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13438_Frank Facts 11/4/05 8:17 am Page 1

FACTS

THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK


There are a number of laws that could affect how you communicate with diverse audiences.

THE RACE RELATIONS (AMENDMENT) ACT 2000

This is an Act to protect people against racial discrimination by public authorities. It also places
a new, enforceable duty on public authorities to promote race equality. The aim is to provide fair
and accessible services and to improve equal opportunities in employment. If you work in an area
with a large number of people from ethnic minority communities, you could fall foul of the law
if you make few attempts to communicate with them or don’t provide any services for them.

THE DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION ACT 1995

This Act protects disabled people in the areas of employment; access to goods, facilities and
services; the management, buying or renting of land or property; and education. Organisations
need to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ in terms of service provision, support, and physical
barriers to accessing premises.

THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT 1998

This Act applies to all public authorities. It makes it unlawful for bodies like the police,
government departments, and local councils to violate the rights contained in the European
Convention on Human Rights. The Act is relevant to many people including parents, children,
prisoners, Travellers, people with a mental disorder and immigrants.

COMMON GOOD RESEARCH

In September 2003, COI Communications (COI) commissioned research on communicating with


people from ethnic minority communities. The objectives were to:

• Explore social and cultural factors that affect communication


• Provide creative guidance and strategies for communication

The report, Common Good, was so called because it is of interest to all government
departments and agencies.
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SOME OF THE KEY FINDINGS FROM THE RESEARCH

• Ethnic minority communities - particularly their younger members - share many interests
and media habits with the general population, making mainstream media a good outlet

• Specialist media are needed for some groups, particularly older women and those who
speak little English. For whole families in Asian and Chinese communities it can provide
additional ‘cultural closeness’

• The impact of advertising and marketing in mainstream media is enhanced by using realistic
and credible characters rather than cultural stereotypes

• Ethnic and religious identity can enhance the impact of messages within specialist media e.g.
community leaders, reference to religious or cultural symbols, likeable portraits of family life

• There are many opportunities for creative niche marketing via specialist media and
partnerships within the local community

• Community groups are a valuable source of advice and distribution and should be seen
as a target audience with materials developed to meet their needs

Racial equality issues:


for more information contact the Commission for Racial Equality see www.cre.gov.uk

Disability issues:
for more information contact the Disability Rights Commission see www.drc-gb.org.uk

Human Rights issues:


for more information contact Liberty see www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk

Common Good – communicating with ethnic minorities is available from


COI Communications at www.coi.gov.uk/documents/common-good-bme-exec-summ-pdf

For further information contact FRANK on 020 7035 0200

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TIPS

COMMUNICATING WITH DISABLED PEOPLE


Face-to-face communication with disabled people is generally a matter
of common sense, but here are a few basic tips that may help you avoid
inappropriate language or behaviour and help avoid offence or
embarrassment on either side.

ALL DISABLED PEOPLE

DO DON’T
•Ask disabled people what would help them. •Assume you know what someone wants
Offer appropriate assistance, but wait for your or needs until they have told you
offer to be accepted before taking action
•Make a big deal of meeting someone’s
•Make sure reception staff and others are needs
briefed to provide appropriate assistance
•Confuse disability with illness
•Remember that disability is ‘normal’ – almost
•Invade personal space by inappropriate
1 in 6 people in the UK have a disability
contact or by leaning on a wheelchair
•Talk directly to the disabled person
•Use language that may give offence, such
•Use everyday expressions such as ‘Nice to as ‘blind as a bat’,‘deaf and dumb’,
see you’,‘Must be running along’ normally – ‘cripple’,‘spastic’,‘handicapped’,‘the
they rarely offend, even when they seem to blind’,‘an epileptic’,‘suffering from epilepsy’,
relate to a specific disability. Use terminology ‘confined to a wheelchair’ etc
preferred by disabled people, such as
•Define people by their disability
‘someone with epilepsy’,‘wheelchair user’
•Recognise that disabled people are not
a homogeneous group

PHYSICAL DISABILITY

Mobility impairments, manual dexterity and co-ordination problems, facial disfigurement,


wheelchair users, walking aids, prosthetic limbs.

DO DON’T
•Consider physical access issues in advance. •Assume only people in wheelchairs have
Be aware of obstacles such as, clutter, rough access problems – conditions such as
surfaces, heavy doors or high door handles arthritis, muscle weakness or cerebral palsy
as well as the more obvious steps, accessible can also affect someone’s ability to deal
toilet, parking facilities etc with the physical environment
•Try to position yourself at the same level as •Don’t lean on a wheelchair
someone in a wheelchair to avoid talking
down to them or causing neck strain
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VISUAL IMPAIRMENT

Mild partial sightedness through to total blindness, tunnel vision, peripheral vision only, blurred
or elliptical vision.

DO DON’T
•Introduce yourself and others clearly so •Move away without saying you’re going –
the person knows who is present. And use this can leave someone talking to thin air!
people’s names so that a visually impaired
•Take their arm or try to steer the person –
person can follow the conversation
it is easier for them take your arm and to
•Offer your arm as a guide, and give verbal follow half a step behind you
warnings of slopes, stairs, kerbs etc, saying
•Shake hands without telling them you would
whether they are up or down
like to do so
•Place their hand on the back or arm
•Distract or make a fuss over a guide dog.
of a chair when offering them a seat
It is a working dog, not a pet
•Make arrangements to accommodate a
guide dog – such as providing a water bowl

HEARING IMPAIRMENT

Hard of hearing through to total Deafness, BSL use, age-related hearing impairments,
congenital hearing problems.

