Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

North East companies achieve top equality standard

A new award for companies promoting equality and diversity in their organisations saw its first winners last week.

The ‘Equality Standard’, developed by Equality North East, was established to identify companies which take equality and diversity seriously. The first batch of winners received the honour at Friday’s launch event held at Ramside Hall.

The recipients there to collect their awards on behalf of their business were Christine Dempster and Nicola Brown, principle and vice-principal at North East Autism Society’s Thornbeck College, Julia Smith, Director of HR at Muckle LLP and Gavin Richardson, Managing Director at Opus Building Services.

Liz Reay, Chief Executive of Equality North East, said: “Having the standard is proof that an employer not only has commitment to equality and diversity through excellent policies but also through its actions. It shows them to be an employer of choice and will help them when tendering for those valuable public sector contracts.”

Leslie Calder, Head of European and Skills Strategy at One North East and keynote speaker at the event said: “Public bodies spend a phenomenal amount of money each year - in the North East alone, some £3.5bn across Local Authorities, the NHS and agencies like JobCentre Plus and ourselves. This represents a huge market for many businesses and voluntary organisations to tap into.

“It also represents a huge opportunity for us to influence behaviour to promote equality and diversity through the procurement process. We require bidders to provide evidence of their Equality policies, but don’t have the time or expertise to properly take these into account when assessing tenders.

“What we need is a simple, clear way to assess whether the organisations bidding for our investment really are committed to equality and diversity.

“That is where I think the work that Equality North East and others have been doing has so much to offer, in helping us all to use procurement to promote equality and diversity in a simple but effective way.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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