Sex, Race and Class -Extended Interview with Selma James on Her Six Decades of Activism

This video is quite long but worth watching:

Extended interview with Selma James on her six decades of activism

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Online Equalities Training – can it really work?

OSDC is currently exploring the possibility of developing some of our training courses into online learning resources.

There are a number of challenges to doing this in relation to equality and diversity training, especially, if like us, you want your participants to leave the training feeling like they have been challenged in a positive way, they have had an opportunity to reflect on their own practice and learn from each other. There has been some criticism of online equalities training, as there is a feeling that effective equalities training needs to empower and enable culture and attitudinal change, which requires good facilitation, discussion and reflection – these things can be hard to achieve through online learning (or at least within the online learning we have viewed). We find one of the most effective ways of delivering equalities training is through the use of scenarios which enable people to think through how they would actually respond to real life situations.

There are obvious advantages to buying online courses for large institutions in terms of cost saving and staff being able to complete courses in their own time/at their own pace. However one complaint that we have heard from local authorities is that they find it difficult with the current systems to track who has completed a course and who has not. Many of the current available resources are quite generic and corporate and not necessarily sector specific, when OSDC delivers training in the traditional way we always tailor it to ensure it is relevant to the audience and sector specific, even if the outcomes and many of the exercises are the same people feel like that can relate to the scenarios we provide them with.

Our challenge, therefore, is to create online equalities training which has the benefits of being low cost, accessible and flexible while remaining sector specific, drawing on relatable examples/scenarios and creating the positive culture change needed in organisations in order to achieve real equality.

Our initial ideas will blend traditional elearning techniques with our unique training resources, use of webinars and blended learning.

Watch this space for future developments.

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Red Tape Challenge Response

OSDC has responded to the Government’s Red Tape Challange, which this month has focused on the Equality Act 2010.

Who is protected

Hard-fought-for human rights should not be seen as burdensome. The 9 protected characteristics should either be left as they are or expanded. We welcome the redefinition of gender reassignment and the move away from the medical intervention definition. We also welcome the scrapping of the list of capabilities in recognition that mental ill health may also cause people to be unable to carry out day to day activities. We would like to see caste included within the definition of race and to see ‘carers’ or ‘carer status’ included as a separate protected characteristic.

Prohibited conduct

The Act provides a more consistent approach by extending protection from direct and indirect discrimination across the protected characteristics. Protection from discrimination by perception and by association is a welcome addition to the legislation. OSDC is disappointed that third party harassment has not been introduced.

Introducing better management systems, procedures and policies as well as providing training and development opportunities for staff in order to protect people from discrimination and harassment should not be viewed as bureaucratic or burdensome.

We are disappointed that the protection for people with dual characteristics has been taken out e.g. if someone is discriminated again because they are an ‘older woman’ (the comparator of young woman or older man does reflect the true nature of the discrimination).

At work

Clear guidelines for employers around employment and recruitment processes would enable to people to ensure they are doing all they can to develop a diverse workforce which is representative of their local community. Some employers may find the new legislation confusing in relation to pre-employment questionnaires and how they fit in with using the two ticks symbol to guarantee interviews to disabled people who meet the essential criteria of a job.

While employers are unable to enforce pay secrecy clauses they are still able to use them. This makes the law unclear and could be confusing for employees.

Occupational segregation continues to be a major contributing factor in the gender pay gap. Any reporting on gender pay difference by employers should be disaggregated by status/grade rather than produced as global figures for a whole company.

Buying goods and using services

Services need to be delivered based on the evidence of need.  A key part of equalities legislation is about ensuring access to goods and services for all – this is not only about adhering to the legislation but it also makes good business sense. This should certainly not be scrapped from the Act

Positive action

The extension of positive action is to be welcomed and any initiative that encourages disadvantaged and under-represented groups to participate and progress will lead to a more equitable society.

While the Act allows political parties to use positive action to increase the diversity of election candidates we feel it could go further and require them to do so, making their candidates more representative.

As long as there continues to be discrimination positive action is a useful tool to redress inequality.

Enforcing the law

OSDC would certainly not wish to see the EHRC being scrapped. We feel they have an important role to play, not just in the enforcement of the Act, but in the developing and sharing of good practice and in advising and encouraging the public and private sector to achieve best practice in equalities.

It is already difficult for people to bring a case of discrimination, as it is both costly and time consuming. We would welcome initiatives that make it easier for people to access their rights in relation to the Equality Act.

The Public Sector

The public sector duties should be strengthened. The general equality duty requires public bodies to be active in pursuit of equality and this is to be welcomed.  The specific duties need to be robust enough to provide clear guidance on how they do this.  We would welcome a structure that ensures there is accountability for the delivery of equality.  We need to ensure that equality is not a peripheral issue and in the current economic climate cuts to services must not have a disproportionate impact on those who are already disadvantaged.

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Equality Act Training in Manchester and Sheffield

Equality Act 2010: The Changes and Requirements
Thursday 16th June in Manchester (Mechanics Institute, Princess St)
Friday 17th June Sheffield (Centre in the Park, Norfolk Park)
From 10am to 4.30pm

This participative training seminar will look at:

  • the requirements of the Act; and
  • the implications of the changes for both employers and service providers.

