4 Diversity Champions (members of the Senior Civil Service from each of the Business Groups), Staff Diversity Network chairs, Trade Union Side and Human Resources.
The group was responsible for ensuring that the actions contained within our Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan 2016–2020 were delivered and that equality, diversity and inclusion was embedded throughout the organisation.
The Welsh Government supported and encouraged 4 Staff Diversity Networks. These networks give under-represented groups a voice. They offered networking opportunities to provide a different sort of support to colleagues than would normally be available. The networks provide a chance to meet others in the same position, and to share issues and ideas. They also acted as an advisory body to internal policy makers, and offered opportunities for staff to gain or develop new skills.
Our 4 staff networks:
- Disability Awareness and Support Group (DAAS)
- Minority Ethnic Staff Network (MESN)
- PRISM Network (LGBTI+)
- Women Together Network
The networks were self-governing and nominated their own representatives who liaise with the employer. They aimed to support members by providing a safe and effective forum to share ideas and address issues as they arose. They provided opportunities for coaching, mentoring, training and attending events. They also worked with the organisation to positively influence our policies and practices. The network Chairs were members of the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group.
We had informal peer support group networks:
- Carers Network
- Mind Matters (Mental Health) Network
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Network
- Adoption and Fostering Network.
Equality and diversity training
All training courses designed by the Welsh Government are regularly reviewed to ensure that equality, diversity and inclusion is mainstreamed throughout.
The Welsh Government is committed to fairness and inclusivity in its role as an employer. The corporate learning and development offer is aligned to support this ethos, whether through actively driving the equality and diversity agenda or mainstreaming the key messages across its programme of learning.
Some highlights for the 2018-19 financial year include:
We held a licenced ‘TEDx’ event on the theme of ‘Strength in Difference’ attended by 100 staff from across the organisation. It featured inspirational, motivational speakers talking about their own experiences of “difference”, including protected characteristics, mental and physical health conditions or socio‑economic circumstances. The aim of the event was to strengthen understanding of the value of diversity, get people to consider their own unconscious biases and suggest practical steps to drive inclusivity within their teams. The organisation has continued to support colleagues’ career and development aspirations by promoting attendance at dedicated conferences, including Women into Leadership and BAME into Leadership. Welsh Government employees continued to have a range of equalities based face-to-face training available to them, including sessions focusing on inclusive leadership and creating an inclusive workplace. The SCS Masterclass on Unconscious Bias was mandatory for our senior leaders.
The online offering, spanning our internal intranet, Civil Service Learning and NHS Wales platforms, provided valuable opportunities for staff to access learning on a variety of equality and diversity related topics at a time convenient for them.
A huge amount of work has been underway to develop a new learning management system, which will function as the online hub for all Welsh Government learning and development activity. Not only will this enable staff to access the programme of learning more easily, but it will allow us to provide a more engaging and varied resources, like film, animations and online tools – across all our offices. The new platform will be thoroughly user-tested to ensure it meets all accessibility and bilingual requirements.
More Inclusive Talent Programmes
We launched our new Future Proofing Talent Programme, a development programme, for experienced and high-performing colleagues at Grade 7 level to prepare them for Senior Civil Service roles. Successful candidates are to be given at least two postings in Welsh Government priority roles over three years and a structured and bespoke learning programme to develop their leadership capability.
As part of the recruitment offer we highlighted 10 roles that were suitable for job sharing and offered guaranteed interviews for BAME and disabled colleagues who applied.
59% of the successful candidates were women and the proportion of successful BAME candidates exceeded the proportion of BAME colleagues in our workforce as a whole.
Workforce diversity targets
Our Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan sets out workforce targets to increase the number of women working in the Senior Civil Service and to increase the number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and disabled staff in our workforce.
The targets are:
- 50/50 by 2020 – gender balance in the Senior Civil Service by 2020
- 2.5% BAME staff by 2020
- 5.8% disabled staff by 2020
The 50/50 by 2020 target was a pledge made by our former Permanent Secretary, Sir Derek Jones KCB, in 2014.
The other targets were set in 2016, following analysis by our Knowledge and Analytical Services, and agreed by our Board. At the time of setting these targets, BAME staff were 2% of the workforce and disabled staff 4.8%. Whilst the targets might not sound ambitious, they were realistic given our staffing data and projected staff numbers.
Progress against targets
Our 50/50 by 2020 target for a gender balance in our Senior Civil Service. As at 31 March 2019, the percentage of women in the SCS was 40.8%.
Our target for disabled staff in the workforce is 5.8% by 2020. As at 31 March 2019 the percentage was 5.5% (increased from 4.8% in 2016).
