The Token Man: Paul Frampton, CEO UK & Ireland at Havas Media Group on his fascination with change and the need for more role models

Sally Henderson Paul Frampton

Our latest interview in The Token Mangender diversity series finds Sally Henderson interviewing Paul Frampton, chief executive of UK and Ireland at Havas Media Group.

Sally Henderson (SH): Thanks Paul, for agreeing to do one of our interviews. First question, given how fraught the topic can be, why were you keen to do an interview for Token Man?

Paul Frampton (PF): I think my upbringing plays a large part. I grew up with equal-leadership role models. Both my parents were head teachers and from a very early age, I was taught the term “head teacher” not “head master”. My parents believed in equality in all aspects of life, and were equally supportive of each other in the pursuit of their professional ambitions, so this showed me what’s possible.

I have always been adventurous and a change agent. If something is sub optimal, I will always try to challenge myself and the team to re-imagine it. You don’t give in. You try to change things to make them better. Diversity in the workplace is most certainly an area that needs re-imagining. Change fascinates me and I like challenging the status quo. It’s in my DNA.

SH: Your title is chief executive of UK and Ireland at Havas Media Group. What is ultimately your role in the business or the industry?

PF: I sit over the eight agencies in Havas Media Group, with 900 people across five offices. In essence, my role is setting the purpose and destination for the business for the long term, creating the right environment for the team and to re-imagine the agency model to drive faster growth.

SH: Why do you think gender diversity at a senior management level, and across the organisation as a whole, is important?

PF: Our leadership team is responsible for making decisions on our strategy and unless we have the right diversity of thought and talent around the table, we will not be brave enough and re-imagine.

In addition, I have found that EQ (Emotional Intelligence) such as care and welfare are traditionally more feminine traits over masculine ones and a more diverse, balanced team is essential to supporting people through ongoing change and uncertainty.

SH: What do you think the biggest challenge is for women currently sitting in a minority at a senior management level?

PF: In any environment where you are a minority, you have to have a lot of confidence to speak out as you will stand out and be seen as different. And it’s confidence, not aggressiveness. Women need to be encouraged and given the confidence to speak out on what they feel is important and where they feel their welfare is compromised.

There is a real challenge around maternity and returning to work.

Women can be on a great trajectory of growth and then they embrace kids and maternity, which changes their world and disconnects a woman/parent from a business for six to 12 months. To be disconnected from the pulse of work for anybody in this fast-paced environment would be a challenge but that’s before taking in to account the mental and psychological challenges being a mum brings.

There are not enough role models and natural mentors for women in the industry in general. Media agencies do however have some great role models at chief executive level such as Lindsay Pattison at Maxus, Helen McRea at Mindshare, Pippa Glucklich at Starcom MediaVest, Claudine Collins and Karen Blackett at MediaCom UK and Phillipa Brown at Omnicom Media Group. However, it is not just about C-level role models. Young women need role models that are closer to their level.

Men can offer interesting mentoring to females to give both sides of the perspective. Women (and men) have to work out how to succeed in the current environment to change it. We need to be careful not to recreate “boys’ clubs” as “girls’ clubs”. Enlightened men (which I call manbassadors) should be encouraged to be involved, and any forum must aim to be inclusive and accessible or else it becomes a clique in its own right. Without meaning to, we could recreate the negativity of the old boys’ club.

SH: What is the current split (as a %) in your current senior management team between men and women? And what is the split at the executive level?

PF: Across the board, 55% of 900 people are female. At middle management, it is 56%. head of department, it is 42%, and then at executive level, it falls to 35%.

SH: Is this something you are actively addressing, and if so how?

PF: Yes. For example, we are currently hiring a new MD for one of our agencies. We have specifically put a brief out that we only want female candidates. It has been challenging because the pool of perfect candidates, ready to do the role today, is lighter than all of us want it to be (due to the challenges we are discussing). If we can find a female who is 80% there, we are willing to build a support programme that accelerates her ability to succeed, so we can consider that as an option.

Another example is a member of my exec team is about to retire (interestingly, she is vocal that she hasn’t really experienced prejudice in her own career). Her perspective is very interesting and I have invited her to keep engaged with business as a great leader and to continue as a female role model. She will also work with our chief talent officer to accelerate our diversity programme. I am a big believer in action and candour.

