Council set to seek insights from local people to guide its policies to support transgender and non-binary residents

Oxfordshire County Council is to consult local people to gather insight to guide future policies to support transgender and non-binary residents.

The engagement work follows a motion agreed at a meeting of all county councillors on 5 April that focused on the significant disadvantage in society faced by transgender and non-binary people.

The resulting action plan would be implemented over the coming years. This approach was agreed by the county council’s cabinet at its meeting on 21 June and it reflects the council’s long-term commitment to equality in Oxfordshire.

The council is proposing to set up focused engagement with residents, utilising methods such as Lived Experience conversations, youth forums and the annual residents’ survey, to gather insight that will support the development and delivery of new policies.

The council also plans to commission research led by Healthwatch Oxfordshire to engage transgender and non-binary residents and capture their experiences in order to understand the barriers they face in accessing medical and clinical care.

The cabinet has approved a review of bathroom facilities in council buildings in line with its property strategy. Any required changes to support gender inclusive bathrooms would be completed in line with the timescales in that strategy.

The proposals set out in this paper are recommended to be delivered in line with established strategies and existing budgets.

Councillor Liz Leffman, the leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “As the original motion to our council meeting in April said, transgender and non-binary people deserve respect and autonomy. It’s therefore our duty as community leaders who seek to create an open and tolerant society to speak out against transphobia and discrimination in all its forms and to take active steps to tackle inequality and disadvantage.

“We want to carry out in-depth engagement so that we fully understand the thoughts and experiences of transgender and non-binary people in our communities. Once that information is gathered we can then begin to implement changes to council policies in line with what the 5 April motion asked for.

“This is not going to be an overnight change, but is going to take the form of considered policy development informed by insight from our communities. As responsible custodians of council budgets, future change will be funded within existing budgets and with respect to the many other demands that are placed on our budget.”