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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Main Hall - Clay Farm Centre, Hobson Square, Trumpington, Cambridge, CB2 9FN. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  Committee Manager

No. Item


Welcome, Introductions and Apologies


The Chair welcomed new members of the Panel, Councillors Holt and Massey.


Apologies were received from:

·        Councillor Thittala

·        Staff members: Ariadne Henry and Joe Obe

·        Public members: Graham Lewis, Orsola Spivak and Dr Susan Wan,



Declarations of Interest


No interests were declared.


Minutes of Previous Meeting and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 398 KB


The minutes of the meeting of the 20th November were approved and signed as a correct record.


Matters arising:

Helen Crowther will circulate open days at local Mosques when more have been organised. Prevent training will be organised for Equalities Panel Members from September 2018 onwards.



Safer Spaces pdf icon PDF 109 KB


The Panel received a presentation from Molly Byrne from Encompass Network on the background of Safer Spaces. This is a scheme Encompass Network runs in order to help make LGBTQ people in Cambridge feel safe, welcome and included when accessing businesses and services in the city. Helen Crowther, Equality and Anti-poverty Officer, then presented on how Cambridge City Council currently supports Safer Spaces and plans for future development of work in the area.


The presentations covered the following points:

i.     What Encompass Network is and what they do.

ii.    The rationale for Encompass Network in developing Safer Spaces, to support LGBTQ people to be 'open' in public and to tackle homo/bi/transphobic bullying or harassment in the city, including at work. 

iii.   Organisations signed up to Safer Spaces are supported in providing their customer facing staff with training, how to ensure policies and procedures are as inclusive as possible, and how to raise awareness about Safer Spaces’ principles.

iv.  Cambridge City Council intends to develop a more formal action plan around further work we plan to undertake in support of Safer Spaces for our staff and service users.

v.   The Council plans to work with Encompass Network to help launch the live Safer Spaces campaign.


The following questions were asked by the Panel:

i.     Is there going to be a Cambridge Pride celebration?

ii.    Does the Council plan to develop and deliver any events and activities for LGBTQ people (staff members or service users)?

iii.   How many hate crimes against LGBTQ people are reported in Cambridge?

iv.  Are there plans to carry out a further LGBTQ needs assessment following the assessment carried out in 2014?

v.   Where can people go if an incident occurs in a service or facility that has been designated a Safe Space?


The following answers were provided by Molly Byrne, Helen Crowther and members of the Panel:

i.     Councillor Zoe O’Connell said a Cambridge Pride celebration would be likely to take place next year.

ii.    the Council plans to raise awareness of other events and activities in the city as a priority, whilst raising awareness that we support Safer Spaces principles. There may then be appetite amongst staff to plan events and activities, as they will feel supported in doing so. The Council is going to look into the feasibility of a workplace celebration of LGBT History Month.

iii.   Hate-crimes against LGBTQ people in Cambridge are under-reported, due to a lack of awareness amongst victims about the actions that the Police can take in response. Officers agreed to circulate available hate crime data to the Panel.

iv.  If an incident has occurred in a service or facility designated as a Safe Space they can email: saferspaces@encompassnetwork.org.uk.



Single Equality Scheme 2018 - 2021 pdf icon PDF 267 KB

Additional documents:


Helen Crowther, Equality and Anti-Poverty Officer, shared the Council’s progress related to equality and diversity work over the last three years and how learning from the Single Equality Scheme 2015 -2018 strategy informed the 2018 -2021 strategy. She also introduced four areas of priority in the Single Equality Scheme 2018 -2021, identified through consultation and a review of evidence available on issues experienced by people with protected characteristics in the city. The areas were:

i)             Recognising how different protected characteristics experience poverty in different ways and how some are more likely to experience poverty than others,

ii)            Ensuring that our frontline services support people with mental health issues in the best possible way,

iii)          Helping to tackle discrimination experienced by Gypsies and Travellers, and encouraging them to get support they need from public services,

iv)          Helping to tackle loneliness experienced by older people, people with mental health issues and people in new communities.


The Panel were split into two groups to discuss what more the Council might do related to the areas ii) to iv). Helen Crowther said she would take feedback from Panel Members to inform the strategy going forward, and identify if there are any potential actions from the feedback to develop.


