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Equalities co-production initiative

From Open Government Pioneer Project

Equality Good Relations Project

This development project was a response to the need identified by the Opengovpioneers project to do more intensive engagement and capacity building with equality interest groups. The aim is view to increase participation and influence in the Sustainable Development Goals and Open Government by people and groups who share protected characteristics . Our proposal sets out how we responded to this brief, and our open planning document provides an brief overview of the project. This project is an initial, development phase which forms the foundations of a potentially larger programme, and is based on the principles of co-production and civic mediation.

Timescales: 21 October 2018 - 28 February 2019

This wiki page is being updated throughout the project (last updated 15 March 2019)

Delivery team

This project is being co-delivered by Amanda Heenan, Arc of Inclusion & Sam Tedcastle, Centre for Good Relations

Access support and advice provided by: Sally Shaw, Ideas for Ears

Advice on accessible information provided by The Friendly Information Company and Speakup Self Advocacy

Project Objectives, activity & outcomes

Objective Activity Outcome
To meet with the Open Government Pioneers Project team to understand the context and the challenges and good practice around engagement and relationship building Attended the Project Board Meeting and Mini Summit on 28 November 2018 Presented an overview of the project to the Project Board. Made initial links with a view to follow up discussions with individual members
To collaborate with the National Lottery Community Fund and ensure the project links in with wider aims of the People in the Lead Strategy Discussions with Alison O’Connell, Policy and Partnership Manager, in October 2018 and January 2019 Established collaboration and greater insight into the challenges the National Lottery Community Fund is seeking to address as it launches the National Lottery Community Fund, and its purpose to support people and communities to thrive. Insight gained into how this development project could lay a strong foundation for a longer term co-produced programme, where the need has been identified at grass roots.
To map  out existing equalities / local interest group networks (tapping into existing community / equalities mapping initiatives, identify gaps where representation is missing across the equalities spectrum (including the spectrum that exists within each protected characteristic group, and the intersections across) We developed an initial list based on existing networks and research.

We invited all those we spoke to and corresponded with about the project to review the contact list, and updated this with their suggestions.

We also provided the option for organisations to request to be removed from the list.

Contact list co-produced over the course of the project (see table below).
To engage individually with Pioneer Project partners and groups to explore their perspectives, visions and challenges. Holding conversations to explore relationships between peoples / organisation's identities can lead to blind spots, barriers to collaborating Individual discussions with Project Board members took place between October 2018 and January 2019. Insight into different perspectives on Project Board, identifying areas of good practice and opportunities to collaborate. Project Board members gained insight into the project and our approach. In Wales, this led to significant signposting to other equality organisations, particularly through WCVA.
Engagement with partners across the 4 nations, and equality stakeholders to:
  • Identify inequalities and underrepresentation in civic engagement / decision making
  • Explore awareness of the UN SDGs and Open Government (among those beyond existing Open Gov / SDG networks)
  • Explore the issues the are important to people, the the context of the SDGs and Open Government
  • 47 Individual conversations / meetings held with existing project partners and those equality stakeholders who responded to our invitation to meet
  • Outreach work including attendance at: Fife Centre for Equalities Women in Politics & Equality Collective events; Preparatory Conference for UN Commission on the Status of Women - Health & Housing; Wevolution Self Reliant Group Peer Meeting; 2nd Enlightenment meetings. Highlands Council equalities bulletin slot.
An assessment which began to explore:
  • Who are the stakeholders?
  • Who is engaging?
  • Who isn’t?
  • Why do we think this is?
  • What are the relationships like between stakeholders?
  • What are the issues that inform these relationships?
  • What does the future look like?

This will be shared and further explore at the Open Conversation event on 27 February 2019

Facilitate a wider conversation between stakeholders across the UK to explore what collaborative working could look like and how the barriers the achieving this could be overcome. The event should explore the proposed theory of change (longer term goal) and the conditions that need to be in place to meet this goal
  • Date for event set in early November 2018: 27 February 2019
  • Venue booked in November: Norton Conference Centre (venue chosen for its accessibility, and community focus)
  • Capacity: 60
  • Initial invitations (hold the date) sent on 21 December
  • Shared with Open Gov forums & SDG network on basecamp
  • Shared via Twitter
  • Collaboration agreement proposed with Scottish Mediation
  • Workshop plan developed
  • Facilitators briefing meeting w/c 18/2
Project report available here. (Contact for alternative formats).
To develop a best practice, tested model for ensuring meeting and event spaces are inclusive and accessible to all
  • Accessibility statement on website
  • Advice about accessibility of written information (including website & Eventbrite) given by The Friendly Information Company
  • Following the Hearing Access Protocol
  • Access host to do an access impact assessment of the workshop plan, venue, meeting individual access requests, responding to access needs on the day
  • BSL signers booked
  • Access audit of venue - identified issues with hearing loop - these have been addressed
  • Access needs captured through Eventbrite bookings
  • Evaluation to include feedback about accessibility of the event
Project report will reflect on what worked well, where the gaps were, and propose model for good practice for future events

