What is Equality?

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is a local authority incorporated under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.  Like other Scottish local authorities, the Comhairle is a “most purpose” authority, with duties and powers covering a wide range of activities.

The Comhairle appreciate the need for equality and diversity policies because we know that prejudice and discrimination still affects the lives of many of our citizens.  We know that the way organisations work often leads to unintentional discrimination against groups of people [‘institutional discrimination’].  This results in reduced opportunities for some of our citizens and limits access to jobs and services.

As one of the largest employers  in the Western Isles, we value diversity and want a workforce that reflects the community that we serve.  The term ‘diversity’ refers to the fact that we are all different.  Having a diverse workforce improves our work, it makes sure that we draw from the widest available pool of talent and that we relate better to the community that we serve.  Tackling discrimination helps to make sure that we attract and keep the very best workforce.

What is Equality?

The term ‘equality’ does not simply mean treating everyone the same.  It means understanding and tackling the different barriers to equal opportunities for different groups of people.

While many of the barriers can be different however, members of equality groups share similar experiences of discrimination and exclusion from jobs, services and other aspects of life in the Western Isles.

Discrimination can happen in a range of different ways, for example:

  • a hostile or prejudiced response due to being a member of an equality group;
  • physical barriers to accessing services; and
  • lack of information or services in a suitable language or format.

Equality is not about benefiting some people at the expense of others – equality needs to benefit everyone.

If you have any queries about Equality and Diversity please contact us at equalities@cne-siar.gov.uk