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  5. Champion Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

Champion Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

The unit ‘Champion Equality, Diversity and Inclusion‘ explores what these terms mean and how to promote them and challenge discrimination in your day-to-day work in addition to developing and implementing systems and policies. It also examines dilemmas that may be presented when balancing an individual’s rights against your duty of care.

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It consists of four learning outcomes, each with several criteria.

Learning Outcome 1: Understand diversity, equality and inclusion in own area of responsibility

1.1 Explain models of practice that underpin equality, diversity and inclusion in own area of responsibility

  • Social model of disability – individuals are disadvantaged not because of their condition/diagnosis (medical model) but because of society’s reaction to it. e.g. for an individual that uses a wheelchair, the issue is not that they are unable to use their legs but that communities have stairs instead of slopes or doorways that are not wide enough for their wheelchair.
  • Management should be aware of the Equality Act 2010 and Human Rights Act 1998, implement policies and procedures that adhere to this legislation and role model good practice themselves.
  • Practice should treat individuals fairly and value and respect differences.
  • Equal opportunities model promotes all individuals being given the same opportunities. (see the Equality and Human Rights Commission) This does not mean being treated the same. For example, an individual with a visual impairment should be given written materials in large-print, braille or audio format so that they have the same access of information as a non-visually impaired individual.

1.2 Analyse the potential effects of barriers to equality and inclusion in own area of responsibility

  • Prejudice, stereotyping and deeply-ingrained discriminatory attitudes, values and beliefs.
  • Can lead to victimisation and harassment.
  • Poorly-written or ill thought-out policies and procedures can negatively impact equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • This can also lead to discriminatory (indirectly or directly) workplace culture where discrimination is accepted and remains unchallenged.
  • Lack of time, resources or flexibility within an organisation can lead to issues with equality, diversity and inclusion not being addressed.
  • This can result in an organisation not being compliant with the law.

1.3 Analyse the impact of legislation and policy initiatives on the promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion in own area of responsibility

  • Equality Act 2010 consolidated several other pieces of legislation (e.g. Disability Discrimination Act) to establish 9 protected characteristics covered by the legislation; age, race, disability, gender, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief and sexual orientation.
  • The Human Rights Act 1998 sets out liberties and freedoms for all civilians in the UK, including the freedom of thought expression and religion.
  • The Mental Capacity Act 2005 protects the interests of individuals that may not have capacity to make decisions for themselves. The impact is that such individuals are treated fairly and decisions are made in their best interests.

Learning Outcome 2: Be able to champion diversity, equality and inclusion

2.1 Promote equality, diversity and inclusion in policy and practice

  • Evidence that policies and procedures promote equality, inclusion and diversity and are reviewed regularly.
  • Managers to act as role models for best practice.
  • Employees are trained in best practice to expected standards.
  • Workplace culture is one of equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Discrimination is challenged and processes are in place for dealing with it.

2.2 Challenge discrimination and exclusion in policy and practice

  • Discrimination and exclusion should be challenged when witnessed and correct procedure followed.
  • Discrimination can include prejudice, stereotyping, marginalisation, infantilisation and trivialisation.
  • Policies and procedures should be reviewed regularly to identify areas that could be improved.

2.3 Provide others with information about: the effects of discrimination, the impact of inclusion, the value of diversity

  • Information could be provided during discussion or in written form, such as a leaflet.
  • Discrimination devalues a person and can make them feel depressed or angry as well as a whole host of other negative feelings. It can reduce confidence and self-esteem and lead to oppression.
  • This can result in higher staff turnover, poor teamworking and decreased staff performance.
  • Inclusion supports everybody to feel valued, which can lead to increased self confidence and self worth and, consequently, improved wellbeing and performance.
  • Diversity values the unique qualities, characteristics and traits of each individual. Everyone is different and has different strengths and weaknesses.
  • Belbin‘s model for effective teamworking suggests that the most effective teams have a diverse range of individuals because it allows for playing to different individual’s strengths and supporting weaknesses.

2.4 Support others to challenge discrimination and exclusion

  • Managers should ensure staff are trained in the values of equality, diversity and inclusion and that they are supported by organisational policies and procedures.
  • Managers should be approachable and ensure that their staff understand that discrimination is not acceptable and have confidence that it will be dealt with correctly.
  • Managers should also model acceptable behaviour and challenge discrimination when it occurs.
  • Sometimes, discrimination is inadvertent and it is important for managers to help others to understand why their actions or behaviour are inappropriate and assist them with challenging existing flawed beliefs. Self-reflection should be encouraged.
  • If someone approaches a manager with concerns about discrimination or exclusion, their views should be treated seriously and confidentially.

