SCIE opinion - 5 April 2011
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All things being equal
Michael Turner, Participation Support Manager
We've got two new things to tell you about this month.
Make SCIE your first port of call to see if you are getting it right on equalities legislation. The continuation of the Equalities Act 2010 comes into effect from 05 April. This affects everyone working in, or delivering, public services and moves to streamline existing equalities legislation, supporting people who have 'protected characteristics' such as race, age and disability. The new Public Sector Equality Duty means public, private, voluntary and community sector organisations that provide public services will have to:
- Remove / minimise disadvantages experienced by people due to their protected characteristics (see above)
- Take steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people
- Encourage people from protected groups to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low.
You can do something now. More specific duties will come into force in July, meaning that public sector organisations will have to do things like set targets and monitor how they are delivering them. The new draft regulations focus on cutting bureaucracy and increasing transparency in order to free up public bodies to do what is appropriate in their circumstances. This means taking responsibility for their own performance and being held to account by the public. The 'specific' duties consultation runs until 21 April. More information on this can be found here
Changes relate to public, private, voluntary and community organisations.
SCIE's equality section
Our new equality section will point you in the direction of all of SCIE's previous equality work including -
- films about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who use social care services
- research on older people using personal budgets
- guidance on the spiritual needs for people with dementia
There's a section on each of the protected characteristics relevant to SCIE's work. It means advancing equality for people for whom age, disability, race, religion or sexual orientation are an issue. The final part provides links to other SCIE products such as Social Care Online, the Good Practice Framework and other organisations' guidance. There are also tools to enable you to implement the Equality Bill.
Throughout April we'll be highlighting equality. But it's not just happening this month; equalities legislation is here to stay and SCIE believes equality and diversity is a core value for social care and we want to help everyone to understand and implement it.