SH: What have you done personally as a leader to help solve the issue of gender equality?

PF: I am an advisor for Women in Marketing (WIM) run by Ade Onilude. WIM is a global body that celebrates women in Marketing whilst prioritising women as drivers for change with a focus on female entrepreneurs and changes in technology.

I am pushing for changing policies here, such as improving our maternity policy and am pleased that last year, we introduced parental coaching.

We also have a next generation leadership programme. I have prioritised senior females going on to leadership programmes.

SH: Have you done the Harvard Unconscious Bias test? What was your result? And how do you think knowing this has/will influence your behaviour?

PF: Yes I have. My result is ‘moderate’ with automatic association to “female as family” and “male as career”. The result is what I expected so now I know it, I will keep diversity and non-conscious bias more in my mind, and I will challenge myself more.

I think my behaviour has already been influenced because I have grown up in an industry that is predominately male, and I am a person who always wanted to drive change.

SH: Have you personally seen examples of unconscious bias in the workplace over your career, and what would be your advice to women to overcome unconscious bias to develop their careers?

PF: I have unfortunately, particularly around maternity and incentivising women to come back earlier where the business, not the individual, was put first.

I am also hyper-aware of the “banter” on the trading floors in a media agency. By default, the trading floors are quite banter-led, however banter is quite often the source of peoples’ anxiety when in a minority, whatever that minority may be i.e. LGBT+, gender, mental health, etc. I find this unacceptable and encourage everyone to call it out.

Advice I would offer to women looking to develop their careers is to have someone as your mentor or coach, where you feel you can open up about these things. Start to build a plan as to how you will approach or attack your challenges, create your game plan and work out, perhaps through role-play, how to have confidence around potentially daunting or challenging situations. Set goals and keep building them up.

If you think there are areas where you have been unfairly treated, capture them rationally and have the tough conversation rationally not emotionally. Ask for the things you have raised to be considered and supported, leave some time and then revisit. If nothing happens, either escalate your concern or consider if it is the right organisation for you.

SH: What is your company’s current maternity leave policy?

PF: We offer three-to-six months dependent on service.

SH: What is your company’s current paternity leave policy?

PF: We currently offer two weeks paid leave but we are increasing this with immediate effect to four weeks – you heard it here first! This isn’t currently linked to length of service.

SH: Do you think these policies need to change?

PF: We need to continue reviewing them to see if they are fair, and iterate accordingly. Getting them in place and testing them out is better than waiting for them to be perfect before trying! I am a big fan of gender-neutral support and providing parental coaching, encouraging shared leave. We are focusing on educating around this.

I have just experienced the joy of the birth of my fourth child. Now I am in a position of leadership, I am able to make bigger change and can observe how maternity affects my wife and me. It is a gift for me as a CEO to have this first-hand insight to judge what is good practice to support new parents and what it’s like to be away from work. The opportunity is there for me to make sure I use this as an active learning experience.

SH: Congrats! How long are you taking as paternity leave?

PF: I am taking three-and-a-half weeks, which I have broken up over three months around when my mother-in law is in the country from Bogota, so I can be at home at the times I am needed most.

SH: Given the stigma attached to men taking extended parental leave, did you consider taking longer in order to set an example for the wider business?

I very deliberately made the decision to make an example to other expecting fathers at Havas and in wider adland. Rather than two weeks, I opted to take almost double this and have been very vocal on Twitter about the reasons why and in encouraging other prospective parents to do the same to support their partners. I still believe that four weeks makes the right statement; that it is important that men take meaningful paternity leave and “partner” with their spouse in these early weeks.

SH: What role do you think the industry should take in closing the gap between paternity and maternity?

PF: There are some examples of business doing good things, such as Facebook and Yahoo extending their paternity policy.

There aren’t enough forums for changing this in the industry. The IPA has put diversity high on the agenda, but more could be done on improving leave policies. We need to talk about this specific topic more as an industry and not in silos.

Given we are in the communication business, we should communicate it better, and why it’s a good thing for parents to consider sharing parental responsibility.

Action is critical. Just do it, see what happens and then iterate.

SH: What do you think brands need to do more of to give a positive representation of women?

