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1 Participation and Progress University of Wolverhampton Biennial Conference 2010 Berry Dicker.

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1 1 Participation and Progress University of Wolverhampton Biennial Conference 2010 Berry Dicker

2 2 What is this briefing about? It will cover: Why a new Equality Act? The main general changes. Other changes impacting on Universities/HEIs. What is up to you.

3 3 What… more legislation? * Equality Act received Royal Assent 08 April 2010

4 4 Well actually, yes and no *Existing legislation such as that below is being repealed and restated. Most provisions of new Act become law Oct 2010. - The Equal Pay Act 1970; ) - The Sex Discrimination Act 1975; )& their various - The Race Relations Act 1976; ) amendments - The Disability Discrimination Act 1995; ) - The Employment Equality (Religion/Belief) Regs 2003; - The Employment Equality (SO) Regs 2003; - The Employment Equality (Age) Regs 2006; - The Equality Act 2006, Part 2; - The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007

5 5 So its just tidying up? …..Not exactly. * PROTECTED CHARACTERISTICS age; ( Age Provisions ‘goods and services’ expected 2012) disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation Equality Act 2010

6 6 The EHRC summarises the reasons for change as follows: 1 Making the law easier to understand and implement by simplifying 116 pieces of equality legislation (e.g. acts, regulations, codes,) into a single Act for individuals, public authorities and private organisations

7 7 EHRC summary continued 2 Giving people the right not to be treated less favourably by public authorities because of their age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, or transgender status; as well as their disability, gender, or race which were already covered.

8 8 EHRC summary continued 3 Extending anti-age discrimination rules to include goods, facilities and services, thereby, for example, stopping people being unfairly refused insurance or medical treatments based on what age they are.

9 9 EHRC Investigations and Inquiries * As part of an investigation or Inquiry the Commission, acting under Schedule 2 of the Equality Act 2006, can require organisations such as service providers or public authorities to provide information about their policies or practices. An organisation cannot unreasonably refuse to provide such information. There are other enforcement tools e.g. assessments, interventions, agreements and compliance notices

10 10 Have any equality rights granted before the 2010 legislation been removed? No it is all still there, restated. For the new protected characteristics provision has been upgraded and improved. There has been additional tweaking of some existing provisions.

11 11 Equality Act 2010 Extended public sector equality duty (a) eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under this Act; (b) advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it; (c) foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it. Page 96 Equality Act 2010

12 12 HEIS will need to: based on ECU Guidance 1 By reviewing all functions with regard to the protected characteristics: ….develop and publish equality objectives, with reference to relevant evidence, and publicly set out the steps they intend to take to achieve them.

13 13 HEIS will need to: based on ECU Guidance 2 Be aware that though not all protected characteristics or functions will require an objective if there is no evidence for it, ….HEIs will need to be able to show evidence for why they have not set an equality objective for a particular protected characteristic.

14 14 HEIS will need to: based on ECU Guidance 3 Take account of national equality objectives agreed by Government and disseminated to public bodies.

15 15 HEIS will need to note: based on ECU Guidance There is …an extended definition of positive action to enable employers to address significant patterns of under-representation amongst their staff, the requirement for publication of gender pay gap data by individual HEIs, a ban on the use of pre-employment health questionnaires, (i.e. not allowed before job offers) extended legal protection for women when breast- feeding.

16 16 Some other changes to be noted by HEIs Changes to Disability legislation New socio-economic duty Dual strand discrimination Caste may be added as an aspect of race Impact assessments Procurement

17 17 Changes relating to disability 1 The new Act introduces the concept of indirect discrimination on the grounds of disability to replace current provisions on disability-related discrimination in the DDA. This helps to harmonise protection for the various equality strands and takes into account recent case law on disability. In addition there are two types of prohibited conduct that relate only to disability. These are discrimination arising from disability and the duty to make reasonable adjustments. Cindy Williams-Findlay

18 18 Changes relating to disability 2. These concepts are closely linked to elements in the DDA. Discrimination arising from disability means treating a disabled person unfavourably for a reason relating to their disability, and the treatment cannot be justified. To be justified the treatment must be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. The duty to make reasonable adjustments applies where a provision, criterion or practice or a physical feature of premises puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared with people who do not experience the same disability. Cindy Williams-Findlay

19 19 New socio-economic duty The Act sets out a new legal duty on key public bodies, including central government and local authorities, to ensure they consider the impact that their strategic decisions will have on narrowing socio-economic inequalities. This comes into force in April 2011

20 20 The new law makes provision for dual discrimination protection from April 2011 Example DIY company does not shortlist a young woman for interview for a role on the shop floor. The company believe that she is unlikely to give the impression of having the necessary skills and knowledge to advise and sell DIY goods to customers. The company’s shop floor staffs are mostly older men with some older women and some younger men. The reason for the less favourable treatment would appear to be a combination of the applicant’s sex and age.” From the draft Statutory Code. Employment.

21 21 Caste can be added to the definition of race Caste discrimination …. the Government accepted an amendment at Report stage in the House of Lords that allows “caste” to be added by Ministerial order to the Bill’s definition of “race”. This means that if the power were used, unlawful discrimination and harassment because of caste would be prohibited in the same way as discrimination because of colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins. Michael Rubenstein Equal Opportunities Review No 199

22 22 Procurement HEIs will need to actively consider the equality requirements of every contract they tender and, if it is relevant and proportionate, to consider including equality-related award criteria or contract conditions. ECU Guidance

23 23 Impact assessments Impact assessments are not mentioned in the legislation but will be covered by ERHC guidance. They may be useful in showing why you have not set equality objectives for some protected characteristics

24 24 Legislation does not do it all, some of it is down to you. Unconscious incompetence Any of us may hold a set of beliefs or assumptions of which we are not conscious but which affect the way we relate to people. Unconscious incompetence is where these are unhelpful to us and the place where we work. Conscious incompetence Over time the irrelevance or inaccuracy of these assumptions may become evident to us in various ways. We may become aware through training, OR we may receive a legal challenge. Conscious Competence We think more carefully about what we are doing and the underlying assumptions and we improve our reactions. Unconscious competence It comes naturally to discard unhelpful and/or inaccurate assumptions from the past which no longer influence us. As explained by Anjana Nathwani. (Business Psychologist). Scheider- Ross

25 25 The End

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