Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty
Today I am publishing our Equality Objectives for 2016-20. This marks the next step in our work to implement the Welsh Specific Equality Duties and tackle inequality in Wales.
In 2012, under the Welsh Specific Equality Duties, we published our first Strategic Equality Plan and Equality Objectives to address deep-seated and long-term inequalities for people with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.
Our Strategic Equality Plan and Equality Objectives have driven forward the Welsh Government’s actions to tackle inequality experienced by people from protected groups across Wales. The past four years have marked a milestone period of progress in the Welsh Government’s drive to make Wales a fairer nation.
The Welsh Specific Equality Duties require the Welsh Government to review and refresh our Equality Objectives every four years, to ensure we continue to work towards a fairer Wales, removing the barriers which limit opportunities and hinder aspirations.
As part of the review of our Equality Objectives, we undertook extensive engagement with our stakeholders across Wales last summer. The feedback we received clearly supported retaining the essence of the first set of Equality Objectives whilst also strengthening the link with tackling poverty, and broadening the scope to encompass the Welsh Government’s work on inclusion and community cohesion.
Five of our eight new Equality Objectives have therefore built upon and refined the content of the first set of Equality Objectives, ensuring we maintain momentum and build on the firm foundation of the last four years.
We have also developed two new Equality Objectives which reflect the views of our stakeholders. We have included an Objective on Community Cohesion and Inclusion, bringing together our ongoing work on Community Cohesion, Gypsy and Travellers and Refugees and Asylum Seekers under the umbrella of the Equality Objectives. In addition, we have included a specific Equality Objective on tackling poverty and inequality which strengthens our approach to addressing socio-economic disadvantage within protected groups.
As with the previous Strategic Equality Plan, included within the Equality Objectives is also an Objective focusing on the Welsh Government in its role as an employer.
The new Equality Objectives will contribute to the achievement of the Well-being Goals in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, including making Wales a more equal nation with cohesive communities. The Equality Objectives will drive action on tackling inequality and exclusion, building on the progress made over the first four years of our Strategic Equality Plan.
I am grateful to all organisations and individuals who took part in the consultation on the draft Equality Objectives and to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for the strong evidence base within ‘Is Wales Fairer?’ on which we and other public sector bodies have extensively drawn. All have helped to ensure the Equality Objectives for 2016-20 are focused on continuing to tackle the areas of greatest inequality in Wales.