Policy document

Equality, diversity and inclusion 2022-2025

Published 18 April 2024

Public Sector equality duty

Rights and responsibilities

As a public authority the Council has responsibilities and a duty to fulfil for both its residents and staff. This was introduced in the Equality Act 2010 which replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act; simplifying the law, removing inconsistencies, making it easier to understand and comply with. It also strengthened the laws to help tackle inequality and discrimination.

The Equality Duty applies to public bodies which includes the Council and other organisations carrying out public functions.

It supports good decision-making by ensuring public bodies consider how different people will be affected, helping them to deliver policies and services that are efficient, effective and accessible to all by meeting different types of people’s needs.

The duty applies to nine ‘protected characteristics’: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation.


What the Council must do to fulfil this duty is:

  • Publish information to show compliance with the Equality Duty, at least annually.

The information published must show due regard to:

  • Eliminating unlawful discrimination harassment and victimisation  and any other conduct prohibited by the Act
  • Advancing equality of opportunity between people who share   protected characteristics and people who do not share it
  • Fostering good relations between people who share a protected  characteristic and people who do not share it
  • Set and publish equality objectives, at least every four years.

These should be specific and measurable.

By publishing relevant equality information to demonstrate transparent decision-making processes the Council becomes accountable to its service users. This in turns provides the public with the information they need to hold it to account, should they need to, for its performance on equality.

Armed Forces Act 2021

All councils have voluntarily signed the Armed Forces Covenant. The further enshrinement of the Covenant into law is an opportunity to build upon work councils are already leading to help serving personnel, reservists, veterans, and their families to have the same equality of access to public services as their civilian neighbours. This includes the areas of focus in the Act – housing, education and healthcare. Councils play a key role in the provision or commissioning of these services with partners and joining-up support around the needs of an individual and their family.

Our Armed Forces Community is included in our consideration of equalities impacts as part of decision-making.

Policy statement

Maidstone is the County Town of Kent, a historic market town with a rich and diverse history. It is constantly changing and evolving. What remains important as Maidstone changes and grows is that residents have a sense of belonging and community in order to prosper.

As a council we want to know our residents, we want to ensure that we are meeting their needs by offering opportunity and access to services through a conscious awareness and understanding of equality and diversity issues.

Our commitment to achieving this is outlined in the standards and actions set out in this document. These apply to staff, councillors and to those who deliver services on our behalf.

Maidstone Borough Council’s Strategic Plan 2019-2045 sets the Council’s strategic vision for the borough of Maidstone. It outlines the council’s priorities and informs on its values. Equalities are firmly ingrained in the council’s values.  This document helps determine not only the decisions made by the officers and elected members but it also advocates our approach to day to day business and conduct, and the way we treat our customers and each other.


Everything we do impacts on our customers, both internal and external. We will listen to and understand their needs, then take action to
provide the right services in a positive and professional manner.


Working together to achieve our objectives and goals in a way that that utilises talent and creativity of everyone in our organisation.


We work in an environment that encourages us to take ownership for our actions. Making the right choices and decisions that lead to a satisfactory
outcome for all.


We have the courage to act on our convictions to build trust and honesty We work with our partners and customers to create a feeling of openness and transparency in everything we do.


Taking care and weighing up our options, aiming to get the maximum effect for every penny of public money we spend.


Valuing our differences and understanding how they can contribute to a better working environment and services that are fair and easy to access

We will deliver on our commitment to equalities by setting an organisational standard through clear objectives for each of the three important roles and responsibilities we have as a council:

  • Role 1: As a Community Leader: We will engage with residents in an open and meaningful way.
  • Role 2: As a Service Provider: We will ensure our services are inclusive, accessible and support residents and customers.
  • Role 3: As an employer: To have a workforce that feels valued and respected.

Objectives and action plan

As a community leader

Objective - To lead by example, to ensure every individual resident is connected and supported.





We will work closely with our partners (Voluntary and Community Sector, Anchor Institutions, Parishes and Church and Faith groups) to:

  • Identify opportunities for joined up working and improving our ability to share information to support and engage our wider communities.

  • Increase volunteering opportunities and participation, funding and support.

