Glasgow Equality Forum response to draft Concordat Action Plan

14th March 2019

GEF would like to thank all at GTSIN and GCC for the production of this Action Plan (Third Sector Concordat Draft 13 March 2019 PDF), as it has captured many of the concerns raised by the third sector at consultation events.  Having sought the views of our members, we would like the following feedback to be considered whilst it is finalised.

Our main headline comment would be there should be a specific action around equality and human rights, particularly as we have an Equality and Human Rights Convenor in Cllr Layden, and also to mirror the requirement that equality and human rights considerations are noted on Committee papers. 

Can we propose an action is added, such as “Monitor how equality and human rights will be progressed within delivery of each action of the Concordat” noting specific milestones and targets – particularly around City Deal/Clyde Gateway/ participatory budgeting – these areas of work could be delivered promoting rights of protected characteristic groups, increasing employment opportunities for example, but have a long track record of perpetuating exclusion of groups. 

The delivery of large scale economic projects is undertaken by departments with little if any linkage with equalities groups or the third sector, and therefore changes have to be made a strategic level and within this Action Plan, about how these barriers will be removed, and what targets the third sector and GCC want to aim for.

GCC reports on Equality Outcomes under the Equality Act 2010, could these be tied into the Action Plan aims? There is also the opportunity to link to the Community Action Plan and LOIP/Thriving Places areas.

No 1A3: Collaboration between Third Sector and Glasgow City Council on sharing good practice regarding EQIAs and Socio-Economic Duty requirements – Third Sector to have access to EQIA training at Glasgow City Council?

There is a long-standing disagreement between GEF’s position and GCC current practice regarding how EQIAs should be carried out. This is an issue across the wider public sector.

As member of CPP Equality Group sharing equalities expertise, this issue has been raised.  Because there are differing opinions, which relate to compliance with legislation, this is a tricky issue.

In principle, GEF could have a role in working to make EQIAs better, by providing good practice examples/ be part of training towards this action/ providing casework examples to staff developing this at strategic level.   We don’t think GEF members would want to participate in GCC training as it is designed currently. We could contribute to redesign of training for staff and how staff are supported, but there would need to be “buy in” from GCC officials, because rehearsing the same discussions with little change would be frustrating for everyone.

No1A4- Agreement on structure and purpose of the Third Sector Embassy, including resources & setting of tasks for future years/plans.

Equality networks and GEF would like to input through GTSIN membership about what we think this should look like. This could be a way to promote increased membership and participation across third sector, and significantly increase the visibility of third sector partnerships with GCC. Situating with Embassy within City Chambers will help build relationships with staff working there.

1B2- Pilot project with Clyde Gateway to involve Third Sector representatives in developing programmes – Health Inequalities/Population health joint working collaboration over next 10 years – would like to explore pilot of strategic approach with Third Sector.
(also 2C3 – City Deal and 2C4 – City Region)

Our members, particularly GDA and GVSREN want to be involved in these discussions, to increase employability and opportunities for disabled and BME people, who have not seen any demonstrable benefit from these initiatives so far, including City Deal.  A strategic approach would be mapping out how, over 5/10 years protected characteristic groups will see benefit in their lives, whether that be in job creation, increased service provision, community benefit and volunteering opportunities, transport, housing etc.  A truly co-produced approach brings in invaluable expertise that communities hold.

1B9- Co-produce first draft of Participatory Budgeting Framework

GDA and CRER have expertise delivering on pilot projects, these networks should have say in this work, so that there is clear expectations about how excluded groups are included, so that their involvement is progressively increasing.

A Draft Participatory Budgeting Framework already exists, which was developed at an event attended by a fairly wide range of third sector organisations. This outcome should not start from scratch, should be developing from existing work. To acknowledge the original development process, change wording to ‘further develop and finalise’ the Framework, for instance?

1D4- Facilitate Ward-based Participatory Budgeting process and support local Citizens Panels.

Participatory Budgeting process – from an equality point of view, it would be better if terms was changed to ‘resident’s panels’ instead of ‘citizens panels’ – we’ve heard previously that people who don’t have citizenship can misunderstand this and think they aren’t eligible to take part.

Almost all of the current work in pilots are so far on that there isn’t much to influence. The exception is the Pollokshields ward, which CRER is now going to be working on.

From what we can see so far, it seems that GCC’s expectation is that everything about the process should be entirely in the hands of resident’s panels, including identifying their own capacity building needs. So, for example, in supporting a group it might become apparent equality training is required, but the group would be perfectly entitled to say they don’t want it.

There may be a range of equalities issues emerging from the lack of prescription in these pilots, so following feedback and evaluation there are likely to be implications for improvement in the future. At the moment though, any further work on the PB Framework is probably the best opportunity for equality networks to influence this formally. 

If the Framework is set up and delivered upon well, over the medium-term, people with protected characteristics (and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, carers etc.) living in geographic communities will become more involved and engaged with PB processes, this will be demonstrable through equality data captured, and there will be measurable increases in service-provision/ access to funding for communities that were not participating in the older structures. 

1C6 Co-produce new grants programme

GEF supports the view of GTSIN about the central importance of co-production, moving away from consultation. If there is no one working within structures with co-production expertise, then GCC should consider engaging the services of someone external with co-production expertise to advise them from an early stage. Often when public bodies talk about co-production, they simply mean they’ll consult and listen to the results of consultation. This isn’t co-production; there’s a real difference in how this is done.

2A2- Extension of concordat & concordat principles to NHS, IJB, ALEOS

This is good news and we wholly support it. Particularly we consider that HSCP should be reporting along similar lines. We propose that HSCP could mirror these Action Plan outcomes along with their own strategies. This could be carried out and monitored through the HSCP Equality Working Group.

2C2 Explore current and future practice on strategic commissioning.
3A1 Monitor and evaluate the current Procurement Strategy (2018-2022)

GEF are interested in feeding in, for example around community benefit and clauses that promote rights of protected characteristic groups. We consider that a few well drafted clauses within commercial contracts valuing millions of pounds – around employment, apprenticeships, increasing BME and disabled workers within workforce, green space and town planning, transport links – could deliver big gains for our members. In line with our comments around City Deal/Clyde Gateway, good policy in this area could significantly increase opportunities for employment for protected characteristic groups.

These are big outcomes and we can input to best practice and fill the skills gap in terms of meeting Equality Outcomes and other aspects of the Public Sector Equality Duties.


14th March 2019