England: Badminton England is delighted to announce that we have achieved the Intermediate level of the Equality Standard for Sport.
The Equality Standard for Sport was launched by the UK Sports Councils in 2004 to help address the inequalities that exist within the sport sector. The Standard provides a framework for sports organisations to guide them towards achieving equality in all areas, from playing and officiating to coaching and volunteering. Badminton England along with many other organisations achieved the first 2 levels of the Standard in 2006 and 2008.
With an incredibly strong para-badminton circuit and inclusive clubs, Badminton England is committed to providing players with disabilities a wide range of opportunities to get on court.
It was announced last year that para-badminton is set to make its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games after submitting a “very strong” application, highlighting the strength of para-badminton across the world.
The Intermediate level of the Standard focussed on three main areas for Badminton England and we were assessed against the following criteria:
• Our ability to demonstrate that we are implementing and reviewing the equality action plan and have collected updated profile data.
• Our organisations internal policies and procedures consider the impact on people who share protected characteristics
• We are working towards increasing the diversity of people participating / using our services (members / participants)
The latter point is reflected through Badminton England’s participation programmes which aim to attract a diverse group of players.
Our Smash Up! initiative sets out to change perceptions and inspire 13-16 year olds of all sporting ability to swing a racket for fun. The success of the programme was reflected last year as Smash Up! was nominated for the National Lottery awards.
We also understand that however strong and inclusive our programmes and policies are, this has to be reflected at a local level in our clubs and county activity and we can see that this is happening. We will continue to set the standard at a national level and support local deliverers and volunteers to be inclusive in all that they do using the tools and resources available from us and our partners.
We have seen the achievement of the Intermediate level of the Equality Standard as a two year process and the Equality Steering Group was formed in July 2013 to drive the work of the Standards, and, as importantly to ensure that equality and diversity is thoroughly embedded in our organisation. Our Equality Action plan was made available in February 2014 and will shortly be updated to reflect our achievements over the last 2 years as well as set realistic targets as we reach for the Advanced Level by the end of 2016.
The Standards process involved a self assessment stage using a lengthy application form with supporting pieces of evidence, and we were supported along the way by a Designated Sports Lead (DSL). The final stage was an independent evaluation and visit by the Equality Standard Assessor (EQSA).
The EQSA viewed key pieces of evidence to support the application and provided a written report confirming where we had met the three areas.
Areas of particular strength were noted by the DSL and EQSA throughout the whole process and these included:
• A strong commitment to the values in our organisation which drive an equality agenda.
• Our partnership work with many other bodies and organisations, listening to and acting on relevant feedback.
• Trail blazing work in the field of transgender which challenges bias and creates and supports an environment of inclusion, diversity and equality.
• A strong commitment to training which is not constantly driven top down and a willingness for all staff to engage in shared learning and effective partnerships.
• The development of programmes which genuinely reflect the needs of current and prospective participants, which have been identified via robust research and insight, we are delivering programmes that target and benefit traditionally underrepresented groups because there is a genuine demand.
Badminton England Chief Executive, Adrian Christy, said: “I am delighted that Badminton England has achieved the Intermediate level of the Equality Standard for Sport. We have always been proud of our commitment to be an inclusive sport and it is great to receive the accolade from external agencies that recognises it. The final report highlighted that the commitment to equality and diversity really does cut across every aspect of the organisation and that makes me very proud.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to the steering group for their tremendous work as well as the various programme leads who have not just made this award possible, but have ensured opportunities to play and be involved in badminton are possible for everyone.”
Badminton England is described as a vibrant, committed and dynamic organisation and we are encouraged to increase the promotion of our achievements to further drive the inclusion, diversity and equality agenda.
This includes publicising any media appearances we have been involved in, to ensure we reach potential members and funders.