Walsall Council's experience of cumulative Equality Impact Assessment

An example of how a council significantly improved its equality impact assessment processes.

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Walsall is situated at the heart of the Black Country. A conurbation of former villages and district suburbs, Walsall’s ethnic and faith diversity started to change in the 1950s and 1960s with South Asian and Caribbean workers settling here. Today, the borough has a population of 281,293 and is proud of its multi faith heritage including Muslim, Sikh and Hindu faiths active in the town.

Like other parts of the Black Country, Walsall population has experienced poor health outcomes from the industrial era and health inequalities agenda continues to be a priority with 1 in 10 adults affected by limited long-term illness. The socio-economic indicators suggest a geographical divide with poverty and educational levels well below national average particularly in the North and South. Young people perceive lack of opportunities and this leads to disproportionate representation of older people in the make-up of the town.

According to the last census 1 in 4 residents have other than White British ethnic heritage and this is expected to increase with the Brexit settlement scheme. Certain national indicators, for example those collected by DfE and MHCLG, show structural segregation and therefore a significant investment was made into Walsall for All programme funded by MHCLG with emphasis on social mixing and improving equalities. The programme is delivered through voluntary sector and recently featured as best practice in the Social Cohesion Investment Report 2020.