Written by Councillor Frances Mason
I was delighted to step into the shoes of Cllr Lanie Shears when Cllr Mark Ingall asked if I would take over the Portfolio for Governance, Equality and Diversity. Harlow is such a diverse community and as a Councillor for Toddbrook I have attended the Synagogue on several occasions including multi-faith services, Holocaust Memorial Day, and attended the Chinese Community New Year celebrations; sadly, this years’ celebrations were cancelled due to Coronavirus. I have taken part in other events including International Women’s Days and continue to promote women’s issues whether it is about the Gender Pay Gap or for 1950s women who were not kept informed of their pension rights.
This year has brought many new challenges with this dreadful virus. It has brought new threats to our minority members, in terms of highlighting the inequality health gap which has resulted in a higher number of BAME people dying. The virus thrives on such inequalities, generational living, low paid key workers and there have been reports of an increase in hate crime which is concerning.
"This year has brought many new challenges with this dreadful virus. It has brought new threats to our minority members, resulting in a higher number of BAME people dying." Councillor Frances Mason
I have hidden disabilities and work to promote a fairer society to enable people to reach their full potential. Our elderly, including their carers have been let down badly with this virus due to the lack of PPE and Testing. I desperately try to be the voice for the unheard, which also includes the many 1950s women who have been denied their pension,
For those who know me, as a retired Civil Servant and Senior Probation Officer, currently registered Social Worker and also a Union Representative, I support employees and disadvantaged people at their most difficult times. I have worked with some of the most deprived families in Essex, both in the community and in custody. I have worked on long enquiries where children and adults have lost their lives and lessons need to be learnt to avoid repetition in the future. In a child and adult safeguarding role, I have been on Serious Case Review Panels, Domestic Homicide Panels, Serious Case Reviews and HMI Inspections where governance and attention to detail are critical. Whilst I will miss out as Chair of Licensing, my successor, Cllr Shannon Jezzard who was Vice Chair last year will do a fantastic job. Overall, I am delighted to accept this role as Portfolio Holder for Governance, Equality and Diversity and would like to thank Cllr Mark Ingall for giving me this opportunity.
Frances L Mason
Councillor for Toddbrook
Portfolio Holder for Governance, Equality & Diversity