Equality and Diversity


Hertfordshire is committed to achieving diversity and equality of opportunity both as a large employer of people and as a provider of services. Our full commitment to equality and diversity is detailed in Putting People First, our Equalities Policy. We have produced an Equality and Diversity Good Practice Guide which is recommended as being helpful to staff.


A new Section 3, Developing Cultural Competence in Social and Health Care was added to this manual in April 2012.

The further references section of this chapter (above) was revised and the hyperlinks in the chapter updated in October 2012.

1. Putting People First

Children's Safeguarding and Specialist Services work within the HCC "Putting People First" Policy.

The key principles of "Putting People First" are:

We believe in openness and equality in our dealings with each other and in the way we provide services to members of the community.

  • Every individual is entitled to dignity and respect;
  • Care for the users of our services goes hand in hand with care for our employees;
  • We aim to ensure that all groups and individuals within the community are given full opportunity to benefit from the services and job opportunities we provide;
  • No service user or potential service user, employee or potential employee will be discriminated against because of age, colour, disability, ethnic or national origins, race, gender, being a gay man or a lesbian, marital status, political or religious beliefs, or trade union activities.

Children's Safeguarding and Specialist Services are committed to equality for children and their families and will take action to ensure that any services that discriminate and disadvantage any group on the basis of the above will be changed.

When there is a need to provide interpreters, translations, language line or to improve communication see Hertfordshire Translation and Interpretation Service (INTRAN).

2. Religion, Ethnic Origin, Linguistic Background, Culture, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Age

All children and their families are entitled to equal access to services which do not discriminate on the grounds of religion, ethnic origin, linguistic background, culture, gender, disability or sexual orientation. This does not mean that all children and their families will receive an identical service but rather that services will recognise and respect their particular differences and meet their particular needs.

No child or family who qualifies for services should be refused or receive a diminished service because that service is not designed to meet their particular needs. It is illegal to discriminate or offer a less favourable service to people belonging to the following groups, who are protected by legislation: race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, religion and belief.

Religion, ethnic origin, linguistic background and culture are of importance to the developing identity of all children.

It is important that social work practitioners record the race /ethnicity, religion or belief, gender, sexuality, age, language spoken and disability of the children and families we are involved with in LCS. Assessments, planning, provision and the review of services should take into consideration equality and diversity and what they mean for the child and family we are providing services to. As part of this process practitioners should seek children's and families' wishes, feelings and views.


The right of children and their families to practice a particular religion, or no religion, will be respected and upheld. This principle will underpin all of our work with children and their families.

Children who are looked after should be in placements which share the same religious background as themselves. Where, exceptionally, this cannot be achieved, carers must be willing to encourage and facilitate the child's religious observance.

Children and young people should be supported to observe their religion and celebrate their religious festivals. Details must be obtained and arrangements made for children to attend services, religious classes, and say their prayers. Any stipulation in relation to diet or dress as part of religious observance must be provided.

Ethnic Origin

All children should be able to feel pride in their ethnic origins. Many children and their families coming into contact with Children's Safeguarding and Specialist Services will have low self-esteem, feelings of inferiority and low aspirations because of their previous experiences.

Workers and carers involved with these children and families should be sensitive to their feelings and make efforts to affirm their value and worth. Black and minority ethnic children and their families' self esteem, aspirations and expectations will often have been further damaged and depressed by their experiences of racism. They may also feel justifiably suspicious or fearful of white organisations. It is essential that Children's Safeguarding and Specialist Services are able to counteract rather than confirm their fears and feelings, by providing services that are sensitive to and understanding of their needs and which provide positive affirmation of their racial origins.

Linguistic Background

Language and the ability to communicate effectively form an important part of a person's identity and their self esteem. If children or their parents/carers speak English as a second language, they will need an interpreter or translator. Children must never be used as interpreters. Where children and parents/carers are literate in a different language, important documents, and in particular signed agreements, must be translated into the language in which they are literate.


The term culture may be used to describe the moral values, behavioural norms, lifestyle and social pursuits espoused by a family and taught to their children. A shared religious belief, ethnic background, language, history or economic background will often lead to similar cultural norms and expectations.

Culture usually has many positive aspects. It gives a pattern and predictability to life which makes children feel settled and secure. It teaches children ways to behave and a code of discipline which means they will be accepted in the wider community. It gives children a sense of history and of their "roots" and is important in forming a positive identity. It helps children gain knowledge and appreciation of musical, visual and culinary arts.

We will explore in assessments the child or young persons identity and heritage, including dual heritage, and seek to promote and preserve the children's cultural background.


Girls and boys receiving a service from the CS&S Services should receive equal opportunities and encouragement to pursue their talents, interests and hobbies. Sexist stereotypes of behaviour must not be imposed or condoned. When working with gender we will take account of issues around stereotyping, and ensure young people are treated fairly, and that equality of opportunity between males and females is promoted.


