Equality & Diversity: Still a Difficult Formula to Resolve for Many Organisations

Since becoming UK Law in October 2010, the Equality Act has received a great deal of press with recognisable discrimination cases in international football, sports media, healthcare, leisure and the police, to name but a few.

Three years on, despite the equality and diversity debate being aired daily in TV news reports, newspaper articles, radio broadcasts, it seems that many organisations still haven’t got the message that getting these practices wrong damages business, devalues employees, isolates customers and is costly in terms of legal cases and tribunals—and is illegal when discrimination is proven to have occurred.

Whether we view the UK’s Equality Act 2010 as “red tape” or “burdensome legislation”, the fact is it is now established as a landmark piece of UK Law for how organisations of any size act with “fairness” in their employment of people and the services they provide. Prior to the Equality Act we were faced with multiple and disparate pieces of legislation—each stand-alone Act dealing with individual elements or “strands” of equality and diversity. The Equality Act has certainly served the purpose of consolidating, clarifying and stabilising equality and diversity laws into a single more consistent Act. UK Case Law will hone the Act still further to cement it as a truly international benchmark in the global business world.

Established in 2002 as a specialist business, Equality Matters provides consultancy and training for organisations large and small to embed equality and diversity in policies, procedures, business practices and people development. What we have witnessed over the past three years since the Equality Act 2010 became law is a tangible divide between large organisations and typical SME’s (Small & Medium Enterprise). 

Discussions with our many clients have shown that large, corporate businesses generally have the budget and resources to embed equality and diversity “best practice” through training and consultancy. Many are seeing the positive effect of this investment right to the bottom line. In comparison, our consultations have highlighted that many SME businesses might have some apathy or ignorance of the law, or simply don’t have the budget, bandwidth or tools to ensure their businesses are inclusive and avoid discrimination in the employment and the services they offer. 

Furthermore, we’ve spoken with legal advisors who, not surprisingly, confirm that it is typical for a SME type businesses to call on their legal services only at the point when a case of discrimination threatens. This seems to suggest the SME business sector in particular is rather badly served with comprehensive, affordable, agile and appropriate training packages that can be implemented to understand and apply good equality and diversity.

Equality Matters’ answer to this challenge has been to create “The Difference is You” equality and diversity training programme, placing the emphasis that diversity change and compliance is in the hands of us all as individuals. Our training products can be used to train staff in large or small groups, induction, refresher training etc. Equally, the training is suitable for any size of organisation, UK or International, in the public or private sector.

We’ve encountered international companies who employ people and provide services in the UK. As such, these companies can often overlook their need to comply with UK Laws and the Equality Act 2010. Cases have been raised against global brands, such as Microsoft, for failing to comply.

Our “The Difference is You” programme in SCORM elearning format is modular and structured in its two parts: “Understanding Diversity” and “Applying Diversity”.

In choosing Equality Matters courses via OpenSesame the benefits will be:

  • Comprehensive training that covers the equality & diversity landscape through “Understanding Diversity” and “Applying Diversity.”
  • Alignment to the Equality Act 2010 with all potential forms of discrimination covered and important terms such as “Protected Characteristics” explored in detail.
  • Embedding key principles of difference, respect and fairness.
  • Embedding clear awareness of the social, legal and business cases.
  • Realistic examples so that the user can see how things work in a familiar environment, at work or outside of work.
  • Can be deployed to organisational LMS or training systems.
  • 12 months to launch the course from date of purchase and 12 months to complete the course once launched.

The Difference is You training experience is augmented by video introduction and audio narration throughout by the UK TV (Red Dwarf, Coronation Street) and UK Radio (BBC 6 Music) personality Craig Charles as our Ambassador. For more information, visit the Equality Matters profile on OpenSesame.

Chris Pearson is Managing Director at UK based Equality Matters. Through our consultative process of understanding our customers aims to fully embrace equality & diversity change in their organisations, we set a course to being a specialist and wholly dedicated provider of equality & diversity “change” solutions. Our “The Difference is You” programme is comprehensive in ensuring managers and staff understand the equality & diversity landscape and its influences and in turn know how to act to avoid discrimination and the damaging impact on individuals and the organisation. If you are seeking a training and consultancy partner who will deliver on agility and consistency, with options to deliver training to meet your preferred style and with an impressive return on investment then Equality Matters should be your partner of choice. Connect with Chris on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube

Image: Judy van der Velden via flickr