Equality South West

working to make equality a reality

Brenda Weston – Policy and Research lead
What we will cover
This presentation aims to
Introduce Equality South West:
who we are
what we do
who we work with

Outlin...
What we are
• A third sector infrastructure organisation
covering the South West
• Charity and company limited by guarante...
What we do
• Policy – ‘horizon scanning’ – identifying
opportunities and challenges to equality
• Lobbying and campaigning...
Who we work with
Voluntary, public bodies & private sector
employers/service providers in the SW –
includes a number of ho...
Main purpose of the Act
“To harmonise discrimination law, and to
strengthen the law to support progress on
equality".
Stre...
Headline provisions include
New ‘Protected characteristics’
Age discrimination: goods, facilities and
services
New definit...
Nine ‘Protected characteristics’
Age
Disability
Gender reassignment
Marriage and civil partnership
Pregnancy and maternity...
Forms of Discrimination
Direct discrimination
by association
by perception

Indirect discrimination (EU definition applies...
Why an Equality Act?
Stephen Lawrence enquiry: ‘institutionalised
discrimination’ recognised as an issue
Evidence of impac...
Public Sector Equality Duty
(PSED)

“… requires public bodies, and others who
exercise public functions, to have due regar...
The PSED and
procurement
£billions public funds spent on buying in services
Procurement to be used to advance public polic...
The PSED Specific Duties
Regulations, 2011
Public bodies will be required to:
publish ‘specific and measurable’ equality o...
Equality data
Under the requirements of the general duty to have ‘due
regard’ to the matters set out in the Act
“public bo...
Equality Act in a changed
environment
Equality Act developed and passed in a different
political and policy environment
Co...
Voices from the SW
“Discrimination is very, very strong in this country and I don’t see a
way out - and that hurts me very...
Housing a key equality issue
• Discrimination and economic
marginalisation > greater reliance on
social housing
• Prejudic...
Things that HCA can do ...
Make equality and diversity a visible feature of HCA
Collect/analyse data on protected groups t...
Sources of guidance and support
For questions about the Equality Act and how it affects you:
enquiries@geo.gsi.gov.uk
Gove...
Thank you.
Questions?
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Equality act and housing feb 2012