PF: Brands need to reflect the diversity and the “fruit salad’ of Britain in its advertising. Let’s face it; brands stereotype roles to their consumers. Any cleaning advert is always a woman, and messaging linked to success and sport is almost always about a guy.

Brands have to do the same things as agencies and prioritise elevating females into more senior leadership roles. Brands such as HP are leading the charge. Antonio Lucio (a fellow advisor for Women in Marketing) has clearly set out that he has a clear expectation of benchmarks in terms of diversity and work. He has set KPIs to see change.

Brands need to ask themselves if the advert is meaningful to people. Does the brand improve the quality of life for consumers? Brands being measured on this and their contribution to community and society are important. They should focus on being meaningful to the consumer. It’s not just about the economics.

Brands have got to accept that polished, airbrushed communication is not the right way to go. It’s about what actually connects and is relevant to people. Brands need to wake up and ask themselves, “What do I need to do to change?” It’s not about just reaching the audience. Brands need to connect better.

SH: Does your company have a policy on the gender pay gap?

PF: This is an area I don’t think we have done enough on to date, but it is a live project.

Instead, we have done spot checks around salaries twice a year and based on the findings, I pick up on anything that needs further understanding or addressing with the talent team. One example of action taken from the spot checks is that we have proactively increased certain female salaries.

The plan for 2017 is to do a full salary and gender pay gap review for the whole of Havas once we have joined up and moved into the same location, rather than being a split Media and Creative group. We will then be able to look across the entire business.

SH: What’s your budget to put towards diversity initiatives in your organisation?

PF: This is a good question. Across our events, parental coaching, LGBT events, and our Havas Futures apprenticeship programme, it is a six-figure sum. It’s one of the top priorities for the business and is the responsibility of the chief talent officer. We also run a programme called Havas Fusion, which has four pillars: Gender, LGBT, Mental Health, and Ethnic diversity. We currently don’t put enough focus on BAME but this is something we are prioritising in 2017.

SH: Do you have a dedicated diversity and inclusion manager?

Yes but rather than it be manager-led, diversity and inclusion is represented at the top table as we believe it is too important to delegate today. I am very fortunate to have a great partner in crime in Darren Minshall, my chief talent officer, who shares my passion for diversity and inclusion. Darren has experience of deploying diversity and inclusion programmes across Creative agencies, TV and now Media. Darren and I spend at least an hour discussing diversity every single week and are both focused on “tangible signs of action” (Darren’s turn-of-phrase). In fact, the decision to move our paternity leave from two weeks to four weeks was the result of a debate we had on my return from paternity.

SH: Which female business leader has inspired you the most? And why?

PF: Carolyn McCall, CEO of Easy Jet. I don’t know her personally. Previously she was running the Guardian and her leadership was a big statement in a very male-dominated environment. I think she strikes a good balance between business and being driven and growth-orientated with empathy and humility. Male leaders can learn how to be more authentic and not always feel the need to have the answers.

I also admire Sheryl Sandberg. I love how vocal she is and how she has turned “lean in” into something active through a smart, intelligent approach to encourage storytelling and greater diversity.

SH: What is the best culture hack that you have done as a business to help make it easier for women to thrive in the workplace?

PF: Every quarter, we put on a nice lunch for anyone coming back from maternity so they can talk to each other and enjoy lunch on us. We think it is important for people returning from parental leave to know they are not alone and connect with others and if needed, have a conversation about their fears, etc.

We also promote that any maternity returner selects a buddy from the business to support them with the transition.

SH: Name me the one key behaviour change you think men can make in the workplace that will have the biggest impact on fostering gender diversity?

PF: Ensuring that all agency events, conferences or new business pitches are a true reflection of diversity with a balanced male/female split in the people who represent the business, and to take every possible opportunity to show balance in terms of gender and putting up the right role models.

SH: What’s the one thing (if any) you commit to doing as a result of this interview?

PF: To actively ensure that we look at the gender pay gap and if we have any significant anomalies, I will resolve this in the first quarter of 2017.

SH: Finally, who would you like to nominate for the next Token Man interview?

Bruce Daisley from Twitter and Chris Hirst from Havas.

