Equalities Sub-Committee (7pm) - 30 November 2020

30 November 2020
Equalities Sub-Committee (7pm) - Agenda and reports




For a virtual/remote meeting to be held on Monday 30 November 2020 at 7pm

Members of the Equalities Sub-Committee


Stephen Giles-Medhurst (Chair)

Sarah Nelmes (Vice-Chair)

Matthew Bedford

Roger Seabourne

Steve Drury

Phil Williams

Alex Hayward

Reena Ranger

Stephen Cox

Joanne Wagstaffe Chief Executive

20 November 2020

(The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 made under the Coronavirus Act 2020 enable Council/Committee meetings to be held in a virtual format and enables remote attendance.

The meeting starts at 7pm and will be virtual/remote meeting in that it will be conducted at no specific location and all participants are at various locations, communicating via audio and online.

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public to its discussion on Part I agenda items at Committee meetings.   Contributions will be limited to one person speaking for and one against each item for not more than three minutes. Please note that in the event of registering your interest to speak on an agenda item but not taking up that right because the item is deferred, you will automatically be given the right to speak on that item at the next meeting of the Committee. Details of the procedure are provided below:

Members of the public wishing to speak will be entitled to register and identify which Part I report they wish to speak on from the published agenda for the remote meeting. Those who wish to register to speak must do so by notifying the Committee Team by e-mail 48 hours before the meeting. The first 2 people to register (1 for and 1 against) will be sent a link so that they can join the meeting to exercise that right. This will also allow the Committee Team to prepare the speaker sheet in advance of the remote meeting to forward to the Chair of the meeting.

In accordance with The Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014 any matters considered under Part 1 business only of the meeting may be filmed, recorded, photographed, broadcast or reported via social media by any person.

Recording and reporting the Council's meetings is subject to the law and it is the responsibility of those doing the recording and reporting to ensure compliance.  This will include the Human Rights Act, the Data Protection Act and the laws of libel and defamation.

Please note that the meeting is being held virtually. The Part I business of the meeting will be live streamed at (Link archived)

The virtual/remote committee meeting protocol is provided below:


1.               APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

2.               MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the Equalities Sub-Committee held on 24 August 2020.



Items of other business notified under Council Procedure Rule 30 to be announced, together with the special circumstances that justify their consideration as a matter of urgency. The Chairman to rule on the admission of such items.


To receive any declarations of interest.


Three Rivers Community Safety Partnership set an objective to investigate the experiences of our communities, to understand how people have been affected by prejudice and discrimination, the impact this has on an individual and the resulting community needs.  The insight gleaned will guide work with partners, to tackle discrimination and prejudice. This survey looked particularly at the 9 protected characteristics, but was also interested to understand any challenges or experiences of any other marginalised group. This report provides a summary of the survey, outcomes and recommendations.



The sub-committee will receive an updated work plan for consideration



At the Council meeting on 20 October 2020 it was agreed that the following motions would be referred to the Equalities sub-committee.  The following motions will be taken individually in the order provided.  All the proposers and seconders of the motions have been invited to the meeting to present their motion under new Rule 11(11).



(annex for Motion 2)

Motion 1 - Councillor Sara Bedford and seconded by Councillor Phil Williams to move the amended motion under Notice duly given as follows:

Supporting Trans and non-binary people

Council notes that Trans people face significant disadvantage in society. One in four Trans people report being discriminated against in work, over a third avoid expressing their gender through physical appearance in fear of being assaulted or harassed, and almost 50% of Tran’s people have attempted suicide at some point in their lives. (see https://www.stonewall.org.uk/sites/default/files/trans_stats.pdf )

Council believes that:

  1. Tran’s men are men, Tran’s women are women, and that non-binary genders are valid.
  2. Trans people deserve respect and autonomy
  3. Transphobia has a hugely detrimental impact on the mental health and well-being of trans individuals
  4. It is our duty as community leaders who seek to create an open and tolerant society to speak out against transphobia and make clear it will not be tolerated.

