Responding to the impacts of Covid 19 on Watford’s BAME communities and street name policy review task group - final report
Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Final report and recommendations of the task
Cabinet received a report of the Senior Democratic Services Officer and the task group’s final report.
The Mayor invited Councillor Ezeifedi to introduce the task group’s report. She explained that the task group had been set up following two motions that had been agreed at Council last year. The task group members had met various witnesses, including from the voluntary sector, community groups and officers from the county and borough councils. It had been a robust process and the task group’s recommendations had been presented to Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Councillor Ezeifedi explained each of the recommendations and the reasons that had been included in the final report. In addition she noted that there had been some discussion about the impact of overcrowding and multi-generational houses and their difficulties in self-isolating within the home. She appreciated that this was a challenging situation but felt it needed further investigation to try to find a solution.
The Mayor invited Councillor Collett, Portfolio Holder for Community to respond to the task group’s report.
Councillor Collett acknowledged that the Covid-19 pandemic had had a serious impact on the Black and Asian communities. The county council was reviewing the Public Health England report into this matter. She noted the recommendations and spoke about each one. The recommendations supported the council’s Road to Renewal plan. She thanked all members of the task group for their work, the Democratic Services Officers and the local community who had participated in the review.
Councillor Bell thanked Councillor Ezeifedi for her skilful chairing. All members had worked well together. He encouraged Cabinet to adopt the task group’s recommendations.
Councillor Watkin thanked the task group for their report. The review of internal policies would build on the council’s strengths and it was appropriate for them to be reviewed.
The Mayor noted that the street naming section had generated interest. He acknowledged the recommendation that future names should reflect the diversity of the town. He advised that currently the council did not have any plans to change any street names. Any new policy that was drawn up would ensure the involvement of residents and businesses.
That Cabinet approves the task group’s recommendations
Responding to the impacts of Covid 19 on Watford’s BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities
Watford Borough Council should agree a corporate
definition of BAME. The council should also assess how well the
needs of other communities, not captured in the task group’s
agreed definition of BAME, are understood and served.
2. The council should establish an equalities forum to include representatives of protected characteristics, as set out in the Equality Act 2010.
The council should develop a corporate equalities
The template for undertaking Equalities Impact
Assessments for new council policies should be reviewed to reflect
The council, in partnership with ward councillors,
should encourage all communities to complete their Census 2021
returns and to underline the importance of this data in formulating
future council policies.
6. Councillors should maximise their community role to share public health messages and particularly to encourage take-up of vaccines for Covid 19 and promote wider health screening programmes.
7. The council should provide compulsory training on equalities and unconscious bias for staff and members.
Street name policy review
1. The council should adopt a new street naming policy for the borough which sets out the process for reviewing existing street names as well as naming new streets and buildings to reflect the rich diversity of the town.
2. The council should commission Watford Museum to develop an education programme based around a new exhibition which explores the background and history of the town’s road names, including those identified as having negative historic links.
Report author: Ishbel Morren
Publication date: 10/03/2021
Date of decision: 01/03/2021
Decided at meeting: 01/03/2021 - Cabinet