Learning and Skills Council proposes diversity body to set professional standards

Diversity practitioners may have to meet specified standards and competencies and undergo training if a new body aimed at strengthening the profession goes ahead.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) last week published a report examining how a new association could work in practice. This followed calls from equality and diversity practitioners last year that an organisation was needed to bring structure and standards to their job.

The report, based on the views of more than 700 practitioners, argued the body should offer different membership levels, benchmarking, accredited qualifications, career pathways and standard setting, similar to the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development’s role for HR professionals.

In the report’s foreword, Lee Probert, director of equality and diversity at the LSC, said: “The equality and diversity practitioners we spoke to believe there is a gap in the support available to them in developing their skills and effectively championing equality and diversity.

“Although the LSC will have no ownership of any model that is developed as a result of the research, the proposed competency framework and models for an association present a positive vision.”

The report continued: “Respondents were clear they did not want an ‘umbrella’ organisation, which could suppress their activities rather they wanted an organisation that could provide a platform for their own networks and activities.”

Within three years, the association – if it gets the green light from government – should have achieved a qualifications ‘pathway’ for developing professionals and more than 2,000 members, with at least half of those involved in continuing professional development.

An LSC spokeswoman told Personnel Today that the council would continue working with practitioners in the coming months to gather more information and ideas. “This report and talk of a new body is at a very early stage. It is not known whether the new association will go ahead. Eventually we hope to lay our findings in front of ministers,” she said.

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