Our target for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff is 2.5% by 2020. As at 31 March 2019 the percentage was 2.4% (increased from 2% in 2016).
Employer Equality Annual Report 2017-18
Regulation 9 of the Equality Act 2010 (Statutory Duties) (Wales) Regulations 2011, requires listed authorities to collect and publish certain employment information each year for their workforce, including that information broken down in respect of each protected characteristic. Regulation 16(2) (f) permits the employment information to be captured in a separate report from the Annual Equality Report, providing that separate report has already been published by the time the Annual Equality Report is published.
The Welsh Government publishes its Employer Equality Annual Report by 31 March each year.
The report provides an overview of the work undertaken to progress equality and diversity in the workplace including:
- Workforce data
- Recruitment and outreach activity
- Training provision
- Activities aimed at supporting an inclusive environment.
The Employer Equality Annual Report for 2017-18 was published in March 2019. The report for 2018-19 will be published in March 2020.
The following indicators are sourced from departmental management information: Workforce representation rate by protected group:
Women make up 59% of the workforce at Welsh Government, and are thus over represented relative to the population.
Of those who responded to questions on other characteristics, 2.4% are non‑white; 5.5% are disabled; and 3% are not heterosexual.
45% of staff are married or in a civil partnership, with 25% not declaring their marital status.
Christianity accounts for the largest number of staff (42%). ‘Other religion’ accounts for 4% of staff, while those who preferred not to declare account for 26%. The remainder are those without a religion (25%) and non‑responses (3%).
Finally, the age of members of the workforce is normally distributed, with 73% of staff within the 35-59 age groups and reducing numbers at the younger and older ends of the scale.
Workplace Diversity Benchmarking/ Accreditation
In the 2019 Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, Welsh Government was one of only 14 Top Trans Employers and was placed 8th in the UK for its support for LGBT staff. PRISM was awarded “Highly Commended Network”.
We were awarded Gold Status by A:gender (the UK Civil Service Network for trans and intersex staff) for our trans inclusive policies in January 2019.
We were listed in Business in the Community’s Top Employers for Race in October 2018.
We achieved Disability Confident Level 3 (Leader) accreditation in October 2017, which is valid for 3 years.
We continued working with Chwarae Teg, undertaking their Fair Play Employer Benchmark to improve gender equality.
Additional activities during 2018-19
Activities are overseen by the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group and have included:
- Further expansion of our reverse mentoring scheme – over 40 members, around a third of the Senior Civil Service are being reverse mentored.
- Disability Confident session for the Senior Civil Service.
- Development of non-binary guidance.
- Introduction of a gender neutral toilet in our Cathays Park office.
- Update of all policies, guidance, processes and facilities for pregnant and nursing employees; development of guidance for line managers.
- Launch of Social Model of Disability guidance.
- Future Female Leaders Development offering being introduced.
- BAME development programme being designed.
Gender pay gap
The gender pay gap as at 31 March 2019 was 8.54% or £3,365. This has increased slightly from 7.96% as at 31 March 2018.
This increase is disappointing. A number of possible reasons for the increase in the pay gap have been identified.
The Welsh Government employs more women than men but women are over‑represented at lower grades. Recent large scale recruitment exercises e.g. for apprentices and for temporary staff to work on Brexit have exacerbated this by bringing more women than men into lower grades of the organisation.
A voluntary exit scheme run during the same period saw more higher-paid women leave the organisation than men.
Our pay gap does not arise from problems with equal pay but reflects levels of seniority in the organisation. (Historic underrepresentation of women in senior roles only changes slowly due to lack of turnover in senior roles). We continue to work to reduce our gender pay gap where doing so is within our control, e.g. by targeting pay awards at our lower grades where women are overrepresented, by supporting women aiming for the Senior Civil Service and it’s feeder grades, and by developing our evidence base for any factors which may limit women’s progression in the organisation, which contribute to our gender pay gap.
The Welsh Government undertakes regular equal pay audits designed to highlight any areas of risk within our pay system.
Gender pay gap reporting requirements for public sector organisations in Wales are different to those in England and Scotland due to the Public Sector Equality Duty. Gender pay gap figures published by UK Government departments are calculated differently so comparison with them is difficult. The Welsh Government’s figure of 8.54% is lower than some comparable organisations in Wales, e.g. Powys County Council (9.8%) and Swansea Council (11.1%) but higher than others, e.g. Cardiff Council (3.2%) and Newport City Council (4.8%).
The Welsh Government does not currently publish a disability or ethnicity pay gap figure. We are working with colleagues in Knowledge and Analytical Service (KAS) to update our annual equal pay audit with a view to calculating and publishing disability and ethnicity pay gap figures in the future.