Western Isles CouncilThe Outer Hebrides comprise an island chain off the west coast of Scotland. They form part of the Hebrides, separated from the Scottish mainland and from the Inner Hebrides by the stormy stretch of water known as the Minch and the Little Minch.

Most communities in the Outer Hebrides use the Scottish Gaelic language. The name for the UK Parliament constituency covering this area is Na h-Eileanan an Iar, whilst the Scottish Parliament constituency for the area continues to be officially known as Western Isles (although it is also commonly known as Eilean Siar).

The islands were known as Suðreyjar (‘Southern Islands’) under Norwegian rule for about 200 years, until sovereignty was transferred to Scotland in 1266 through the Treaty of Perth.

The Western Isles region has a population of 26,370.  Its council is currently controlled by Independents (seat distribution: Labour 4 / SNP 3 / Independent 24).

In accordance with the Government’s Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, the council has developed a Race Equality Scheme, intended to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination, to ensure that all members of the community have access to equal opportunities, and to generate a sense of social cohesion through the promotion of good intercultural relations.

The Scheme says: “The ethnic minority population of the Western Isles is very small, recorded at the 2001 Census as less than 0.7% of the total Western Isles population. However, the Comhairle recognises its responsibility towards all citizens of the Western Isles and is committed to maximising oportunities for every individual”.

It continues: “Along with its Community Planning partners, the Comhairle has developed 15 Themes of Sustainability for the Western Isles, one of which states: ‘People live without fear of crime, persecution or discrimination because of their personal beliefs, race, gender, disability or sexuality’.
 
“The Comhairle is represented on a local Community Equality and Diversity Group committed to tackling discrimination, promoting equality and celebrating the diverse community of the Western Isles. A primary objective for the Group is to establish and develop meaningful links with the local black and minority ethnic population. The group is currently working with the National Resource Centre for Ethnic Minority Health (NRCEMH) to develop an innovative project aimed at improving community relations through engagement and dialogue and facilitating greater sensitivity and integration to multiple identities”.

 

Western Isles (Outer Hebrides) Council Charter

West Lothian landscapeWest Lothian borders onto the City of Edinburgh, Scottish Borders, South Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire and Falkirk.

West Lothian District was created in 1975, comprising the county of West Lothian; less the burghs of Bo'ness and Queensferry and the Kirkliston and Winchburgh areas; it also included the East Calder and West Calder districts of the former county of Midlothian. The council's headquarters were originally in Bathgate, later moving to the new town of Livingston. The unitary authority created in 1996 used the same boundaries.

The council area was created in 1996, under the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, with the boundaries of the West Lothian district of the Lothian region.

West Lothian is a developing area and has seen significant growth in population size. The population has doubled since the 1950s, and between 1991 and 2001 the area achieved the highest population growth of any area in Scotland. Estimates demonstrate that there were 161,020 people living in the region in 2003 compared to 158,714 in 2001. Over the next decade the population is expected to rise by 10.6%.

Black and minority ethnic people make up 1.3% of the population (2001 census). The largest ethnic minority community at the moment is Pakistani, with 794 community members (0.5% of the region’s total population).  Recent local information indicates a rise in people from Eastern Europe, in particular Poland.  There are 99,339 Christians in the area, and 49,678 people with no religious affiliation.  The largest minority religious group is Muslim, comprising 952 local residents. The next largest is Buddhist (with 159 people), followed by Hindu (79), then Jewish (64) and Sikh (48).

West Lothian Council is currently Labour-controlled (seat distribution: Conservative 1 / Labour 18 / SNP 11 / Independent 2).  West Lothian won the top category of Council of the Year at the annual Local Government Chronicle Awards this year. It is the only Scottish council that has ever won the accolade since the awards were established.

In accordance with the Government’s Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, the council has developed a Race Equality Scheme, intended to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination, to ensure that equality of opportunity is made available to all in the community, and to create a sense of social cohesion through the promotion of good intercultural relations. 

The Scheme states: “West Lothian Council is committed to working with the people and communities of West Lothian to enhance the quality of life by providing, both directly and in partnership with others, a comprehensive range of quality and valued services that meet people’s needs and aspirations, and which are delivered on the basis of fairness and equity.”

The West Lothian Multicultural Forum is an independent local group that consists of people from minority ethnic communities living in West Lothian. The group formerly known as, ‘Let’s Get Together’ and the women’s group ‘Gaalbaat’ merged in 2004 to create the forum. The equality officer and the police regularly attend to receive feedback on council services; other council employees engage with the forum to gather views on service delivery from time to time.

 

West Lothian Council Charter

West Dunbartonshire CouncilWest Dunbartonshire shares its borders with the City of Glasgow, containing many of Glasgow's commuter towns and villages as well as the city's suburbs. West Dunbartonshire also borders onto Argyll and Bute, Stirling, East Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire.