Delivery of One View project (ongoing project):

  • continue to deliver the One View homelessness prevention project including exploring additional cohorts and new projects including damp and mould

Implement no wrong door (local campaign to signpost to services), and increase access to services (ongoing project):

  • it is important that this action remains and continues to be developed with partners in response to ongoing need

Develop a greater understanding of our communities through the Implementation of the Community Insight system:

  • provide members with access to profiles of their local communities to inform their work
  • provide information and training to relevant services to help inform strategy, policy and service development, embedding a culture of community
  • distribute access to local insight to our VCS partners to enable them to access community data to inform funding bids and service development

Provide access to digital training and support at Trinity House (ongoing project):

  • training suite up and running
  • training and Support offered
  • pilot with Digital Kent Volunteer Programme to support residents at Trinity House undertaken


Housing, Revenues and Benefits, Policy, Communities and Engagement

Data Analytics/Democratic Services

Housing/ICT/Policy, Communities and Engagement

Ongoing - update to be provided as part of EDI annual update

Ongoing - update to be provided as part of EDI annual update

June 2024

Ongoing - update to be provided as part of EDI annual update

We will undertake a review of consultation and engagement activities to ensure that they maximise resident participation and are representative of Maidstone’s demographic.

Increase engagement from our Seldom Heard Communities - (ongoing project):

  • work with the consultation institute and successful partner to identify and implement actions to increase engagement with those groups that are seldom heard

Delivery of Community Grants and support to Community Groups:

  • continue to ensure the delivery of grants to those organisations best placed in our communities to ensure the delivery of services at a local level

Policy, Communities and Engagement

Policy, Communities and Engagement

First round of project to be delivered by 31 March 2024 with further projects to be agreed

Ongoing - update to be provided as part of EDI annual update

We will support and promote diversity and inclusion in the borough through our communications and events – with a focus on our seldom-heard communities.

Develop the Equality Diversity and Inclusion officer group to provide internal direction and challenge  (ongoing project):

  • group has been expanded to include wider group of front-line service areas providing expertise and insight on community and seldom heard groups
  • continue to develop the group, its remit and influence to ensure it is embedded

Implement the Diversity Calendar to ensure join up between our communities and key internal teams (ongoing project):

  • developing the use of a Diversity Calendar that reflects the curiosity and diversity of staff and the wider community
  • dates of meaning to the organisation to be tied into existing events, community events, well-being week
  • internal ‘celebration’ – information in Inside MBC newsletter, books and art/culture recommendations
  • develop a Team talk for Unit Managers to identify dates of meaning to the organisation to celebrate and promote diversity and inclusion

Policy, Communities and Engagement 

HR/L&D, Communications and Events, Museums, Civic team, Economic Development, Communities lead

Policy, Communities and Engagement/HR

March 2024

March 2024

March 2024

We will support our serving and veteran communities through our commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant and responsibilities under the Armed Forces Act 2021 with guidance provided to staff across all services.

Provide guidance to enable all staff to support Armed Forces Community Ongoing Project

  • continue to ensure the Council supports the armed force community in accordance with the covenant
  • it has been identified that Forces Connect App not sufficient in terms of information for Veterans in local community, explore more ways in which to reach and connect with local veterans in the community

Policy, Communities and Engagement team

Ongoing - update to be provided as part of EDI annual update

Climate change.
Explore structural inequality impact of climate change in Maidstone:
  • undertake a review to identify and understand areas of inequality and impacts in the borough related to the effects of climate change and explore measures for intervention
Policy, Communities and Engagement/ Data Analytics/ Climate Change and Biodiversity October 2024

Connections to other plans

As an employer

Objective - To lead a diverse and inclusive workforce that is reflective of the borough of Maidstone where residents and colleagues feel safe, confident, and empowered to challenge and bring about change.





We will train our staff so that they are skilled in inclusive practice, to work with communities who are less able, or willing, to participate in life in their local neighbourhoods.

We will provide training and support to staff so they can recognise and manage unacceptable behaviour.

