Archive for November 2009

Equalities

November 18, 2009

The post about walking reminded me about the second half of the walking application form. As well as asking about whether the walkers were new walkers old walkers or returning walkers (?!?) the form also asked for the, by now, traditional collection of equalities information.

It can be really useful to know who uses your service especially when there are access issues. Indeed, some aspects of the equalities information will directly impact on the service. For example, what age are the participants or do they have a disability.

In fairness to this form (it was a form about going for a walk but we’ll leave that for a moment) it only asked for age, disability, gender and ethnicity.

The full equalities form used in most council enterprises includes the classic: ‘Is your gender identity the same as that which you were born with?’

There are occasions where this might be necessary but surely we don’t need to measure the ethnicity of those who are walking or the sexuality of those who have completed surveys about their bins being collected or the religious beliefs of those who use our open spaces?

Are we not falling into the trap of assuming that things like race, religion, sexuality, age define us more than our individual personality or even our socio-economic background?

We can tell you some fascinating things about who does what but for what benefit?

How to walk in three easy steps

November 18, 2009

Today we got given a flyer and sent an e-mail about a lunch-time walk.  This certainly sounds nice on the face of it – a scenic stroll next to the river in the company of interesting colleagues and in decent (if not fine) weather.

That, my friends, is where Local Government kicked in.

If we wanted to take part in this walk firstly we had to register our interest.  Register interest?!  It’s a walk for crying out loud!!!  What possible reason could there be for registering interest in walking from a to b – if we are interested then we’ll just do it!

Of course that wasn’t all, we also were told we had to fill in a form.  For walking.  Seriously, I know Councils like forms like the average man likes a Pussy Cat Dolls video, but what information about walking could they possibly hope to garner?  “do you start usually with the left foot or the right?” perhaps, or “What is your preferred direction of walking: forwards, sideways or backwards?”.

That’s not all.  Each walk will have a leader.  Should you wish to lead a walk yourself you will need to go on a training course first.  Never fear however, as they have a shortened version of the course which only takes three hours.  I know it took me a good eight or nine months to learn how to walk first time around, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got it down pat by now.

We are seriously considering being rebels and going for a walk at the same time along the same path but not going through this rigmoral.  Most of us don’t even particularly like walking, but it’s the principal of the thing after all!