The area was formed on April 1, 1996 from part of the former Strathclyde Region, namely the entire district of Clydebank and the Dumbarton district less the Helensburgh area. In the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 that created the council area its name was Dumbarton and Clydebank. The council elected as a shadow authority in 1995 resolved to change the name of the area to West Dunbartonshire.

The area is essentially composed of three parts: the towns of Dumbarton and Clydebank and the Vale of Leven district.

West Dunbartonshire is administered from Dumbarton, although Clydebank is the largest town.
West Dunbartonshire has a population of 91,400.  Its council is currently Labour-controlled (seat distribution: Labour 16 / SNP 3 / Independent 3).

In accordance with the Government’s Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, the local council has developed a Race Equality Scheme, intended to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination from the area, to ensure that all residents have access to equal opportunities, and to create a sense of social cohesion through the promotion of good intercultural relations.

The Council has an Equality and Diversity Working Group, comprising of Elected Members and Senior Officers from services across the Council and chaired by the Council’s Spokesperson for Equal Opportunities, and this is supported by a Race Equality Working Group with representation of officers from each directorate.

The Gypsy Traveller Forum has representatives from Housing, Social Work, Development and Environmental Services, Legal, Education and Cultural Services and the Chief Executives department. Work is ongoing to identify ways in which this forum can interact with partner agencies, especially in regard to the development of a short stay site and managing unauthorised encampments.

The Council is a member of the Multi-Agency Racist Incident Monitoring (MARIM) Group which consists of representatives from the Council, Strathclyde Police, the Procurator Fiscals office, Victim Information and Advice, the Black and Ethnic Minorities Communities Partnership Project, and other partners, such as Housing Associations when required. This group is considering an expansion of its remit to have a more active role in promoting race equality.

In addition to these groups, the Council works closely with the Black and Ethnic Minorities Communities Partnership Project (BEMCPP), accessing information and advice, through the group, and also working with bilingual sessional workers on consultation and training issues.

 

West Dunbartonshire Council Charter

Stirling bridgeStirling covers most of the former county of Stirlingshire (with the exception of Falkirk) and the south-western portion of the former county of Perthshire. The administrative centre of the region is the City of Stirling itself. The region borders Clackmannanshire (to the east), Falkirk (to the south east), Perth and Kinross (to the north and north east), Argyll and Bute (to the north and north west), and both East and West Dunbartonshire, both to Stirling's southwest.

The majority of the population of the region is located in its southeast corner, in the city of Stirling and in the surrounding lowland communities: Dunblane and Bridge of Allan to the north, Bannockburn to the immediate south, and the three former coal mining communities of Cowie, Fallin, and Plean (known collectively as "The Eastern Villages").

The remaining 30 percent of the region's population is sparsely distributed across the rural, mainly highland, expanse in the north of the region. The southern half of this rural area comprises the flat western floodplain of the River Forth, bounded on the south by the Touch Hills and the Campsie Fells. North of the glen lie the Trossachs mountains, and the northern half of the region is generally mountainous in character.

Stirling has a population of 86,930.  Its council is currently Labour-controlled (seat distribution: Conservative 10 / Labour 11 / SNP 1).

In accordance with the Government’s Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, Stirling Council has developed a Race Equality Scheme, intended to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination from the local community, to ensure that all local residents are provided with equal opportunities, and to generate a sense of social cohesion through the promotion of good intercultural relations.  In the Scheme’s Introduction, the council states:

“Race equality is not something that we are considering in isolation, or as separate from our mainstream equalities work. Although we are required to publish a separate Race Equality Scheme, Stirling Council recognises that this must fit within our existing equalities framework if it is to be effective and not seen as an ‘add on’. Our Race Equality Scheme therefore helps us to promote our vision, values and aims, in accordance with the Social Charter”.

It continues: “As the agency with statutory lead responsibility in community planning, we have a duty to work with our community planning partners to provide governance within our area. Stirling’s community planning partners have recognised the importance of tackling inequality and racial prejudice, and have established a sub group to take work forward on a partnership basis. This is one way in which we will work to prevent unlawful discrimination and promote good race relations, using the power of wellbeing, as required”.

 

Stirling Council Charter

South Lanarkshire CouncilSouth Lanarkshire covers the southern part of the traditional county of Lanarkshire. It borders the south-east of the city of Glasgow and contains many of Glasgow's suburbs, commuter towns and smaller villages.

South Lanarkshire Council is headquartered in Hamilton, has 15,000 employees, and an annual budget of £538 million. The council publishes a regular four-year plan, FourCast. The large and varied council area takes in rural and upland areas, market towns such as Lanark and Carluke, the urban burghs of Rutherglen and Cambuslang, and East Kilbride which was Scotland's first new town.