Council therefore resolves to:

1. Ensure that all Council services, both directly provided and through partners, are fully accessible to all, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity.

  1. Work to provide at least one gender neutral toilet where possible in every public building owned or operated by the Council, and encourage partners to do likewise.
  2. Ensure that the Council’s constitution, policies, forms, and all internal and external communications are gender neutral.
  3. Subject to the availability of and within existing resources, to create a network of informal LGBT allies across officers and councillors to support all members of the Three Rivers LGBT communities.

Motion 2 - Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst to propose, seconded by Councillor Chris Lloyd to move under Notice duly given as follows:

Not every Disability is Visible

This Council notes that:

The charity Crohn's and Colitis UK is encouraging venues providing accessible public toilets to install new signage. This is to help stop stigma and discrimination towards people with invisible illnesses such as Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.

There have been instances nationally where such individuals using an accessible toilet have been accused by others of being ineligible to use them.

These signs have two standing figures and a wheelchair user with the words Accessible Toilet and the logo.  Not every disability is visible. The Government has decided recently that large accessible toilets for severely disabled people known as Changing Places will be made compulsory for large new buildings, such as shopping centres supermarkets, sports and arts venues, in England from 2021.

Council resolves to:

Ensure that accessible toilets on Council premises bear these signs.

Ask town and district centre retailers and leisure outlets to do likewise with their accessible public toilets.

Seek advice from the charity Crohn's and Colitis UK on the information and training we should provide to Council Staff members.  This is so they understand these illnesses and to prevent potential embarrassment for those who suffer with them.

Ensure that any Changing Places toilets in our buildings are properly signposted for visitors.

Ensure that the any legal requirement to provide new Changing Place toilets is included within any of the Council's future plans.

Motion 3 - Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, seconded by Councillor Sarah Nelmes to move under Notice duly given as follows:

This Council is appalled by the evidence of racism and discrimination that have blighted the lives of so many in the UK and concerned by the evidence of the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on BAME communities.

The Council during Black History Month and at time where Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities globally are expressing their anger and frustration with institutional racism which disproportionately affects them, takes this opportunity to restate our condemnation of racism, discrimination and hatred in all its forms.

This Council reaffirms its underlying our values of equality and inclusion. Recent events have highlighted once again the sad truth that discrimination and racism still looms large, particularly against members of the black community both abroad and at home in the UK.

Council restates its determination to condemn racism where we see it but also to develop and maintain a proactive anti-racist approach across the council. Part of this is acknowledging the hard truth that there are inequalities within our organisation and our communities. These inequalities can only begin to be fixed by speaking to and understanding members of our workforce and our residents who have been disadvantaged because of their ethnicity.

Council acknowledges that, alongside the threat of overt racism, there exists deeply ingrained and often unconscious discrimination across all levels of society. As a council representing a diverse community, we have an important role to play in dismantling biases and systemic oppression.

As an organisation we endeavour to make Three Rivers and Hertfordshire a safe and inclusive place of opportunity for all of our residents. Three Rivers District Council remains committed to doing our part to achieve this and play our part in the hard task of removing racism and discrimination from our society.

Council therefore:

  1. Endorses this approach, calling out racism as an evil that has no place in the Council’s workplaces;
  2. Supports the holding of a Q&A event for the Council’s BAME staff with senior leaders to understand their concerns and required actions;
  3. Affirms its commitment to condemn racism, discrimination and hatred in all its forms.

8.          OTHER BUSINESS – If approved under item 3 above.


If the sub-committee wishes to consider the remaining item in private, it will be appropriate for a resolution to be passed in the following terms:- “that under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined under paragraphs 1-7 of Part I of Schedule 12A to the Act. It has been decided by the Council that in all the circumstances, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.” 1.         OTHER BUSINESS – If approved under item 3 above. General Enquiries to the Committee Team at: committeeteam@threerivers.gov.uk