Eager diversity experts are pressing ahead with a new body to standardise the profession, despite other practitioners warning against it.
Some 20 equality figures from private and public sector firms have agreed to establish a Institute of Equality and Diversity Practitioners, to publish a national standard for diversity professionals and provide colleagues with a UK-wide support network.
Experts from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), outsourcing firm Capita Group, the Metropolitan Police Authority and HBOS banking group were among those that have agreed to take responsibility for setting up the new body, which will charge diversity practitioners for membership.
The Institute of Equality and Diversity Practitioners has already had a rocky start. Last year the then diversity professional at the CIPD Dianah Worman strongly advised against its establishment, claiming it was naïve and “too much too soon”. Yet its current diversity adviser Freda Line is among those working with law and management services firm Kingston Smith Association Management (KSAM) to set up the institute.
Peter Barnard, HR director at the Grimsby Institute of Further Education, told Personnel Today at the time: “A new association would not help me establish my career path. We now have bodies like the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, and I am nervous about yet another body, which would need endless amounts of time and energy and set-up costs.”
The initial costs of establishing the institute are being met by KSAM, which took over the project after the Learning and Skills Council last year recommended a new diversity body should be set up to help formalise the profession.
Chairman Paul Neale said the institute needed to make money fast to become a success.
In the minutes of the last meeting held in June, he said: “Independent income generation is needed as quickly as possible, either from membership subscriptions, seminars, grants, or corporate donations.”