There are two key tenets to the work of the Equality Coalition: The first is information sharing and capacity building; the second is lobbying and advocacy. The Coalition’s aims and objectives can be summarised as:
The Equality Coalition was founded in 1996 by community and voluntary sector organisations and trade unions. It was instrumental in putting equality at the forefront of the agenda at that time, specifically in relation to Policy Appraisal and Fair Treatment (PAFT), the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), and the aforementioned Northern Ireland Act 1998.
The Equality Coalition now has over 80 members, many of which are umbrella organisations. It is co-convened by CAJ and UNISON.
The Equality Coalition provides a forum for unity between multiple sectors when campaigning for equality, while still allowing for the diversity of its members’ work and views. By facilitating a strong message from diverse equality groups, the Equality Coalition helps to ensure maximum impact in a resource efficient manner. This approach is particularly important in the current environment, where organisations’ resources are challenged.
Bi-monthly meetings are held by the Equality Coalition, at which members can exchange information and discuss current equality issues. In addition, the Equality Coalition compiles and circulates information on matters related to equality in NI. It also facilitates high level meetings with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI), government departments and political representatives.
The Equality Coalition hosts events and seminars to facilitate engagement with public authorities, build capacity within its membership, and allow for networking between members. It is also available to provide expert advice and support on equality matters.
If you would like any further information on the Equality Coalition or if your group is interested in becoming involved, please email email@example.com or call 028 9031 6000.
The Equality Coalition and its staff members have always been run from within CAJ, with joint direction from UNISON. There has been and remains no other collective voice on equality for the sector in Northern Ireland. There remains no other overarching consistent ‘critical friend’ of the equality oversight bodies, public authorities and local government institutions. Actions on equality requiring a formal legal personality, such as litigating on the absence of an anti-poverty strategy or issuing equality schemes complaints, are taken forward by CAJ or other member groups.