Perception Costly, time consuming, confusing, irrelevant, biased, not business sense OR.,… Equalities is Understanding the customer, tailoring service provision, employing the best people, and….good business sense… Equalities is…. a concept and therefore involves…
Earth Rings of Saturn Taken, September 15, 2006 by the Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn.
The concept must be communicated, and therefore involves… Positioning Moral case Legal case Business case
Collective Ideology Collective ideology BUT..…. Individualistic society
Positioning happens through... Discourse Positive language Value for money Five years interest free ½ price sale, act now Removing barriers to an equal life Areas for improvement Fairness Negative language Its expensive 5 years paying it off ½ price, but not needed Discrimination Adverse Impact Equality ? (Public perception)
The communicator carrys the message, and can easily become perceived as…..
And the communicator is up against..….. Negative press coverage Financial cuts Competing priorities Lack of concern
ELECT A REPRESENTATIVE HOUSE OF COMMONS? BY 2080 CLOSE THE GENDER PAY GAP? BY 2085 CLOSE THE ETHNIC EMPLOYMENT GAP? BY 2105 END THE 50+ EMPLOYMENT PENALTY NOT IN THIS LIFETIME CLOSE THE DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT GAP? PROBABLY NEVER CLOSE THE ETHNIC QUALIFICATION GAP? DEFINITELY NEVER Equalities review states……..at the current rate of change…..
Removing barriers for women would be worth £15- £23m (1.3-2% of the GDP) 30% more disabled people out of work costs the Government £9 billion annually in lost revenue Young people excluded from school – could cost the taxpayer £15-£50,000 per year Greater equality will make our society better off, our economy stronger, our social fabric more cohesive and reassert the oral values which underpin the British tradition of fairness Equalities Review 2007 Some more statistics…………
Hard drivers Equalities Legislation requiring: –Equality scheme(s) to be in place and implemented –EqIAs to be conducted on policy and functions New Equality Bill, with potential for: –Wider public duty to promote equality –Setting Equality Objectives based on evidence New LG measure and fairness Financial cuts - requiring a more efficient approach to meeting needs Prevailing inequality Current mainstreaming drivers Welsh Local Government
Soft drivers Prevailing inequality Citizen centered service delivery Connecting equality to adding value and improvement Public doubts about achievements and relevance Credibility - Quicker, better, more targeted improvement is needed Current mainstreaming drivers Welsh Local Government
Mainstreaming is a comparatively recent approach and the evidence and evaluatory basis of its effectiveness is weak. It can be problematic in that it may only operate to influence policy development rather than tackle the root causes of discrimination, and in the absence of specific policies and programmes to promote equality interests, it can result in a form of policy dilution where the responsibility for equality is lost. Managing Equality in Welsh Local Government Sullivan, Williams & Wooding, 2004 Mainstreaming, effective or not?
The literature suggests various prescriptions for effective mainstreaming strategies including: The importance of good quality disaggregated data; the need for a strategic approach; the necessity for institutional and personal capacity building; effective monitoring and evaluation processes; appropriate training and awareness raising; and the availability of equality impact tools and frameworks. Managing Equality in Welsh Local Government, Sullivan, Williams & Wooding, 2004 Mainstreaming…what works?
Multiple Equality Schemes, largely unachieved Problems related to EqIAs Limited corporate consistency (mainstreaming) Limited engagement from senior management & resistant middle management Challenging organisational wide improvement, often resting on shoulders of a few officers Frustrated practioners Current situation – Welsh Local Government
A corporate vehicle Careful evaluation of why things dont work Planned organisational communication – Right message, Right audience, Right medium, Right time…...........Youve got to sell it right High level = 1 to 1 communication Middle level = provide clear communication and negotiate intended outcomes Lower level (service management), provide good quality tools, training and ongoing support Adopt a project management methodology – What, when, how, who by, with what? For mainstreaming to work…it requires
Case study: New approach to EqIAs Aim High project Powys Misconception process was onerous and resource intensive Lack of buy-in Lead Assessors – understood theory, but not practical actions required Too many assessments – overwhelming Progress monitoring insufficient Other competing priorities
New approach Buy in – careful communication – Aim High Status – 1 to 1 meeting with key senior personnel – Message carried to next tier by a senior person – Tailored communication Rationalisation – Slimmed 4 stage EIA process – Redesigned EIA toolkit – added scoping section – Service based assessments
Scoping workshops – 2 hours, conducted with each of 40 lead assessors – Discussions around data, what to collect – Project objectives and milestones agreed Project management methodology – Careful selection what to work on – Progress monitoring & clear lines accountability – Ongoing dialogue and communication New approach
Lessons Learned Be strategic and selective – select what to improve and carefully plan Buy in crucial – engaging top tier and down Project management methodology and up-front agreements Positive approach – work within current system Working with services to scope practicalities Sell, sell, sell the benefits Consistent corporate but tailored message
Conclusions Perceptions, positioning, communication, have powerful impact on mainstreaming potential Legislative and process drivers have not generated enough change For mainstreaming to work, we need a core vehicle(s) to carry the change process
Conclusions Need to understand the organisation and take a pragmatic, targeted approach Planned Equality improvement needs to be outcome focussed Once we know all this…everything rests upon effective tailored communication
A final point on perception… It all depends on how we look at things and not how they are in themselves Carl Jung