The United Kingdom Council for Access and Equality (UKCAE) Pathway

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Fundamental changes in the make-up of the United Kingdom's workforce mean that organisations need to address how to include and develop an increasingly diverse, modern workforce.

The facts really do speak for themselves:

  • only 20 percent of the working population is white, able bodied, male and below the age of 45.
  • Of the next two million jobs created in the UK 80 per cent of them will be taken by a female.
  • One in five (20%) of the workforce, 6.9 million people, have some form of disability or impairment.
  • 1,000,000 people over retirement age are currently working; this is expected to rise to over 3,000,000 in the next six years.

Equality at work really must be a key component of any organisations’ continued and improved competitive advantage.

UKCAE provides a practical three step Pathway for achieving equality at work. The UKCAE Pathway is affordable to organisations of all sizes and is available under licence from Threshold Initiative.

The UKCAE Pathway has been designed with business in mind and provides a structure to enable organisations to implement equality at work and measure its organisational benefits. It is not a box-ticking exercise in equality, nor is it about political correctness. The UKCAE Pathway exists to help organsiations meet the challenges of a rapidly changing population.

The UKCAE Pathway's three steps include: awareness and understanding of equality; an examination of current organisational practices and the identification of any discrimination; and the implementation of change. Each step has an independently audited outcome.

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The UKCAE Pathway is a 3-step framework that encourages an organisation to look at and assess its actual practices in the workplace. By doing so it can make sure these practices are not discriminatory towards any of the nine protected characteristics:

  1. Age
  2. Disability
  3. Gender
  4. Gender Re-Assignment
  5. Marriage or Civil Partnership
  6. Maternity and Paternity
  7. Race
  8. Religion or Belief
  9. Sexual orientation

Step 1 Diversity Aware

This is the foundation of the UKCAE Pathway. It builds a common language within the organisation and provides basic awareness and understanding of equality at work. This step also addresses common misconceptions of equality at work.

Step 1 requires an organisation to:

  • Commit to embedding diversity and inclusion within the organisation
  • Identify who will manage the implementation of the UKCAE Pathway within the organisation
  • Meet UKCAE's Equality at Work learning and development requirement
  • Complete a preliminary assessment of the 4 core areas of the workplace and identify key members of staff within the organisation (where relevant) who can help identify potential risk of discrimination.

Step 2 Diversity Check

This step is designed to recognise good practice in an organisation and requires a detailed examination of current practices to identify any areas of discrimination.

Step 2 requires an organisation to complete a detailed assessment of current practice in four key areas:

  1. Employment
  2. Communications
  3. Built Environment
  4. Goods and Services

At this stage formal acknowledgement is made of any inclusive practice that is already in place.

This step of the UKCAE Pathway also provides organisations with learning and development resources to further increase the awareness and understanding of diversity at work. Guidance is also provided on developing an Inclusion Statement through the construction of an Implementation Programme that identifies and plans for the removal of obstacles to equality at work.

Practical advice on how to resolve common issues is also provided through a keyword Library and legislative guidance.

Step 3 Diversity Achieved

It is at this stage that the changes identified in Step 2 are implemented. Step 3 requires an organisation to:

  • Complete the Change Programme that was developed in Step 2
  • Put in place appropriate monitoring, performance measures and reporting
  • Develop an induction process that includes appropriate awareness and understanding of diversity
  • Implement continued personal development courses on diversity for all staff – "Delivering Inclusion – Your Responsibilities and Key Concepts on Inclusion"

Having completed Step 3, organisations will have a measured and independently-audited outcome, and will achieve best practice as an integral part of workplace activity.

UKCAE is working with the United Kingdom Accreditation Service to seek formal recognition of the UKCAE Pathway as a process that can be used for certification purposes.

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  • Today only 20% of the working population is white, male and below 45 years old
  • 48% of respondents said long-term health problem, impairment or disability was the most common reason for discrimination at work (1)
  • 75% of employees expect to work beyond retirement age (2)
  • 1,000,000 people over retirement age are currently working, this is expected to rise to over 3,000,000 by 2017 (3)
  • By the year 2020 nearly 50% of the population will be over 50 (3)
  • By the year 2020 58% of people over 50 will have a long-term health problem (3)
  • 20% of the workforce, 6.9 million people, have some form of disability or impairment (4)
  • Only 17% of people with a disability are born with that disability, the majority acquire their disability during their working life (4)
  • 18% of men are likely to reach Senior Management or Board positions, but only 11% of women are likely to reach this level (5)
  • By 2011 80% of 2 million new jobs will be filled by women (6)

  1. Survey conducted by GfkNOP for Equality and Human Rights Commission 12-28 September 2007, 1087 adults
  2. AON Consulting, 2007
  3. National Population Projections 2004, Government Actuary’s Department, 2004
  4. Labour Force Survey, National Statistics Office, June 2005
  5. Women and Equality Unit, June 2005
  6. The 2011 Census, Office for National Statistics, May 2005