A survey has revealed that 45% of lesbian, gay or bisexual people have experienced discrimination when using social care services.
The Commission for Social Care Inspection survey found that 91% of providers, out of 400, had failed to carry out any equality work around sexual orientation. In contrast, a third of those providers had promoted race or disability equality.
Although most people in the survey of 92 LGB service users felt staff treated them with respect, CSCI argued that providers now needed to give more personalised support.
Last April, the government published the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, which gave LGB people the legal right to challenge discrimination.
In response, CSCI has published the first of three good practice bulletins to advise providers on how to meet the goals of the personalisation agenda, outlined in the government’s social care transformation programme, Putting People First.
Dame Denise Platt, CSCI chair, said: “Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people should feel safe, valued and have contact with their friends and communities. All of this is important for identity and self-esteem.
“People can only make choices if they are given the opportunity to direct their own care. This bulletin aims to encourage providers to fully understand their needs, and to work in partnership with them to achieve this.”
CSCI: good practice checklist for action
Develop an overall strategy for working on LGB and transgender equality issues which is adopted at a management level and enable managers to familiarise themselves with the issues.
Decide how to involve LGB and transgender people using services and staff in all the developments.
Review key organisational documents, particularly equality policies, the statement of purpose and service user guide to ensure that they include LGB and transgender people.
Review key policies, procedures and forms to take account of issues for LGB and transgender people, particularly assessment/admission forms, complaints and harassment procedures, sexuality/relationship polices, confidentiality policy, next of kin, staff recruitment questions.
Make sure that your employment practices, including staff terms and conditions, support and encourage the employment and retention of LGBT staff.
Review staff training on equality issues to ensure coverage of specific LGB and transgender issues.
Communicate changes to staff and people using the service on a regular basis.
Review assessment processes and ensure that they are appropriate for LGBT people.
Assess the environment and any leisure activities (if applicable) to check that they are inclusive and welcoming for LGBT people.
Assess how well the service enables people to maintain links with their friends and communities.
Obtain information on local LGB and transgender organisations for support, activities and advocacy.
Consider ways in which the service could be more flexible to allow people more choice over staff, times of service and tasks undertaken.
Introduce monitoring of sexual orientation in quality assurance processes and ensure that actions are taken as a result.
Consider ways of involving a diverse range of people using services in staff recruitment.
Consider whether to develop a specific list of ‘LGBT-friendly’ staff and to advertise this.
Review progress regularly through quality assurance and feedback from LGB and transgender people.
Source: Putting people first: Equality and Diversity Matters 1