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Delivering on the Equality Act

Delivering on the Equality Act

This page shows how our work demonstrates due regard [PDF, 15Kb] to the protected characteristics and the duties of the Equality Act 2010.

We have included information and relevant links including our equality objectives [PDF, 381Kb]. Additional information about diverse populations in our area can be found on the North Lincolnshire Data Observatory website.

We meet our requirement to undertake equality analysis through integrated impact assessments. A guide on impact and protected characteristics [PDF, 82Kb] supports robust assessment. 

The following information provides information about each of the nine protected characteristics and how we demonstrate due regard.

Age means a person belonging to a particular age group. An age group includes people of the same age, for example 32 years old, or people of a particular age range, for example 18 to 30 year old. Where people fall into the same age group they share the protected characteristic of age.

Population information

According to the 2011 census 18 percent of North Lincolnshire’s population were aged 0 to 15 years; ten percent were aged 16 to 24 years; 11 percent were aged 25 to 34 years; 28 percent were aged 35 to 54 years; 13 percent were aged 55 to 64 years and 9 percent were aged 65 to 74 years.

Customer service and employment considerations, council work, projects and examples

Demonstrating inclusive practice relating to age involves ensuring that older people are not disadvantaged or excluded from accessing information about council services, for example. Some older people will be less likely to access services digitally, for example. See the work we have planned as part of our equality objectives [PDF, 381Kb] around supporting the needs of the ‘always need help’ population.

Through supporting ‘Yes to Equality’ and North Lincolnshire Youth Council we are encouraging the engagement and empowerment of diverse young people. The Youth Council elected its first youth mayor in May 2012. Demonstrating inclusive practice through apprenticeships, whilst providing some young people with their first experience of work, having no age barrier to our apprenticeship opportunities, people of all ages have been able to access new employment opportunities.

Anticipating and making reasonable adjustments relating to impairment through age is something that is easily mainstreamed into working practice and can benefit our employees and customers. The likelihood of impairment increases with age. Forty percent of people over the age of 50 have some form of hearing loss, for example. 

Organisational culture (and sub cultures), awareness of conscious and unconscious bias, and more generally promoting diversity and inclusion, can ensure that applicants of any age are not excluded or disadvantaged because of attitudinal barriers or biases. Culture supported by our comprehensive workforce policies can ensure that the needs of older employees are properly met so that potential and productivity continues being realised.

Example one:

Special leave or flexible working is useful for employees with caring responsibilities. If the caring responsibility is for another adult, the carer is more likely to be older and female.

Example two:

Support regarding new specific needs in employment resulting from age-related impairment is discussed and reviewed in one-to-one meetings and annual appraisals.

Related pages

Other sites of interest

A person has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Population information

It is difficult to get accurate figures on disability as many people with impairments do not consider themselves to be disabled. In the 2011 census, 19 percent of North Lincolnshire residents said they have an impairment or health condition that limits their day to day activities a little or a lot. We know from our own data that approximately 6 per cent of residents are blue badge holders.

The Life Opportunities Survey 2011 identified that nearly one third of adults aged 16 and over had at least one impairment. Twenty-six per cent of adults aged 16 and over in Great Britain would be covered by the rights under the provision of the Equality Act 2010.

Customer service and employment considerations, council work, projects and examples

From a social model view of disability, people are disabled not by their impairments, but by attitudinal, physical and other barriers. Attitudinal barriers have a major impact on disabled people’s ability to access employment and services. Research by the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion found that unconscious bias had a bigger impact for disability equality than any other factors, including gender and race.

Disabled people can include people with 'invisible' impairments and conditions. For example, diabetes, cancer (the legal definition also potentially covers a person in remission from cancer) or dyslexia. The Equality Act definition also includes mental health problems, for example, bipolar disorder and depression. This includes if a person experienced it in the past and is now recovered.

