Equality peer challenge

Having an equality peer challenge can help an organisation demonstrate to its service users and the wider community that equality really is at the heart of everything it does and the services it delivers.

For councils and housing organisations the LGA offers two levels of externally-accredited equality awards based on its equality frameworks:

  • the Equality Framework for Local Government (EFLG)
  • the Social Housing Equality Framework (SHEF)

Organisations can ask to be accredited at either the ‘Achieving' level or the ‘Excellent' level. Both levels are assessed by peer challenge. Successful organisations receive the appropriate certificate and an accreditation 'seal' which they can use on their website, intranet, letterhead and other publications. The award lasts for three years after which the organisation should request a re-accreditation peer challenge.

The 'Developing Equality' level of these frameworks can be awarded by self-assessment alone without the need for external assessment.

The LGA also offers an equality peer challenge to Fire and Rescue Services based on the Fire and Rescue Service Equality Framework (FRSEF). Awards of Achieving or Excellent are no longer made to Services. Instead a narrative feedback is provided.

Preparing for peer challenge

A self-assessment template is available for each framework to help organisations decide if they are ready to be externally challenged. The peer challenge guidance documents include step-by-step information about the process. The LGA Peer Support team is also available to provide advice.

How the challenge works

The peer challenge is in two parts. Firstly the organisation submits its self-assessment; narrative and supporting evidence to the peer team. The second stage is the three day on-site visit. The peer team will meet with a range of internal and external stakeholders, including partners, community and voluntary organisations, councillors or board members and employees to gain supporting information. The team may also visit projects or activities taking place in the community.

The team will feed back its observations and recommendations at the end of the visit. After the challenge, a written report will be provided which will include signposting to good practice elsewhere.

Cost of a challenge

The cost of an equality peer challenge is £7,400 plus expenses. The cost of a shorter re-accreditation peer challenge is £4,500 plus expenses.

Further information

If you would like more information about the challenge or want to make a booking please contact your regional Principal Adviser.

If you are interested in becoming one of our equality peers please contact Alison Gover. Email  alison.gover@local.gov.uk 
Phone: 020 7664 3021.

Organisations awarded ‘Equality Excellence' since 2010


Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Bristol City Council *

Cheshire West and Chester Council*

City of York Council*

Derby City Council*

Essex County Council

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council*

London Borough of Brent

London Borough of Enfield*

London Borough of Hackney

London Borough of Lambeth*

London Borough of Tower Hamlets*

Leeds City Council

Leicestershire County Council*

Manchester City Council

Newcastle upon Tyne City Council*

Nottingham City Council*

Rugby Borough Council

Transport for London

Bournemouth Borough Council

City of Wolverhampton Council


Housing organisations

Nottingham City Homes

Golden Gates Housing Trust*

Your Homes Newcastle*

St Ledger Homes*

South Essex Homes*

Northwards Housing*

Bernslai Homes*

Wolverhampton Homes*

Harvest Housing*

Salix Homes*

East Northeast Homes (Leeds)*

Aire Valley Homes*

West Northwest Homes (Leeds)*

Tower Hamlets Homes*

*Award is time lapsed

Useful documents

Guidance for organisations undertaking the Equality Peer Challenge at Achieving and Excellent level

The Social Housing Equality Framework (2014): Guidance for organisations undertaking the Equality Peer Challenge at Achieving and Excellent level

What others say about the Equality peer challenge

Rugby Borough Council: The first district council to gain the excellent level in March 2014
“Achieving excellence has further reinforced the organisations role as community leader and local partner whilst providing continued confidence to customers that the council is delivering the best services it can, with the limited resources it has available. For Rugby Borough Council the recommendations made from the peer review will only further enhance the ongoing journey for continuous improvement.”
Wolverhampton Borough Council: Gained Achieving in April 2017 and Excellent in October 2018
“The peer review provided us with a clear understanding of where the organisation was on its journey and a vision of what challenges needed to be addressed to move the council towards embedding our current practices and building momentum to reach Excellent status.
The process provided the council with a rare opportunity to look at the whole council and highlighted how much excellent work was going on right across the organisation (with regard to the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda) that otherwise may have remained unnoticed to the wider audience. Staff were doing a great job, making a real positive difference and just treating it as the norm. The inspection gave the council the opportunity to publicise these activities through the case studies. This also served to make people feel that their contributions were valued.”