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  • Show ESW Film
    Have guidance notes (based on EHRC/ GEO information) to hand for reference only
    We felt there was a need to put the Equality Act implementation into the wider policy context and relate it to the concept of the Big Society.
  • Mention PP&T housing data and cases re housing
  • Carers
    People caring unpaid for disabled people gained new rights under the Equality Act 2010 which will mean that they cannot be directly discriminated against or harassed because they are caring for someone who is disabled.
    The Act makes unlawful discrimination against carers because of their association with disabled people, not only in relation to a their employment, but also in relation to goods, services, housing and other fields.
    Positive action
    Can involve treating members of a group who share a protected characteristic more favourably than other groups – e.g. Providing additional or bespoke services, separate facilities, accelerated access to services or the targeting of resources (but needs to be justified (Section 158 and 159)
  • 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.
  • Direct discrimination: discriminating against someone because a person has a protected characteristic. Includes by association and by perception
    by association: direct discrimination against someone because they are associated with a person with any of the protected characteristics (includes carers of disabled or elderly relatives, partners of BME people: try to give an example)
    by perception: direct discrimination against someone because others think they have a protected characteristic (e.g. it is believed they are gay)
    Indirect discrimination: when a rule or policy that applies to everyone disadvantages a person with a protected characteristic.
    Harassment: behaviour deemed offensive by the recipient including when it's not directed at the complainant.
    Harassment by a third party: employers are potentially liable for the harassment of staff or customers by people they don't directly employ, such as a contractor.
    Victimisation: discrimination against someone because they made or supported a complaint under Equality Act legislation.
    Discrimination arising from disability
    For example a person cannot be discriminated against for taking time off to have treatment related to a disability. However this protection only applies if the employer knows, or could reasonably have been expected to know that the person has a disability. (Another example on page 6 of guidance notes.) No comparator is needed/not about less favourable treatment.
  • Increasingly referred to as the PSED:
    Applies to public bodies listed in Schedule 19 of the Act
    Provisions 2 and 3 apply to all protected characteristics except marriage and civil partnership.
  • Coalition government – extensive programme of proposals involves commissioning external providers to deliver public services.
    The PSED follows the service provision/provider.
    Public procurement - Provision of public services under contract:
    Relevant to private sector providers/SMEs
    ‘Civil Society’ organisations (VCS, Charities, Social Enterprises, Social Purpose organisations etc)
    Mutuals and co-operatives
    Equality South West Equality Standard
    ESW currently working with: Housing associations; learning provider organisations; a third sector infrastructure body.
  • One or more objectives must be prepared and published not later than 6th April 2012.
    Government say they are “developing tools and mechanisms to support organisations and individuals to challenge public bodies effectively to ensure they publish the right information and deliver the rights results, with a particular focus on addressing the barriers facing some disabled people.”
  • EMPHASISE THE POSITIVES IN THIS – Public bodies need to do these things. Need to promote the idea that publishing makes their life much easier.
    We suggest later that individuals and groups should consider using the Freedom of Information Act provisions to access this data if it isn’t published.
    If this shows poor practice, challenges could be made either
    because they have not carried out the duties to understand/engage with specified groups/ consider the impact, or
    because they have not fulfilled the requirements of the PSED having undertaken this exercise.
    Public sector bodies are also subject to the wider framework of Equality legislation within the Act. The Public Duty is only part of their legal obligations.
  • Lead in slide to the next section of the presentation:
    When the Act first conceived and passed it was recognised that equality needed strong regulatory support.
    The key themes to the government’s BS/Small state agenda move us towards a much more laissez faire approach to how the implementation is monitored regulated.
    Disappearance of the Audit Commission/proposed changes to Ofsted inspection regime etc
    The idea that ‘communities’ will police the activities of public bodies AND be able to veto ‘excessive’ council tax rises
    Citizen Regulators is the term used by Trevor Phillips in relation to challenging on Equality Act compliance.
  • These are all quotes from individuals who participated in research activities run by Equality South West in the past two years.
    Two of these were commissioned by public bodies.
    They are based around the Equality Measurement Framework, created by the EHRC to measure and report on inequalities in Britain.
    We have four reports in different stages of preparation/ publication:
    Transgender (SW FG report)
    Pride Progress and Transformation (SW Survey report)
    Women (Sub regional FG report)
    Black and Minority Ethnic Communities (Sub regional FG report)
  • What constitutes a freedom of information request?
    Any written request for recorded information that is not routine business should be considered a freedom of information request.
    The Freedom of Information Act applies to any request for recorded information made to a public authority.
    Requests for information may be in any form and don't need to mention the Freedom of Information Act, but they must:
    be in writing
    give the applicant's name and a return address
    describe the information that is requested
    This is provided for in section 8 of the Act and each of these terms is explained on the Ministry of Justice website
    This is a direct lift from the MoJ website March 2011
  • Quick Start guides are very straightforward, basic and broad brush and indicate the areas in which the law has changed from 1st October in relation to each of the protected characteristics.
    Non-statutory guidance aimed at ‘the person in the street’ and stakeholders and practitioners who do not have an organisational responsibility to interpret the legal technicalities.
    Statutory Codes of Practice - for those who have a legal role.
    Specific Duties – anticipated they will be published early in 2011
    Explanatory notes go through the Act clause by clause and are useful in ‘decoding’ legal language of the Act itself.
    MENTION EHRC CONSULTATION
     