Contact list

Organisation Name
AbilityNet Scotland Equality and Human Rights Commission RNIB Scoltand
Action in Hearing Loss Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland Runnymede Trust
Age Scotland Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland Rural Youth Project
Article 12 Scotland Equality and Rights Network Scottish Accessible Transport Alliance SATA
Backbone Fife Centre for Equalities Scottish Autism
Barnsley Gender Equality Forum Friends, Families and Travellers Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC)
Barod CIC Genderjam Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability (SCLD)
BEMIS Highland Council Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance
Big Lottery Ideas for Ears Scottish Information Commissioner
British Deaf Association Inclusion Scotland Scottish Equality Network (including the Scottish Transgender Alliance)
CEMVO Inspire NI Scottish Mediation
Central Scotland Regional Equality Council Inspiring Women Changemakers Scottish Polish Cultural Association
Centre for Identity and Intergroup Relations Interfaith Scotland Scottish Refugee Council
Chwarae Teg Involve Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO)
Children’s Rights Alliance Mid & East Anritm Borough Council Sepakup Self Advocacy
Cooperation Ireland Muslim Council of Scotland The Democratic Society
Corrymeela National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) United Nations House Scotland
Cynnal Cymru National Federation for the Blind UK University of the Third Age
Deafblind Scotland Northern Ireland Environment Link Wales Council for Voluntary Action
deafscotland Northern Ireland Equality Coalition Wales Equality and Human Rights Coalition
Demsoc Northern Ireland Open Government Network Welsh Council for Voluntary Action
Disability Equality Scotland Programme for a Peaceful CIty Wevolution
Diverse Cymru Project Scotland Women’s Budget Group
Edinburgh & Lothans Regional Equality Council (ELREC) Rainbow
Electoral Reform Society (Wales) REAP / HEAR Network
Engender Red Cross


Below is a list of organisations that the people we spoke to were representing. We also spoke to a number of people not associated with organisations (in the context of our conversation about this project), who gave us their individual perspectives.

Organisation Name
National Lottery Community Fund Open Government Pioneers Prioject Board Equaltiy Commission for NI
Speakup Self Advocacy Project Scotland Corrymeela
Ideas for Ears Electoral Reform Society Cymru Centre for Identity and Intergroup Relations (Northern Ireland)
Electoral Reform Society (Wales) Wales Council for Voluntary Action Open Government Network Northern Ireland
Inspiring Women Changemakers Wales Equality Stakeholders Scottish Equality Network (including the Transgender Alliance)
Involve Diverse Cymru UN House Scotland
Northern Ireland Environment Link Church in Wales Co-operation Northern Ireland
SCVO Fife Centre for Equalities Inspire (Northern Ireland)
The Democratic Society Trust Leeds National Federation for the Blind UK
Inclusion Scotland British Red Cross Scottish Government (Outcomes & Sustainable Development Goals Team & Equality Unit)

Reading / Watch list

The table below includes references to research and insight that are informing this project and will help to build the capacity of all of us involved to influence and participate more effectively. Please feel free to add to the list here, or get in touch

Title Source
Statement on Visit to the United Kingdom, by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur
End of Mission Statement of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance at the Conclusion of Her Mission to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland E. Tendayi Achiume, UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
The cumulative impact of tax and welfare reforms Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
Your Wellbeing, Your Government project initial report Barriers to engagement for diverse communities and delivering better engagement of all diverse communities Diverse Cymru
Sustainable Development Goals Resource Hub Scotland SDG Network
Guidance on co-producing a research project Involve & National Institute for Health Research Involve & the National Institute for Health Research
The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace John Paul Lederach
Community Empowerment Briefing Inclusion Scotland
FOI Consultation Report, 9 June 2018 - Freedom of Information (FOI) & Young People Scottish Information Commissioner
New Voices: How Welsh politics can begin to reflect Wales Electoral Reform Society Cymru
National Conversation about immigration Hope not Hate
From benign neglect to Citizen Khan Barrow Cadbury Trust
It's an emotive thing, drawing lines on maps Scottish Alliance for People and Place & Centre for Good Relations
Video case studies of the power of using FOI requests Scottish Information Commissioner
Eurocities: Roma Inclusión Working Group The Eurocities Network
Inspiring Women Change Makers Igniting Inspiration Award Winner Pria Bhabra interview: working with asylum seekers and refugees (Leeds City Council) Inspiring Women Changemakers

Equalities Co-production Initiative (Initial brief by the Open Government Pioneers Project Board)



  • This initiative will support a partnership of Equalities organisations across the UK to host an open conversation around engaging people furthest from decision making into plans around SDGs and Open Government.
  • Support will be provided by existing partners if the Open Government Pioneers UK Project. However, the overall direction and design will be determined by the equality organisational partners.
  • The purpose of the conversation will be to inform a major bid to the BIG Lottery UK fund to resource a programme of capacity building for people furthest from decision making to engage in SDGs and Open Government.

Intended outcomes

More people have the tools, confidence and resources to overcome the barriers to their participation in the decisions that affect them.


  • The Opengovpioneers project opened up engagement with equalities groups, but found a much more intensive capacity building exercise is needed to engage those furthest from the decisions that affect them in using opengov as a way to improve their lives.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals is strongly equality focused and provides a useful (but untested) framework for organising engagement themes with those furthest from decisions.
  • The Open Government methodology, based on securing better transparency, increased participation and clearer accountability is powerful technique but needs to be adapted to those not familiar with the associated language and structures.


  • An open concept paper on why we need to engage people furthest from decision making into plans around SDGs and Open Government, published and discussed online by the SDG and Open government networks across the UK
  • A series of engagement meetings with key equality groups to develop interest and introduce open government approaches to SDGs
  • A summit held in February to bring together the lead equalities organisations interested to design a major funding proposal building on existing networks and practice
  • Funding proposal developed by a consortium of equality partners and a bid facilitator submitted to Big Lottery Fund UK

A proposal is being developed by network members as an option to deliver:


A consortium of equalities orgs led by a key equality network in each UK home nation, back by an online wiki to document and plan progress.

There is an opportunity for the opengovpioneers project to host an initial engagement event, that can be used to develop a proposal to BIG UK.

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