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Archive for July 2008

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Birmingham Selly Oak MP Lynne Jones says she never set out to have a political career -- she just got sucked into one. Now, 33 years after first getting hooked, and 16 years after first entering Parliament, she has declared her intention to stand down at the next election.

In this detailed interview, Lynne talks about the experience of being a woman in Parliament, balancing personal convictions with party loyalty, some of the causes she has taken up over the years, and overall progress towards a more diverse legislature.

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It is an occupational hazard of organising speaking events that now and then one of your speakers will be suddenly and unexpectedly indisposed. When that happens you can either leave a gap -- or try and fill the breach yourself.

This is a problem that arose in the third of our recent conference / workshops on the Gender Equality Duty in Health. At each event civil servants from the Department of Health had volunteered to come and deliver their version of a common presentation about their department's approach, and what it should mean. However, on our last day, one of them was prevented at the very last minute from attending.

Fortunately I'm familiar with what was going to be said -- in part because I contribute regularly to two community stakeholder engagement groups, including an advisory group on Gender Equality. This meant I was able to step in at short notice and fill the gap -- although the emphasis is inevitably my own as a result.

In the next episode we change tack again, with an in-depth interview with the Labour back bench MP Dr Lynne Jones. Lynne has lots to say about equality and diversity -- in and out of Parliament, so be sure you don't miss that episode, coming up soon.

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In the third of this series of episodes covering the recent NHS Northwest Gender Equality conferences we come now to the advice and guidance of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Several EHRC staff contributed to the three events that we ran, and I'd like to thank Sam Pryke, David Howard and Vivienne Stone who all made great contributions besides Merryn Wells, featured here.

Merryn gave the main EHRC presentation at our third event in Preston. She is the Commission’s “Transfer of Expertise Manager”. Among her many skills honed in a 25 year equalities career she managed a recent project looking at gender equality in the NHS and also worked with the Royal College of Nursing, advising HR managers in that sector on the gender equality duty. For those reasons she was ideally placed to connect with an audience of NHS managers.

Click here if you would like to view and follow a handout of Merryn's slides whilst listening. (PDF, 90Kb)

In the next episode hear how I ad-libbed my way through explaining the Department of Health's viewpoint when the civil servant booked to speak was unable to attend for very good reasons

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In the second of this series of episodes covering the recent NHS Northwest Gender Equality conferences it is the turn of the Men...

Peter Baker is the Chief Executive of the Men's Health Forum -- a charity which works to improve male health in England and Wales. His presentation to us in Preston was every bit as challenging as the women's message featured in the previous episode, though markedly different.

It was research by MHF that first highlighted how many NHS gender equality schemes in England appeared to have very little disaggregated evidential data, were focussed on processes rather than outcomes, or were lacking in effective consultation and involvement with service users.

Many speakers stressed that equality in this context does not mean providing the same service to everyone. That's not what the law requires, and stark differences in priorities were very clear in the different messages from the men and women presenters seeking the same equality of health outcomes.

Peter's presentation highlights a set of key areas where he says targetted action could be brought to bear on specific health inequalities for men; he also demonstrates how novel approaches can be used to get essential messages across to the men themselves.

Click here if you would like to view and follow a handout of Peter's slides whilst listening. (PDF, 1.2Mb)

In the next episode you can hear the EHRC's guidance for NHS organisations on what they expect when examining equality schemes for compliance.

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Attention has been focussed recently on whether NHS Trusts in England are responding properly to the Gender Equality Duty, since it came into force in April 2007. Research by the Men's Health Forum highlighted that many of the published gender equality schemes it had researched were poorly evidenced, focussed on processes rather than outcomes, and showed a lack of effective consultation and involvement with service users.

Plain Sense was recently commissioned to put together a series of conference workshops for senior NHS Trust managers in England's North West region, to discuss how to be more effective and compliant in this area. Presenters included figures from the Strategic Health Authority, the Department of Health and the Equality and Human Rights Commission to explain what was expected. Just as importantly, an array of stakeholder speakers were invited to explain their view of the real priorities for promoting equality.

Karen Moore is a policy officer with the Women's Resource Centre - a national umbrella organisation based in London. In her speech, presented here in full, she challenged NHS Trust managers to look strategically at issues like violence against women and support for rape crisis centres as a means of avoiding longer term and more intractable mental and physical health issues. Afterwards her colleague, Darlene Corry, provided an interview summing up the challenges and opportunities in thinking 'out of the box' on these kinds of issues.

If you would like to view a handout of Karen's slides whilst listening to her talk then click on this link. (PDF 141Kb; 4 pages)

In the next episode it's the men's turn.

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This week, as the third and final installment of the "Life in a Day" conference coverage, I'm featuring my own keynote presentation at that event: And then we had 'T'

With more time to spend than in the recent Nottingham event, and with a broader audience of public services in the audience, this presentation covers some different ground, and includes a tongue-in-cheek 'confession'. There are, of course, some familiar elements too.

After quite a lot of LGBT coverage recently, the next few episodes will be moving on to look at Men and Women's experiences of health, and the Department of Health's strategy for Gender Equality. In the coming week I also have a very special interview guest booked, and they will be appearing in a later episode. So do 'stay tuned'.

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Linda Bellos isn't the sort of woman to mince words. She says she doesn't care so much what people think, but about how they behave. She's also angry about receiving a different level of treatment from public services when she's paid as much for them as everyone else.

This is the second in a series of three episodes based on the conference "A Life in a Day", organised by Leicester Lesbian Gay and Bisexual Centre on 5th June.

In the next episode you can hear my own keynote address at the same event -- and don't forget that by "subscribing" to this Podcast channel you'll be notified automatically the moment this and other new episodes come online.

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This week we begin the first of a new series of recordings taken from a conference held in Leicester at the beginning of June.

“A Life in a Day” was hosted by Leicester’s Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Centre at Leicester City Football Stadium on the 5th June and promised “Practical ways to make public services LGBT friendly”.

In this episode you can hear the welcome address given by one of the City's MP's, Sir Peter Soulsby.

Next week I'll then be featuring the keynote address by noted BME and lesbian campaigner Linda Bellos.

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