Gaining an LGA equality award 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.
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)
- the Fire and Rescue Service Equality Framework (FRSEF).
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.
Organisations working with the frameworks are able to determine if they have reached the 'Developing Equality' level by self-assessment alone without the need for external assessment.
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.
Based on all it has learned during the challenge, the team will determine whether the award of ‘Achieving' or 'Excellent' should be made. The team will feed back its decision, 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.
If necessary an external peer reference group is available to moderate assessments.
Cost of a challenge
The cost of an equality peer challenge is £7,400 plus expenses. The cost of a 'lighter touch' re-accreditation peer challenge is £4,500 plus expenses.
What others say about the Equality peer challenge
Raj Chand – 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.
Stuart Long – South Essex Homes – Gained the 'Excellent' level in November 2010
South Essex Homes found the peer challenge to be a very positive experience for the organisation. We were impressed with the methodology used by LGA and found the process to be very thorough. It was a positive exercise which helped to bring focus around the success of our joint working projects. We would strongly recommend the peer challenge to other housing providers.
Anita Patel – Harvest Housing Group – gained the 'Excellent' level in February 2012
It has provided Harvest Housing Group and their customers with an independent expert evaluation of the quality and performance of services, through a rigorous and challenging scrutiny process. It has provided an independent validation of our achievements and will act as a driver for continuous improvement.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service – gained the 'Excellent' level in March 2013
We found the overall process to be rigorous and challenging yet extremely worthwhile and we would highly recommend this to other Services. It has enabled us to obtain an independent and accurate view of our overall performance in relation to equality and diversity and provided some interesting insights into our culture. We are now able to develop an action plan based on the team's recommendations that will help us to continuously improve on our journey to excellence.
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:
Telephone: 020 76643021
The following organisations have been awarded ‘Equality Excellence'.
Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Brighton and Hove City 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 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
Golden Gates Housing Trust
Your Homes Newcastle
St Ledger Homes
South Essex Homes
East Northeast Homes (Leeds)
Aire Valley Homes
West Northwest Homes (Leeds)
Tower Hamlets Homes.
Fire and Rescue
Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service
Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service
Dorset Fire and Rescue Service
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.