There are particular links with disability and older age – the incidence of impairment increases with age. For example, arthritis affecting dexterity and mobility, or older people who have become hard of hearing with age. Whilst people who acquire impairment with age are less likely to describe themselves as a ‘disabled person’, they may still have specific access needs which, like for any other disabled person (as could be defined by the Equality Act 2010), the council and its employees have a duty to reasonably anticipate and make appropriate adjustments for.

The specific access needs of different disabled people or people with impairments are varied. The potential barriers faced by a wheelchair user are very different from that of a blind person or someone with dyslexia. All disabled people are likely to have experienced, at one time or another, the attitudes of others as a presenting barrier. This is a barrier most easily remedied. Sometimes, compromise is a part of the equation. For example, tactile paving is brilliant to enable safe crossing for a blind person to know where the pavement ends and road begins. However, it is not so comfortable for the wheelchair user to negotiate.

Inclusive practice involves planning with anticipation of potential specific need or reasonable adjustment requirements. A list of reasonable adjustments is included below. It is not an exhaustive list.

  1. Providing information in alternative ways and anticipating need when you have knowledge of that need. For example, if a customer’s record shows they regularly take large print books out on loan from the library, we can ensure any letter sent to them goes in large print.
  2. Arranging a British Sign Language (BSL), sign supported English (SSE) interpreter, lip speaker or other human aid to communication.
  3. Providing a bowl of water for the customer accompanied by an assistance dog.
  4. Arranging a quiet place for a person to sit away from a crowded waiting area. This might assist a deaf person who cannot hear the conversation because of background noise interfering with their hearing aid. It may also assist a person who has a mental health condition and becomes anxious in busy places.
  5. The use of email or text  message which is preferred by some deaf people and people with speech impairments. 

The information and communication support needs of some disabled people mean they are included in the ‘always need help' population. We have included the needs of ‘always need help’ population within our equality objectives [PDF, 381Kb] and highlighted considerations for impact assessment.

An example of inclusive practice we have incorporated is the increased access to information on the council website with the ‘listen or translate link’. Using Browsealoud software, people with visual impairment, dyslexia or general reading difficulties can access information on our website by having the words read aloud.

Specific services or information includes The SEND local Offer - North Lincolnshire. This is a dedicated website providing information about resources, services, support activities and events for North Lincolnshire’s children and young people with special educational needs and disabled children and their families.

Information about council services for disabled adults and older people with impairments can be found in our Services for Adults section.

Disabled council employees or employees with impairments or conditions can access information and support around reasonable adjustments on our reasonable adjustments guidance and toolkits page. A range of training is made available to employees to support wellbeing which is part of our equality objective on mental health and wellbeing.

Related pages

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The process of transitioning from one gender to another.

A person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if that person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex. This is the case whether or not the reassignment takes place under medical supervision. The process of gender reassignment includes a change of the gender role (termed transition).

People are protected once they have proposed to undergo reassignment, even if later they change their mind. Proposing reassignment requires no more than informing another person of that intention.

Anyone undergoing the reassignment process may be regarded as a ‘transsexual person’ although it should be noted that the terms preferred by people covered by this characteristic are ‘transgender person’ or ‘trans person’.

The terms ‘transgender or trans person’ refer to a person who transitions, sometimes with the help of hormone or cosmetic surgery, to live in their acquired gender role. The person may or may not intend to or have undergone genital surgery.

The term ‘gender dysphoria’ refers to the discomfort, distress or anxiety a person can experience because there is a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity. The mental health charity, PACE, have identified that 59 per cent of trans young people said that they had self harmed compared with just under 9 per cent of all 16 to 24 year olds.

Since the enactment of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, trans people in England have been able to get their ‘acquired’ gender recognised for all legal purposes including marriage. With the enactment of ‘The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013’, adults who are married and then transition can remain married to their spouse, if that is something the couple want to do. 

