County council backs motion to address socio-economic disadvantages in decision making process

18 March 2022

Cambridgeshire County Council has unanimously backed a motion to address inequalities.

The motion, put forward by Councillor Hilary Cox Condron, called upon the council to adopt the Public Sector Duty regarding Socio-economic Inequalities which requires it to adopt transparent and effective measures to address the inequalities that result from differences in occupation, education, place of residence or social class as part of its strategic decision-making process.

To support this, the council will adapt its equality impact assessment tools and processes to take account of this Duty to support members and officers in their decision-making, and will regularly review, update and publish the data held about socio-economic inequality across the county.

The council will also review, develop and implement training and communications for staff and Members to raise awareness of this duty within its wider Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work, and to develop better understanding of how it applies to council policies and practices, as well as the services delivered.

Councillor Cox Condron said: “We know that many residents across the county are facing hardship, stress, ill health, isolation, higher crime rates, lower educational achievement, and low paying jobs because of poverty and engrained socio-economic inequalities. We have to make fundamental cultural shifts to shield and support our most vulnerable residents and actively consider the way in which our policies and strategic decisions can increase or decrease inequalities.

“Adopting the Public Sector Duty regarding Socio-economic Inequalities is an incredibly powerful tool to help us address and reduce socio-economic inequalities in our communities. It would support inclusive approaches to strategic decision-making across the council, reducing the most pressing inequalities of outcome exacerbated by the pandemic, the cost of living crisis and ingrained socio-economic inequality.

“The Socio-economic Duty relates to everyone - residents with all protected characteristics and none, and will benefit all people on low incomes. Adopting this Duty will complement and strengthen our existing commitment and activity around all protected characteristics.”