Diversity specialist call for equality body gets government seal of approval

Diversity practitioner calls for an equality association may have been answered, after a detailed government report outlined how a body could work in practice.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has published a 100-page executive summary setting out how an association to support the development and career progression of equality and diversity practitioners could be established. It includes options around competency, qualifications and framework.

The LSC report follows months of consultation with practitioners. In September 2007, diversity experts revealed that despite educational and vocational training, they could not carry out their jobs effectively because of an “unstructured” mix of standards and guidance available to them.

Eighty per cent of 1,500 equality and diversity experts told the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in an earlier study that they wanted a new association to encourage networking, share ideas and set proper standards and career paths for those in the field.

The new report ‘Equality and Diversity Practitioners Project’ recommends how to put these ideas into practice, with the possible formation of a new body.

Lee Probert, director of equality and diversity at the LSC, said in a foreword: “This research clearly shows that the equality and diversity practitioners we spoke to believe that there is currently 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. We believe that practitioners can build upon these to establish an infrastructure to support new development and career progression.”

It is thought the new body would acquire affiliate, associate and corporate members – much like the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) currently for HR professionals – yet it would be not-for-profit.

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