Although the Commission is not required under the Public Sector Commissioner’s circular it has chosen to continue to implement the objectives of the Framework for Substantive Equality in its own operations.
During the current year the Commission:
- Continued to revise its substantive equality implementation plan
- Encouraged all staff to participate in the course ‘Fair Go for your Clients’ aimed at increasing awareness of how systemic discrimination impacts on various groups
- Attended training session on mental health customer service for enquiries and reception
- Maintained as standing agenda items for monthly staff meetings the implementation of substantive equality as well as analysis of trends and issues to identify systemic discrimination.
- Identified policies requiring impact assessments.
Role in the sector
The Commission‘s role under the Policy Framework for Substantive Equality is primarily to develop and deliver education and training courses to support agencies in understanding and addressing systemic discrimination as stated in the Framework.
Since the cessation of the dedicated unit in 2014, the ambition has been to have at least three forum/round table sessions each calendar year for relevant agencies. These are a mixture of knowledge and practical skills based forums. Due to internal changes within the Commission in the current year, only one session was held in March 2017. This session dealt with two major issues for agencies:
- Implementation strategies and links to Reconciliation Action Plans and Disability Action and Inclusion Plans
- Ensuring access for new and emerging communities.
The Commission also offers the course “Fair Go for Your Clients” as part of its calendar of public courses which is open to mandated agencies and other agencies in the sector as well as non-government service providers.
Where potential issues of systemic discrimination have been brought to the attention of the Commission, the Commissioner and the Acting Commissioner have written to and met with agency senior officers.