     
  • Equality act and housing feb 2012

    1. 1. Equality South West working to make equality a reality Brenda Weston – Policy and Research lead
    2. 2. What we will cover This presentation aims to Introduce Equality South West: who we are what we do who we work with Outline key provisions of the Equality Act Look at some of the implications related to affordable and social housing Look at how the HCA can contribute to equality through its activities
    3. 3. What we are • A third sector infrastructure organisation covering the South West • Charity and company limited by guarantee • Not for profit • Small team specialising in promoting equality, diversity in the South West
    4. 4. What we do • Policy – ‘horizon scanning’ – identifying opportunities and challenges to equality • Lobbying and campaigning • Support services: e.g. training/awareness raising/information sharing/resources • Deliver and award ESW Equality Standard • Three strategic priority areas: Health, Housing and Education
    5. 5. Who we work with Voluntary, public bodies & private sector employers/service providers in the SW – includes a number of housing associations National (EDF/BIHR/single strand national orgs) and other regional ‘pan-equality’ bodies Government departments (Government Equalities Office/MoJ/NHS) Equality and Human Rights Commission MPs and relevant parliamentary groups
    6. 6. Main purpose of the Act “To harmonise discrimination law, and to strengthen the law to support progress on equality". Streamlines and combines previous legislation to make things easier for businesses Provides new measures to fight discrimination Extends previous protections to cover 7 equality ‘strands’ plus marriage and civil partnerships, pregnant women and new mothers.
    7. 7. Headline provisions include New ‘Protected characteristics’ Age discrimination: goods, facilities and services New definitions of discrimination Gender reassignment Protections for carers Positive action Single Public Sector Equality Duty Public procurement Stronger Employment Tribunal powers Stronger protections for disabled people
    8. 8. Nine ‘Protected characteristics’ Age Disability Gender reassignment Marriage and civil partnership Pregnancy and maternity Race Religion or belief Sex Sexual orientation
    9. 9. Forms of Discrimination Direct discrimination by association by perception Indirect discrimination (EU definition applies to all) Harassment (including by a third party) Victimisation Discrimination arising from disability
    10. 10. Why an Equality Act? Stephen Lawrence enquiry: ‘institutionalised discrimination’ recognised as an issue Evidence of impacts of prejudice and discrimination on Educational achievement Economic security Mental health and physical health well-being Chances of ‘criminalisation’ Promotion opportunities Housing choices
    11. 11. Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) “… requires public bodies, and others who exercise public functions, to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; advance equality of opportunity; and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not share it.”
    12. 12. The PSED and procurement £billions public funds spent on buying in services Procurement to be used to advance public policy objectives on equality Public bodies expected to fulfil Equality Duty in the procurement process Organisations bidding for public contracts need to ensure E&D practice meets public sector duty
    13. 13. The PSED Specific Duties Regulations, 2011 Public bodies will be required to: publish ‘specific and measurable’ equality objectives by 6 April 2012, then every four years; publish information at least annually to demonstrate their compliance with the general Equality Duty relating to their employees (for bodies with 150 or more staff) and others affected by their policies and practices - such as service users. Information must be accessible to the public (but) can be included within another published document.
    14. 14. Equality data Under the requirements of the general duty to have ‘due regard’ to the matters set out in the Act “public bodies will need to understand the effect of their policies and practices on equality… this will involve looking at evidence, engaging with … staff, service users and others and… considering the effect of what they do on the whole community”. (Quoted from: Equality Act 2010: The public sector Equality Duty: reducing bureaucracy)
    15. 15. Equality Act in a changed environment Equality Act developed and passed in a different political and policy environment Conflicts with some key Coalition themes Lift ‘bureaucratic burdens’ on business/ public bodies Small state/big society Localism Bill Bonfire of the quangos (e.g. Audit Commission) ‘Citizen regulators’ Reducing/reforms to welfare spending
    16. 16. Voices from the SW “Discrimination is very, very strong in this country and I don’t see a way out - and that hurts me very much – in spite of all the talk about equality…” (BME Focus group) “…as a lesbian I don’t think I can be myself due to the discrimination I’ve experienced and the attitudes I hear expressed by people who assume I’m hetereosexual… I don’t want to be discriminated against.” (Women’s Focus Group) “I feel I’ve experienced a violent assault at work in terms of relentless racism that’s made me feel incredibly unsafe.” (Women’s Focus Group) “Many Trans people are still terrified of being identified as such, and with good reason.” (Trans Focus Group)
    17. 17. Housing a key equality issue • Discrimination and economic marginalisation > greater reliance on social housing • Prejudice-based targeting by neighbours • Issues for women fleeing abuse and violence • Accessible/lifetime homes • Cultural and religious issues
    18. 18. Things that HCA can do ... Make equality and diversity a visible feature of HCA Collect/analyse data on protected groups to promote and monitor progress on equality where appropriate Seek dialogue with the protected groups in communities and in the workforce (‘minority groups’ as a concept often overlooks issues particular to women) Explore ways to promote equality (including positive action where justified ) through the HCA’s various functions Develop appropriate equality criteria to inform funding, regulatory and procurement functions and processes
    19. 19. Sources of guidance and support For questions about the Equality Act and how it affects you: enquiries@geo.gsi.gov.uk Government Equalities Office website http://www.equalities.gov.uk/equality_act_2010.aspx EHRC Non-statutory guidance and Statutory Codes of Practice – Jan 2011, and EHRC Equality Act Toolkit: www.equalityhumanrights.com/equalityact/ Development guidance on procurement (http://www.idea.gov.uk/idk/core/page.do?pageId=9308150
    20. 20. Thank you. Questions?

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