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Do I need an action plan, an equality scheme or what?

When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that is in itself a choice.

When the Get A Plan programme started, it was about getting arts organisations to voluntarily develop disability or diversity action plans – to commit to gradual specified change over time. Its simply a timetabled plan of action.

In 2005, the Disability Equality Duty legislation was passed which required public bodies to not only create action plans but to go further – auditing where they are at, recording and reporting data, assessing the impact of their policies and functions and involving disabled people each step of the way. All of this working together forms a disability equality scheme.

Now you may not be a public body, but you might be funded by one - so you may need to respond to these requirements too, but proportionally. And even if you don’t have to, creating a whole scheme will make your action plan evidence-based and so more strategic, more monitorable and more effective.

What’s not to like?

So we’ve updated this site to help you not only create an action plan, but a whole equality scheme. Enjoy!

For more on the Disability Equality Duty and the Single Equality Duty...
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But should our scheme cover disability only, or cover all diversity areas?

I think the ‘Get a Plan’ stuff has been really good. It made sense to us, as we wanted to have a diversity action plan and not individual plans for each diversity element, because the things interlink, you can’t separate out the elements. For us it makes complete sense to have one plan that covers everything. Lucy Frazer, Hampshire Dance

That’s up to you.

At the moment you can create a single equality scheme or separate ones for each diversity area.

Legislation for public bodies requires schemes for race, disability and gender – or a single scheme covering all of these. Of course, you can also cover other aspects of diversity within a single scheme too – the other four areas considered by the commission are age, religion and belief, sexual orientation and gender reassignment and its likely that the Single Equality Duty (due to take effect in 2011) will cover all these.

At the moment, the different Acts do cover and require different things, for example the disability duty requires involvement not consultation. When developing a single equality scheme, you can extend the practice for one across them all. The Equality and Human Rights Commission recommends: “As a general principle, wherever one of the duties has a more detailed requirement you should aim, as a matter of good practice, to match this requirement across each of the three duties.”

This site has a disability focus, but where possible we’ve linked to other resources to support you in developing best practice in the other diversity areas too.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has a publication you can download focusing on developing equality schemes.

Steps to create an equality scheme…