Equality and Diversity in Housing 2012


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  • Give a brief intro to ESW ahead of the short film in the next slide.
  • Coalition Equality Strategy - progress
    •Generic approach to equality - “Opening Up Public Services and Empowering Individuals and Communities”
    •‘Headline’ actions e.g. equal marriage, women on company boards, BME interns at Westminster ...
    •Action plans: LGB and Transgender; VAWG
  • Age Applies to adults (over 18 years) of any age or age group. The only protected characteristic where direct discrimination may be justified (but proportionality and legitimate aim must demonstrated).
    Disability defined as A person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. (‘Substantial’ also defined in Act S101). // Provisions against unjustified pre-employment health checks
    Gender reassignment No longer requires person to be under medical supervision
    Marriage and civil partnership Married /civil partners protected – not single people
    Pregnancy and maternity Separate work and non-work provisions
    Race Includes colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin. No substantive change, but definition could be amended to include ‘caste’
    Religion or belief Must have clear structure and belief system. Includes: philosophical beliefs that are compatiblewith human dignity and the fundamental rights of others; no belief/religion
    Sex Protects females or males of any age against discrimination. Distinct maternity provisions under other sections of the Act
    Sexual orientation Covers orientation towards: same sex, opposite sex, both.
  • For example, a housing provider could not legitamately provide a handyperson service to tenants over the age of 60 when there are other tenants under the age of 60 who are unable to carry out basic tasks around their home.
    Another example might be a repairs service that responds quickly to requests for maintenance support from white people but more slowly to requests from black people, or people from a minority ethnic group.
    For example, charging a Muslim tenant more rent than a Christian tenant.
  • These are sometimes referred to as the 3 aims or arms of the general equality duty. The Act helpfully explains that having due regard for advancing equality involves:
    - Removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics.
    - Taking steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people.
    - Encouraging people from protected groups to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low.
    The general equality duty applies to public authorities as well as other organisations who exercise public functions.
    This includes private or voluntary organisations which are carrying out public functions on behalf of a public authority.
    E.g. A housing provider delivering a local authorities social housing.
  • One or more specific and measurable objectives.
    Progress must be reported on annually.
    Objectives must be updated at least every 4 years from the date that they were published.
  • Information to have been published no later than 31st January 2012, and at least annually after that from the date of first publication.
    This information must include information relating to people who share a protected characteristic who are employees or affected by policies and practices.
    Public authorities with fewer than 150 employees are exempt from the requirement to publish information on their employees.
    Both the equality information and the equality objectives must be published in a manner that is accessible to the public.
    They can be published as a separate document, or within another document such as an annual report or a business plan.
    The Commission has published guides for public authorities on equality objectives and on equality information.
  • It is a fact that housing association households contain higher than average proportions of people who experience discrimination and other social disadvantage.
    Direct or indirect discrimination in the housing or job market may be one of the reasons why they require the assistance of housing associations in the first place.
    The following slides offer some practical considerations for people who identify with each of the protected characteristics in relation to their housing needs.
  • A landlord is not required to remove or alter a physical feature which limits or prevents a disabled person gaining access to communal areas, but they should find a reasonable alternative in discussion with the disabled person concerned. For example, a landlord might build a ramp to provide access while still leaving in place the steps which a disabled person cannot use.
    If an adjustment is reasonable, the organisation must pay for it. An organisation is not allowed to ask a disabled person to pay, even if the reasonable adjustment has been made in response to their request and if it has cost the organisation extra to provide it. For example, a housing provider could not charge tenants with sensory impairments more rent because their homes had to be fitted with an audio-visual fire alarm.
    The Act places a duty on landlords and managers of premises to ensure that communal areas are made accessible, where reasonable. Housing associations should ensure that this duty is taken into account, especially when modernising or refurbishing their premises.