The Token Man is an initiative from the founder of Creative Social, Daniele Fiandaca. Previous interviews have included IPA’s Tom Knox in conversation with chief executive at Thinkbox, Lindsay Clay.

Broadcasting regulator takes action on gender balance and diversity

BAI wants to ‘maximise the progress’ of Irish broadcasters, says chairman

Broadcasting Authority of Ireland chairman Prof Pauric Travers: “We are looking at how we maximise the progress we make in gender and diversity,” he said

Broadcasters will be asked to report on the gender balance and diversity of their presenters and contributors to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), after the regulator signalled that it intends to be “more active” in this area.

The authority is also examining how content funding awarded under its Sound and Vision scheme can be “more equitably distributed” between male and female creative talent.

“We are looking at how we maximise the progress we make in gender and diversity,” said BAI chairman Pauric Travers, speaking ahead of the launch today of the regulator’s three-year strategy. “We want to build that into how broadcasters report to us.”

Prof Travers said the BAI would pay special attention to gender balance, diversity and supports for Irish language content in next year’s planned review of Sound and Vision. Applicant companies seeking funds under the scheme, which awards a portion of licence fee money to independent production companies, may be asked about the gender balance and diversity of the lead teams behind the proposed project.

A BAI-funded report recommended in 2015 that the authority should compel licensed broadcasters to report on their gender equality performance, after it found that only 28 per cent of the voices in Irish current affairs radio programming were female. On one station studied – Newstalk – only 18 per cent of the voices were female during the monitoring period.

The report by Kathy Walsh, Jane Suiter and Orla O’Connor suggested the BAI should set a minimum quota of 30 per cent for female representation among guest and expert contributors to current affairs radio and encourage broadcasters to work towards a 40:60 ratio.

‘Development grants’

Women on Air and Women in Film and Television were among the organisations to be awarded learning and development grants from the BAI this year.

“Sectoral sustainability” has also been placed at the heart of the regulator’s strategy for the first time, after radio broadcasters told the BAI there was an “existential threat” to their businesses, prompted by the growing share of Google and Facebook in the advertising market.

Prof Travers said there was no “silver bullet” that would solve funding challenges faced by media companies.

“Our role isn’t to ensure that every broadcaster survives or is propped up. Our role is to ensure that the landscape allows broadcasters to thrive,” he said.

The BAI chairman said a more efficient collection of the television licence fee was “badly needed” but that he had “no doubt that there is still room for efficiencies” at public service broadcasters RTÉ and TG4.

The authority is planning to re-examine its media ownership and control policy, which has been in place since 2012. This is separate from its role in the review of Independent News & Media’s proposed purchase of local newspaper group Celtic Media.

A BAI advisory panel on the Celtic Media deal is due to report to Minister for Communications Denis Naughten on its view of the acquisition on May 11th, with a decision by the Minister expected in June. The regulator has appointed the UK-based media consultants Communications Chambers to act as its advisers.


Leading healthcare company, MSD recently hosted its inaugural Women in STEM conference. The event, the first of its kind for the company, was organised by the MSD Women’s Network to celebrate and recognise the importance of diversity and women in leadership.

As a global leader in healthcare with a strong presence in Ireland, MSD employs approximately 1,800 people across its sites in Dublin, Carlow, Cork, and Tipperary. The Irish branch of the MSD Women’s Network was officially launched in 2015 to create an inclusive workplace within MSD, while also helping to address the vast under-representation of women in science and technology in Ireland.

It is estimated that of the 117,800 people working in jobs that utilise STEM skills, less than 25% are women. Across EU statistics are stark, with approximately 7% of technical careers being filled by women.

The event welcomed more than 100 attendees including representatives from MSD’s manufacturing sites in Ballydine, Co Tipperary, Brinny, Co. Cork, and Carlow, as well as MSD Human Health, Animal Health and Global Financial Services teams, for a day of networking, workshops and discussion.

Speakers included Peter Cosgrove (Director of CPL), Martin Kelly  (Think HR) and Pamela Faye (Business Performance Perspectives) who covered topics such as personal branding in the workplace and the importance of diversity.

Business Unit Director at MSD Human Health, Mairead McCaul said, “Ireland has an incredible and diverse talent pool, and we are committed to ensuring that our workplace is not just diverse, but inclusive, so that all our people have equal personal and professional development opportunities, and can grow their careers in an environment that empowers them to succeed.”

