City of York Council moves to rebuild Equalities partnerships with City’s Human Rights and Equalities Board

City of York Council’s Executive committee is set to agree proposals to move forward with a refreshed structure for York’s Human Rights and Equalities Board, in agreement with York Human Rights City Network.

A report to this evening’s Executive Committee meeting notes that this follows significant discussions to reset the relationship between the Council and the Network following a breakdown which arose from City Centre Access decisions made in 2021.

The move will re-establish an expert group who will be able to assist in a broad range of Equalities policy areas, along with securing expertise from the world-leading Centre for Applied Human Rights in developing and refining both the Council’s Human Rights and Equalities Analysis (“HREA”) and human rights training.

Cllr Katie Lomas, Executive Member for Finance, Performance, Major Projects and Equalities said,

“It is one of the four commitments of our Council Plan, ‘One City, for all’ that we will provide equal opportunity and balance everyone’s human rights by standing up to hatred and working hard to champion our communities.

“This work is about recovering the relationships the Council needs to make progress on that commitment and to ensure that both have the resources, expertise and tools needed to deliver on that commitment

In April 2017 York’s Lord Mayor signed a declaration making York the UK’s first Human Rights City. The declaration states that it marks an ambition, not a destination, and as such work on the human rights agenda should be ongoing, with human rights and equalities at the heart of policy and decision making in the city.

A January 2023 report recommitted to York as a Human Rights City and to moving forward in agreement with York Human Rights City Network, with a refreshed structure for the Human Rights and Equalities Board.

Once the Human Rights and Equalities Board is reconvened, and the new Human Rights and Equalities Analysis is in place, the authority will seek to provide dedicated equalities resources for Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion, and Human Rights work and ensure the meeting of statutory equalities and human rights responsibilities, including the need for additional training to support these responsibilities.

Cllr Lomas added,

“While this first steps rebuilds the partnerships we need to meet the ambitions of our plan, we need to to make a serious commitment to the work, especially at a time when the impacts of inequality are felt so acutely in communities across our city. If we are to deliver the best of our ambitious plan, that has to be on the basis that nobody is left behind, even in what are very tough financial circumstances for the Council and the people of the city”.