Support delivery of actions to support Inclusion and Belonging for staff in the Workforce Strategy:

  • provide training to create awareness on EDI
  • support employees to develop staff network groups i.e. carers, disabilities, LGBTQI+
  • support the outcomes of the staff survey on equalities.
  • develop team talks on EDI to discuss at team meetings.
  • develop creative, inclusive communication mechanisms so all council staff, including those who don’t access information online, are informed of council news and developments.
  • embed our values and behaviours with all staff.
  • encourage staff to declare their protected characteristics confidentially through employee self-service.
  • continue to analyse application and shortlisting data to identify ways to make our recruitment more inclusive and to ensure non-discrimination.
  • support services to develop appropriate career grade structures for succession planning
  • continue to promote the benefits package to all staff
  • review our rewards and employee benefits offer to ensure it's competitive with other public sector employers

Ensure all new Members have equitable access to support and resources for their role:

  • implement a new member survey to identify needs

Human Resources/ Policy/Communities and Engagement

Democratic Services/ Policy, Communities and Engagement

Ongoing - update to be provided as part of EDI annual update

June/July 2024

We will look after the mental health of our staff and recognise when this offer needs to change.

Maintain understanding of the organisation’s diversity and staff need:

  • bi-Annual staff EDI survey to respond to need and benchmark progress
  • Staff Carers Survey to be undertaken to understand the needs of staff with caring responsibilities and how best the organisation can provide support
  • roll out of Corporate Leadership Team ‘lived experiences of working for MBC’ listening exercises

Provide training and support for Mental Health Champions (ongoing action):

  • Support Delivery of Workforce Strategy Well-Being and Reward Actions:
    • develop initiatives to increase awareness of resilience and wellbeing
    • continue promoting national health and wellbeing initiatives
    • continue roll out of Resilience Training to managers and staff
    • increase awareness of Mental Health First Aiders

Policy, Communities and Engagement/ Human Resources

Human Resources

July 2025

July 2024

October 2024

Ongoing - update to be provided as part of EDI annual update

Connections to other plans

As a service provider

Objective - To deliver inclusive services in accordance with Council’s values.





We will use specific and meaningful language when referring to diverse communities.

Adopt of LGA Inclusive Language Guide:

  • continue to watch for release of LGA Inclusive Language Guide
  • explore appropriate alternative options

Policy, Communities and Engagement team

October 2024

We will support access to services and support through ICT process, communication and join up with partners.

We will take an evidence-based approach supporting financial inclusion and social well-being in Maidstone.

We will review the Equalities Impact Assessment processes.

Proactively use ‘neutral spaces’ to increase access to support and services for residents (ongoing action):

  • continue to explore new and existing spaces for Face-to-face support provision and services that it may be appropriate to provide from these spaces

Understand where relevant who is accessing our services and ensure that this informs service deliver:

  • undertake a review of all services to identify EDI data collected and identify purpose and where relevant make improvements to data collection
  • undertake analysis of demographic data to inform service development and ongoing monitoring
  • create space on the website for publication of demographic data

Policy, Communities and Engagement

Data Analytics/Information Governance/ Policy, Communities and Engagement

Ongoing - update to be provided as part of EDI annual update

Start date April 2024

We will work towards becoming a Compassionate Community.

Support delivery of Maidstone becoming a Compassionate borough.

The Compassionate Maidstone Project has restarted with Heart of Kent Hospice:

  • review bereavement policy
  • explore bereavement, death and dying and its impact on service delivery and how this is addressed in policies and procedures
  • work internally with relevant teams and the EDI Officer group and externally with community partners to explore how death and dying can become a part of conversation

Policy, Communities and Engagement/Communication and Events

October 2024

We will review and identify our policies where we consider equalities impacts and identify how we can improve outcomes through revisions to policy.

Support delivery of the Financial Inclusion and Social Well-Being Strategy and Action Plan:

  • the current Financial Inclusion Strategy is under review. The review is data led and being informed by the LIFT Dashboard, Community Insight Tool alongside wider measurements of Poverty and disadvantage are informing the strategy aims and workstreams
  • this strategy will seek to respond to the wider determinants of financial exclusion affecting residents in Maidstone

Ensure EDI is embedded in policies and service development (ongoing action):

  • prioritise existing policies by review date and implement process of review for equalities
  • work with Service Managers on understanding of the Public Sector Equality duty

Policy, Communities and Engagement/Data Analytics

Policy, Communities and Engagement/HR

March 2024

Ongoing - update to be provided as part of EDI annual update

Connections to other plans