How well does the Forestry Commission address the needs of disabled and ethnic minority users?
At the time of this project there was limited research on accessibility and equality in the forestry sector. Studies did not account for different types of woodland or between specific ethnic groups, for example. Forest Research provided data and analysis on the monitoring of ethnic minority access to Forest Commission services with insights on attitudes and perceptions among specific ethnic minority groups. The team also documented best practices in promoting race equality by countryside service providers.
Key findings and recommendations:
- Repositioning – the Forestry Commission needs to rethink its policies in light of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000
- Active race equality – a passive “countryside for all” approach is no longer sufficient to meet the requirements of the Act
- Equality Scheme – the responsibility to implement an equality scheme (which should cover race, disability and gender) goes beyond the scope of Human Resources and should be tackled strategically at all levels
- Impact assessment – all general Forestry Commission activities should be assessed for their race equality impact
- Ethnic monitoring – ethnic categories should be incorporated into site visitor and staff monitoring systems
- Publications and access to information – translations of leaflets, documents and signs should be proportionate to local needs and planned through local consultation with black and ethnic minority community leaders
- Training – all staff should be given basic diversity training, with additional input for local staff working with black and minority ethnic partners
- Engagement – outreach and local partnerships with communities are probably the most important way in which the Forestry Commission meets its duties under the Act
- Recruitment – positive action is required to recruit more black, Asian and ethic minority staff and volunteers
Funders and partners
Commissioned and funded by the Forestry Commission.
The research was completed in 2009.