South Lanakshire has a population of 306,280.  Its council is currently Labour-controlled (seat distribution: Conservative 4 / Labour 49 / Liberal Democrat 2 / SNP 9 / Independent 3).

In accordance with the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, South Lanarkshire Council has developed a Race Equality Scheme, intended to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination from the local community, to ensure that equality of opportunity is made available to all of the area’s residents, and to foster a sense of social cohesion through the promotion of good intercultural relations.  On its website, the council states:

“We are committed to being an employer of choice and we intend to be truly representative of the community we serve and to be flexible to the needs of our employees. Central to our policies is a wish to identify and dismantle any barriers that may exist in the way we attract, motivate, develop and retain our employees. We are committed to developing and monitoring our recruitment and employment policies to ensure they are accessible to people irrespective of race”.
 
It continues: “We will continue to develop opportunities for partnership working internally through the trade union partnership and by consulting with members of the Black and Ethnic Minority Employee Forum. We are also duty bound to promote race equality when any of our functions or services are carried out under contract and we encourage contractors and suppliers to adhere to our policy. Contractors and suppliers are requested to provide details of their equal opportunities policies as part of their contract”.

 

South Lanarkshire Council Charter

South Ayrshire CouncilSouth Ayrshire borders onto East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway.

The region was formed in 1996 and is a direct successor to the Kyle and Carrick district.  At the time of the 2001 national census, it had population of 111,780, of which 995 considered itself to have a white ethnic background.

The Council elections in May 2003 resulted in a "hung" Council in which the Labour and Conservative Parties each had 15 seats. Control of the Council was settled when the Labour Group won a "cutting of the cards". However, following the resignation of Labour leader Andy Hill from the Council, the Conservative group took control of the administration on a 15-14 vote (seat breakdown: Conservative 15 / Labour 14 / Independent 1).

In accordance with the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, South Ayrshire Council has developed a Race Equality Scheme, intended to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination from the community, to ensure that equality of opportunity is available to all in the area, and to generate a sense of social cohesion through the promotion of good intercultural relations.  The council revised the Scheme in 2005, and stated the following:

“The new scheme takes into account the lessons that have been learned in the past three years and new developments including partnership work on race equality that has been carried out Ayrshire wide.

“The Scheme includes a fully revised list of relevant functions; impact assessment summaries; details of how the work will be managed, monitored and reported and an associated action plan setting out in detail work that will take place across all departments. A commitment to pilot a new impact assessment toolkit based on an NHS model is introduced. The Scheme also includes new arrangements for ethnic monitoring that have been put in place and the ethnic monitoring statement for 2005.

“The review and development of a new Race Equality Scheme is a milestone in the Council’s progress towards achieving best value. It is also part of a learning process. One of the most important considerations to take into account in promoting race equality in South Ayrshire is the limited size and diversity of the ethnic minority population. South Ayrshire has a very small ethnic minority population and this raises its own challenges in promoting race equality, challenges which have shaped the overall direction of the new Scheme and its priorities”.

 

South Ayrshire Council Charter

Shetland ponniesShetland, formerly called ‘Hjaltland’, is an archipelago to the north-east of Orkney and mainland Scotland, with a total area of approximately 1466 km² (566 sq. miles). It forms part of the division between the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the North Sea to the east. The administrative centre and only burgh is Lerwick.

The largest island, known as the Mainland, has an area of 967 km² (374 q. miles), making it the third-largest Scottish island and also the third-largest island surrounding Great Britain.

Shetland is also a lieutenancy area, comprises the Shetland constituency of the Scottish Parliament, and was formerly a county.

The archipelago had a population of approximately 22,000 at the time of the national census in 2001, of which 99% considered itself to have a white ethnic background. Its largest ethnic minority group was Black African, comprising 0.35% of the area’s total population.  Its council is currently controlled by Independents (seat distribution: Liberal Democrat 5 / Independent 17).

Shetland has been populated since 3000 BC. The population subsisted on cattle-farming and agriculture and erected megalithic monuments. From around 2000 BC (Bronze Age), the climate cooled and the population moved to the coast. In the Iron Age, many stone houses were erected, the ruins of some of which are preserved today, such as Jarlshof and Staynsdale temple. Around 279 A.D., Roman sources describe a group of people known as the Picts, who in later centuries were conquered by the Vikings.

The culture of Shetland is very much a mix produced by the influences from both Scandinavia and the British Isles. Shetland's fiddle music is a blend of many influences, including ancient Norwegian folk music, Scots reels, jigs and slow airs, and tunes brought home by sailors from Ireland, Germany, North America and even Greenland.

In accordance with the Government’s Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, Shetland Council has developed a Race Equality Scheme, intended to eliminate all kinds of racial discrimination, to ensure that equality of opportunity is available to all in the community, and to create a sense of social cohesion through the promotion of good intercultural relations. 

