Avoiding Claims under Equalities Legislation
All Organisations including Schools, Hospitals, Councils and Private Companies have to comply with the Equalities Act 2010.
Whilst they may know that this is important the reality is often the policies and practices adopted do not even meet minimum requirements.
The courts when actions are brought for a breach apply the rules rigorously particularly for Public sector service providers. The chances of being challenged for non-compliance are increasing by both employees and receivers of services.
If organisations do not receive regular specialised input and advice on this then they are more vulnerable to a challenge which could result in thousands of pounds of compensation being paid as well as the detrimental impact upon reputation.
Like most things, it is only when something goes seriously wrong that the full weight of the legal requirements becomes apparent. If only we had done something to prevent it is so often said when it is sadly now too late!
Did you know?
• If you are not training staff this means you could be liable for their unacceptable behaviour. When did you last train your staff? If it’s more than 3 years ago you could have a problem.
• The first place an investigation would look into will be an organisation’s policies and monitoring records. How do you monitor yours and who is appraised on the results? Don’t do this? You could have a problem.
• If you have never really prioritised this then you are probably already significantly vulnerable to a successful challenge should one be made.
There are 3 areas that require attention:
1. Policy and Strategy
Having up-to-date legally compliant relevant policies is a first step to compliance.
Effective training being given for all those staff who are governed and operate under those policies.
Ensuring that in practice they are complied with through monitoring. You should conduct regular reviews of the policy, compliance with it, awareness training of staff and also seek feedback from the users of the services.
The risk of non-compliance is unfortunately very high and in particular in the litigation society that we currently now live in.
The good news is we offer cost-effective and highly specialised and experienced practical assistance.
With over 10 years of experience working as a lead professional in this field for large public sector bodies and having produced policy, strategy and plans that were often regarded as best practice by the relevant regulatory bodies I can provide you with competent assistance.
I also have a proven track record in adopting a practical and streamlined approach to the application of complex equality law, providing an engaging efficient and helpful approach which aligns effectively where possible with other corporate drivers and initiatives that professionals conducting challenging roles do really appreciate.
I have also operated as a national adviser across the 22 local authorities of Wales where I drafted an effective and well received national management improvement framework providing organisations with a route map to the implementation of equalities law.
I am also highly skilled in delivering training on Equalities polices, practices and procedure and the application of these for all levels of staff to ensure they understand what they need to do and how to do it well. I use modern engaging training techniques incorporating elements of psychology and fun to ensure where possible full engagement.
My approach is practical and straightforward.
Through HEAL Associates our offer is a simple one.
We do not want to see any organisation, school, health trust, council or any private company find itself on the wrong end of a law suit just because that organisation or more particularly any of its staff did not do something which could have been done.
The financial and reputational cost to both organisation and individual of losing a claim can be great. A defence of conflicting priorities or a lack-of-understanding are not mitigation of sentence before the courts.
SO…..wondering whether you may have a problem…..?
Or a little more concerned that you might?
Want to know what you can now do about it?
The Answer is…Commission an Audit
Invite us to undertake an audit in the first instance of the policies and practices that you have adopted.
As part of that we will identify any areas where we believe action could be taken to help avoid issues arising. Depending upon the results if required we can then also assist you with:
• Drafting policies you do not already have and should have
• Amending or re-writing policies that you do have that are not fit for purpose
• Amending strategies or plans that do not meet the requirements
• Providing equalities training so that staff are fully aware of the practicalities of operating the policies in your organisation or other work associated with it
In the first instance we are able to offer a fixed fee service to undertake the high level audit of your equality policies and produce a report with a suggested action plan from £350.
This is a very reasonable price to provide this audit from a highly experienced practitioner and can provide you with piece of mind of where you currently stand on these very important issues. It could furthermore prevent you making a costly mistake on this in the future. If there are shortfalls we will only suggest things that really do need doing for your action plan and we will provide you with options to achieve it from advisory assistance to completing it for you, depending on what you are looking for.
Our advice would be if in doubt please contact us for a conversation as we will try to be as helpful and as reassuring as possible.
If you would like any further information email, telephone or call us today.