Insurance Ireland launches ‘Year of Diversity and Inclusion’

No Repro Fee 15-2-2017 Picture shows from left Carol Andrews of BNY Mellon;Frank Mee of Allianz Worldwide Care; Diversity & Inclusion expert Charlotte Sweeney OBE; Teresa Kelly Oroz, Irish Life Health; Kevin Thompson, CEO of Insurance Ireland; and Penny Bryant of Metlife at the launch of Insurance Ireland’s Year of Inclusion. The initiative focuses on embedding inclusion best practices in insurance companies and involves partnerships with the 30% Club, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network and the National Council for the Blind Ireland.Pic:Naoise Culhane-no fee

15th February 2017: Insurance Ireland today launched its Year of Inclusion to highlight inclusion best practices in member companies and to draw on expert external resources to advance a four part plan for the year.
The launch event took place in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, and attracted over 260 representatives from across the Irish Insurance industry. It is planned as the first of a series of events around four quarterly themes of: ‘Gender’ in Q1, ‘LGBTI’ in Q2, ‘Ethnicity and Age’ in Q3 and ‘Disability’ in Q4.

Insurance Ireland is partnering with external resources throughout the year including the 30% Club, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, the National Council for the Blind Ireland and the DiveIn festival for Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance which has grown to take place in multiple cities each September.

The keynote speaker was Charlotte Sweeney who is Vice-Chair of the UK’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills External Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Panel and led the City of London’s Diversity Programme “The Power of Diversity”.

Speaking after the event Sweeney said “There is a compelling business case for diversity and inclusion practices in the workplace. The challenge for businesses is realising the opportunity and this starts with inclusive leadership. The interest and engagement on the issue at today’s event bodes extremely well for the year ahead and I congratulate Insurance Ireland for taking this important step forward’.”

Minister of State, Eoghan Murphy said “Ireland’s Marriage Equality Referendum demonstrated the massive reputational dividend that flows from the adoption of progressive measures. Many financial service companies have adopted exemplary diversity and inclusion programmes and have benefitted on many levels as a result. Not least by maximising the productive and innovative capabilities of their workforce. Driving the benefits across the sector as a whole is an objective of the Government’s IFS2020 Strategy. Insurance Ireland’s promoting ‘the Year of Inclusion’ is a positive development which I look forward to seeing adopted more widely across the sector.”

Kevin Thompson, Chief Executive, Insurance Ireland, said “Today’s event is a result of the exceptional work of our Inclusion Task Force in recent years and is an important landmark in the process of further recognising and promoting diversity and inclusion in our member companies. This initiative is an opportunity for our industry to consider how to apply inclusion best practices for the benefit of current and future employees.”

“There are many positive and best practice inclusion initiatives across the sector but like all other industries we must draw on external expertise. I would like to thank the 30% Club for partnering with us for today’s event and look forward to further collaboration with them and our other partners during the year ahead.”

The other speakers at the launch event were Frank Mee of Allianz Worldwide Care and Chair of the Inclusion Task Force; Terry Kelly Oroz, Head of Regulatory & Compliance at Irish Life Health; Sean McGrath, CEO, Allianz Plc; Carol Andrews, Managing Director and Head of EMEA Service Delivery, BNY Mellon & 30% Club Representative; and Penny Bryant Head of Communications, Western and Central Europe, MetLife.

7 Steps Towards Human Rights and Equality in the Workplace

A Framework for Building a Culture of Equality and Human Rights in the Workplace

Building a culture of human rights and equality in the workplace requires enterprises and organisations to take a planned and systematic approach to equality and human rights. While there is no legal requirement to implement any of these approaches, an organisation interested in embedding human rights and equality in their workplace may find the following seven step framework helpful:

