Developing a credible accreditation scheme for equality and diversity practitioners was one of the main drivers behind the foundation of the IEDP.
Many professionals working in the equality and human rights field come into the role through interest and commitment. Some have relevant qualifications, such as in law or human resource management, but these are not specialised and often do not cover the current scope of the legislation. Although specialised qualifications are now available at all levels, many practitioners do not in fact pursue them, even though they often engage in substantial professional development.
Informally, we have known for many years that this is the case. It was more formally recognised in 2007 by research carried out by the Learning and Skills Council, funded by the European Social Fund, into the infrastructure to support equality and diversity practice. The resultant report ‘Equality and Diversity: Practitioners Project’ recommended that an association should be established and that a competency framework should be developed to help professionals to achieve consistently high standards. Click here for the full report.
Following this the Institute of Equality and Diversity Practitioners was formally launched in 2009.
Development 2009 - 2011
Since the formation of the Institute, the competency framework which forms the basis of the IEDP accreditation has been developed by the Institute in close consultation with its members.
During the period March to May 2009 members were consulted about the possible competency framework put forward by the LSC research project. Serious concerns were raised. In September 2009 a Working Group on Standards and Products was established with a remit which included developing the competency framework.
A second framework was drawn up, taking account of the consultation outcomes, and again members were consulted about the proposal with a response deadline of 30th April 2010. Click here for the outcomes of this consultation.
Further work was done on the framework and was presented to the AGM in July 2010 for ratification.
Having established the framework, there was a considerable amount of detailed work to do in developing the:
- Code of Professional Conduct
- descriptors for each domain for different levels of membership
- evidence that would be sought from applicants
- guidance for applicants
- accreditation procedure.
By May 2011 this development work was sufficiently advanced for a pilot scheme to be launched, with clear provision for evaluation and review.
All the associated documents were placed on the website and members were invited to apply for a free pilot.
The piloted was complete during summer of 2011 and four of the applicants became the first registered members of the Institute. Following evaluation of the process, further refinement was completed and the scheme became available for members’ use.