The creation of a new body representing equality and diversity professionals seems to be edging ever closer following the publication of a study by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).
Initial research last summer overwhelmingly found that employees in these fields would welcome a new professional association to help establish industry standards and define proper career paths. At the time, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said the formation of the Association of Diversity and Equality Practitioners – or whatever it might eventually be called – was a “gung-ho” approach, and that more research was required.
Well, the LSC went away and did that research as part of a detailed consultation process with practitioners and interested parties. And guess what? It has come to the same conclusion. So it seems there is a definite gap in the support available in developing skills and championing equality and diversity.
On the face of it, a new membership organisation makes sense. Equality and diversity is not just about employment, but about all aspects of an organisation’s work and functions. If the specialisms are not going to be seen as ‘just another HR initiative’, then maybe the time has come for the practitioners to have their own voice.
A new body could offer training and development to boost skills, undertake research projects and potentially introduce a range of accredited qualifications for those working at all levels.
But hang on, isn’t that what the CIPD does? No wonder the institute gave the idea a massive thumbs down when it was first floated last year. It could see hundreds, maybe thousands, of members deserting, and its bulging coffers rapidly diminishing.
There is even a suggestion that the new organisation could eventually achieve ‘chartered’ status. Now that would really get the CIPD top brass shifting uncomfortably in their seats.