The Equal Opportunities Handbook

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A guide to indentifying and eradicating discrimination through
training and guidance. Copies available from book shops, online stores and abebooks


Black Country Take Part Pathfinder: Evaluation report

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The Black Country Take Part Pathfinder was a government funded learning programme which supported and encouraged people to become ‘active citizens’ and for public agencies to become more responsive to citizens and communities

Part of a national programme, the Black Country Pathfinder was based on 10 years of practice around women’s leadership and participation in Wolverhampton and through work around influence with Dudley’s Community Empowerment Network (Dosti).  The partners wanted to continue to develop and offer a model to citizens to support active, critical citizenship.  The reason for continuing to bring this work to the Black Country was because of a collective vision of a cultural change about how citizens engage, feel empowered and take up their right to be able to influence the decisions that affect their lives. Those involved were lucky enough to work within organisations that are empowering and this meant that they could work in innovative ways and spend time exploring and reflecting on ideas and ways of working that otherwise might not happen.

The Black Country Take Part Pathfinder used an approach that encourages community empowerment to take place through putting the principles and values of community development into practice. If people in communities and public agencies are empowering and empowered, then it is more likely that we will see authentic community engagement taking place in different places and situations.

There were five priorities:

  • empowered and empowering citizens
  • empowered and empowering communities
  • empowered and empowering public agencies
  • authentic community engagement
  • sustainability of the Pathfinder approach in individual and organisation work practices

Good Practice Guidance: Consultation with Equalities Groups

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The Scottish Executive has produced some excellent resources around Equalities and this 2005 report stated that, although there is progress, there are still many things that work against full participation by all citizens including physical, cultural, linguistic, attitudinal, financial and social barriers. The way in which community engagement is planned and carried out will determine whether such barriers are overcome and whether people get a fair chance to have their voice heard.

The report flags up that people with different protected characteristics have similar experiences to each other in the ways that they are treated and excluded.

EHRC Starter Kit: Module 7 – Deliver your goods, facilities or services to the general public: For Service Providers

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Module Seven – a five minute overview of how the new Equality Act impacts on the way you deliver your goods, facilities or services to the general public.

A Guide to Equality and Diversity in the Third Sector

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This Guide to Equalities and Diversity in the Third Sector was produced following consultation with relevant stakeholders in the field. When Olmec undertook this challenge, they wanted to analyse whether third sector organisations were effectively measuring, monitoring and setting performance targets around equality and diversity. As a result of this research they put together this Guide detailing background information, legislation, toolkits and other resources that would help us all incorporate better practices. The Guide reflects the areas that the participants identified as priority.

Equality Act 2010

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The Equality Act 2010 replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single act to make the law simpler and to remove inconsistencies. One major intention is to make the law easier for people to understand and comply with. It also strengthened protection in certain situations.

The act covers nine specific protected characteristics, which cannot be used as a reason to treat people unfairly.  The protected characteristics are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation

Every person has one or more of the protected characteristics, so the act protects everyone against unfair treatment. However, it also recognises that while there is a case to be made that all of us may be excluded, discriminated against at some point, it may not necessarily be to do with a particular characteristic and that not all ‘unfairness’ is of the same magnitude or significance. Over time, case law will provide a clearer interpretation of how this will work in everyday circumstances.

It is also arguable that there are groups of people who are not included in the list that may be discriminated against or disadvantaged because of a particular characteristic, for example: travellers, homeless people, migrants, ex-offenders and people living in poverty.

Fairness and freedom: equalities review

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The final report of the equalities review, DCLG 2007, recognised that while ‘equality’ as a belief that citizens should be treated as equals  is a core principle underpinning many societies, there is much discussion, debate and competing interpretations and perspectives of what this might mean for our society and therefore what it will take to move closer to it.