Where we are working with disabled children, we will assess that disability, and consider how this impacts on the child and others they live with. This will include responding to their communication needs and available resources, such as Braille, audio information, widget, Pecs, etc. Risk assessments with disabled children will seek to identify and address potential risks around their disability. We will take into account the child or young person's chronological age in care planning, and whether social activities, hobbies, interests are age appropriate.

Sexual Orientation

A number of young people to whom we offer services will be lesbian or gay or unsure of their sexual identity. Gay or lesbian young people applying for or in receipt of our services should be able to expect acceptance by, and sympathetic understanding from, staff and carers of their sexual identity. This aim should apply equally to those young people who express uncertainty about their identity. We will ensure that we support and protect young people with potentially sexualized behaviours, for example young people placing themselves at risk by frequent and indiscriminate sexual relations due to emotional needs.

3. Developing Cultural Competence in Social and Health Care

Developing Cultural Competence in Social and Health Care By Rob Harrison, Rachel Harvey and Siobhan MacLean

This electronic version of the book is for all staff working with families. It explores the nature of cultural competence, through providing an understanding of some key terms and offering some models for culturally competent practice. Some of the knowledge, values and skills which a culturally competent fractioned needs are then explored.

4. National and Local Contacts

You may find the following contacts useful. They are all on the National Contacts A to Z of these procedures, or the local contacts A to Z of Hertsdirect.

National Contacts

Contact details for the following organisations are located in tri.x National Contacts.

Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (AFRUCA)
Promoting the rights and welfare of African children.
Anti-bullying Alliance
An alliance of over 60 organisations working to stop bullying and create safer environments.
Asian Women Resource Centre
AWRC is OISC approved and has been awarded Quality Mark in general help category by the Legal Services Commission. 
Broken Rainbow National LGBT DV Helpline
Relieving the distress and suffering caused to lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people by domestic abuse. 
Bullying UK
Help and advice for victims of bullying their parents and school.
CFAB (formerly International Social Services)
CFAB promotes and protects the rights and welfare of children and vulnerable adults across international borders.
Children from Abroad (Sources of Information) - The Foreign and Commonwealth Office

To follow.

Protecting Children and Uniting Families Across Borders (CFAB)

To follow.

Equality and Human Rights Commission
Promoting equality and human rights, creating a fairer Britain by providing advice and guidance to raise awareness.
Forced Marriage Unit
Forced Marriage Unit is dedicated to preventing British nationals being forced into marriage overseas.
Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development (FORWARD)
An international non-governmental organisation (NGO) that works to advance and protect the sexual and reproductive health and human rights of African girls and women.
Immigration Advisory Service
UK's largest charity providing representation and advice in immigration and asylum law.
National Bullying Helpline
The UK's only bullying helpline for both adults and children.
National Domestic Violence Helpline
The Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge, is a national service for women experiencing domestic abuse, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is a charity campaigning and working in child protection in the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands.
Refugee Council 
The Refugee Council is the largest organisation in the UK working with asylum seekers and refugees.
Reunite International Child Abduction Centre
The leading UK charity specialising in international parental child abduction.
Producing materials that allow schools to understand, recognise and challenge homophobic bullying in school.
The Who Cares? Trust
The Who Cares? Trust is a voice for children in care.
United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC)
The United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC) is a multi-agency centre that provides a central point for the development of expertise and cooperation in relation to the trafficking of human beings.

Please also see the following links from Hertsdirect:


ERainbow Aims to improve communication between voluntary groups with ethnic representation and organisations such as the police, fire and rescue service, ambulance and local authorities.

See ERainbow website - to follow.

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Equality and Human Rights Commission Champions equality and human rights for all, working to eliminate discrimination, reduce inequality, protect human rights and to build good relations, ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to participate in society. This organisation replaces what used to be the Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.

See Equality Human Rights website.

Kick it Out

Kick it Out Football's anti-racism campaign started by the Commission for Racial Equality and the Professional Footballers' Association in 1993.

See Kick it Out website.
Local Government Employers

Local Government Employers LGE is the national centre of excellence for local authorities on pay, pensions and employment strategy.

See LGE website.


POhWER Provides an advocacy service to those who experience inequality.

See POhWER website.

Muslim Youth Helpline

Muslim Youth Helpline Provides a confidential helpline for young Muslims.

See MYH website.

Sort It!

If you're 11 to 16 years old and have a sight problem, this site is for you.

See Sort It! website (To Follow).

Student Action for Refugees

Student Action for Refugees An organisation giving young people the opportunity to learn about, and raise awareness of, refugee issues.

See Student Action for Refugees website.

These local contacts are being reviewed and replaced at the next update.

See also: