Developing an Equality, Human Rights and Diversity Policy
For the past year the Arts Council has been working actively to develop a comprehensive Equality, Human Rights and Diversity policy. This was informed by our requirement to put a Gender Equality Policy in place in 2018 and our wider Public Sector Duty to proactively safeguard against discrimination on the nine grounds enshrined in legislation – gender, sexual orientation, civil or family status, religion, age, disability, race or membership of the Traveller Community. The Arts Council elected to add the tenth ground of socio-economic status to our new policy, with the knowledge this can be a crucial factor in accessing and participating in the arts.
During the year we did a significant amount of reflection on who we are, what we do and how we do it. We met with a number of representatives of different civic bodies and arts advocacy groups. We also drew on learning from previous consultations and work, including that of some of our funded organisations with specialist expertise in particular areas.
A process like this is necessarily broad and complex and the Arts Council is committing to ensuring that any policy we launch is both living and proactive. A robust process of consultation, with artists, organisations, representative bodies and agencies will be put in place to ensure this is the case. We will also ensure that there is a clear Implementation Plan accompanying the final policy when it is published in early 2019.
In the meantime we plan to share the draft policy in the coming weeks with all those who so generously gave their time and insights to this process and other key stakeholders. We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those who have contributed thus far and look forward to continued open and honest dialogue with people in 2019.