 

Shetland Islands Council Charter

Scottish Borders CouncilThe Scottish Borders, often referred to simply as the Borders, is one of 32 local government council areas of Scotland. It is bordered by Dumfries and Galloway in the west, South Lanarkshire and West Lothian in the north west, City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian to the north; and the non-metropolitan counties of Northumberland and Cumbria in England to the south. The administrative centre of the area is Newtown St. Boswells.

The area was created in 1975, by merging the former counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire and part of Midlothian, as a two-tier region with the districts of Berwickshire, Ettrick and Lauderdale, Roxburgh, and Tweeddale within it.  In 1996 the region became a unitary authority area and the districts were wound up. The region was created with the name ‘Borders’. In 1996, shortly after the creation of the modern council area, the new council itself decided to add the word ‘Scottish’ to the name.

The Scottish Borders area has a population of 109,730, of which more than 99% considered itself at the time of the 2001 national census to have a white ethnic background.  Its proportion of White Scottish residents is, however, considerably lower than the Scottish average (82.78% compared with 88.09%), while its proportion of ‘Other White British’ residents is almost twice that of Scotland as a whole (14.69% compared with 7.38%).  Its largest ethnic minority community is Chinese, comprising 0.1% of the area’s local people. 

Its council is currently controlled by a Conservative-Independent coalition (seat distribution: Conservative 11 / Liberal Democrat 8 / SNP 2 / Independent 13).

Historically, the term Borders has a wider meaning, referring to all of the burghs adjoining the English border, also including Dumfriesshire and Kirkcudbrightshire - as well as Northumberland, Cumberland and Westmorland in England.

Roxburghshire and Berwickshire historically bore the brunt of the conflicts with England, both during declared wars such as the Wars of Scottish Independence, and armed raids which took place in the times of the Border Reivers. Thus, across the region are to be seen the ruins of many castles, abbeys and even towns.

The people of the Scottish Borders are very proud of their heritage and often speak of themselves as Borderers.

In accordance with the Government’s Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, the Scottish Borders council has developed a Race Equality Scheme, intended to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination, to ensure equality of opportunity for all in the community, and to generate a sense of social cohesion through the promotion of good intercultural relations.

A multi agency group called the New Ways Social Justice, Equalities & Diversity Project Group has been established in South Borders in order to drive forward the social justice, equalities and diversity agenda. To support its work on Migrant Workers, a sub group called the Foreign (Migrant) Workers Support Group has also been set up. The Council’s Director of Social Work chairs both these groups, and policy and lead support is provided by the Social Justice, Equalities & Diversity Policy Analyst who is based in the Council’s Business Improvement Unit.

 

Scottish Borders Council Charter

Renfrewshire CouncilRenfrewshire borders the south-west of Glasgow and contains many of Glasgow's commuter towns and villages. It is named after the historic Renfrewshire county, although this covered a larger area, including both Inverclyde and East Renfrewshire. Although geographically one of Scotland's smallest non-metropolitan unitary authorities, it is one of the country's most populous areas, being the fifth largest unitary authority and the ninth largest including the city authorities.

The 1975-1996 district of Renfrew covered a slightly larger area, and included the towns of Barrhead, Neilston and Uplawmoor, which, following the partition of Strathclyde region in 1996, were transferred into the new East Renfrewshire authority.

Renfrewshire has a population of 170,000. Its council is currently Labour-controlled (seat distribution: Conservative 1 / Labour 21 / Liberal Democrat 3 / SNP 15).

Around 270 pupils from nine primary schools have recently been taking part in Scottish fusion dance workshops led by the Scottish Traditions of Dance Trust. The workshops cultivate a fusion of traditional Scottish dance steps with African dance to give the pupils a multicultural experience.

The Renfrewshire Music Festival, latterly the Inverclyde and Renfrew Music Festival is an annual music and dance event, similar in format to the Gaelic mod (but in English). Held in Greenock, many of the schools and choirs in the former county of Renfrew compete.

Renfrewshire has many youth groups that participate in local and national government. One of the main groups is the Renfrewshire Youth Voice (RYV), whose goals include coordinating youth activities so young people can have a greater say in the running of governmental activities.

In accordance with the Government’s Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, Renfrewshire Council has developed a Race Equality Scheme, intended to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination, to ensure that equality of opportunity is readily available to all of the area’s residents, and to generate a sense of community cohesion through the promotion of good intercultural relations. The document describes the council’s vision:

“The Council values the diversity of individuals and communities living and working within Renfrewshire and their contribution to the political, economic, cultural and social life of the area.”

It continues: “The Council affirms the right of each citizen to a quality of life which is free from violence, discrimination and harassment and will take steps to ensure that all citizens, regardless of race, ethnic or national origin, religion, social background, marital status, gender, disability, age or sexuality will have full access to its services taking all possible measures to prevent discrimination in the way its services are delivered.”

 

Renfrewshire Council Charter

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