There is a wide spectrum of hearing impairment from mild hard of hearing to profoundly Deaf.
There are different means of communicating so always ask someone what suits them best.

DO DON’T
•Always address the Deaf •Speak to the interpreter unless what you want to say applies
person directly specifically to them
•Arrange for an interpreter •Assume that all the words or expressions you use have a direct
if necessary BSL equivalent, some may need spelling out or explaining and
therefore take more time

PEOPLE WITH LITERACY DIFFICULTIES

People with literacy difficulties are not necessarily disabled, but some disabilities, such as
learning disabilities and Deafness can affect a person’s ability to understand the written word.
Make sure that your communications are in accessible formats, both to address literacy issues
and to make them inclusive for disabled people.

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TIPS

ENGAGING WITH COMMUNITIES


The use and development of drug services has historically had low uptake
amongst some marginalised and disadvantaged people, including those
from Black and ethnic minority communities. The Community Engagement
Project – a partnership between the Department of Health and the University
of Central Lancashire – has been established to identify the reasons for this.

It also aims to highlight the needs of these communities in relation to drug prevention, education
and treatment so that appropriate services can be developed. So far, 141 community groups
including ethnic minority groups, drug users and ex-user groups, Traveller communities, women
involved in prostitution, refugees and disabled people have been involved.

THE KEY AIMS OF THE COMMUNITY BENEFITS OF INVOLVEMENT


ENGAGEMENT PROJECT (CEP)
COMMUNITY
• Give disadvantaged and marginalised Involvement in CEP can help local community
people a better understanding of the members gain a better understanding of issues
drug misuse issues for their communities related to drugs and the problems faced in
• Establish information networks across accessing drug services, including the issues
participating projects in order to encourage of stigma and denial about drug use.
information sharing and identify gaps in services Members have an opportunity to:
• Provide capacity building for local • Raise awareness of the existence of the
community groups community groups
• Ensure the involvement of local • Be actively involved in identifying the needs
health and social care planners of their community
in the development process • Help people understand the community better

STATUTORY
MODEL FOR ENGAGING COMMUNITIES CEP helps statutory bodies to be more aware
of, and sensitive to, the local cultural, social
To involve communities in the project, the and religious needs of the community. In turn,
CEP has used the following model: it can help the researchers involved in the
project to have a better understanding of the
Community Engagement Funding Opportunity


local drug services and the commissioning
bodies. This can lead to more relevant
Advertising (for group(s)/individual to apply) development of services.

Community groups make application/ RESEARCH
express interest Researchers can undertake the university


Applications selected via mandatory criteria*
certificate in ‘Community Research and
Drugs’ to:
• Aid career development into drugs work

Group selected and project commences
• Have the opportunity to move into further
education

*Geographic region, ethnic minority group targeted, DAT/ PCT letter of support, organisation and management of the
group, links with and understanding of local community, the proposal, cost, value for money and risk.
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THE ROLE OF LOCAL DRUG ACTION TEAMS IN CEP

DATs can use the CEP as an opportunity to:


• Build relationships with groups that have been hard to reach or who haven’t been consulted
• Strengthen existing relationships
• Encourage groups to apply for CEP funding
• Be introduced to other agencies and key stakeholders

They can then provide initial support in setting up the steering group meeting and ongoing
support by sitting on the steering group. They may also assist with report writing and help the
groups to make key recommendation from the findings. In addition, DATs can take on
recommendations from the projects to help break down barriers and perceptions of racism.

THE ROLE OF THE SUPPORT WORKER

An integral part of CEP’s success is the establishment of a support worker role to help guide
the development of the research projects on an ongoing basis. The support worker can:

• Help the group make amendments to the project proposal/ budget that may have been
agreed at the interview
• Assist in recruiting workers from the community to represent the targeted community
• Advise and support the group in setting up a steering group to invite DAT (DAAT) and other
key stakeholders such as PCT, Social Services, Youth Offending Teams, Housing, Police, Asylum
Teams, local drug services and other community organisations
• Help the group draw up realistic objectives and tasks
• Help the group to define the research project and draw up an action plan

THE ROLE OF THE LOCAL PRACTITIONER OR WORKER

Individual practitioners or workers can play a similar role to DATs. In addition, their involvement
in CEP enables a link between statutory bodies and community groups to be established and
communication maintained. Local practitioners are in a good position to help break down
tension that can exist between community groups and statutory agencies and can play a
valuable role on the steering group. As is the case with DATs, practitioners need to be aware
of and sensitive to the local cultural and religious and social needs of different communities.

GET INVOLVED

If you would like to get involved in the Community Engagement Programme, contact the
Centre for Ethnicity and Health at the University of Central Lancashire on 01772 892 780. Black
and ethnic minority community groups remain a priority at present, however the programme also
extends to white disadvantaged groups.

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