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Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES)

Introduction from our senior sponsors

Here at Norfolk County Council (NCC), we are committed to promoting equality of opportunity both for our residents and our staff. When the opportunity arose for our own services to put themselves forward to be part of the Social Care Workforce Race Equality Standard (SCWRES or WRES) pilot, we jumped at the chance.

Our reason for this was simple: we wanted to build on the work that had already started in the wider organisation around Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), demonstrating our commitment that everyone in our organisation is valued, and help us work towards being an inclusive employer. We saw this initiative and its approach as an opportunity to really look at the experiences of colleagues from different ethnic backgrounds compared to the experiences of white colleagues. By using the SCWRES tool to measure current experiences and looking at data across the nine indicators of the SCWRES, we have been able to identify where there are inequalities and through discussions with colleagues, networks, and wider organisational services, we have been able to come up with an action plan that is solution focused.

We recognise the need for greater representation of people from different ethnic backgrounds in social care leadership positions and, more broadly, greater development opportunities at all levels. We also recognise the importance of understanding what is required to truly be an anti-racist organisation. Being open and transparent about the findings and the actions we will take as a result is an integral part of the process and we are pleased to share the report for 2022.

James Bullion, Executive Director for Adult Social Services and Sara Tough, Executive Director for Children's Services

About the plan

This is NCC's Social Care Workforce Race Equality Standard (SCWRES or WRES) Action Plan for 2022-23. It is being delivered to ensure colleagues from a minority ethnic background have equal access to career opportunities and receive fair treatment in the workplace. It is focused on colleagues in the social care sector, working in Adult Social Services and Children's Services.

In January 2021, we joined a pilot of the initiative, alongside other local authorities, which has been led by the Department of Health and Social Care. This is our first WRES Action Plan.

The main purpose of the WRES is:

  • To help social care organisations review their data against the nine metrics (indicators)
  • To produce action plans to close the gaps in workplace experience between white and colleagues from a minority ethnic background
  • To improve representation of colleagues from a minority ethnic background at the senior level of the organisation.

Senior sponsors responsible for the WRES

  • James Bullion, Executive Director of the Adult Social Services Department
  • Sara Tough, Executive Director of Children's Services

Programme leads

  • Maanik Chadda, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Human Resources
  • Andrew Smith, Principal Social Worker, Adult Social Services Department
  • Michelle Dunsire, Service Manager Practice and Participation (Principal Social Worker)

Staff voice lead

  • Maanik Chadda, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Human Resources

Number of employees

4417 in Adult's Social Services and Children's Services. This made up 52% of Norfolk County Council employees overall, as of September 2021.

The action plan and the objectives

  • Objective 1: To enable colleagues to work in an environment free from bullying, harassment, and discrimination
  • Objective 2: To ensure that recruitment and selection practices are inclusive for minority ethnic colleagues and prospective applicants
  • Objective 3: To support all colleagues to reach their potential in relation to their job role as well as individual continuing professional development

Breakdown of the data and our action plan (PDF) [220KB]

Sign-off, reporting and evaluation

The WRES Action Plan will be monitored, reviewed, and evaluated following engagement and consultation with:

  • The WRES Project Group, which includes the Executive Directors of the Adult Social Services Department (ASSD) and Children's Services (CS), as well as leads across both services, Human Resources (HR), and the Equalities Team
  • NCC's Member led EDI Performance Board, on which sit the Director of Children's Social Care, the Director of Community Social Work in ASSD and the Director for People in HR
  • Employee and Advisory Networks which include colleagues from the Black and Asian Employee Network, the International Employee Network, and the Racial Equality Advisory Network

The action plan will run between May 2022 to May 2023. The WRES Project Group, the Advisory and Employee Networks and other colleagues will be consulted, where appropriate, in completing the actions. The plan will be reported on every 3 months and there will continue to be regular communication with all colleagues, including sharing key findings from the analysis and action plan.

The overall process has been led by the Executive Directors and actioned by the Director of Children's Social Care and Director of Quality and Transformation for Children's Services and the Director of Community Social Work for the Adult Social Services Department.

The Children's Services Anti-Racist Workforce, Practice and Assurance Action Group have also been engaged and have fed back into the process.

Data to deliver this plan has been taken from NCC's annual staff survey, NCC's HR system and Workforce Equalities Dashboard, and the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS). All data provided refers to colleagues who were directly employed in ASSD and CS and who have declared their ethnicity in the relevant data set, as of September 2021.

The WRES has also been taken into consideration into our wider EDI People Plan 2021-23 and we will aim to embed future WRES work and action planning into our wider inclusion work.

Measuring the data

The WRES requires organisations to measure themselves against nine metrics (indicators). All data is regarding colleagues in ASSD and CS who declared their ethnicity within the relevant dataset. Anyone who did not declare their ethnicity has not been included in this data. All data is accurate as of September 2021.

Colleague engagement

A summary of the key points from our engagement plan with colleagues:

  • A range of networks both for colleagues from different minority ethnic backgrounds, as well as those who wish to learn and support others, meet monthly or bi-monthly. The Racial Equality Advisory Network was established by NCC in November 2020 and is open to all colleagues. Following this, the Black and Asian Employee Network and the International Employee Network were established in 2021 by colleagues, and membership was decided by the network members - these are closed groups. All networks report to the Strategic Action Group.
  • The Strategic Action Group meet quarterly. This group is led by the Head of Paid Service and the Director for People, with support from EDI leads. Chairs of all Advisory and Employee Networks join and raise discussion points. The agreed actions are delivered by the EDI Working Group, made up of EDI leads across NCC, and are monitored by the EDI Performance Board, chaired by the Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnerships, while Cabinet has overall oversight. The outcomes of this helps formulate our action plans and strategy.
  • There are regular opportunities for all colleagues at NCC to engage with EDI conversations throughout the year, led by the Head of Paid Service.
  • There is quarterly progress reporting to the Advisory and Employee Networks, which is also shared on the intranet accessible to colleagues.
  • An annual cultural calendar was created and is followed to celebrate diversity and align workforce and service delivery activity.
  • There is a WRES section on both our intranet and our public website, where colleagues can see plans, progress, and find out how to feedback views.
  • Regular updates through internal communications including weekly blogs from both the Head of Paid Service and the Executive Director for Children's Services; a weekly digital newsletter; and a weekly manager's briefing.

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