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Equality duties

Read more about what we're doing to ensure that everyone has an equal start in Westminster.

Published: 7 January 2021

Last updated: 13 January 2021

Our approach to equality and diversity

We recognise that equality and diversity is not a parallel process or something to think about once a year. It is an absolutely fundamental part of improving services for everyone.

It is nothing to do with ticking boxes or bureaucracy, and everything to do with making Westminster a place where anyone can be happy to live or work.

It is central to delivering high quality customer services in the heart of London. We identify and actively address inequality, where evidence shows that it exists.

This diversity and the changing nature of Westminster’s population makes it a culturally and socially rich city, which benefits from the different experiences, perspectives and respect for others that this diversity brings.

This diversity also presents challenges. The best services are those services that are designed and delivered for the local community.

In a diverse and constantly changing city we have to embed an understanding of equality and diversity into everything we do.

This means recognising people’s different needs, situations and goals, and removing the barriers that limit access and achievement. 

Our duties

Under the Equality Act 2010, we have a duty to due regard to the need to:

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the act
  • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it
  • foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it

The protected characteristics covered by the Equality Duty are:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership (but only in respect of eliminating unlawful discrimination)
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race – this includes ethnic or national origins, colour or nationality
  • religion or belief – this includes lack of belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

Under the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011 we also have a duty to publish information annually which demonstrates how we are meeting and advancing the aims of the general public sector equality duty. We also must set equality objectives and review them at least every 4 years.

The information on this page includes information on how Westminster City Council is meeting its duties under the Equality Act 2010 and the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011.

The Westminster Equalities Partnership

The Westminster Equalities Partnership (WEP) is a strategic partnership of Westminster City Council, NHS Westminster (NHSW), Voluntary Action Westminster (VAW), Westminster Community Network (WCN) and an independent chair who all work together to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable and marginalised Westminster residents.

Our equality objectives

The Public Sector Equality Duty requires Westminster City Council to refresh and publish equality objectives for the council every 4 years.

The purpose of these objectives is to make sure that we have due regard of our need to:

  • eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and people who do not share it
  • foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not share it

Following a review of local evidence and consultation with staff held in January 2016 we identified 6 equality objectives for the next 4 years (2016 to 2020).

The council's 6 equality objectives are:

  1. Minimise loneliness, maximise independence and improve mental and physical wellbeing of older people.
  2. Better understand the needs of our diverse communities to improve our approach to tackling discrimination.
  3. Communities lead healthy lifestyles through increased participation in sport and physical activity.
  4. Promote equality of opportunity across the city by tackling barriers to employment.
  5. Create an environment where all children have an equal opportunity to succeed in life.
  6. Improve the diversity of our workforce.

We will report on these objectives yearly and will amend and update the objectives accordingly to ensure they reflect the most up-to-date priorities, ambitions and aspirations of the council.