Population information

There are no accurate figures on how many people experience gender dysphoria in the UK. A survey of 10,000 people in 2012 by the Equality and Human Rights Commission suggested that 1 per cent of the population was transgender. The truth is no one really knows because many people never seek help. With greater awareness, more people are presenting at an earlier age. Between 2009 and 2015, the number of children aged 10 and under referred to NHS support services to deal with transgender feelings more than quadrupled

Customer service and employment considerations, council work, projects and examples

Promoting transgender equality involves promoting a culture of and demonstrating inclusive practice. Discrimination and disadvantage can occur out of ignorance or prejudice. In national surveys, trans people have identified that they experience or fear transphobic comments, harassment, prejudice and discrimination in their daily lives.

If unaware of inclusive practice, employees can fear embarrassment and generally be unsure of the right thing to do. The use of toilets or changing areas by trans people and how to deal with potential or perceived perceptions and attitudes of other customers can cause uncertainty and potential discrimination.

It is generally recognised that from the point at which a person presents in their acquired gender, they use the toilet pertaining to that gender. This does not mean the accessible or disabled toilet, unless they are disabled trans person who needs that facility.

Mixed changing rooms and facilities with cubicles (‘changing villages’) offer greatest inclusivity and privacy for all customers.

If another customer or employee makes an inappropriate, transphobic or offensive comment, it should be challenged or dealt with proactively and appropriately following council procedures. Like with any customer, if an employee is uncertain how to address the person, they should ask that person.

Guidance for employees or managers on the issues of transitioning can be found in the Human Resources Manual C7: Gender reassignment which is available on the council intranet.

Other sites of interest

The The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 extended (civil) marriage to same sex couples. As a result of that legislation, civil partnerships have been converted to marriage since December 2014. The legislation enables transgender people to be able to change legal gender without ending marriage, if their partner agrees.

Customer service and employment considerations, council work, projects and examples

Nationally, marriage of opposite sex couples has experienced a decline over recent decades. Over the past decade, the average age of men when they marry has increased by nearly five and a half years. In 2008 the average age of men who married was 36.5 years. The average age of women who married was 33.8 years.

More than 1400 same-sex marriages took place in the UK in the first three months of the The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 being enacted. Fifty-six per cent were female couples. The greatest number of men and women marrying were in the 30 to 34 years age group.

In employment practice and customer service, we have looked at policies, monitoring, application form questions and processes. Practices do not discriminate against a married person, including those who have had their civil partnerships converted to marriage. Inclusive practice involves avoiding assumptions that might cause disadvantage or discrimination. This includes being careful not to assume that a person with the status, ‘married’, has a partner of the opposite sex.

Related pages

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'Pregnancy' is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. 'Maternity' refers to the period after the birth. In an employment context is linked to maternity leave.

Customer service and employment considerations, council work, projects and examples

The majority of legal provision in relation to pregnancy and maternity relates to an employment context. It includes provision for fathers as well. For example, it may be unlawful sex discrimination to treat a father unfavourably for reasons associated with his partner’s pregnancy. This could include being disciplined for expressing health and safety concerns about his pregnant wife’s treatment in the same workplace, or if he is dismissed for taking time off in an emergency to look after his new baby.

Under the Equality Act 2010, breastfeeding mothers have the right to breastfeed their baby in public places. Acceptance of breastfeeding in public places is part of the North Lincolnshire Breastfeeding Strategy. This supports the principle that women have the right to choose to breastfeed, either somewhere in private or in a public place. Breastfeeding mothers are welcome and must not be made to feel self-conscious when feeding their children in public areas. More than 28 places in North Lincolnshire, including the council's Civic Centre and all children’s centres, promote the fact that they welcome mums who are breastfeeding their babies.

Employees need to be aware of the legal right of breastfeeding mothers to breastfeed in public without discrimination. In relation to customer service, the right to refuse pregnant women access only exists where there is a genuine health and safety issue. For example, a pregnant woman might be advised that she cannot use sauna facilities as it is scientifically recognised that high temperatures may cause problems to the developing baby and therefore women are advised not to use sauna facilities when pregnant.

For reasons of inclusive practice we have extended the criteria of ‘assisted bin collection’ to include pregnancy, if a pregnant women is living alone or without another adult in the house. If, due to pregnancy related reasons, she has difficulty wheeling her bin to the front of the house, North Lincolnshire Council will provide an ‘assisted collection’ for the agreed time.