The day will be interactive and each short presentation will be followed by a series of short case studies/scenarios to help explore the issues in practice. The emphasis will be on identifying the way that the new requirements could be applied and will highlight the implications of the legislation in practice.

Time is built into the programme for questions and answers on any issues raised.

The day will be facilitated by OSDC and the presentations on the legislation will be provided by Muriel Robison. OSDC have worked with Muriel over the last four months to successfully deliver this course to a range of statutory and voluntary agencies from Local Authorities, and NHS boards to colleges and voluntary sector service providers.

Booking Information The cost of the seminar per person is: £75 +VAT. Discounts available for multiple bookings. Attached booking form to be sent to or by post to OSDC Ltd, 19 Norfolk Park Drive, Sheffield, S2 3QG.

To confirm a place please book by Monday 6th June.

If you wish to speak someone about the event call 0131 468 1374. Cheques should be made payable to: OSDC Ltd Invoices for BACS payments can be sent on request. See the booking form for cancellation charges.
What the seminar will cover:
Morning session Presentations and discussions on the overview of the Act including:

  • The new approach to “Protected Characteristics” and an in-depth look at the aspects which have changed;
  • Changes and extension to the definitions of discrimination;
  • Extension and exclusions in the definition of harassment; victimisation; and
  • New provisions relating to disability. Afternoon session Presentations and discussions covering:
  • The opportunities for positive action and other exceptions;
  • The requirements relating to Pre-employment Questionnaires;
  • Changes relating to clubs and associations and charities and sport;

Muriel Robison 
Muriel is a solicitor who has specialised in equality law for almost 20 years. She was Head of Commission Enforcement at the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland and Director of Legal Affairs, Scotland at the Equal Opportunities Commission. She is an Honorary Professor and part-time lecturer in law at Glasgow University and a part-time employment judge. Recently she has been working with the Equality and Diversity Forum to produce leaflets on the Equality Act 2010 for the Government Equalities Office.

OSDC was established by Ashok Ohri and Wendy Davies in 1988 to provide training and consultancy in the field of Equality and Diversity. We have experience of working with the public, voluntary and private sector at all levels and in different fields including management training, organisation review and production of training materials.We have written a number of training manuals and guidance notes for managers on equality and diversity and have a long standing reputation as one of the UK’s leading equalities consultants. For more about OSDC and our approach see

Posted in equality, Equality Act 2010, Equality Act 2010 training seminar, equality diversity training, Man, manchester, sheffield, training | Comments closed

About The Equality Act 2010

Will it make a difference?

Many of the provisions of the much trumpeted Equality Act 2010 came into force on October 1st 2010 after many years in the making. Some the changes that were expected are not coming into force (e.g. the socio-economic duty) and some changes that were expected to be dropped are coming into force (e.g. the tie break provision in a recruitment situation which allows you to base your decision on the under-representation of a particular group).

Employment and services and public functions

The legislation refers to nine “protected characteristics” (PCs): age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief and age.  It outlaws discrimination, harassment and victimisation because of a PC.

The act introduces some of the new concepts including discrimination by “association” and “perception”. There is protection from discrimination because of an association with someone with a PC, or because of an assumption that a person has a PC when in fact they don’t.

There is also protection from “discrimination arising from disability” in other words unfavourable treatment that results from disability. (e.g. a new shift pattern that means fewer but longer days, might discriminate against someone who can’t do long days because a reason relating to his/ her disability.)

Pre-employment questionnaires will generally be unlawful though there are some exceptions.

The public sector duty

The act also places a general equality duty on all public authorities named in the Act and on those who provide public functions. The duty applies to eight of the nine protected characteristics (marriage and civil partnership are partially excluded).The main requirements are to:
-Advance Equality
-Eliminate discrimination
-Foster good relations

Specific duties will be developed to help further the general duty. The content of the Specific Duties will be different in England, Wales and Scotland and the exact content is still being consulted on.

Will it make difference?

The streamlining is to be welcomed as is the emphasis on outcomes. The act is not prescriptive about the processes relating to duty. The hope is that this will focus the mind on developing actions that will bring about meaningful change rather than going through motions of completing complex proformas. However, as with all good legislation and policy, the proof is in the actions that it enables and the resulting change.

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Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)

Approved Instructor

Having now delivered a further two courses, in partnership with Sheffield PCT, Megan has sent off her portfolio to her MHFA tutor had received confirmation that she is now an approved MHFA instructor. In order to keep up this accredited status Megan is required to deliver four MHFA courses in the next year. So watch this space for future dates or contact OSDC directly to organise an MHFA course in your area, or within your organisation.

One in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any one year. Mental Health First Aid is a 12 hour course which:

  • Raises awareness of issues around mental health
  • Trains people to identify signs and symptoms of mental health problems
  • Gives people confidence in being able to offer comfort and information to a person experiencing a mental health problems
  • Gives people knowledge of the different professional help as well self-help, coping strategies that are available and effective so that they can direct and sign post people.

The aim is to reduce the stigma and discrimination attached to mental health problems and provide the opportunity to intervene early in order to prevent them developing  into more serious conditions and promote recovery.

This course relevant for anyone who manages staff or works or volunteers with people and the general public.

Posted in first aid, Mental health, MHFA, training | Comments closed
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