In order to provide complete functionality, this web site needs your explicit consent to store browser cookies. If you don't allow cookies, you may not be able to use certain features of the web site including but not limited to: log in, buy products, see personalized content, switch between site cultures. It is recommended that you allow all cookies.
 
 
How is our work influencing life in Northern Ireland and delivering equality? Learn more about our policy, legal and research work.
 
 

Research & investigations

Social attitudes and good relations
Social attitudes and good relations

What you need to know

 

Public Opinion Surveys: Equality in Northern Ireland

Public Opinion Survey
The Commission’s Public Opinion Surveys on Equality in Northern Ireland support the development, monitoring and evaluation of data and performance measures aligned with the delivery of our Corporate and Business planning outcomes.

Our ‘Public Opinion Survey’ (2019) was contracted to Ipsos Mori Belfast.  The survey was undertaken between 3 December 2018 and 18 January 2019.  The survey used a quota-based sampling approach of 500 completed telephone interviews.

The Public Opinion Survey obtained responses to questions on:

 

  • Awareness and Understanding of Equality
  • Attitudes to Equality
  • Equality Status and Discrimination
  • Views on Equality in Northern Ireland
  • Personal Experiences of Unwanted Behaviour

 

Aspects of Life in Northern Ireland

A number of statements were presented to participants covering various aspects of life in NI, including the workplace, in education, the local area and public services:
 

  • Workplaces
  • Education
  • Local Area
  • Public Figures and Public Services


The findings from the Public Opinion Survey (2019) are available on our Public Opinion Survey webpage or you can download them in pdf format:
 

Equality Awareness Surveys (2016)

The Equality Commission carries out regular equality awareness surveys which look at the general public's, employer's and service provider's:
 

  • attitudes to equality groups
  • perceptions and support for equality issues
  • awareness of equality and anti-discrimination issues, rights and protections
  • confidence in the Equality Commission


Question of AttitudeThe Research
Two equality awareness surveys were undertaken in 2016. Social Market Research conducted the fieldwork for the survey in July/August 2016 on a face-to-face basis with an achieved sample of 1,143 adults aged 16 years and over. Ipsos MORI to conduct a survey to give us insight into the attitudes and perceptions of those who use or could use our services to employers and service providers.  We took our 1,220 sample respondents from our database of employers registered with us for the purposes of the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998.
 

  • The findings of these surveys are presented in the Equality Awareness Surveys (published in 2018) and builds on previous similar surveys undertaken in 2005, 2008 and 2011.


Download publications:
 

 

Equality Awareness Survey: Do You Mean Me? (2012)

Equality Awareness Survey: 'Do You Mean Me?' (2012)
It’s important that we base our policy work on reliable data. Our equality awareness surveys look at trends in public attitudes towards particular groups in society, personal experiences of discrimination and knowledge of rights and protections. They consider who is most likely to express negative feelings and who is most likely to be the target of their prejudice.

Our 'Do You Mean me?' survey was published in 2012: 


'Do You Mean Me?'

It also has a special website for schools and colleges.

 

How can we help you with a Section 75 complaint

Under paragraph 10 of Schedule 9 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, if you believe you have been directly affected by a failure by a designated public authority to act in compliance with its Equality Scheme, you can complain, first to the public authority concerned, and then, if dissatisfied with their response, to the Equality Commission.

You can contact the Commission for advice and guidance on the procedures involved prior to submitting a complaint. You must bring the potential complaint to the notice of the public authority concerned and allow it a reasonable opportunity to respond.

A complaint to the Commission must be sent to us within twelve months of your knowledge of the matters alleged. All complaints received by the Commission will be considered by a Committee who may decide to authorise investigation of the complaint. Some alleged failures may be resolved without an investigation being necessary.

The Act also provides that the Equality Commission may conduct an investigation of its own volition (under paragraph 11 of Schedule 9) where it believes that a public authority may have failed to comply with its approved Equality Scheme.

 

Other research into social attitudes and good relations

Indicators of Equality of Opportunity and Good Relations in Education:

 

 

  • Keeping it Effective - Reviewing the Effectiveness of Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (pdf, 2009)
 

Section 75 investigations

Investigations into public bodies’ non-compliance with their equality schemes


Section 75 places a statutory duty on public bodies to pro-actively address good relations. This means a public authority must consider how the policies it makes and implements affect relationships between people of different religions, political opinions and racial groups. It involves considering steps to promote good relations amongst, for example, its employees, service users and others affected by its policies.

The purpose of the duty is to mainstream good relations by placing it at the heart of public policy decision making. A key role for us is the oversight of Section 75 duties and we offer extensive guidance and support to public bodies.

The Act requires all public authorities to draw up, and have approved, an Equality Scheme setting out how the public authority proposes to fulfill its duties under the Act.  The Equality Commission approves these schemes.

The Act also gives the Commission power to conduct an investigation where it appears that a public authority may have failed to comply with the commitments it has made in its Equality Scheme.

Under paragraph 10 of Schedule 9 of the Act, a person who is directly affected by an alleged failure by a designated public authority to act in compliance with its Equality Scheme may complain in writing, first to the public authority and then, if they are dissatisfied with the response of the public authority, to the Equality Commission.

An individual may contact the Commission for advice and guidance on the procedures involved prior to submitting a complaint. The complaint must be sent to the Commission within twelve months of the complainant’s knowledge of the matters alleged. All complaints received will be considered by a Committee who may decide to authorise investigation of the complaint. Some alleged failures may be resolved without an investigation being necessary.

The Act also provides that the Equality Commission may conduct an investigation of its own volition (under paragraph 11 of Schedule 9) where it believes that a public authority may have failed to comply with its approved Equality Scheme.

The Commission has conducted investigations into a number of allegations that public authorities failed to comply with commitments in their Equality Schemes to have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations.

We receive complaints in respect of public authorities’ commitments in their equality schemes in respect of good relations. The majority of these complaints to date have focused on the display of flags and memorabilia by district councils. Frequently such complaints will refer both to the duty of equality of opportunity and the good relations duty.

Completed investigations typically set out whether the alleged failure to comply with the equality scheme has been established, and the action it recommends in light of such failure.
 

 
 
 
Print All