  • Equality and Diversity in Housing 2012

    1. 1. Equality in Housing Katie Pratt Chief Executive
    2. 2. Coalition Equality Strategy ‘New approach’ December 2010 “Equality is at the heart of this Coalition Government … As we … tackle the UK’s record deficit we are determined to do so fairly, protecting the most vulnerable and prioritising equal opportunities for all.” “moves away from treating people as groups or ‘equality strands’ and instead … we are a nation of 62 million individuals.” LGB&T and (aspects of) gender ‘Fairness’ Race, disability, age, R and B
    3. 3. Access to Justice Harder for individuals to claim rights Nationally/SW – ‘discrimination advice deserts’ (EHRC research 2009) 62% of people faced with discrimination don’t know their rights Legal aid cuts Narrowed scope of legal aid (discrimination cases presenting as e.g. employment or housing issues not eligible) Fewer legal aid providers End of EHRC legal grants programme to frontline orgs (CAB, RECs, Disability Law service) The cost of fighting prejudice – highest charges applied to discrimination cases – £250 to initiate a claim – £950 for a tribunal hearing – £1600 for employment appeal
    4. 4. The Equality Act 2010... Covers 9 protected characteristics • Age • Disability • Gender Reassignment • Marriage and civil partnership • Pregnancy and maternity • Race • Religion or belief • Sex • Sexual orientation
    5. 5. The Equality Act 2010... • All encompassing piece of legislation. • Sets out ways in which it is unlawful to treat someone. E.g. Direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation. • Prohibits unfair treatment in: the workplace, when providing goods, facilities and services, when exercising public functions, in the disposal and management of premises, in education and by associations (such as private clubs).
    6. 6. The Equality Act 2010... The general equality duty says that organisations must “in the exercise of their functions, have due regard to the need to: • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by The Act; • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not, and; • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not”.
    7. 7. The Equality Act 2010... •The specific duties are in place to support public bodies (or bodies delivering a public function) to achieve the general equality duty. •By 6th April 2012 public bodies should have prepared and published equality objectives to support their organisation to achieve the 3 aims of the general equality duty.
    8. 8. The Equality Act 2010... - to demonstrate compliance with the general equality duty; - on the effect that its policies and practices have had on people who identify with a protected characteristic; - on the analysis undertaken to establish the impact of policies and practices on protected groups, and; - on the engagement undertaken to achieve the aims of the general duty and in developing the organisations equality objectives.
    9. 9. The protected characteristics and housing
    10. 10. Age equality in housing • Supported housing vs independent living • Location of homes vs access to public transport • Fuel poverty vs energy efficient housing • Changes to housing benefits for under 35s “mental health provision - avoiding loss of independence with advancing age.”
    11. 11. Disability equality in housing • Changes to the Lifetime Homes design indicators • Engagement and involvement • Accessibility of communal areas
    12. 12. Gender equality in housing • Representation • Misogyny, sexual and domestic abuse • Religious and cultural attitudes towards women • Caring roles vs disadvantage in the housing market
    13. 13. Gender reassignment equality in housing • Local Connections vs discrimination received from friends and family • Feeling unsafe in your own home vs isolation • Changes Ito housing benefitsorfor underget older and “I worry that will suffer from dementia similar as I 35s will get confused about my identity which will cause problems with the respect and dignity that I will require as a human right.”
    14. 14. Race equality in housing • Rural racism vs the associated need for proactive community development work • Feeling unsafe in your own home vs isolation • Gypsies & Travellers accessing settled housing (Traveller Pitches Grant)
    15. 15. Religion or belief equality in housing • Changes to housing benefits for under 35s • Religious beliefs vs accessing services e.g. maintenance and repairs • Housing location vs access to places of worship
    16. 16. Sexual orientation equality in housing • Consultation/ engagement vs being “out” • Ageing and sexual orientation – losing identity • Reactions of family and friends to sexual identity “Getting old and being 'heterosexualised'.  That is to say, my age making my lesbianism suddenly invisible.”
    17. 17. Thank you Questions?