Does my institution need to develop a Single Equality Scheme?
Under current UK anti-discrimination law higher education institutions (HEIs) are required to have a Disability Equality Scheme, a Gender Equality Scheme and a Race Equality Policy. Rather than have three separate schemes, many HEIs have opted for a Single Equality Scheme (SES) as a single scheme can:
- Improve accessibility and transparency; staff and students can easily find out what their institution is doing in terms of equality.
- Provide a framework for promoting equality and preventing discrimination in equality areas beyond race, disability and gender, for example, on the grounds of age and religion or belief.
- Provide a framework that recognises the multiple identities of individuals and the multiple forms of discrimination that they can face.
- Enable HEIs to stream line processes for agreeing, approving and embedding equality work e.g. annual reporting and consultation and involvement.
However, an SES is not essential and may not be appropriate for all HEIs.
Where HEIs do decide to develop an SES, ECU recommends that they evaluate the effectiveness of their existing schemes and ensure that their proposed structure for an SES meets both the general and the specific requirements of the Race, Disability and Gender Equality Duties.
See ECU’s comprehensive guidance for institutions developing SES
- The production of single equality schemes.
- Delivering on equality - developing an equality scheme that's worth more than the paper it's written on (PDF)