Equality & Diversity
On this page you can access information about what equality is and why it is important to Merseytravel, together with specific pieces of equality and diversity work.
The Equality Act
The Equality Act 2010 provides a cross-cutting legislative framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all; to deliver a simple, modern and accessible framework of discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society.
To guard against discrimination, a number of our characteristics, or the attributes that define us, are protected. These are known as the “protected characteristics”. Sometimes these are referred to as “protected groups”, but it is important to remember that all of us have “protected characteristics”. They are:
- Age: This refers to people of the same age and people of a particular range of ages.
- Disability: A disability is a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect.
- Gender reassignment: This is a personal process; it involves a person expressing their gender in a way that differs from the one they were assigned at birth.
- Pregnancy and Maternity: Being pregnant, expecting a baby, and the period after the birth.
- Race: A person’s colour, nationality or ethnic origin.
- Religion or belief: A religious or philosophical belief, and includes a lack of religion or belief.
- Sex: A person’s gender.
- Sexual orientation: The feelings a person has towards another person, irrespective of gender, which determines who they form intimate relationships with or are attracted to.
The Act originally included a provision that would have required all public bodies to assess whether they were addressing inequalities caused by socio-economic factors. It would encourage them to improve, for example, health and education outcomes in more deprived areas. This was abandoned before the PSED came onto force in April 2011. Merseytravel has made a commitment to honour this duty.
The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), Section 149(1) of the Act, came into force in April 2011. It sets out the equality requirements placed on public bodies when carrying out their day-to-day work. There are 2 elements to the PSED. The first is the General Duty, which says that a public authority must, in the exercise of its functions, have due regard to the need to—
a) eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under this Act;
b) advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it; and
c) foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.
In very simple terms, "have due regard" means consciously thinking about these 3 aims as part of our decision making process. This means that consideration of equality issues must influence our decisions. This includes how we act as an employer, how we develop and evaluate policy, how we design deliver and evaluate services, and how we procure from others.
The second element of the PSED is the Specific Duty. This is set out in a Statutory Instrument (2011 No. 2260) which accompanies the legislation, and says that we must publish information to demonstrate our compliance with the duty imposed by section 149(1) of the Act. In other words, we have to provide evidence of how consideration of equality issues has influenced our decisions.
Our Equality Policy
sets out our approach to meeting this duty and also our “equality objective”, as required by the statutory duty:
Meeting the needs of our customers is central to everything we do. This means that engagement with our customers is key to understanding their needs, be they existing or potential customers. As such, we will continually review or methods, to ensure that the views of the whole community and all protected groups inform policy and delivery within the organisation, and embrace new technology and social media.
It is important to recognise that showing due regard is appropriate in all the particular circumstances in which Merseytravel is carrying out its function as a public body. This means it applies to how we develop and evaluate policy, how we design deliver and evaluate services, and how we procure from others. To be able to demonstrate this, we use Equality Impact Assessments, known as EIAs.
An Equality Impact Assessment is simply a tool to help with the process of equality analysis. That process requires gathering and analysis of information about the impact of our actions. It is this process rather than the template itself that lies at the heart of compliance with the duty. The Equality Impact Assessment Toolkit explains this in more detail, and a template records the EIA.
Equalities and the Public
To help us in delivering our duty, it's important we have a core evidence base. The Liverpool City Region Demographic Data lets us know the make-up of our community, in terms of their protected characteristics.
Equalities and our Staff
As an employer, we also need to know the Staff Equality Data relating to the protected characteristics for our employees. The data shows the make-up of our workforce broken down, where practicable, by the various protected characteristics.lating to the protected characteristics for our employees. The data shows the make-up of our workforce broken down, where practicable, by the various protected characteristics.
Through our HR and learning information system we can conduct further reporting and analysis on our employee data, training and Recruitment Data according to the protected characteristics. This data allows us to identify any potential inequalities and take steps to re-address them.
We also have an Equality in Employment Policy. It establishes our commitment to building equality into employment practices, policies and procedures.
We are committed to making sure all employees have dignity at work and are not subjected to an environment or behaviours where they are subject to any kinds of bullying, harassment or discrimination. A Dignity at Work Policy and support mechanisms have been in place for several years. Following consultation with employees and trade unions, in 2012 enhancements were made to this programme. These included the recruitment and extensive training of dignity at work contacts and mediators from across the organisation, along with the re-launch of the policy and the production of a range of information for employees on the subject of bullying, harassment and dignity at work.
Key Projects and Initiatives
We provide information about the accessibility of the buses, trains and ferries.
Our Transport Customer Forums give everyone their say in public transport matters.
The Travelsafe Partnership, including Merseytravel, works to make sure the public transport network is safe for everyone to use. The StopHate campaign encourages vulnerable groups to confidently choose public transport.
We work to educate young people about the effects of vandalism and other anti-social behaviour through school events like Your Choice.
We operate the Merseylink service to assist people with mobility problems that cannot use ordinary public transport all or some of the time.
We work with local disability groups to improve disabled access to our public sites. As a result of one project we developed, with Guide Dogs for the Blind, nine bus station audio guides.