Liberate

Election 2022: manifesto dialogue

The 2022 election is going to see significant change in how our Government is elected and formed. The new constituencies and emergence of political parties make it one of the most interesting and unpredictable in living memory.

With elections come manifestos that set out the values of the party or individual and their intended course of action, if elected. They form a contract with the electorate.

With the emergence of political parties these documents become more important because a block of elected members stand a much better chance of making their manifesto pledges a reality than individual members who may be a lone voice.

This is why Liberate has put together and circulated a document called ‘manifesto dialogue’. (Download a pdf version here.)

As a charity Liberate cannot endorse any candidate or political party, but we can ask  questions to find out where candidates stand on issues that are important to the work we do, and we can inform candidates of the problems we would like to see Jersey’s Government, in its widest sense, solve.

This document is a way of sharing Liberate’s current concerns with our next potential States Members in order that they will think about our points and respond to some or all of them in their manifestos. In that sense, it is a dialogue.

Our areas of concern are divided into personal characteristics, some of which are protected by Discrimination Law.

Pledges

We would like to see manifestos pledge their support for the following 7 issues (for more details, click each pledge) and put forward plans for action regarding:

1. The rights of migrant workers, to give all workers protection and security making Jersey a welcoming and ethical jurisdiction in which to live.

2. The appointment of an Equalities Minister  with responsibility for addressing systemic discrimination and creating an inclusive culture within the institutions of Government and wider society.

3. The harm being done by social media and other online platforms.

4. The housing crisis facing young adults in Jersey, to enable them to afford the dignity of independent living.

5. Caring for an aging population and making the older generation as prominent in the Government’s strategic thinking as the young.

6. Investment in Jersey’s property portfolio, especially education buildings, with plans for upgrading facilities to include everyone.

7. Bold solutions to the widening divide between rich and poor in the Island and to generating revenue that does not place an additional financial burden on low income households in Jersey.

Our dialogue with candidates standing for election looks at the issues of immigration, equality and inclusion, social media, housing, social care, educational investment and the wealth gap through the lens of one minority group affected by the issue.

However, it is the case that not just one minority group is affected by these issues. Making the workplace fairer for migrant workers may also make the workplace fairer for women and disabled employees who  disproportionately fill more precarious part-time positions; creating inclusive workplace cultures and tackling social media harms  benefits everyone; dealing with the housing crisis could also help older people wanting to sell to downsize and disabled people needing accessible accommodation; looking after our elderly better may benefit families, who may have caring responsibilities at both ends of the age spectrum; improving school facilities has a direct positive impact for our young people; and, reducing the wealth gap may touch the lives of many minorities as there is a correlation between low incomes and being part of a minority group.

Minority issues are rarely ever a problem for a minority of people. Making life better for those most impacted by an inequality often has the consequence of making things better for more people outside that minority group.

We therefore encourage candidates to listen closely to minority voices in their campaigns and during their term of office, if elected, as those on the margins and touched most by an issue often see the solution clearest.

If you would like to get in contact with Liberate to send us your manifesto, please email hello@liberate.je

Response to Common Population Policy Review

As a charity concerned with diversity, inclusion and equality, our interest in the Review is focused on how immigrants are treated on arrival in Jersey.

The Migration Control Policy (Section 8 – Migrants’ rights) makes it clear that more work needs to be done to welcome immigrants and that this will be addressed by ministers, although no timeline for this work is given. The work is also limited to three areas: healthcare, social security, family life.

It is widely acknowledged that Jersey will always be reliant on some foreign workers either to bring skills to the island that cannot be home grown, or to fill the vacancies Islanders do not want to fill. It is vital that Government address the ill treatment, discrimination, prejudice and human rights abuses that occur, or Jersey will continue to have a ‘revolving door’ of workers who leave for places where they receive a warmer welcome, which benefits nobody.

There is little in the Common Population Policy to address the question of immigrant rights. Some acknowledgement of public sentiment is included on p.32: ‘Many liked the cultural diversity of the Island with all members of the younger (18-30) group wanting the Island to be more multicultural and inclusive… This group also felt that Jersey could have a stronger identity and be more welcoming to incomers’.

Despite diversity and inclusion being repeated within the focus groups’ research a number of times, particularly as being a factor that would help young people stay in Jersey, nothing in the Common Population Policy addresses how immigrant workers may be unfairly treated by employers and what should be done to improve matters.

A number of charities, including Liberate, who work with immigrant groups are aware of cases involving workers who have been treated unfairly. Example issues arising from these cases:

  • Contracts for £9.00 per hour (40 hours per week) less accommodation costs of £500 per month, which whilst not illegal leave very little safety margin for the employee. Some employees on this type of contract have, due to coronavirus, had their hours of work cut and have been making only just enough to cover their accommodation. This leaves them trapped here, unable to save the cost of the airfare home.
  • Contracts that use six month probation periods to engage extra manpower to cover busy times, particularly accountants in the finance industry between January and June, then let the employee go because they ‘did not pass probation’. This leaves the employee with no unfair dismissal rights because they have not been employed for 52 weeks and a work visa that is now invalid. The employee then has 28 days in which to find another job or leave the island.
  • Immigrant workers being paid less than other employees for the same job.

