Bristol Mayor, Marvin Rees has repeated his pledge to tackle race discrimination at the council and to work with partners to create a fair and inclusive city.
Speaking after the graduation ceremony of the city’s landmark black and minority ethnic (BME) talent development programme, Stepping Up, Mayor Rees said that while there is clear evidence of the council’s commitment to promote equality, diversity and inclusion, there will always be work to do.
He said: “My administration has driven the council to commit to inclusion and diversity. We have approached it with focus and urgency. We have a brand new senior team, developed for the first time a set of organisational values, established inclusive training, launched our Organisational Improvement Plan and a city Equalities Charter. However, I recognise the fact that old cultures, practices and attitudes can take longer than acceptable to change.
“I am aware that some members of our BME staff-led group have raised concerns, proving that more work needs to be done. When someone has a concern to raise or a complaint to make we have clear and robust processes for all employees to do so. Every voice must be listened to and all matters should be treated in the strictest confidence, in any situation where this is not the case I will take action.
“As Bristol’s Mayor and as a mixed race man of African heritage, I will work with allies of all backgrounds to create positive change and tackle all forms of direct and institutional discrimination.”
Since 2017 the council has undertaken a review of its equality and diversity functions leading to a number of new approaches being adopted to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.
Alongside the newly launched Equality and Inclusion Policy and Strategy, adopted by Full Council in November last year, the council has taken a number of steps to introduce guidance and training for staff about equality, diversity and inclusion.
Staff led groups aimed at representing council employees from minority groups were relaunched in 2018 and have enjoyed regular engagement with senior leadership and the Mayor since reforming.