Sheffield City Council: tackling homophobic bullying *
In 2010 Sheffield City Council introduced a Single Equality Scheme to cover the period from 2010 to 2013 (see Appendix 17). In anticipation of the introduction of the public sector equality duty, the scheme was extended to cover all protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, including sexual orientation. This enabled the council to introduce specific targets around improving outcomes for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, including an objective to reduce year on year homophobic bullying in schools. Once the duty came into force this provided a helpful impetus to introduce a range of activities to try and meet this target, since the council would for the first time be held accountable for its performance in this area. During anti-bullying week in November 2011 the council launched an LGBT Schools Charter to enable Sheffield schools to self-assess their performance on addressing homophobic and transphobic bullying and on meeting the needs of their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. The charter encourages schools to take practical steps such as introducing a clear policy on homophobic bullying, recording incidents of homophobic bullying and providing relevant training to staff. The council distributed guidance to schools on how to meet the criteria of the charter. For the charter and guidance see Appendix 18.
The council also distributed a toolkit to schools on how to meet the public sector equality duty. This includes practical examples of how to meet the duty in relation to each of the protected characteristics, such as role modelling lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the curriculum and discussing different kinds of families including those with same-sex parents. For the toolkit see Appendix 19.
* Review of the public sector equality duty, Call for evidence Stonewall response [April 2013]