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Equity and Inclusion Scheme 2022-24

Our vision and commitment

Everything we do at the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is geared towards improving some aspect of life for people across the region – that’s our reason for being here and it drives every move we make.

An inclusive West Midlands economy in which everyone can thrive and no-one is left behind is fundamental to our vision. Our residents must feel the benefits, in terms of physical and mental wellbeing, jobs and economic opportunities for all in healthy, inclusive, well connected, supportive and vibrant communities. These aims have never been more important than at present.

The wealth inequality gap continues to grow; health inequalities are rife; there are significant issues with poverty, youth unemployment, low skills and poor school performance. People’s race, class, gender, disability or age continue to determine, at least to some extent, their life outcomes and access to opportunities.

The economic and social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been severe and those who are already at the margins have been hit hardest. Not only has there been disproportionate impact on particular communities but existing structural disadvantages have been exacerbated nationally and regionally.

Despite our efforts to close the inequality gap, we remain a highly unequal and inequitable society. The challenge is significant and there is a role for us to play in driving positive change in the region.

To enable change we need a bolder, more systemic and more holistic approach to tackling inequity.

We need to fully understand the extent of existing inequalities and how they are interlinked.

We need to recognise the collective and differential impact of our strategies on our communities making sure that there is no disproportionate impact.

We need to work with our communities (especially those whose voices have not been heard) to design solutions that work for them.

We need to proactively seek ways to break the cycle of disadvantage for so many of our communities and support initiatives that work to close the inequality gap and drive forward equity.

Last but not least, equitable outcomes and inclusion need to truly be integral to everything that we do and a cross-cutting theme across all key priorities, strategies and objectives. We need to ensure that the voice of the citizen is integral to how we plan, decide and deliver as an organisation.

Our Equity and Diversity Vision is fundamental to our overall vision of improving the quality of life of everyone who lives and works in the West Midlands and is embedded within our values and strategic aims and objectives.

If we are to succeed in realising our organisational vision of “building a more prosperous and better connected West Midlands which is fairer, greener and healthier”, inclusion, equity and diversity need to be our guiding principles.

A summary of key strategic principles are outlined below. We will:

  • Work in a way which promotes equitable outcomes, diversity and inclusion and will model the changes we expect of others, also ensuring our employment, governance, decision-making and partnership working arrangements reflect these aspirations

  • Take into account and value individual and group differences and implement policies and strategies that recognise people’s different needs whilst also recognising intersectional commonalities

  • Ensure our policies, strategies and services meet the key needs of our communities and that, where relevant, there is citizen and partner involvement and influence in decision making, planning, policy and service delivery.

  • Challenge, where practically possible, any instances of inequity

  • Ensure our services are equally accessible to all by identifying barriers to access and by working towards using more accessible and inclusive solutions

  • Embed equality, diversity, inclusion and equity within our corporate priorities and key deliverables and monitor our performance in order to evaluate the effectiveness of our initiatives