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Equality and Diversity

Orkney Islands Council is committed to promoting equal opportunities, challenging discrimination and fostering good relations, both in employment and in carrying out its work and delivering services. We want Orkney to be a community where we all have the opportunity to fulfil our potential.

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single act. The aim of the Act is to simplify the law, remove inconsistencies and make it easier for people to understand. It also strengthens the law to help tackle discrimination and inequality and protects individuals and groups from discrimination on the basis of the following ‘protected characteristics’:

  • Age.
  • Disability.
  • Sex.
  • Gender reassignment.
  • Marriage and civil partnership.
  • Pregnancy and maternity.
  • Race.
  • Religion or belief.
  • Sexual orientation.

The level of protection varies according to which protected characteristic the individual has and whether they are at work or receiving a service.

Annual Equality Report

We produce Annual Equality Reports to explain how we actively promote equality and integrate it into our work, both as an employer and as a service provider. These are available from the 'Related Downloads' section of this page.

Equality Outcomes

All public authorities now have a legal requirement to produce and publish a set of equality outcomes. These are the results we aim to achieve in promoting equality, tackling discrimination and fostering good relations. Eight equality outcomes have been developed by the Council and Education Authority, in addition to work already being carried out to reduce inequality and ensure fairness. 

Equality and Diversity Strategy

Orkney Community Planning Partnership has developed an Equality and Diversity Strategy. The Strategy will determine how the community planning partners promote equality and diversity in the work they do. It also sets out how the public agencies and organisations within the Partnership are meeting their duties in terms of equality and diversity legislation, the needs of the local community and the aspirations contained in the Orkney Community Plan.

The Strategy replaces the Council's previous schemes for:

  • Race Equality.
  • Disability Equality.
  • Gender Equality.

The Strategy is available from the 'Related Downloads' section of this page.

Equality Impact Assessments

Equality Impact Assessments are a tool which Orkney Islands Council use to consider how its policies and functions are likely to affect different groups of people in different ways. Equality Impact Assessments help to ensure that the Council does not discriminate and helps us to meet our public sector duties under the Equality Act (2010).

The Council Plan and the Orkney Community Plan and Local Improvement Plan (LOIP) with the accompanying EqIAs can also be accessed in the ‘Related Downloads’ section menu.

Orkney Islands Council employment information - equality and diversity

Orkney Islands Council's HR service monitors recruitment and data is collected for job applicants and employees. The information collected assists the Council to meet legislative requirements and to identify and eliminate any form of discrimination within its employment practices, helping to ensure that equality is a reality for every person who works, or applies to work, for the Council.

Employment and recruitment monitoring information can be found in our Annual Equality Reports.

Disability confident employer

The Council is proud to be a Disability Confident Employer.

Disability Confident is a nationally recognised accreditation scheme that encourages organisations to recruit and retain disabled people for their skills and talent.

The scheme commits employers to:

  • Inclusive and accessible recruitment.
  • Communicating vacancies.
  • Offering an interview to disabled people.
  • Providing reasonable adjustments.
  • Supporting existing employees.

Disability Confident organisations play a leading role in changing attitudes for the better.

Orkney College

As Orkney College is not an incorporated College its employees work for the Council. Any information relating to its employees, such as employment and recruitment data, is included in the Council’s Annual Equality Reports, available from the 'Related Downloads' section of this page. The Council’s mainstreaming information and equality outcomes also apply to College staff.  However, in addition to this, the College has developed its own mainstreaming report and equality outcomes specifically relating to the work of Orkney College and these are available from the 'Related Downloads' section of this page.

Orkney Islands Area Licensing Board - Multi Equality Strategy

As an autonomous body, the Orkney Islands Area Licensing Board ('OIALB') previously maintained its own Multi Equality Strategy, available from the 'Related Downloads' section of this page. Since 2015 it has reported jointly with the Council.

LGBT Charter of Rights

Orkney Island Council is committed to ensuring that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people experience a safe, inclusive and nurturing education.

By displaying the LGBT Charter of Rights, we hope to send a positive message to LGBT people in Orkney that you are included, valued and supported and will be treated fairly when you access our services.

If you go to the LGBT page, available from the ‘Related Links’ section, as well as finding out more about the Charter you will be signposted to a range of information – whether you are a young person who wants to have an anonymous chat with a youth worker, a parent or carer who wants to find a support group, or if you simply want as much information as you can find.

Alternative Formats

All our written information can be made available, on request, in a range of different formats and languages. If you would like any of the documents in any other language or format please contact HR and Performance by email to or call 01856873535 extension 2250.

Contact Details

For information on equality matters contact:

Emma Chattington, Equalities Officer, HR and Performance, Orkney Islands Council, Kirkwall, KW15 1NY.


Telephone: 01856873535 extension 2155.

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