In employment, provisions for pregnancy, maternity and paternity issues (as well as fostering and adoption issues) are included in the HR Manual and on the council's intranet. Within the work we are doing around mental health and wellbeing (one of our equality objectives), we recognise the links between mental health, pregnancy and maternity. Most specifically, we acknowledge potential stigma around reduced confidence and postnatal related depression in female employees returning to work from maternity leave. This subject is one of the areas covered in our manager workshop, 'When managing like 'normal' isn't working', which is designed to support managers with managing employees returning to work from maternity leave or long term sickness; making reasonable adjustments for employees to meet specific needs, support wellbeing and productivity in the workplace. 

Other sites of interest

  • Pre and Postnatal Depression Advice and Support – at any time during pregnancy, one in ten women will be depressed. Around one in thirty will be depressed during pregnancy and the postnatal period.  Stigma still exists around anxiety and depression in pregnancy and after giving birth. This website provides information and support on the issues for mums and dads, mums and dads to be and the wider family.  

Race refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour and nationality, citizenship, ethnic or national origins.

Population information

In the 2011 census, more than 92 per cent of North Lincolnshire’s population belonged to the White British ethnic group, whilst 7.2 per cent identified as belonging to minority ethnic communities.

Customer service and employment considerations, council work, projects and examples

Race as a characteristic covers everyone. Everyone has an ethnicity or nationality. We use the term 'minority ethnic communities' to mean people belonging to those ethnic or nationality groups who are not the most represented (in terms of size) living in an area. Gypsies and Travellers are counted among the ethnic minority communities living in North Lincolnshire. This includes Gypsies and Travellers who are settled and living in housing, as well as Gypsies and Travellers living what might be perceived as the more traditional life, living in caravans.

North Lincolnshire minority ethnic communities include people from established Asian and Asian British communities. Our ‘new communities’ to the area include Polish, Lithuanian, Slovak, Portuguese and Somali communities. Our most commonly requested language for interpretation is Polish. People from our new communities are more likely than our established minority ethnic communities to require interpretation services.

Understanding and appropriately meeting the needs of the whole community to make best use of resources and promote inclusive working is important. Work around new and established community needs is included within our equality objectives. We have reviewed our reporting and information on the data observatory and we are looking at how we can meet needs and improve access to council information. An example of how we are doing this is promoting the availability of ‘listen and translate’ facility on our website using browse aloud software. We regularly review our guidance on when, who and how to use interpretation or translation services. 

Other sites of interest

Religion is a particular system of faith and worship. Belief includes religious and philosophical beliefs. This includes having no religion. Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition.

Population information

According to the 2011 census, 69 per cent of North Lincolnshire residents identified as having a religion. Of those residents who said they have a religion; 

  • More than 95 percent identified as Christian (66 percent of the total North Lincolnshire population) ; 
  • 2.6 per cent identified as Muslim (1.8 per cent of total North Lincolnshire population) 
  • Sikh - 0.32 per cent 
  • Hindu - 0.26 per cent 
  • Buddhist - 0.22 per cent 
  • Jewish - 0.02 per cent 
  • People with other religions - 0.24 per cent  

The number of people identifying as having no religion had increased by 5 percent from the 2001 census. Seven per cent of residents did not answer the question.

Customer service and employment considerations, council work, projects and examples

North Lincolnshire has a Multi-Faith Partnership that meets regularly and has diverse faith representation. Over recent years, the new communities making a home in North Lincolnshire have had an impact for some faith organisations. We know that Polish people are often belong to the Catholic faith and many attend church regularly. For some of our established minority ethnic communities, there is a strong link between nationality and faith. Our Pakistani communities are more likely to be Muslims and our Indian communities are more likely to be Sikh or Hindu.

