Below is the statement which the branch has sent to all Aberdeenshire councillors as well as to the HR Equalities Team within the council.
The branch commends the council’s Disability Confident accreditation under the Department of Work and Pensions’ Disability Confident Scheme. This accreditation recognises the council’s commitment to ensure that people with disabilities and long-term health conditions feel engaged, supported and presented with opportunities to fulfil their potential within the workplace.
The branch is committed to doing everything we can to support the council in making this a reality. We are also proud that our Equalities Officer, Kathleen Kennedy is a member of the UNISON Scottish disabled members’ self-organised group and has also been active on the national disabled members’ committee and is on the standing orders committee for their conference this year.
This reflects very positively on the branch and also on Aberdeenshire Council, as Kathleen can bring her knowledge and experience gained on these groups back to the council. We will be looking for the council’s support for this work.
Kathleen said, “I am very keen to work with the council in promoting their equalities agenda in a way that meets the needs of their staff and the communities we serve.
“It is important for the council to take steps to hear from staff how they experience the council as an employer and to look at how best the council can support staff who have a protected characteristic.”
Branch Chair, Kate Ramsden added, “We know that in a time of cuts to council services, those with protected characteristics can be particularly vulnerable and we will want to work closely with the council to ensure that our members with disabilities and other protected characteristics are not disadvantaged.
“We are pleased that the council has committed so fully to the equalities agenda and we will be monitoring closely how this works out in practice for our members.”