The Public Sector Equality Duty: a tool to challenge discrimination – Paul Hossack, Senior Associate, Equality and Human Rights Commission
In this session, we looked at how the Public Sector Equality Duty can be used to protect and promote rights and challenge discrimination. The Commission has produced a set of resources that help raise awareness of this legislation, improve understanding and aid users in their own work.
The Commission is the National equality body for Britain and national human rights institution. Set up under the Equality Act 2006, its aim is to protect people’s rights to fairness, dignity and respect. It has powers to challenge discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and protect human rights.
The 5 key roles in the commission’s strategic plan are: inform; influence; enforce; evaluate; and be a catalyst for change. Team of 12 based in Cardiff. Work is divided into 6 domains. Paul covered the 7 key challenges of the ‘Is Wales Fairer?’ this sets out the 7 key equality and human rights challenges in Wales.
The Equality Act 2010 consolidated and strengthened previous equality legislation; protects people from unfair treatment and discrimination and promotes a more and fair and inclusive society. There are 9 protected characteristics: age; gender reassignment; sex; race; disability; pregnancy and maternity; sexual orientation; religion or belief.
The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) applies to the Equality Act and sets out 3 key aims. The challenge is that the Duty is not an absolute one! The Duty also applies to other organisations providing public functions e.g. G4S.
Specific duties apply differently in different nations. There about 10 specific duties. The PSED, as a lever for change, can challenge individual cases of discrimination; influence policy changes; and hold to account.
Plans for the future are to launch resources for the third sector e.g. guidance; a toolkit; and monitoring public bodies. Also looking at compliance and monitoring the public sector.
Support available: the equality advisor support service. There is a commission advisor line and identifying and tackling discrimination course.
Dawn Owen – Volunteer Engagement Officer, Carers Wales
Dawn talked about the work of Carers Wales and the recent study by Carers UK, the State of Caring 2018. To make life better for carers. Carers Wales has 2 offices in Wales. Started in 1965 by Mary Webster.
The organisation is run by carers for carers. 370,000 identified carers in Wales – aware of. 96% of care contributes to 8.1b of unpaid care. Over 100,000 people in Wales provide over 50 hours of unpaid care each week. Those who provide care are more likely to be permanently sick of disabled. Currently working with Compass – a carer’s employer. Wales has the highest proportion of older and younger carers in the UK.
State of Caring survey – Dawn will circulate the link. The survey has gone back to both the Welsh and UK Government.
Carers Wales connects carers so no one has to be alone. They campaign together for a lasting change. Provide advice, information and support. Everything online is downloadable and free. Innovate to find new ways to reach carers.
Dawn links in with NEWCIS etc – informing people of local services in their area. Dawn gives information about carers’ rights; refers into NEWCIS and carers outreach. Dawn is happy to provide information sessions.
Housing for Older People – Tracey Roberts, Older Person’s Service Development Coordinator, WCBC
Carol Thomas, Senior Extra Care Manager and Kathy Davies, Extra Care Officer, Pennaf
Tracey talked about WCBC current survey, the Older People’s Housing Needs and Aspirations Study, and about the Extra Care Housing Schemes in Flintshire and Wrexham.
Carrying out a survey and study for people living in Wrexham regardless of their tenure. Also finding out if people are aware of services across Wrexham. The survey is available both online and a hard copy.
Wrexham Extra Care Scheme is the second development within Wrexham County Borough for people over the age of 60 with some type of care or support need.
Pennaf work in coordination with the LA. All apartments are level access with an onsite restaurant facility. Those requiring domiciliary support are assessed prior to entering the scheme. There is a Lounge area for different activities; also encourage participation onsite. 35 properties are allocated to date. There will be a Care Manager onsite. Current schemes have proved to be very positive. The Flintshire and Llangefni schemes have a memory floor for residents with memory problems. Inter-generational participation is also encouraged within the scheme.
In comparison with the private rental sector, the cost is approximately £260 per week for 2 people – additional charges may apply. Heating and electricity are set at approximately £40 per month. Housing Benefit does pay a percentage for those in receipt of the benefit.
Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking – Ali Ussery, Haven of Light
In this session, we looked at the definitions, signs and risks of modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK today that are relevant to our community in North Wales. We also found out about anti-slavery work taking place within the third sector and in collaboration with agencies.
Haven of Light CIC was registered in 2017 and is a UK non-profit organisation focusing on Prevention, Awareness Raising and Support for Survivors of Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking.
It is believed that there are over 13,000 individuals – men, women, young people and children who are caught in exploitation in the UK.
Ali has been involved here in Wales for the past 5 years. Exploitation is very serious and does exist in Wales. Estimated that over 40m men, women and children are caught in exploitation.
Human Trafficking is high profit and low risk and is part of modern slavery.
Different forms of slavery include sexual exploitation; forced labour; domestic servitude; criminal activity; child exploitation; county lines; forced begging; organ harvesting; child soldiers; forced and sham marriages. UK citizens are also victims. The biggest thing in North Wales is labour exploitation. Big sporting events bring in victims of human trafficking.
In North Wales, victims can be made to work at car washes, cannabis cultivation; nail bars/manicure shops; hotels and hospitality; food packing factories; odd jobs e.g. tarmac; agriculture; seafood industry; construction. County lines and cuckooing are now a major issue
Victims are recruited through a family member; boyfriend or partner; acquaintance; stranger; employment agency; smuggling agent. In the UK, the Modern Slavery Act came in in 2015. When a victim is found, they are allowed to stay within the system for 45 days. A new pathway has recently been introduced for Wales. .
Signs of modern slavery to look out for: behaviour; physical signs of abuse; deception or coercion; legal documents; no money; poor living conditions; no access to families.
Haven of Light now works with numerous agencies across the UK. Also working with European partners. North Wales Police have a modern slavery unit; BAWSO can also support victims. The police should be the first port of call. Roughly 120 victims rescued across Wales.
Haven of Light will be holding an awareness event 12th October.
Modern Day Slavery helpline number: 0800 012 1700
Modern Day Slavery – North Wales Police: https://www.north-wales.police.uk/advice-and-support/stay-safe/modern-slavery