  1. An equality and human rights policy that sets out the standards to which the enterprise/organisation is committed in relation to employment
  2. Equality and human rights training that enables staff to understand and achieve these standards for the enterprise/organisation
  3. Responsibility for equality and human rights that is taken by a committee or appointed person to drive the standard set for equality and human rights
  4. An equality and human rights roadmap that sets out objectives the enterprise/organisation wants to achieve in relation to equality and human rights and employment and the steps that will be taken to realise these objectives – this plan is based on a review of the equality and human rights situation in relation to employment in the enterprise/organisation
  5. Equality and human rights impact assessment that would bring equality and human rights concerns into the heart of key decision making within the enterprise/organisation
  6. Equality and human rights data that is gathered and analysed within the enterprise/organisation in relation to employment and the nine grounds under equality legislation and in relation to groups at risk of human rights violations
  7. Participation by equality and human rights interests in governance within the enterprise/organisation so that the voice of those experiencing inequality or human rights violations informs policy, procedure and practice within the enterprise/organisation.

The purpose of a planned and systematic approach to equality and human rights is to enable an enterprise/organisation over the long-term to eliminate discrimination, achieve equality, and fulfil human rights. It means that an enterprise/organisation moves beyond reactive approaches where action on equality and human rights is based on dealing with and responding to issues or opportunities in the short-term, and is enabled to embed equality and human rights within its organisational culture.

An equality and human rights policy is the foundation stone for a planned and systematic approach to equality and human rights within an organisation. It serves as a guide for the organisation as to what it aspires to as an employee. It sets out:

  • the commitment of the organisation to equality and human rights in relation to employees and those they purchase goods and services from
  • the equality and human rights standard aspired to by the organisation in relation to employment
  • the steps that the organisation will take to safeguard the standard and to ensure that the standard is implemented.

An equality and human rights policy will set out a statement of standard for its role as an employer in its approach to:

  • recruitment;
  • working conditions;
  • workplace culture;
  • career progression;
  • pay;
  • promotion;
  • reasonable accommodation of diversity, including for people with disabilities, equality outcomes for employees, and dismissals and redundancies.

The bottom line for the standard set must be compliance with the employment equality acts and with the international human rights instruments as they apply to the enterprise/organisation and its functions. However an equality and human rights policy aspires to best practice in making adjustments for diversity, achieving equality and fulfilling human rights.

In setting out steps to safeguard the standards set, the equality and human rights policy details procedures for making and dealing with complaints where standards have been breached. It identifies the steps the organisation will take to communicate the policy to employees and service users and ensure they understand the commitments made. It details systems for feedback on implementation from employees and service users. It establishes how the policy will be driven and monitored by management. It identifies the equality and human rights infrastructure the organisation deploys to ensure a planned and systematic approach.

In preparing an equality and human rights policy, the enterprise/organisation accords responsibility for the process, preferably at a senior level. A participative process involves representatives of the diversity of service users and employees as well as staff organisations and relevant representative organisations from civil society. This builds ownership of and commitment to the equality and human rights policy. Peer learning through other enterprises/organisations that have developed their equality and human rights competence deepens the quality of the equality and human rights policy.

Research carried out among Irish employees found that about three quarters of all employees work in workplaces where there is a formal written equality policy (IHRC 2005: 18). The presence of such a policy was associated with a lower level of work stress, higher levels of job satisfaction and organisational commitment and with employee perceptions of equality and fairness within their organisations. The mere presence of an equality policy thus enhances organisational performance.

One of the core purposes of equality and human rights training is to ensure an organisation and its staff can reach the standards set out in the organisation’s equality and human rights policy. This training builds staff:

  • knowledge about: their rights and responsibilities under equality legislation and human rights instruments; the way discrimination, harassment, and human rights violations occur; and diversity, equality and human rights issues
  • skills in: responding to discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, and human rights incidents; promoting equality and supporting human rights; and implementing the standards of the equality and human rights policy
  • behaviours: that: are free from discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, human rights violations; and are supportive of diversity, equality and human rights
  • attitudes that: appreciate, understand, and support equality, diversity, non-discrimination and human rights.

Equality and human rights training supports personal development for staff, effective staff performance in relation to equality and human rights, good staff working relationships, and a workplace culture that appreciates, understands, and supports equality and human rights.

Training for senior management and line management is important in ensuring an equality and human rights competent leadership on equality and human rights. Training for policy making, human resources and customer relations staff is important in building an equality and human rights capacity in key organisational functions. Training for trainers, new employees, and all staff develops an organisational culture that values equality and human rights.