Learning Outcome 3: Understand how to develop systems and processes that promote diversity, equality and inclusion

3.1 Analyse how systems and processes can promote equality and inclusion or reinforce discrimination and exclusion

  • When developing policies, they should be designed to be fit for purpose, perfectly clear and adhere to current legislation.
  • Poorly written policies that are open to interpretation can lead to them not meeting their objectives and even being counter-productive.
  • Policies should set the framework for what is expected from employees, the values of the organisation and the processes that will be followed.
  • Systems and processes should be monitored for their effectiveness and reviewed when regularly. Improvements should be made if something is not working well.
  • The policy and expectations of behaviour should be communicated to staff.
  • Staff should also have training to increase their awareness and challenge any misconstrued beliefs.
  • Systems for reporting discrimination should be confidential and sensitive and follow a set process.
  • Equality and diversity ‘champions’ can play a role in supporting individuals that are victims of or have witnessed discrimination.
  • Whistleblowing policies and protective disclosures may be used.

3.2 Evaluate the effectiveness of systems and processes in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in own area of responsibility

  • Evaluations can be performed through annual audits
  • Policies should be regularly reviewed and checked for errors or areas that are out of date. They should then be updated and communicated to the staff.
  • Policies should be updated if situations occur where flaws are identified.
  • Training and awareness may also need to be refreshed regularly.
  • Group reflective practice can help to identify areas for improvement as can user surveys and discussions during team meetings.

3.3 Propose improvements to address gaps or shortfalls in systems and processes

  • Where flaws are identified in policies, updates should be made.
  • Where gaps in knowledge or understanding amongst the staff are identified, action should be taken to rectify. This could mean further training or awareness campaigns.
  • An action plan should be devised to address any shortfalls.

Learning Outcome 4: Be able to manage the risks presented when balancing individual rights and professional duty of care

4.1 Describe ethical dilemmas that may arise in own area of responsibility when balancing individual rights and duty of care

  • An individual’s rights must be respected even if they make choices that are unwise.
  • However, care workers and managers have a duty of care to safeguard individual’s receiving care and sometimes this duty can conflict with an individual’s rights.
  • For example, if an individual discloses that they have been abused but ask you not to tell anyone, you must break confidentiality and report it as guided by the safeguarding policy.
  • Or if you witness a colleague working in an unsafe way, this must reported even if it may mean that they get into trouble or could lose their job.
  • Individuals should be encouraged as much as possible to make decisions for themselves.
  • Good judgement should be used and the best interests of the individual should be at the forefront of the process, however their right to choose should be promoted and respected.

4.2 Explain the principle of informed choice

  • Informed choice is when an individual intentionally makes a decision with access to all the requisite information and full understanding of the pros and cons and without any external influences (such as duress)
  • Individuals should have the mental capacity to understand the supporting information for the choices they make.
  • Care staff should encourage individuals to make their own informed choices wherever possible and support them as much as possible to do this. For example, an individual with a learning disability may not be able to read information they are provided but are still capable of understanding it if it is communicated to them verbally.
  • All supporting information provided should be fact-based, without the bias of opinion.
  • Individuals should be given enough time to make their decision and reflect upon the options presented.

4.3 Explain how issues of individual capacity may affect informed choice

  • Care workers should, as far as possible, support an individual with being independent and autonomous in their choices.
  • An individual should also be assumed to have capacity with regards decision making unless there is evidence to the contrary.
  • Asking questions (or active listening) is a good way to check an individual’s understanding.
  • An individual does not have capacity to make a decision if they do not understand the information relating to the decision, are unable to retain (remember) the information long enough to make the decision, are unable to weigh up the information they have been provided with or are unable to communicate their decision (Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice)
  • If any of these criteria are suspected, a Mental Capacity Assessment (MCA) may need to take place.
  • Any decisions made on behalf of an individual should be made in their best interests.

4.4 Propose a strategy to manage risks when balancing individual rights and duty of care in own area of responsibility

  • Risk assessments should always be performed where there are significant risks to individuals.
  • When related to a service user, a person-centred approach should be used and they should be given the opportunity to collaborate on the risk assessment.
  • Individuals receiving care have the right to make risky and unwise choices. Care staff should support them by ensuring that they are fully aware of the risks and work with them to minimise the risks as much as possible.
  • Unwanted and unforeseen outcomes are always possible, however this can be reduced with the use of risk assessments.
  • Practitioners should be able to demonstrate that had worked within best practices and had the best interests of the individual in mind. They should be able to justify any decisions that they made.

Useful Quotes

  • What is needed is not well balanced individuals, but individuals who balance well with each other.” (Belbin, 2010)
  • “A person is unable to make a decision if they cannot: 1. understand information about the decision to be made (the Act calls this ‘relevant information’) 2. retain that information in their mind 3. use or weigh that information as part of the decision-making process, or 4. communicate their decision (by talking, using sign language or any
    other means).” 
    (Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice)
  • “…to practice without addressing issues of inequality is to run the risk of exacerbating the situation…” (Thompson, 1998)

References

Sample Essay

Click here for a sample essay for this unit.