Protected Characteristics and Poverty Consultation

Archived news: published on Wednesday 21 Aug 2019 by Fife Council

The closing date for all survey responses is 31st August 2019.


Fife Centre for Equalities has commissioned Fife Council’s Research Team to carry out a project to examine how protected characteristics can affect people's experience of poverty and their capacity to access anti-poverty services or initiatives put in place.  Part of this research project includes gathering information from organisations throughout Fife regarding information they may have collated on this subject, through their work with service users.

“While some of the issues that leave people vulnerable to poverty – and some of the solutions – lie at an individual and family level, many of them are part of far wider forces and relate to inequalities within society and the economy as a whole.” (John Hills, Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics).

The Equality Act 2010 introduced the term "protected characteristics" to refer to groups of people and the protections they have by law from being treated unfairly based on their characteristics.  These are outlined below.

  1. Age – refers to a person belonging to a particular age (e.g. 32-year olds) or range of ages (e.g. 18-30-year olds).
  2. Disability – a person has a disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
  3. Gender reassignment – the process of transitioning from one gender to another.
  4. Marriage and civil partnership – same-sex marriage is legal in the United Kingdom, with the exception of Northern Ireland.  Same-sex couples can also have their relationships legally recognised as 'civil partnerships'.  Civil partners must not be treated less favourably than married couples (except where permitted by the Equality Act).
  5. Pregnancy and maternity – pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby.  Maternity refers to the period after the birth and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context.  In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.
  6. Race – refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.
  7. Religion and belief – religion has the meaning usually given to it but belief includes religious and philosophical beliefs including lack of belief (e.g. Atheism).  Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition.
  8. Sex – a man or a woman.
  9. Sexual orientation – whether a person's sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes.

The research is in two phases.  In this first phase we are looking for people to answer an online survey to help us decide the themes to take forward in the research.  At the end of the survey there is an opportunity to offer to take part in a series of workshops.  In the second phase people taking part in the research can contribute at the workshops and get involved in further exploring the main themes and potential solutions to any issues.

If you are interested in taking part in this research, we invite you to complete this survey by clicking here.  All responses will be treated with the strictest of confidence.  The more organisations we hear from, the better this research will be, and the more understanding we will have on what the main challenges and opportunities are.

Please share this news item with colleagues/organisations who may also be interested in taking part in this research.

The closing date for all survey responses is 31st August 2019.

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