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Equity and Inclusion Scheme 2022-24

Next Steps - Our Equity Objectives and Priorities

Objective 1:

Provide accessible, affordable, safe and inclusive transport services to our wide range of customers

Objective 1 Themes and deliverables:
Theme 1 – Travelling safely and securely: Reduce total recorded crime and improve passenger perceptions of personal safety on the transport network

Key activities: We will relaunch “Project Empower” which aims at tackling sexual harassment on public transport in the West Midlands; we will reach out to schools and community groups to press home the wider safety messages among young people, disabled people and harder to reach groups; we will continue to operate “Restorative Justice” for young people committing acts
of anti-social; we will actively run hate crime campaigns; we will create adaptive social media strategies which reach out and connect with, multiple communities; we will support delivery of a safer local road network with a focus on addressing inequalities for vulnerable road users through targeted road safety campaign

Theme 2 - Commonwealth games – Deliver an accessible and inclusive commonwealth games experience

Key activities: We will ensure all competition venues are accessible by public transport and that clear wayfinding and signage is available throughout; we will offer accessible shuttle buses from key transport hubs to venues and include blue badge parking in venues; we

will use a number of additional services to complement the public transport offer; we will introduce a range of easy to use ticket payment options for transport and offer free access to public transport for games staff and volunteers; we will deliver accessible infrastructure improvements including new stations and transport hubs and deliver improved transport links on Metro, Sprint and the rail network across the region and beyond

Theme 3 - Value for money, affordability and employment support: Ensure services offer good value for money and people are able to access employment, education and leisure opportunities

Key activities: Establish account based ticketing and fares capping to offer customers best value automatically and remove their need to consider complex fares; we will introduce inclusive fares and payment functions targeted at those customers that need the most support; we will continue to widen and improve the Workwise offer; we will commence a formal policy review into our current concessionary fares and Supported Travel Policies and explore new ways these policies could support more vulnerable people in the region; we will build on the work of the Covid-19 Equality Impact assessment into the transport needs of excluded groups and delivery on the Inclusive Transport Action Plan; we will explore the option of introducing a companion element to the concessionary pass through working closely with operators

Theme 4 – Sustainable travel and decarbonising transport: Narrow the sustainable travel inclusion gap and ensure sustainable travel modes are more easily accessible

Key activities: We will co-ordinate the inclusive cyclist group to make improvements for disabled cycling; we will continue to support cycling and walking events across the region including in more deprived areas; we will introduce the West Midlands Cycle Hire scheme to encourage end to end journeys

for people who do not ordinarily own a bike also considering concession options and incentives; we will invest in the development of community based cycling programmes so that disabled people can enjoy cycling

Theme 5 - Customer experience, communication and engagement – Improve customer experience for our diverse range of customers and engage effectively to understand and act on customer needs

Key activities: We will deliver equality and disability awareness training and resources for customer facing staff; we will continue to work with vulnerable young people in the region and explore new travel offers for young people including travel support for care leavers, those not in education, employment or training and those undertaking an apprenticeship; we will grow TfWM’s Youth forum and deliver projects tailed to young people’s needs

Theme 6 - Inclusive transport services for all: Ensure the infrastructure, information and services we provide are accessible to more people with a customer service that meets individual needs

Key activities: We will enhance infrastructure and customer experience at our bus stations and major interchanges through refurbishments and new station developments; we will extend our Metro network to improve accessibility and better serve the region; we will continue to explore opportunities for accessibility improvements in rail stations in the WMCA area; we will continue to run the subsidised bus network to provide socially necessary services; we will ensure production and publicity of accessibility related aids/ products that improve the travel experience of disabled people; we will continue to fund Ring and Ride provision and will improve its operational efficiency and customer satisfaction through a number of measures; we will explore options for community transport integration with wider public transport services; we will continue to use data insight as well as the TfWM ‘My Community’ as an online community network for conducting research and engaging in our diverse communities across the region

Theme 7 – Strategic transport and policy: Ensure our strategic transport schemes and polices are inclusive and promote an equal network

Key activities: We will launch our refreshed local transport plan, supporting our 5 motive for change including ‘Creating a Fairer Society’; we will deliver on a more integrated and inclusive network which will support inclusive growth; we will consider Covid-19 impact on different groups and identify how transport can support equitable access to employment and training, especially those hardest hit by the pandemic.

Key outcomes include:

  • Improved safety and security on the net- work and improved perceptions of safety for some of the most vulnerable groups

  • An inclusive, affordable and accessible Commonwealth Games experience

  • Introduction of new and retention of existing policies that help support transport inclusivity by delivering affordable trans- port solutions

  • Increase in cycling take-up by a diverse range of residents

  • Accessibility improvements in transport infrastructure

  • Increased Ring and Ride customer satisfaction and a higher take-up of the service by a diverse range of disabled users

  • A Transport Plan with clear inclusivity and accessibility targets


Objective 2:

Deliver schemes, strategies and programmes across the WMCA that help deliver positive inclusion and equitable outcomes, also reducing socio-economic disadvantage and poverty, for our region’s diverse communities

Objective 2 Themes and deliverables:
• Theme 1 – Affordable and inclusive housing provision: Implement the affordable housing policy and delivery programme supporting regeneration and generating high quality employment for local people

Key activities: We will invest in town centre sites to support their regeneration and repurposing; we will invest in priority brownfield sites across the region to bring them forward for housing and employment delivery; we will bring together investment in targeted inclusive growth corridors generating additional social and economic growth; we will support the embedding of the WMCA affordable housing definition and will continue to ensure that 20% of single commissioning framework new housing is affordable housing; we will introduce minimum apprenticeship requirements in WMCA enabled developments and support improvement in youth unemployment rate through supply chain appointments; we will deliver quality through the west midlands sustainable design charter to make good design the norm; we will engage with local charities to support homeless families into accommodation

Theme 2 – Skills Equity: Drive up skills levels amongst the region’s communities to secure sustainable employment and enhance skills at higher levels so that all communities benefit from the region’s economic growth

Key activities: We will continue to deliver a range of approaches to prepare young people for future work; we will establish clear career

entry routes and pathways for unemployed adults and those looking to reskill, particularly under-represented groups; we will accelerate the take up of good quality apprenticeships, targeting under-represented groups; we will commission skills provision for disadvantaged groups; we will support people to deliver language skills; we will continue delivery of the employment support pilot for unemployed people or those on low incomes; we will support skills upskilling for those who need it the most; we will support retraining for those at risk of losing their jobs to automation; we will deliver an increased range of higher skills training to support growth in productivity and earnings; we will develop additional, sector- specific training and recruitment programmes to help unemployed people access good local jobs; we will deliver a Commonwealth Games Jobs and Skills Academy to support local people in gaining jobs, training and volunteering opportunities, including under- represented groups.

Theme 3 - Public Service Reform: Deliver
on the promise of more inclusive growth, with the confidence to shape investment, infrastructure and services more deliberately around social and economic goals

Key activities: We will work with local authorities and other partners to support and promote social innovation activity through a toolkit and flexible team; we will co-ordinate activities to address social challenges, including through a Coalition for Digital Inclusion; we will convene local authorities to address health inequalities by tackling some of the wider determinants of poor health; we will convene partners to design out homelessness, through the Homelessness Taskforce programme of activity; we will deliver a Covid-19 recovery programme; we will develop collaborative approaches with the Police and Crime Commissioner to reduce crime and improve the criminal justice system

Theme 4 – Wellbeing Create a region in which positive, proactive and preventative approaches to citizen wellbeing and engagement are normalised, giving our diverse population a better chance to thrive in life and work

Key activities: We will continue delivery of
the Thrive into Work programme offering employment support for people with a mental health and or physical health condition; we will expand the reach of the Thrive at Work employment programme, supporting positive workplace wellbeing; we will refresh the Mental Health Commission Thrive action plan and consider a Black Thrive initiative for the region; we will work with the Police and Crime Commission to improve the criminal justice system; and we will continue to roll out the Include Me programme, a regional approach to achieving wider engagement with disabled people.

Desired outcomes include:

  • Increased affordable housing supply (16.5000 per annum), including on brownfield land

  • Accelerated regeneration in town centres

  • Wider adoption of the Regional Design Charter and an increase in the proportion of accessible housing

  • A reduction in unemployment and
    the percentage of residents with no qualifications, along with an increase in the percentages of people with level 3+ qualifications ensuring benefits for the most disadvantaged groups

  • An increase in apprenticeship take-ups in the region

  • Better employment, health and wider outcomes for people with complex needs and reduction in regional deprivation levels

  • Reduction in health, housing, education and employment inequalities

  • A stronger commitment to diversify leadership in the region

Objective 3:

Ensure equity is embedded within all key WMCA work areas, the WMCA has a strong regional influencing role around the equalities agenda and decision making is informed by the needs of our diverse communities

Objective 3 themes and deliverables
Theme 1 - Embedding Equitability: Equitable considerations are an integral element of the decision making process

Key activities: We will embed the Equality Impact Assessment process within all core WMCA activities; we will revisit outcomes for groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and take action to address impact; we will develop clear diversity objectives and targets across all key WMCA delivery areas; we will develop stronger monitoring and reporting mechanisms on equality, equity and inclusion

Theme 2 – Community engagement and co-production: Engage with more of the region’s diverse communities to inform the development and delivery of our strategies and programmes

Key activities: We will deliver a varied portfolio of citizen engagement activity, such as the Young Combined Authority and Skills Street Team, to inform residents and future planning, to ensure all our decisions are shaped by residents, that our policy is fit for purpose, and to explore co-production approaches; we will define and articulate who WMCA communities are and identify how best to engage them and involve them in the decision making process; we will continue engagement and consultation with a range of community groups across all protected characteristics

Theme 3 - Social Value: Deliver equity through procurement by making sure that practices are fair, contractors abide by key equitable principles and social value is delivered through WMCA contracts

Key activities: We will continue to include equitable considerations in key procurement documents with equality remaining a mandatory assessment criterion; we will collect diversity data on business procurement and use that information to inform procurement application targets; we will explore ways to increase the reach and impact of our social value policy

Theme 4 – Influencing change: Work with regional stakeholders to improve diversity at senior levels and identify systematic opportunities for change

Key activities: We will implement key RACE Code principles within the WMCA; we will ensure there is a platform for the Young Combined Authority to challenge, inform and influence WMCA policy development and decision making; we will support Leadership Com- mission activity to drive systematic change and improve diversity at senior levels; we will convene a Race Equalities Taskforce to guide and drive action by WMCA and in the region to address racial inequalities through delivery and enabling activities ; we will convene a Life Chances Commission to better understand barriers facing young people in the region and shape targeted initiatives to address them; we will support the Leadership Commission to improve boardroom and workplace diversity; we will convene partners through a Coalition for Digital Inclusion; we will convene a Mental Health Commission to understand challenges and key priorities following COVID-19

Desired outcomes include:

  • Retention of Race Code Accreditation

  • A vibrant, representative Young Combined Authority that effectively informs policy making

  • Improved regional commitment to increase senior level workforce diversity

  • Effective use of social value to deliver com- munity benefits

  • An equitable procurement process that attracts a diverse range of suppliers

  • A consistent and solutions focused approach to engagement with residents that informs decision making

  • Equality impact considerations embedded within all key WMCA areas of work

  • Improve mental health outcomes for west midlands residents

  • A concerted effort to tackle regional racial inequalities

Objective 4:

Provide an accessible, diverse and inclusive working environment by improving the recruitment, retention, progression, development and overall experience of people employed by the WMCA, enabling the organisation to become an inclusive employer of choice where equity and equality informs our culture and behaviours.

Objective 4 Themes and deliverables:
Theme 1 - Workforce diversity: We attract and appoint a wider pool of candidates reflecting regional diversity and ensure employees are supported to make the most of their skills and talents

Key activities: We will review recruitment practices and establish a clear positive action approach; we will utilise apprenticeship Levy for skills uplift for under-represented groups and deliver structure work experience programmes targeting under-represented groups; we will deliver a number of positive action staff development initiatives; we will introduce and roll out Career Pathways within the organisation to inform staff development and support equitable access to progression routes

Theme 2 - Employee equality awareness and competence: Develop and improve staff equality and diversity skills, ensuring they are equality confident, competent and actively engaged in delivering the equality agenda

Key activities: We will run regular equality campaigns; we will continue to deliver equality training including targeted training for managers and customer facing staff; we will develop a number of equality resources to support employee awareness

Theme 3 - Understand and improve staff experience and staff voice on equality issues and ensure they are accountable for the delivery of the equality agenda

Key activities: We will further develop our staff diversity networks; we will run regular pulse surveys to understand employee sentiments and views on equality issues; we will ensure equalities is fully embedded within the newly developed individual performance management framework; we will introduce senior leadership EDI objectives

Theme 4 - Supporting employee wellbeing and facilitating equitable outcomes: Employees feel supported , are treated fairly and positive mental health and wellbeing is championed across the organisation

Key activities: We will identify and raise awareness of prevalent lifestyle conditions and identify ways to support employees; we will ensure wellbeing is a key consideration within our hybrid working policy; we will explore ways to enhance the staff benefits offer; we will create resilience and stress toolkits; we will introduce initiatives to help support employee mental health

Theme 5 - Workforce data and transparency: To improve the quality of equality and diversity workforce data we collate and how we use it to address barriers to employment for groups under- represented in the workforce and make publicly available

Key activities: We will continue to monitor our workforce profile; we will produce a biannual equal pay audit; we will introduce race pay gap reporting; we will develop and community race and gender diversity targets

Desired outcomes include:

  • An increase in staff diversity, where gaps have been identified (including at senior levels)

  • 100% mandatory training completion rates

  • Positive staff engagement and satisfaction levels in staff surveys with staff reporting positive perceptions of inclusion in the workplace

  • Successful internal mentoring and positive action development initiatives

  • Achievement of Gold Covenant status and retention of Disability Confident Leader status and Leaders in Diversity accreditation

  • Achievement of Thrive at Work wellbeing silver accreditation

  • Retention of low staff sickness absence rates

  • Reduction in gender pay gap figures

  • Visible/clear senior leadership commitment on the inclusion agenda

  • A detailed action plan is included as Appendix A, identifying actions under each individual theme.