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Dwayne Johnson, Sefton Council’s CEO, shares message for Black History Month 2021

Black History Month, which runs throughout October, is an opportunity to celebrate the incredible history and contributions of our Black and ethnically diverse communities. I am really proud of the fantastic work that is going on across our Borough to promote equality, inclusion and empowerment within the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community.

I want to reiterate that as a Council we are completely committed to driving forward the race equality agenda, as an employer, service provider and as a partner both locally and regionally.

I would also like to take this opportunity to give an update about some of the strategies and projects we are currently involved in that will enable us to tackle race inequalities.

Sefton has a Corporate Equalities Group made up of representatives from across the organisation. The Group, which is chaired by a member of our Senior Leadership team, supports the Council in making sure equality and diversity is at the top of our agenda, internally and externally.

In addition to this, Sefton has established its own Black and Ethnically Diverse Staff Group. As well as providing a confidential space where members can share experiences, this Group plays a vital role in helping the Council to identify and address issues relating to race inequality.

Feeding back into Sefton’s Corporate Equalities Group, members offer solutions and recommendations about the issues that affect them and the organisation. This includes improving employee progression and empowerment through training and development opportunities, as well as consulting in new or existing policies, practices, procedures and strategies in areas such as Employment and Human Resources.

With the involvement of our Black and Ethnically Diverse Staff Group, Sefton is currently developing a ‘Race Equality Declaration of Intent’, which cements our commitment to ensure we promote equality within our organisation and across the borough. The Declaration outlines areas of focus including employment, retention and development to leadership within the Council. It also sets priorities, targets and timescales highlighting how we will monitor progress and achieve the actions agreed.

We are proud to be part of a new programme led by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, which brings together leaders from Merseyside Councils, community organisations, businesses and the public sector, to tackle race inequality.

As part of our involvement, Sefton’s Learning and Development team are playing an active role in the establishment of a £3.2 million Liverpool City Region Race Equality Hub.

One of the first of its kind in the country, the Hub, will focus on training, employment and support for people from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. It will target employment inequalities and remove barriers in the labour market.

As part of the Hub’s development Sefton is currently in the planning stages of a project which will see the roll-out of a programme of race equality training to the 22,000 people employed by the Combined Authority and all staff at the six Local Authorities.

As well as this, our Learning and Development team continue to offer a comprehensive mandatory Equality and Diversity training programme to all staff at Sefton. This includes Equality and Diversity Awareness, Equality and Diversity for Managers as well as Unconscious Bias.

This programme of work is so important in tackling racial injustice and inequality across the City Region. There is still a lot of work to be done locally and nationally but working together with our partners across the whole City Region, we will be committed to being proactive in our fight to overcome racial discrimination.