Single Equalities

Ensuring the inclusion of diversity across equality categories and characteristics can be a challenge for organisations, as funding streams and agendas have traditionally been specific to particular identities and areas of work. The Equality Bill (passed April 2010) proposes single legislation to incorporate current UK anti-discrimination laws and duties.  It is proposed that this will strengthen protection, advance equality, and simplify the law. 

What are the implications?

  • Disabled Peoples’ Organisations (DPOs) who have received impairment specific funding have been prevented from engaging with a broader disability movement.  This has kept different groups apart and meant, for example, that people with learning difficulties have not associated with Deaf people.  This has resulted in a lack of broad disability political collectivity, and limited knowledge about multi impairment inclusion. 
  • While the Equality Bill may enhance equality legislation, it may also weaken minority / equality identities, resulting in a ‘dumbing down’ of diversity.  The recent change of government may also bring about additional changes to equality laws and associated initiatives that impact on this (i.e. the bill of rights). 
  • For disabled people this may affect how disability discrimination is understood and proved in the courtroom, as well as how they are able to access support to bring their cases to court. 
  • How public ‘duties’ can be influenced by DPOs to both protect and empower disabled people will require experience and knowledge of the relationship of disability with other aspects of diversity.
  • Related to this are the activities of bodies such as the EHRC and initiatives such as the Compact that will have a role in promoting a single equalities agenda.

Moving Forward

  • How does your organisation respond to issues of equality and diversity beyond disability?  Do you have policies and procedures that cover equality, diversity and inclusion issues for users, staff, volunteers, and others engaging with your organisation? Does this ensure that different groups of people have fair access to what you do? Does this meet legal requirements? When does this get reviewed?
  • What about people who present multiple diversity issues? Do you work across impairment categories? Are you sensitive to cultural or other differences to diversity? How do you manage different access and inclusion requirements?   Are there opportunities for you to work with other DPOs or equalities groups in your area? Have you had time to be able to develop common goals and shared issues with them?
  • How will you promote information about the Equality Bill to users, staff, volunteers and others in your organisation?    How will you ensure people are informed and understand the meaning of disability discrimination within the Bill?
  • What opportunities for ‘advocacy’ does the Equality Bill offer your organisation? How will you make use of this?
  • What statutory obligations will be required of you under the Equality Bill?  How will you ensure these are met?
  • How can you influence and shape ‘public duties’ relating to the Bill? What do you need to do to ensure disabled peoples’ voices are heard? Are their opportunities to lead consultations for public bodies? Could you ensure an authentic representation of multiple diversity issues?   

Want to know more?

Equality Act 2010

Published by: Government Equalities Office

Date: 2010

Format: Website

What is it? Page giving an outline of the changes to the Equality Act which come into force on the 1st October 2010 as well as news associated to it.

Other comments: 

Southall Black Sisters

Published by: Southall Black Sisters

Date: Ongoing

Format: Website

What is it? Website of an organisation which works with victims of violence in Asian and Afro-Caribbean communities. The article looks at the removal of funding to SBS and the ensuing legal battle which occured.

Other comments: 

Lost and Found: Taking disability equality and human rights into the equalities family

Published by: Equality and Human Rights Commission

Date: 22 February 2008

Format: Website

What is it? Speech by Baroness Jane Campbell, Chair of the Disability Committee and EHRC Commissioner

Other comments: 

Last updated at 13:57 Tue 18/Jan/11.

Discuss

How will this affect your organisation? Have you considered it during your strategic planning? Can you share any interesting relevant links?

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