I lead on what can broadly be called social justice policies for the Mayor, and over the past 2 and a half years have rewritten and had adopted equality and diversity policies – they are incorporated in a policy document called “Equal Life Chances For All”.
This incorporates the 6 equality strands, and moves them on from being bolt-on policies via HR department to mainstream, as a responsibility throughout the organization, ensuring that managers adopt all the practices of good management. When it was launched, Trevor Philips, Chair of the EHCR, and Megan SERTUC (South East Region Trade Union Council) spoke in its support policies.
Similarly, if economic policies are not based in social justice, they will be short lived.
Consequently, I also lead and sponsor Diversity Works for London, a programme that enables private industry to analyze their practices and policies to ensure that they meet the requirements of the 21st Century. It’s been analyzed by private industry that if a company has not got a diverse workforce (53% of the population of London is female and 17% of the over 50s have a disability), if it does not have a diverse supply base, or a diverse market over the next 20 years, the company will wither on the vine. DWFL is a programme that helps companies to achieve their objectives. Some 3,700 companies are signed up, including 65 of the FTSE 100 companies, and about 200 companies a week visit the site. So successful has the programme been that regional government in the UK has expressed a desire to adopt the programme, as has a number of cities and counties throughout Europe.
I believe in making sure that opportunities that exist in London are open to everyone who lives in this great city. London is not only one of the most diverse cities in the country but also in the world. It is a place where 300 languages are spoken and where art, food, prayer, poetry and every other kind of expression come in multifarious colours and sounds of each corner of the globe.
London has prospered greatly from the contribution of the people that have chosen to make it their home, but unfortunately not everyone in London shares that prosperity. All across the city we see huge inequalities such as extremes of wealth and poverty, disproportionate unemployment and variations in life expectancy. All of these must be challenged so that we can create a London where everyone can share in the success and prosperity.
We have set out an equality framework at the GLA called – Equal Life Choices for All. It’s aim is to:
Ensure that the capital’s diverse communities, particularly the vulnerable and disadvantaged, benefit from London’s success;
Ensure that all communities are supported in the economic downturn;
Embed equality at the heart of business and corporate planning;
Provide practical solutions that effectively tackle inequality;
Support the development across the London economy of diverse markets, workforces and suppliers;
Ensure that services delivered by the GLA group are accessible and appropriate to Londoners;
Ensure delivery of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which is accessible to and inclusive of all Londoners;
Ensure that we communicate and engage with all of London’s communities so that we understand and respond to their different needs, for example, through hosting Borough Community receptions at City Hall.