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Equality and diversity pocket-checker


As part of our diverstity training series, we thought this 'Best Practice in Equality and Diversity Policies and Procedures - What Inspectors look for,' pocket checker, kindly supplied by QED Training Services, provides a handy quick-glance guide for training managers.

Effective policies and procedures

Starts with a key statement of principles in which opening mission statements, the local context and a summary of key beliefs are stated. It is at this opening stage that the overarching statement of non-discrimination, direct or indirect, against the whole range of community and other groups is identified. A good welcome for any new member of staff or volunteer.

Includes and celebrates existing achievements. Achievements such as listing previous training events, publications, specific arrangements for various groups, recognition of external bodies, flexible working arrangements and consultation arrangements are all spelled out.

Provides specific information on the employment policies covering the way in which the full range of recruitment and selection arrangements from advertising to post interviews meet equality guidelines. There is an Employment Action Plan. And therefore a Volunteer Action Plan.

Provides a similar section on how service delivery – for internal & external customers, employees and volunteers– meet equality guidelines. This covers access; a range of translated literature, information services, childcare facilities and help for those with other specific needs.

Makes clear who is responsible for the overall implementation of the policy and the role of other managers, individual or trade unions in its day-to-day operations.

Outlines the purpose of monitoring and how it will be implemented. This is carried out to check the effectiveness of any organisations equal opportunities policies and procedures. It can involve comparing employment patterns or service take up if and by men and women, ethnic minority and white people, people with and without disabilities and younger and older people. It helps you to plan recruitment drives. And to identify areas where people are not coming forward from.

The policy

  • Highlights specific time frames and specific management roles for dealing with harassment and bullying issues as well as for any other equal opportunity complaints relating to employment or service delivery. Remember you must not prejudice external statutory deadlines for courts and tribunals.
  • Explains how the policy is kept under regular review and the arrangements in place to consult and take on board new ideas or development. Don’t forget external stakeholders
  • Forms part of a wider corporate package usually linked to handbooks or induction manuals as well as guidance notes for staff & volunteers.
  • Deals with contract compliance and the equality standards expected from contractors and suppliers.
  • Discusses new arrangements being developed for the complaint procedure.
  • Provides tangible step-by-step equality checklists to which we refer again later
  • Gives the reader clear ideas about how she or he can contribute in practical ways in developing the culture of the organisation.
  • Sets targets and goals for every pocket of the organisation action plans.
  • And finally, shows how these topics are actually kept live – day by day:
  1. Standing items on team weekly meetings
  2. Local media observatory sessions with staff and learners
  3. Newsletters – use of intranet

Why do things go wrong?

But what causes both customer care and good equality practice to collapse or breakdown? Consider each of the short summaries below. They are followed by some equality proofing pointers to help you draw up a sound checklist tailored to your work activities. So why do things go wrong?

Systems and Procedures

On the surface a system might be applied to everyone across the board but in its application, one or more groups might suffer a disadvantage. For example, you could invite everyone to a volunteer recruitment event on the same day or date but might have convened it at a time when a non-Christian festival is scheduled.
Remember what we did with the word “ASSUME”? Split the word in two – you assume and you make as ASS out of UME. Many offensive and completely wrong assumptions can be made about other people because of their dress, language, disability and other factors.
Does she take sugar? Patronising at best, offensive at worse. Racist, sexist and homophobic attitudes amongst others completely blight equal opportunities in customer care, employment and volunteer initiatives.
Verbal and written communication as well as “meet and greet” may have to be tailored according to the individual volunteer’s faith, religion or membership of a specific group. Effective listening skills need to be honed especially when communicating with people whose first language is not our own. Remember the key steps in this regard:
1.    The non English speaker will hear what you say in English
2.    They will then translate it into their own language in their head
3.    They will mentally consider their own reply in their own language
4.    They will then mentally translate that reply into English
5.    They will then reply to you in English
Body language – non-verbal communication – is also key, as we shall see later on when considering specific groups in the community.
Poor Planning
Access problems could so easily be avoided with careful planning and equality proofing in advance of any meeting, interview, home visits or other major/minor event.
·        Specific
·        Measurable
·        Agreed or Achievable-
·        Realistic
·        Time Based
·        Equality Proof
·        Review and Record
Poor Information and Training

Your recent training course and this manual should either help resolve a query or signpost you towards sources of further information or advice. So many customer care, employment and voluntary worker problems are caused because of lack of knowledge and sensitivity. We have to KNOW our customer or service users.