The council works with the Multi-Faith Partnership to ensure that services meet diverse needs. An example of this is improvements made to burial procedures so that it is possible (with support of trained volunteers) to provide burial services within 24 hours, including at weekends and bank holidays. This was a result of identified need of certain faith groups to meet the practice of their religion by providing access to burial services.

Our 'meeting specific needs guidance' provides information about reasonably meeting the specific needs of employees with a faith or belief.

Other sites of interest

 A man or woman. The term ‘gender’ rather than ‘sex’ is used in the Equality Act 2010.

Population information

In the 2011 census, 49 per cent of North Lincolnshire residents were male and 51 per cent were female. 

Customer service and employment considerations, council work, projects and examples

The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s 2011 Sex and Power report identified that it will take another 14 general elections to achieve an equal number of male and female MPs in Parliament. This is up to 70 years. Whilst women will, on average, live longer than men, they will spend more time in poor health or with impairment or disability. Women are more likely to suffer from arthritis, rheumatism, anorexia and bulimia. Men in general do not access primary health care (visit their family doctor) as often as women. They are twice as likely to develop and die from the most common cancers affecting both sexes. Men are three times as likely to take their own life and are the victim in 75 per cent of drug-related deaths. Services provided only between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday present a barrier to access for those who work full time (men are twice as likely as women to work full time). 

An example of where we provide equality in service provision includes single-sex swimming facilities for women. This example is one where the benefits affect multiple characteristics. For example, benefiting women (sex), disabled women (disability and sex) and women belonging to a minority ethnic community (race and sex). For cultural reasons, some women may not feel able to go swimming if men are sharing the pool. 

Using integrated impact assessment, activity can be assessed for the impact and action required to advance equality of opportunity, removing barriers to accessing services for women or men. This might involve assessing opening times, location, promotion and delivery of services and the different ways in which men and women use services. 

For example, men and women use public transport differently. Women with young children, women with low paid part time jobs and people with full time caring responsibility for a disabled child, partner or relative are likely to use public transport more often and at different times of day from men. Women are more likely to have the full time informal caring responsibility. Men are more likely to use public transport for a daily commute. Changes to pricing policy, service routes and bus times are likely to have a disproportionately more negative impact on women than men. A comprehensive impact assessment undertaken at the time of service review would identify proportionate actions that will remove or reduce disadvantage.  

It should be noted that when developing policy and practice we must ensure that decisions, allocation of service and opportunities are based on individual circumstances. For example, assuming the mother has the main caring responsibilities is likely to be unlawful sex discrimination. 

The way we promote a service will always impact upon who the message reaches. Proper analysis of diversity monitoring by services will show trends and gaps and give an indication of where action maybe required. 

Other sites of interest

Sexual orientation covers people who are attracted to: 

  • a person who is the same sex as him or her (the person is a gay man, gay woman or lesbian)
  • a person of the opposite sex as him or her (the person is heterosexual) 
  • people of both sexes (the person is bisexual)

 

Population Information

It is difficult to obtain accurate statistics nationally or locally on sexual orientation. However, from The Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (2000) it is estimated that approximately 11 per cent of women and 8 per cent of men have felt a sexual attraction towards the same sex at least once in their life.

Customer service and employment considerations, council work, projects and examples

Why does a service provider need to know about a person’s sexual orientation?  Same sex couples, as well as gay people who are not in a relationship, may have children. Parents and children should be able to access learning and services without inaccurate presumptions causing barriers, disadvantage, bullying or discrimination. Disabled and older people who are gay may need to access Adult Services, personalisation and residential care. This includes older people who have previously been married to someone of the opposite sex. Legally, they should be able to access these and other services without discrimination. Without monitoring data on sexual orientation, we cannot know the demand for services or needs of the local population.

Case study example

A residential care home provides their services without discrimination, but have they considered the needs of gay, lesbian or bisexual customers? Do they offer a double room for couples who may be heterosexual or may be gay? Are they certain that a gay couple or individual could access their service without facing prejudice or attitudinal barriers (including from staff, visitors and other residents)?          

Related pages

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Documents

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Opening hours

Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm

Last updated: 23/08/2017
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