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Policy Development

In order to promote equality matters across Scotland, we have developed a range of innovative equality policies. These policies are necessary for effective mainstreaming of equality objectives into practice.

Mainstreaming of equality objectives into service practice is central to meeting law and good practice guidance. We recognise that this is achievable, not simply by having an equality policy, but by developing a range of inter-dependent policies and procedures. This demands a holistic or systemic approach to policy development. See below for further information on our theoretical framework.

We understand that mainstreaming of equality can only occur if there is strategic commitment to promote equality values throughout an organisation. This is often known as organisational culture.

The main policies that together make up an effective organisational equality strategy are:

  • equality policy;
  • equality action plan;
  • accessibility policy or equality impact assessment;
  • appropriate language guide;
  • equality data collection policy;
  • harassment policy; and
  • recruitment and selection.

Information on these policies is given below.

All of these policies are supported by comprehensive procedures including forms and checklists, as appropriate.

Equality policy

We work with organisations to develop an equality policy that befits their size and area of operations. This is a very important document as it should set out all equality commitments to be met in practice and sets the framework for a diverse range of activities.

Equality action plan

The equality action plan is the method by which organisations translate their equality policy objectives into practice. Using an innovative method, all activities within the action plan are inter-dependent and structured in line with robust theoretical frameworks.

Accessibility policy or equality impact assessment

This is one of the core documents that is used to audit all organisational policies and related procedures; it is an extremely comprehensive toolkit whose standards assure a coherent and consistent approach to equality mainstreaming.

Appropriate language guide

Our appropriate language guide is not about political correctness but focusses on the meaning of language and how language can foster respect for other people; or be used in negative ways that could amount to harassment.

Equality data collection policy

Our equality data collection policy harmonises data protection law and guidance into the equality monitoring framework to minimise data gathered but to explain clearly why equality data are gathered and what happens with that data.

Harassment policy

The harassment policy and related procedures draw on a diverse range of law and guidance and covers both employment and service related forms of harassment. Thus, it is a document that is of value to both human resource staff and staff delivering operational services.

Recruitment and selection

This is our most recent organisational toolkit that incorporates equality issues throughout the whole recruitment and selection process. This document contains, not only text, but standard forms and guidance notes, tailored to organisations needs. As with the other documents above, our toolkit can be used as a training document so that staff are trained over time and in stages thus enhancing their learning experience.

Our theoretical framework

Our approach to equality development is based on a robust theoretical method related to systems theory and essentialism.

Systems theory, in plain language, entails recognition that all organisational services are inter-dependent. If equality issues are to incorporated throughout all policies and procedures, then, all organisational systems must be subject to a rigorous equality impact assessment. Such an assessment must itself be systemic in nature and take account of a wide range of law and guidance.

Essentialism, in the sense used here, refers to the principle that all organisations with which we work have distinct "natures," that is, they operate in line with law and guidance. And this law and guidance will vary depending on the context or field in which individual organisations operate. Our equality policy development is, therefore, tailored to the needs of each organisation, a point that also applies to associated policy training.


"We have been working in partnership with Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living Equality Academy (the Academy) to develop our equality and diversity policy and related equality documentation such as an action plan. The Academy possesses specialist and comprehensive knowledge in organisational development that will enable us to mainstream our equality objectives effectively into practice. This is an innovative and exciting process and we look forward to progressing a range of organisational initiatives with the Academy." (Anne Culley, Group Depute Director, Oak Tree Housing Association Ltd)

"New Gorbals Housing Association is working in partnership with Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living Equality Academy to review its equalities policy and procedures including its data collection policy. The Academy is a specialist in this field and is assisting New Gorbals in overcoming barriers and better developing its approach to equalities data collection. New Gorbals is committed to making sure that it collects information that is relevant and can be used to improve services." (Source: The Scottish Housing Regulator, 2016, Use of Equality and Diversity Information by Scottish Social Landlords A thematic inquiry. Scottish Government).

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