Skip Navigation

Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights’

Acevo chair: equality debate ‘must move on from bra-burning’

If women in the voluntary sector are to achieve equality of pay and opportunity, the debate needs to move on from the “old-fashioned bra-burning era” and focus on skills, according to Acevo chair Lesley-Anne Alexander.

Alexander (pictured) made the comment during a panel discussion hosted by Bates Wells and Braithwaite yesterday to launch Rowena Lewis’s report on women leaders in the sector. Close to Parity: challenging the voluntary sector to smash the glass ceiling is the culmination of Lewis’s work as a 2010 Clore Social Fellow. (more…)

DWP: Draft Occupational Pension Schemes and Pension Protection Fund (Equality) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 – A consultation

This consultation concerns amendments to the Equality Act 2010 and the Pensions Act 2004 to reflect development in the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. These developments in European law mean that, where a pension scheme is equalising its benefits as between men and women, it has to assume a notional comparator where the inequality is a result of the Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) provisions in the Pension Schemes Act 1993. (more…)

Government policies undermine equalities work, new research reveals

Voluntary Sector North West has recently published research undertaken by CLES and partners at the Centre for Local Policy Studies exploring the impact of emerging government policies upon equalities issues in the North West. The research has found that:

  1. Reforms have come at a cost
  2. New forms of representation are weak and exclude equalities groups
  3. Spending cuts are damaging voluntary sector capacity to deliver big society
  4. The new policy framework is liable to reinstate old patterns of exclusion and discrimination
  5. Implementation is disproportionately harming the most excluded
  6. The capacity of equalities groups to participate and hold public bodies to account is heading towards a point of critical failure. (more…)

Tackling Broken Britain – Conference

22 May 2012

Manchester Conference Centre


A lack of respect, a misguided sense of entitlement, a breakdown in moral authority, simple opportunism, pure criminality…these are just some of the responses to the riots that erupted across Britain in August 2011. But what are the real reasons behind this mass disorder? Many were quick to blame gang culture or issues within the criminal justice system, but surely the riots are really indicative of the deepening inequality within our society. (more…)

Equality in social care practice: still a long way to go

After improvements in local government training and recruitment, why aren’t there more BME social workers?

[Source: Roger Kline - The Guardian]

Like many readers, my heart leapt when I saw that Stephen Lawrence’s killers had been found guilty. The family’s campaign for justice, and the McPherson Inquiry they prompted, have changed forever how we treat racism. 

We should welcome that progress. But a serious look at social work suggests we still have a long way to go before we have a level playing field for black and minority social workers – let alone service users. 

Equality is at the heart of social work practice; it is embedded in the GSCC Code of Practice, and in the training of social workers, as well as in the primary legislation that guides social work, including the Children Act 1989, Equality Act 2010 and Human Rights Act 1998. 

It is widely accepted that good practice is more likely if the workforce itself is reflective of the service users or wider population, and is treated in employment in ways that demonstrate a commitment to equality. 

Selection and training of social workers 

The disadvantage faced by BME pupils prior to reaching HE is well recorded. Ethnic minority students experience less favourable outcomes in respect of offers, attrition and progression rates (including drop out and deferrals).

Just one British black Caribbean student was admitted to Oxford last year. As David Lammy writes: “That is not a misprint: one student. Merton College, Oxford, has not admitted a single black student for five years. At Robinson College, Cambridge, a white applicant is four times more likely to be successful than a black applicant.” 

The Ethnicity, Gender and Degree Attainment Project concluded that race was a significant contributor to degree attainment, a finding confirmed by King’s College London’s report Variations in Progression of Social Work Students in England.

The employment and treatment of social workers

The NHS has long recognised the significance of race in employment, with comprehensive data suggesting there is systematic discrimination in shortlisting, appointment, promotion, treatment and (inevitably, therefore) occupational and grading stratification. 

There is no similar data for social workers, even though local authorities have been required, as part of their statutory equality duty, to monitor some aspects of equality within employment. 

One source of data is the Local Government Earnings Survey 2010/11, which found that 8.2% of the local government workforce in England and Wales were from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, but only 2% of top earners. While some councils are working hard to improve matters, the majority are not. Anecdotally, the number of senior social work managers from BME backgrounds is relatively small. 

As a trade union official, I request figures from time to time from the equality monitoring data for individual councils. The limited local data I have had access to shows three trends. 

Firstly, there is an “ethnic employment pyramid that concentrates BME staff in lower grades. In the NHS, BME staff are screened out at the shortlisting and interview stages of recruitment and the limited data I have suggests a similar pattern in social work. 

Secondly, where BME staff were investigated under disciplinary procedures they were more likely than other staff to proceed to a hearing, receive a first written warning, receive a final written warning or to be dismissed. 

Thirdly, BME staff are disproportionately more likely to be referred to the General Social Care Council (GSCC) than other staff. It is not possible to draw precise conclusions as to why this is, since until recently there was no systematic analysis of whether ethnic origin is a factor in GSCC conduct proceedings. 

Justice at last for the Lawrence family is brilliant, and we have made real progress in this country in the past two decades on the workplace treatment of BME staff. But we still have a long way to go.

VSNW: Regional LGB&T Conference

25th February, 10:00am – 4:00pm

The Lesbian & Gay Foundation

Number 5

Richmond St, Manchester

M1 3HF

Lunch and refreshments will be included.

Travel bursaries are available by pre-arrangement  with the LGF

To book a place or for more information, contact or call 0845 3 30 30 30.

Thirty NGOs call for protection for legal aid

In January 2012, the chief executives and directors of more than 30 non-governmental organisations, including the Equality and Diversity Forum, wrote to The Times asking that legal aid be protected where it matters most — ‘to people on low incomes struggling with complex and serious problems, unable to resolve them without specialist help’.

Please read the letter that was sent to The Times.



[Source: EDF]

Bob Neill gives more councils the go-ahead to tackle historic pay inequalities

Communities Minister Bob Neill has today given more councils the go-ahead to tackle historic pay inequalities.

Thousands of local government employees – mostly women on low pay – are legally entitled to backdated pay following years of being paid less for doing equally valued jobs. Equal pay directions enable local authorities to settle their equal pay commitments over an affordable period of time by raising money on their assets. (more…)

New arrangements for information, advice and support on discrimination and human rights

The Government is commissioning a new Equality Advisory and Support Service to provide a high-quality service helping individuals in England, Scotland and Wales who have problems with discrimination.   It will give expert advice and support, tailored to people’s individual circumstances, with a particular focus on  providing in depth support to vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals to find early and informal solutions where possible. Everyone will be able to use the new service, whatever  their means. It will strive to meet the highest standards of accessibility for everyone – including people with disabilities and those for whom English is not their first language. Its services will be available in Welsh. (more…)

Northeast Voluntary Sector Cuts Impact Survey

Newcastle CVS is working closely with VONNE to monitor the impact of the spending cuts on the voluntary and community sector in the North East. 

VONNE has been running this impact study since 2009, and is actively tracking any changes.  The Millfield House Foundation has funded some additional work and the research will focus on particular geographic areas, one of which is Newcastle. 

Can you to give up fifteen minutes of your valuable time to fill it in? 

The link to the survey is 

The survey closes at 4pm on Tuesday 31st January. 

It is important to have a strong and thriving voluntary and community sector and VONNE has previously used the results from surveys to lobby for additional resources and campaign to highlight the importance of what we do and the impact on those we support.