Agenda item

Councillor Amanda Wheeler

South Kesteven District Council recognises that systemic racism and inequalities still exist in the UK today. SKDC commits to ensuring there is no place for institutional racism or unconscious bias in its functions and practices and that it is an authority not just tackling inequality to meet a duty, but one that actively works with its communities and other agencies to fight racism and hate crime throughout the district.

As such, SKDC resolves:

·       To declare that this Council is intolerant to racism and will continue to seek to eradicate it, Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism and hate crime across the district by developing initiatives that are actively inclusive and anti-racist;

·       To ask organisations across the district to pledge their commitment to anti-racism and tackling inequality;

·       To initiate a review involving BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) members of our community, of processes, policies and organisational attitudes;

·       To invite appropriate speakers on these issues to help with training for councillors and staff.

Minutes:

Councillor Amanda Wheeler presented her motion:

 

“South Kesteven District Council recognises that systemic racism and inequalities still exist in the UK today. SKDC commits to ensuring there is no place for institutional racism or unconscious bias in its functions and practices and that it is an authority not just tackling inequality to meet a duty, but one that actively works with its communities and other agencies to fight racism and hate crime throughout the district.

 

As such, SKDC resolves:

 

·       To declare that this Council is intolerant to racism and will continue to seek to eradicate it, Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism and hate crime across the district by developing initiatives that are actively inclusive and anti-racist;

·       To ask organisations across the district to pledge their commitment to anti-racism and tackling inequality;

·       To initiate a review involving BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) members of our community, of processes, policies and organisational attitudes;

·       To invite appropriate speakers on these issues to help with training for councillors and staff.”

In proposing her motion Councillor Wheeler referred to the fact that it was Black History Month and that she had no first-hand experience of racism in the district.  She referred to the newly formed Stamford Anti Racialism Group and the survey it had carried out in Stamford and the surrounding area and gave examples of some of the racist comments experienced by people.   She stated that any report in the Rutland and Stamford Mercury which related to racism had attracted hundreds of comments on social media including offensive comments. 

 

Councillor Wheeler stated that change had been instigated within the community and she referred to Stamford Endowed School which had taken notice of the experience of their non-white pupils.  The school was tackling discrimination as a priority which included appointing student ambassadors and training staff.

 

She asked that the Council did the same to ensure that the district became the best place to live, work and to visit.  The motion was seconded.

 

An amendment was then proposed by Councillor Ray Wootten. In proposing his amendment he made reference to the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the work that the committee had done in relation to community cohesion and supporting  work carried out by the Jubilee Life Centre.

 

South Kesteven District Council recognises that there is no place for racism in the UK today. SKDC commits to ensuring its functions and practices are compliant with its legal obligation under the Equality Act 2010 and that it is an authority not just tackling inequality to meet a duty, but one that actively works with its communities and other agencies to fight racism and hate crime throughout the district.

As such, SKDC resolves:

·       To declare that this Council is intolerant to racism and will continue to seek to eradicate it, Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism and hate crime across the district by developing initiatives that are actively inclusive and anti-racist;

 

·       To acknowledge the work carried out by the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee of this Council, responding to the governments Green Paper on Community Cohesion in a positive way, by encouraging and recognising the diversity of our community and to celebrate all cultures.

 

·       To continue to engage with all members of our community through this council, the Jubilee Church, Muslim, Hindu and other faiths encouraging all new citizens no matter what their background, to cherish the values and principles that underpin British Society.

 

·       To respect freedom of speech, to have tolerance and understanding for other people’s beliefs, to integrate, and value our customs and way of life which is vital for the harmony and wellbeing of a successful community.”

In seconding the amendment Councillor Trotter referred to her experience as the Vice-Chairman of the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee and within the police and stated that institutional racism would not be tolerated and the Council would continue to support community cohesion. 

 

Monitoring Officer advice was sought on whether the amendment negated that motion, the advice was that the proposed amendment did not negate the effect of the original motion.

 

Following debate, in summing up Councillor Wheeler thanked those Members who had spoken in support of the motion which she felt did not contain anything controversial and she did not accept the amendment.

 

The amendment was voted on and the vote was carried.  Councillor Dilks requested that his vote against was recorded in accordance with Article 4.13.5 of the Council’s Constitution.

 

Further discussion on the amended motion then followed.  An  amendment was proposed that training should be included; this was not seconded.

 

A further amendment was made to retain the wording of the current substantive motion and reinstate the following bullet points from the motion submitted by Councillor Wheeler:

·       “To ask organisations across the district to pledge their commitment to anti-racism and tackling inequality;

 

·       To initiate a review involving BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) members of our community, of processes, policies and organisational attitudes;

 

·       To invite appropriate speakers on these issues to help with training for councillors and staff.”

 

The amendment was seconded.

 

The amendment to the motion before Members was voted on and on being put to the vote it was RESOLVED that South Kesteven District Council:

 

·       Declared that this Council is intolerant to racism and will continue to seek to eradicate it, Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism and hate crime across the district by developing initiatives that are actively inclusive and anti-racist;

 

·       Acknowledged the work carried out by the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee of this Council, responding to the governments Green Paper on Community Cohesion in a positive way, by encouraging and recognising the diversity of our community and to celebrate all cultures.

 

·       Continued to engage with all members of our community through this council, the Jubilee Church, Muslim, Hindu and other faiths encouraging all new citizens no matter what their background, to cherish the values and principles that underpin British Society.

 

·       Respected freedom of speech, to have tolerance and understanding for other people’s beliefs, to integrate, and value our customs and way of life which is vital for the harmony and wellbeing of a successful community.

 

·       Asked organisations across the district to pledge their commitment to anti-racism and tackling inequality;

 

·       Initiated a review involving BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) members of our community, of processes, policies and organisational attitudes;

 

·       Invited appropriate speakers on these issues to help with training for councillors and staff.

 

 

 

 

  

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