Consultancy

Does your organisation have an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) policy?

Is your organisation’s EDI policy compliant with the law?

Can your organisation fairly balance an inherent conflict of rights between protected characteristics?

Does your organisation understand the single-sex exception and when it can be lawfully applied/not applied?

AEA will work with your organisation to:

  • Ensure your existing EDI policy is legally compliant
  • Help you to develop a legally compliant EDI policy
  • Help you to navigate the potential for contention between protected characteristics
  • Ensure you understand the concept of ‘proportionality’ and the lawful application/non-application of the single-sex exception and the permissible discrimination that is central to that exception
  • We will highlight areas of unease, risk, potential conflict, legal exposure and signpost possible mitigation measures


An example of our two-part consultancy package:

  1. Client Risk Profile
    In relation to inclusion and the single-sex exception and in the context of service provision and/or the workplace, we will assess your policies and practices for reputational risk and legal liability.

  2. Mitigate Risk
    We will highlight means and methods by which identified legal and other risks may be mitigated.


Diversity and fairness are assets

A reputation of inclusiveness and fairness makes it easier to recruit and retain the best staff. Your people are generally happier, more productive and absences are reduced. Diversity builds social capital with stakeholders and clients. It also better reflects the wider population and is the right thing to do.

However, diversity does introduce a potential for conflicts of interest, which has to be understood and managed fairly.

For organisations with a public sector equality duty (PSED), there is a requirement in the 2010 Equality Act to ‘foster good relations between those of a protected characteristic and those not’. Non-public organisation do not have a PSED requirement but fostering good relations between protected characteristics is clearly in the interests of all organisations.

Allowing employees and or clients/service-users to have a say on planned change – especially change that is sensitive and likely to be controversial – is an effective way to manage potential conflict. It also embeds trust in senior management and is an effective route to workplace harmony and for client/service-user contentment.

However, there must also be confidence in the process itself.

In the case of applying, or not applying, the ‘single-sex exception’, consulting with employees can be hampered. There can be fear of recrimination from co-workers and/or management, as well as concern for possible negative repercussions on career prospects. These fears can deter employees from voicing their honest opinion.

Clearly that defeats the very point of consulting and will skew consultation results. Any underlying discord remains unaddressed, which can sour work relations with a potential negative impact on productivity.

An internal consultation outsourced to an external agency can bolster employee-confidence, not only in the consultation process itself but also in your organisation’s impartiality.

It will also serve to shield your organisation’s operations and reputation should adverse reactions arise.

AEA offers an impartial anonymised consultation mechanism to manage and facilitate consultation with your employees.