Thursday, 4 June 2009
Our Equality and Diversity Board met yesterday - I've been a member of it since it was an Equality Steering Group formed in 2004, and have seen it change and evolve through being a Scrutiny Board, to one which still scrutinises but also offers help and support to departments to embed the diversity agenda. It's a good group and I enjoy it (unless you're the department being scrutinised....). We talk about a wide range of topics and at this one we looked at policies around declaring disabilities and health issues, particularly mental health ones, in job applications. This is obviously a sensitive subject and requires careful handling. We also looked at the diversity agenda in relation to big construction contracts, another interesting area - you don't see many women on building sites! Issues here relate mainly to the supply chain - our contract is usually with the main contractor who may actually employ very few people, but then subcontracts the work out to many other firms. Finally we looked at procurement and how we can use our purchasing power to change behaviour in large companies and how we can increase the diversity of firms we purchase from by helping local businesses win contracts.