Group one identified the following issues:     


i.     Carer’s loneliness is a key issue that needs to be addressed. Can we raise awareness about partners’ work in helping to tackle carers’ loneliness (e.g. Care Network)? Can we help mothers with young children understand where they can seek advice on childcare support from, as a means to tackle loneliness?

ii.    Some Panel Members felt that discrimination against Gypsies and Travellers is considered as an acceptable form of discrimination by the public due to the media portrayal of the community. They discussed how we might need to work harder to challenge this discrimination in these conditions. It was suggested that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Cultural Awareness training for the community could be one way to do so.

iii.   The group also wanted to discuss generational poverty, although this did not directly relate to the three issues identified to discuss. They discussed the difficulty of young people transitioning to adulthood and living independently without the skills to do so. They asked about work City Homes is undertaking to support young people in new tenancies. Helen Crowther agreed to find out more.


Group two focussed on Gypsies and Travellers and identified the following issues:


i.     Gypsies and Travellers experience a greater level of discrimination, harassment and abuse than other groups of people. There may be a degree of under-reporting of harassment towards Gypsies and Travellers due to the lack of trust of public agencies. When anti-social behaviour occurs, there can be an assumption by other groups or communities that Gypsies and Travellers are responsible.

ii.    There may be opportunities to celebrate Gypsy and Traveller communities and help culture and tackle negative perceptions.

iii.   There is a need to build trust and links between Gypsy and Traveller communities and public agencies in Cambridge. Can we explore this issue with the Universities and other partners through the Equality and Diversity officers’ network?

iv.  There is a need for outreach advice and support for Gypsy and Traveller Communities. CAB currently provides financial and benefits advice, but not on an outreach basis. Disability Cambridgeshire provides financial and benefits advice to disabled people including Gypsies and Travellers, and would like to recruit a dedicated member of staff to provide this support.

v.   Whether Cambridgeshire County Council can prioritise adult social care services for Gypsies and Travellers who need this support.



Equality in Employment, Workforce Report, April 2017 - March 2018 pdf icon PDF 171 KB

Additional documents:


Deborah Simpson, Head of Human Resources, presented key facts on the Equality in Employment report, context on what the data tells us and some areas the Council is planning to investigate further. Some key points made included:


i.     In 2017/18, 6.97% people declared a disability (this was 6.84% for 16/17). The target of disabled people as a percentage of the Council’s workforce  remains at 7.5% for 2018/19.

ii.    In 2017/18 BAME staff representation was 7.18% (down from 7.71% for 16/17). The target for BAME representation for 2018/19 remains at 9.5%.

iii.   The gender profile is around 50% female and 50% male and the 45-54 age group is the largest.

iv.  The mean gender pay gap for Cambridge City Council is 3.19% in 2017/18 (compared to 3.98% for 2016/17) in favour of men. The median pay gap is 5.91% (and in 2016/7 it was 8.2%) in favour of men.

v.   In interpreting the data, the overall workforce numbers are reducing, which affects percentages. Also, as we have 803 staff, sometimes small changes to the make-up of the workforce will often impact on percentages significantly.


Members of the Panel asked the following questions:

i.             What impact has the transfer of City Council staff to the shared Waste Service had on the Council’s gender pay gap?

ii.            Why has the number of job applications that are from BAME people increased, while the percentage of successful applications from BAME people has reduced?

iii.           BAME staff are most represented in Band 2 roles – what types of roles are graded at Band 2?


Deborah Simpson provided the following answers to the Panel’s questions:


i.             Staff members in the waste service are predominantly male on lower pay scales. The transfer has impacted on our gender pay gap and South Cambridgeshire District Council’s as the employing authority for the shared Waste Service. South Cambridgeshire has reported a gender pay gap in favour of women.

ii.            The Council’s Human Resources service intends to conduct an audit of BAME recruitment applications in 2018 to ensure fair and objective decision making is being continued

iii.           Examples of Band 2 roles include administrative roles, care and support assistant roles, and street cleansing roles.



Any Other Business


Helen Crowther to send Consent and Privacy Notices for staff and Public Panel Members to sign and return in the post. This will ensure that Cambridge City Council meets its obligations related to GDPR.


Councillor Sheil provided information on an upcoming talk on Brexit.