Kirklees Council set ambitious plans on their inclusion journey
Today full council voted through the brand-new Inclusion and Diversity Strategy which focuses on an inclusive pandemic recovery.
Full council approved the new strategy which sets out the council’s inclusion aims for the next two years.
The four priorities of the new strategy are Inclusion First, Project Search, Culturally Confident Colleagues, and Inclusion Allies.
Inclusion First will ensure that council services embed inclusion at the beginning of the planning stage of any project or piece of work. By doing so the council can work more efficiently alongside Kirklees communities who need their support the most.
With only nine percent of adults with learning disabilities in paid work in Kirklees, the council has entered into a partnership with Project Search and Kirklees College to provide one-year internships to young adults. Over the coming years the council want to increase the number of internships offered and aim to retain fifty percent of each Project Search cohort to be full-time members of staff.
Culturally Confident Colleagues will ensure that council staff are trained to recognise and understand resident’s and colleague’s cultural value which will enhance service delivery and enable the council to become a more inclusive employer.
Building on the success of the internal employee networks the council plan to introduce ‘Inclusion Allies’. These allies would be a new tier of members who would challenge exclusion, amplify the voice of the network and champion inclusion and diversity in everything they do.
Kirklees Council has been recognised for its positive work on inclusion and diversity by international and national award nominations.
Cllr Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said:
“This strategy puts inclusion at the heart of everything the council does. It reflects our ambition to leave no one behind in our recovery from the pandemic.
“We made some really positive achievements towards our inclusion and diversity agenda in such challenging circumstances during the pandemic and I’m so proud of our residents, staff and partners who were instrumental in this.
“From flying the Windrush flag over the town hall, celebrating our first ever South Asian Heritage Month, marking the route of the Pride march in Huddersfield on its fortieth anniversary, the Iroko project being nominated for a European and British Diversity Award, the launch of our health checks programme for those most at risk, Project Search, and our name blind recruitment, to name a few.
“But we must not be complacent, we have more work to do and much more progress to make. I want Kirklees Council to be an employer of choice for all of our residents. To do that we must be honest about where we currently are and what improvements we need to see while also not being shy to shout about the excellent work we continue to do.
“Our diversity is our biggest strength in Kirklees and we are on a journey to maximising it.”