EDF conference and report on workplace equality

The EDF logo.

‘Workplace equality – turning policy into practice’, a report by Frances McAndrew for the Equality and Diversity Forum, was launched at a conference in London on 25 November 2010.

The Conference was attended by more than 100 people from a range of sectors: employers, employees, trade unions, local authorities, health providers, equality NGOs, legal practitioners and others.

The event was chaired by Jane Esuantsiwa Goldsmith with a panel commenting on the report before open discussion with participants. Panel members were: Alan Christie, Director of Policy, Equality and Human Rights Commission; Sarah Veale, Head of Equality and Employment Rights, TUC; Dianah Worman, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development; and Andy Kent FIMI, Managing Director, Andy’s Kars Ltd.

Jerry Gibson from Acas closed the conference with a summary of some of its emergent themes and some final causes for optimism about tackling workplace discrimination: the Equality Act 2010 and the potential it brings; the shifting focus towards providing basic skills training and support for managers; and the appetite for learning about new legislation that Acas sees among many organisations.

The conference and report were the culmination of a project to narrow the gap between equality laws and the reality of workplace experiences. The project was supported by PROGRESS, the European Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity.

Click here for presentation by Frances McAndrew

Click here for report ‘Workplace equality – turning policy into practice’

Click here to watch a video of edited highlights from the conference

Click here for BBC item on ‘Disability equality forty years on’ including interview with Andy Kent

Report: ‘Human rights and equality in the voluntary sector’

Human rights and equality in the voluntary sector. Report of a pilot project by the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and the Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF) was published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission on 10 December 2010 (International Human Rights Day).

The report is the result of a pilot project exploring how voluntary organisations that work in the equalities field are using human rights concepts, language and tools in their work. The pilot was carried out by the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and the Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF) with funding from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (the Commission).

The report covers:

  • The aims and methodology of the project.
  • The links between equality and human rights.
  • Why human rights might be particularly useful to organisations working on equalities.
  • How equalities organisations are using human rights now.
  • What barriers hold equalities voluntary organisations back from making greater use of human rights and how these might be overcome.

Life Opportunities Survey of disability

Office for National Statistics

In December 2010, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published the ‘Life Opportunities Survey Interim Report’.

The Life Opportunities Survey (LOS) is a new large-scale survey of disability in Great Britain and the first major social survey to explore disability in terms of social barriers to participation, rather than only measuring disability in terms of impairments or health conditions.

Some of the key findings are:

  • 17 per cent of adults with impairments experienced participation restrictions in their learning opportunities compared with 9 per cent of adults without impairments
  • 56 per cent of adults with impairments experienced restrictions in the type or amount of paid work they did, compared with 26 per cent of adults without impairments
  • 74 per cent of adults with impairments experienced restrictions in using transport compared with 58 per cent of adults without impairments

Click here for link

LSE book-on-the-web: The Rights’ Future

‘The Rights’ Future’ is a collaborative web-based writing project launched in October 2010 by Conor Gearty, Professor of human rights law at the London School of Economics.

The project ‘explores the history, development and current success of the human rights ideal’ through a series of weekly online essays shaped not only by the author’s views but by those of his audience.

Click here for details

UNICEF report on ‘The children left behind’

In 2010, UNICEF published ‘The children left behind. A league table of inequality in child well-being in the world’s rich countries’.

The report (Report Card 9) examines inequality in material well-being, education and health across 24 developed countries, and ranks the UK in the bottom two-fifths of countries alongside Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. It shows that disadvantaged children in the UK fall further behind their peers than in countries such as France or Germany. The report clearly demonstrates that income poverty has the greatest impact on child inequality, and shows that without continued government intervention in the form of tax credits and benefits, the number of children living in poverty in the UK would be significantly higher. However, it also shows that Government efforts to date have been insufficient in both scope and scale to combat child poverty and inequality, and to decrease levels of child poverty to those we would expect in one of the world’s richest nations.

In the context of the development of a UK child poverty strategy, the findings of Report Card 9 take on a particular significance for the UK. UNICEF UK, among other things, has urged the Government to ensure that ambitious interim targets underpin the new child poverty strategy, and that a child-focused fairness test is rigorously applied to all proposed changes to the welfare, tax, education, and health systems to ensure that new policies do not increase inequality between children.

Click here for link (pdf)