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  7. Identify which legislation and codes of practice relating...

Identify which legislation and codes of practice relating to equality, diversity and discrimination apply to own role

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

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As a care worker and an employee, you should have an awareness and a basic understanding of the legislation, policy and codes of practice that relate to equality, diversity and discrimination. You are not expected to be able to recite the law ad verbatim, but you should be aware of the underlying principles.

Legislation

Legislation (laws) relating to equality, diversity and discrimination include:

  • The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for individuals to be treated unfairly because of their differences. It states nine protected characteristics that can not be used as a reason to treat someone unfavourably. They are:
    1. Age
    2. Disability
    3. Race
    4. Religion/belief
    5. Sex
    6. Sexual orientation
    7. Gender reassignment
    8. Marriage/civil partnership
    9. Pregnancy/maternity
  • The Human Rights Act 1998 states the rights, freedoms and liberties that every person in the UK is entitled to. For example:
    • Article 9 is the Freedom of Thought, Belief and Religion
    • Article 14 is the Protection from discrimination in respect of these rights and freedoms
  • The Mental Capacity Act 2005 includes protection for individuals that are unable to make decisions for themselves due to temporary or permanent incapacity of mind. It includes:
    • Individuals should never be assumed not to have capacity
    • Where possible, individuals should be given every opportunity to make their own decisions
    • Any decisions made on another individual’s behalf should be in their best interests
  • The Care Act 2014 is a broad-reaching piece of legislation, but it does have a running theme of the well-being of individuals in the care system, which includes having their values, beliefs, wishes and preferences respected and valued
  • The Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulations – information about individuals must be collected and processed fairly, and their rights and interests must be safeguarded

Policy

Local and national policies are based on the legislative framework and are the actions and principles used to adhere to and promote the law.

Your employer may have organisational policies that relate to equality, diversity and discrimination documented as agreed ways of working. For example, there may be an Equal Pay Policy or an Equal Opportunities Policy. There will also be documented procedures about the steps to take if discrimination is witnessed or suspected.

Nationally, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulates and governs adult care providers. During the inspection process, they will examine what the organisation does to promote and support equality and diversity in the workplace.

Codes

The Code of Conduct for Healthcare Support Workers and Adult Social Care Workers in England includes many principles relating to equality, diversity, inclusion and discrimination. It comprises seven principles that care workers must comply with – the seventh principle is “Uphold and promote equality, diversity and inclusion“.

The Mental Capacity Act (2005) Code of Practice provides guidance and information about how to ensure that individuals that may not have the capacity to make their own choices are treated fairly. This is a practical guide for adhering to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in everyday work and is recommended reading for all care workers.

How they apply to your work role

There are several ways that the aforementioned legislation, policies and codes can apply to your own work role.

For example, this could mean ensuring that individuals with specific dietary requirements receive a similar meal quality and range of choices as individuals that can eat from the standard menu. Or ensuring that a resident with a non-Christian religion is enabled to practice their faith and observe religious festivals.

It can also mean spending more time ensuring that an individual can make their own decisions by providing additional support to help them to understand their options.

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