Chapter 8: Equality
114. The general duty of the Equality Duty 2010 came into force on 5 April 2011 and provides a single, consistent framework covering age, disability status, ethnicity, gender/sex, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion/belief, sexual orientation, and transgender identity. It requires public bodies to have due regard to the need to:
- eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation, and any other conduct prohibited by the Act
- advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it
- foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it
115. The Equality Duty ensures that public bodies consider the needs of all when providing a service.
116. There are an estimated 450,000 deaf, hard of hearing, speech‑impaired and deaf blind people in the UK that cannot use a standard telephone. For them textphone communications provides a vital lifeline along with TextDirect and Typetalk16.
117. Similarly there many people in Scotland whose main language is not English.
118. Measures taken by the Enquiry Point to deal with equality include:
- Languageline - a telephone translation and interpreting service for callers who do not speak English. It allows three way conversations between caller, interpreter and Enquiry Point. All Enquiry Point staff have had training on use of Languageline and have the unique Enquiry Point code attached to their phones.
- Happy to Translate - a service that bridges gaps between organisations and service users who struggle to communicate in English
- Typetalk - The RNID Typetalk prefix number of 18001 is detailed on the COPFS website and standard letters. This allows people with communication difficulties to make contact through text.
- Email - enquiries can be sent via email
119. In addition staff are provided with equality training and recently received a presentation from an organisation that deals with Aspergers and Autism and a presentation from the West of Scotland Regional Equality Council Ltd (WSREC). Staff indicated that they found this interesting and helpful.
120. It is considered that the Enquiry Point is respectful of equality and is happy to put measures in place to address differences in people's needs. The Ofcom17 website provides good practice tips18 for businesses using call centres to ensure that they are accessible.