This provides employers with a practical and manageable framework for coordinating all aspects of equality work undertaken within your organisation. It specifically refers to employment practices and access to services and includes:
- An action plan outlining how your company’s equal opportunity policy will be implemented
- A voluntary initiative driven by the needs and priorities of your organisation
- A plan that allows for an integrated approach to the promotion of equality across nine grounds (age, sexual orientation, religious belief, race, disability, political opinion, sex, marital status, persons with or without dependants)
- A flexible structure which can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your company
- A framework for undertaking an Equality Impact Assessment of employment policies and practices
- A way of integrating equality into performance management systems, quality initiatives and corporate planning processes
- Development of action plans to promote affirmative & positive action.
How can an Equality Plan benefit your organisation?
Business planning: effectively coordinate all equality-related work carried out throughout your organisation
Forward planning: prepare for developments in legislation and best practice
Policy review: audit all employment policies against legislative requirements and best practice
Risk assessment: identify gaps and potential problem areas, thereby managing the risk of non-compliance with equality legislation
Quality assessment: input into quality initiatives such as EFQM and Investors in People
Communication: coordinate organisation-wide equality training and an awareness strategy
Promotion: raising awareness about your organisation’s commitment to equal opportunities, both internally and externally
Evidence: can be used to help outline to a tribunal how your organisation has taken all reasonably practicable steps to avoid discrimination
Partnership: access a full range of specialist knowledge, guidance, training and support from the Equality Commission
Investment/funding: assist your organisation in accessing private investment and EU funding by indicating and providing evidence of your commitment to equality of opportunity.
Employment practice review
Employment policies and practices are reviewed against the Commission’s equality indicators, with a view to assisting you in determining the extent to which your policies meet current equality legislation requirements and best practice. You can then develop action plans outlining what action you intend taking in order to remedy any areas of non-compliance. In addition, as a best practice employer you will develop action plans to promote best practice initiatives.
Equality monitoring and review
If you develop an Equality Plan you are encouraged to develop an equality monitoring policy and strategy. The availability of equality monitoring data is essential in indicating whether the desired impact of the Equality Plan in better promoting equality of opportunity is achieving the desired aim. On the basis of equality monitoring data, Equality Plans will be reviewed and evaluated.
Affirmative & positive action planning
As an employer you are encouraged to use the positive and affirmative action provisions of the equality legislation, where justified, as part of your Equality Plan.
Training & awareness planning
All Equality Plans should be supported by the provision of legislative and equality awareness training across the range of equality groups. A key message of this training should be your organisation’s commitment to the promotion of equality of opportunity and the effective implementation of your Equality Plan.
Remember Equality Plans are voluntary and it is up to each employer to decide the extent of their plan and the level of assistance they would like from the Equality Commission.
How do I develop an Equality Plan?
The Equality Commission can assist you to develop an Equality Plan that will match the specific needs of your organisation.