Checking For Equality and Diversity

These are the most common issues that need to be considered when making plans and preparations for any activity or event planned by your organisation. Indeed, any event.

  • Timings
  • Dates
  • Appropriate language and words to use
  • Appropriate “meet and greet” protocols
  • Appropriate body language
  • Appropriate touching
  • Pacing the voice
  • Sensitivity to non-Christian festivals
  • Knowledge about diets
  • Signposting in appropriate fonts and locations
  • Knowledge about non western dress styles
  • Balancing work-life issues
  • Inclusive literature in terms of translations and illustrations
  • Removing physical obstacles that could impede access
  • What to do and what not to do in someone’s house or property
  • Cultural signs and symbols – how to recognise an treat them
  • No assumptions

Some of these will have applicability to letters, phone calls, face-to-face encounters, home visits or events. We have already considered the essential components for effective equality and diversity policies. Within many policy documents there is usually a checklist which we summarise below and which captures many of the issues discussed on the previous pages. The checklist is aimed at those who are responsible in any way for reviewing services and policies. But it has transferable utility for your own personal equality checklist and action plans discussed in our closing pages.


1. Could the service or activity have an adverse impact on equality of opportunity for some groups? Could it for instance put some racial groups as a disadvantage? Will the service or activity be fully accessible for people with disabilities?

2. Can the service or activity have an adverse impact on relations between different racial groups, age groups or other groups?

3. Is there any data you can use to determine policies and assess impact?

4. Do you have a customer or client database? If so, does it break down customers into ethnic groups, gender, age, disability and any other relevant group?

5. Do you know how satisfied all your customers are with the service you provide? Do you know if there are any differences in satisfaction between different groups? Have you taken any action if there is?

6. Have you consulted to find out if there are any differences of requirements/need between theses groups, e.g. access, material produced in different languages?

7. How is monitoring & analysis of the effects of a service/activity on particular groups undertaken?

8. Do you have any arrangements in place for publishing the results of any assessments; consultation and monitoring you carry out?

9. Are you sure that information and services are accessible to everyone? (i.e. all ages, races, cultures, religions, genders and disabilities). This is a very important clause and goes on to ask several more questions about self awareness raising, staff skills levels on these diversity issues and the real as opposed to perceived needs of various community groups.

10. Have you considered how access to services can be improved? This clause makes suggestions and raises questions about issues such as environmental factors, co-operation between different groups and translation facilities.

You will have seen that the checklist refers to some of the issues already discussed but also carries some technical phrases. The checklist is also pitched, of course, at policy makers. We need to bring it to life for your organisation.

What’s required of a Manager of Equality and Diversity?


Skills Profile

This is an example outline skills profile for a responsible and effective manager in relation to Equality and Diversity.  It takes into account a manager’s responsibilities for people management, as well as the management of service delivery.

Interpersonal and Behavioural Competencies

§  Capacity to be non-judgmental

§  Tolerance for ambiguity

§  Capacity to appreciate and communicate respect for other people's ways

§  Capacity to demonstrate empathy

§  Capacity to be flexible

§  Willingness to acquire new patterns of behaviour

§  Humility to acknowledge what you don't know

§  Capacity to see the bigger picture

Technical Skills

§  Sufficient knowledge and understanding of a broad range of Equality and Diversity issues across employment/management and service delivery

§  Experience of working within, or closely with, the public sector on Equality and Diversity issues, and a good knowledge of the legal framework and responsibilities of public sector organisations

§  Experience of delivering Equality and Diversity outcomes through projects, both internally and externally through supply chains and a good understanding of programme management

§  Good knowledge and experience of implementing Equality Impact Assessments

§  Experience of managing stakeholder issues in relation to Equality and Diversity

§  Ability to contribute towards corporate policy development across all boundaries, and specifically the  Single Equality Scheme

For more information visit QED Training Services.

If you have any free resources you would like to share with the community, please get in touch by emailing

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