Council makes commitment to diversity and inclusion

'Together we are inclusive' badge on council vehicles

At the Annual General Meeting of Westmorland and Furness Council, held today (9 May), councillors heard more about the council’s commitment to promoting equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

It followed the recent agreement by the council’s Cabinet of its first equity, diversity and inclusion statement. The statement explains the council’s ambition to reduce inequalities and discrimination in Westmorland and Furness and includes new equality objectives which set out what the council will be focusing on over the coming years and the range of activity that will be delivered to achieve the objectives.

The commitment means that the council will consider EDI in all that it does, whether in relation to individual customers, communities or its own workforce and councillors.

To make its commitment visible and highlight the importance of creating a more equal society, the council is proudly displaying a new badge on its buildings and vehicles. The multi-coloured heart shaped badges read ‘Together we are inclusive’ and can be spotted on many fleet vehicles, libraires, leisure centres and key buildings.

Councillor Virginia Taylor, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Communities and Localities, said:

“I am proud that Westmorland and Furness Council is prioritising EDI above and beyond the public sector equality duty that’s in the 2010 Equality Act. We are committed to delivering better services for everyone, and to do this we need a deep understanding of our citizens and communities. We believe we have a moral duty to tackle inequalities in health, education and employment – and as community leaders, we must be unwavering in supporting existing diversities amongst individuals and communities – as well as assisting everyone to adapt to changing times.

“As the council’s objectives and work develop over time, consideration of equity, diversity and inclusion will be built into everything we do, and our commitment will be permanent. Of course, there are stringent measures to ensure that our own staff enjoy equality of opportunity, and we will tackle any discrimination head on, whether in our workforce or in our relations with the community.”

When the council was established in April 2023, it immediately set out in its Council Plan how tackling inequalities and discrimination, as well as being inclusive, were key priorities.

It has now detailed how it will build the foundations for this as it continues to bring together the systems and processes of four legacy councils and develop a new approach for Westmorland and Furness Council.

The equality objectives and action plan will shape the council’s work over the next two years, allowing it to revisit plans and work with external partners to further develop its approach in 2026.

The council will report annually on the progress it has made on EDI and complying with the Equality Act 2010.