Equality and human rights is the responsibility of all staff in an enterprise/organisation. This is an important principle. It is, however, valuable to accord responsibility for driving the equality and human rights commitments of the organisation to ensure they get implemented and to enable everyone to take up their responsibilities.

This responsibility can be held by an individual, preferably a senior member of staff with the necessary authority. However, the individual needs to be given time to fulfil this responsibility. A dedicated equality and human rights officer can also be appointed. This could ensure the individual has the necessary expertise for the role.

The responsibility can be held collectively by an equality and human rights committee. The membership of this committee is best drawn from the various departments or units within the enterprise/organisation to spread influence and ownership. It should include representation from groups experiencing inequality or potentially subject to human rights abuses. This enables a range of perspectives to be brought to bear on developing and implementing equality and human rights actions.

An employment equality and human rights roadmap sets out the objectives that an enterprise or organisation seeks to achieve in advancing equality and fulfilling human rights for its employees. It identifies the steps that will be taken by the enterprise/organisation to improve its performance on these issues. It provides the necessary context for staff who have done equality and human rights training to use the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed in their day to day practice. It ensures commitments made and standards set are given practical expression at work.

The equality and human rights plan includes actions, in key functional areas, to:

  • prevent discrimination
  • provide reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities
  • accommodate diversity
  • promote equality
  • respect, protect and fulfil human rights.

The impacts of the plan should be measurable with concrete targets. It is important to monitor progress and valuable to celebrate achievements to sustain morale and commitment.

An equality and human rights roadmap can usefully be evidence based if it is preceded by an equality and human rights audit within the organisation. This audit establishes the equality and human rights situation in the organisation in terms of:

  • the position and experience of staff;
  • the outcomes for and experience of service users; the outcomes for policy beneficiaries;
  • the nature and scope of the internal infrastructure to drive an equality and human rights agenda within the organisation.

The preparation of an equality and human rights roadmap is participative. It involves: employees, a diversity of employees, and employee organisations. Insofar as possible diversity needs to encompass the nine grounds covered by equality legislation: gender, civil status, family status, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, religion and membership of the Traveller community. It is also desirable that it would  encompass a socio-economic status ground.

An equality and human rights impact assessment is carried out on a policy or plan at design stage. It seeks to ensure that the policy or plan is compliant with non-discrimination and human rights standards, can take account of diversity, and will advance equality. It tests for potential negative impact and identifies corrective action to redesign the policy or plan. Where redesign is not an option, it involves identifying mitigating actions to address the potential negative impact.

There are four core steps in conducting an equality and human rights impact assessment:

  • information and data gathering: gathering and analysing relevant quantitative and qualitative data about groups experiencing inequality or human rights violations
  • impact assessment: testing the plan or policy, using the data gathered, to assess for potential negative, neutral or positive impact
  • consultation: dialogue with groups experiencing inequality and human rights violations and their representative organisations about the quality of the data gathered, the nature of the impact assessment, and the options to be pursued on foot of the impact assessment
  • decision: identifying changes or mitigating actions required to be implemented on foot of the impact assessment monitoring: checking that the actual impacts are as assessed and introducing changes as necessary where this is not the case.

The lack of relevant equality and human rights data is an impediment to evidence based action on equality and human rights. This is largely outside the control of organisations. However, organisations do, within the bounds of data protection legislation, collect data on employees, staff and policy beneficiaries. This data, if desegregated across the grounds covered in the equality legislation as well as the ground of socio-economic status, can be a key resource in devising and monitoring action on equality and human rights. Data can be anonymised and used to identify patterns of access, participation and outcome across the ten grounds.

Participation by staff in the decision making processes of an organisation is a valuable part of the infrastructure for a planned and systematic approach to equality and human rights. This participation may involve individuals as well as the organisations that represent their interests. It ensures:

  • a diversity of perspectives is brought to bear in decision making, enabling better decision making in that decisions can take account of different identities, experiences and situations and their practical implications
  • access to qualitative data that provides evidence for action on equality and human rights and is key in the absence of adequate quantitative data
  • transparency and openness in the work of the organisation.

This participation can be organised within the standard decision making processes. A separate dialogue with these groups and their organisations can also be pursued and linked into the decision making process as appropriate.