Frequently Asked Questions

This framework can be used independently, at your own pace.  Get in touch if you have any questions that aren’t answered below.

What is the Equality and Human Rights Framework?

The framework is a free tool, designed by and for voluntary and community sector organisations.  It’s designed to help you assess performance and improve practice by integrating equality and human rights into all areas of work.

Why should we use the Equality and Human Rights Framework?

People are at the heart of services, campaigns and advocacy. People share a common humanity as well as having many differences. The most effective services and campaigns take into account our common humanity and differences.

An equality and human rights-based approach helps put into practice an understanding of how to do that, and improves outcomes for everyone. It can help you be more:

  • Effective in achieving your core aims
  • Focused on increasing your impact
  • In line with your organisational values
  • Creative in design and development
  • Efficient in using resources
  • Able to meet funders’ requirements and formal standards
  • Reflective of the legal obligations that govern our work.

It’s the only framework that focuses on equality and human rights throughout; and that is tailored for voluntary and community sector organisations. We have a specific module on volunteering.

How should we use the framework?

Take a look at the  goals in the Get Started section. These contain loads of vital information on first steps, leadership and equality and human rights concepts, as well as a more detailed explanation of how to work with the framework.

Briefly, the framework includes five modules covering the main types of voluntary sector activity – you can set an objective and take action on one, some or all of these. 

We suggest you choose a  priority or objective that is strategic and relates clearly to your core business or purpose. This will help give your work direction, focus and visibility.

Each module contains an introduction and several goals. Each goal includes actions to take, potential impacts, and how to measure these. The actions are  not designed to be done in sequential order.

The goals, actions, impacts and measures are quite broad to give an overall indication of what is involved. The idea is that you adapt and tailor them to be specific for your organisation’s needs and priorities.

You can take things further with additional reading at the end of each module.

How much does it cost to use?

The framework is completely free to use, although it will involve staff time.

Who developed the Equality and Human Rights Framework?

The original framework concept was developed by a group of voluntary organisations in collaboration with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).  These included:  Action for Children, Age UK, Campaign for National Parks, the Equality and Diversity Forum, Macmillan Cancer Support, the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and Shelter.

The current framework was revised and updated by the Equality and Diversity Forum, based on feedback from users and evaluation.

Is the framework externally accredited?

The framework is not an externally accredited standard or quality mark – it’s free, flexible and can be adapted to suit your organisational needs.  Using the full framework, systematically and throughout your organisation, will help meet the requirements of most accredited standards.

Can we use the Equality and Human Rights Framework in a very large/small organisation?

It’s been designed to support a range of organisations, large and small.  You can adapt it to fit your own requirements, time and resources.

This could be as simple as using our campaigning module to inform your discussion in a meeting, or using the framework to support a specific project or area of work.  You could even incorporate it into your overall organisational strategy, embedding an equality and rights-based approach into everything you do.

Can it help us meet our legal requirements?

Yes. The values supported by this framework are linked to the underlying principles of the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998. The framework also explores legal requirements for voluntary and community sector organisations, and provides links to more detailed guidance.

Can it help us meet funders’ requirements?

Yes. Funders often want to know exactly how equality and human rights-based principles will be put into practice, along with evidence of reaching excluded people and how desired outcomes for specific groups of people will be achieved.  Take a look at our raising and spending money for more information.

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