The suggestion that Jersey’s Employment and Discrimination Tribunal is the forum in which an employee can seek justice and redress for being unfairly treated or discriminated against does not work for immigrant workers as it does for other workers because:

  • The Tribunal does not preserve the claimant’s anonymity, and claimants may be afraid of being known as a ‘troublemaker’, effectively making them unemployable;
  • The Tribunal relies on claimants understanding the system and their legal employment rights, which can be difficult where English is a second language;
  • To bring a case means placing your trust in the justice system, this may not be something that someone is accustomed to if they come from a culture where the system of law and order is corrupt;
  • Cases take time to construct and bring to court, devoting time to this is unlikely to be a priority when you have limited time in which to find alternative employment (and possibly also accommodation) before deportation;
  • When you have been unfairly treated by a jurisdiction, you may no longer wish to stay in that country and prefer to leave and ‘cut your losses’.

We would like to see somewhere within the work on migration and population the Government addressing the sharp practise involving immigrant workers that is happening in Jersey. We would like to see:

  • Clear guidance published on the Internet by Jersey’s Government around migrant employee rights that also gives transparent advice on what to consider when accepting a contract in Jersey and examples of what could go wrong.
  • Government scrutiny of the employment contract being offered when a work permit is applied for to ensure that migrant employees are not being taken advantage of, including the ability to ask for evidence of salary levels for existing employees in the same job.
  • In addition to the work being done on gender pay gap reporting, ethnic/nationality pay gap reporting should also be included.
  • The ability to extend the visa of someone wishing to remain in Jersey to make a complaint of unfair dismissal in order for that complaint to be fully investigated.
  • An emergency fund that can be applied to by immigrant workers who have grounds for a Tribunal case, but who for whatever reason do not want to take a case in Jersey’s Tribunal, that enables them and their family to return home.
  • A timeline for the commitment made in the Migration Control Policy around healthcare, social security, family life.

Response to Hospital Planning Application

Drawing: architect's impression of new hospital entrance

The new hospital plans were submitted to the Planning Department on 30 November 2021. From the perspective of disabled access, we were disappointed by a number of aspects of the plans and have responded to the request for public comments as follows:

As a charity involved in accessibility audits, we have been attending the Our Hospital public meetings and have raised the importance of accessibility on several occasions.

This is a brief response to the plans submitted. We have not had time to read and respond to the entire submission. The following is, therefore, a selection of concerns at a macro level that relate to Jersey’s approved technical guidance documents ‘Part 8: access to and use of buildings’.

Overview

Some consideration of people with disabilities is evident within the plans for the new hospital as the Design Disability Access Statement makes clear. Disappointingly, it falls short of the ‘world class’ facility that has been championed in the media in terms of consideration of people with disabilities. The statement makes it clear that the ethos is about complying with minimum standards rather than exceeding those standards to create a building that truly considers people with all sorts of disabilities.

Car parking

There are to be 550 parking spaces in the multi storey. From the plans, these all appear to be standard spaces.

There are a number of disabled parking spaces shown as follows: 2 x knowledge centre, 24 x main hospital, 8 x mental health centre; total of 34 designated disabled spaces.

There appear to be no enlarged parking spaces, no parent and child parking spaces, and no large designated accessible parking space (4.8m x 8m).

BS8300-1 part 7.2 recommends medical and health facilities should provide 6% of total parking spaces as designated disabled spaces and, in addition, 4% of total parking spaces as of enlarged spaces. This would be 35 designated disabled spaces (584 x 6% = 35) and 24 enlarged spaces (584 x 4% = 23.36).

Part 7.4.1 says: ‘Designated accessible parking spaces should be provided for all known users who are disabled motorists (driver or passenger) and for other disabled motorists visiting the building or location.

‘Spaces designated for known users who are disabled (e.g. staff whether paid or unpaid) should be differentiated from spaces designated for other users. In addition, a number of enlarged standard spaces of 3.6 m wide × 6 m long should be provided that could be adapted to be designated accessible parking spaces.

‘Where space permits, at least one large designated accessible parking space, 4.8 m wide × 8 m long, should be provided to cater for commercial vehicles converted for side or rear access using hoists or ramps.

‘Designated accessible parking spaces should be solely for the use of disabled people. If there is an evidenced need, parent and child parking spaces should be provided in addition to any other designated/assigned parking spaces.’

We are disappointed that:

  • the provision of spaces does not meet BS8300-1 recommendations with the 4% of enlarged spaces seemingly not observed.
  • the opportunity to provide the ‘nice to haves’ like the parent and child spaces and large designated space for commercial vehicles has not been taken.
  • all the disabled parking spaces are open to the elements. Transferring from your car to a wheelchair in the driving rain will be very unpleasant.
  • we were unable to find mention of electric charging points for all parking spaces including designated disabled ones.

Entrances

The use of sheet glass and metal frames is pervasive in modern public buildings and it causes problems for people with disabilities, particularly visual impairments. Finding a glass door in a wall of glass can be extremely difficult for some people. Anyone who has walked into a patio door thinking it was open will (painfully) testify to the problems of glass entrances. Glass reflects making it difficult to visualise what you are seeing beyond the door and, therefore, stepping into. Light bounces off glass making it glare on bright days.

We are disappointed to see the entrances of the main hospital, knowledge centre and mental health centre all follow this trend. From the artistic impressions in the submission, it is impossible to make out the doors on all three buildings from their surrounding glass windows – this gives the non-visually impaired person an idea of the difficulties we are describing.

The canopy over the main entrance to the hospital is shown in the artistic impressions as casting some strong criss-crossing shadows. These pools of shade cutting across the canopy pillars, forecourt and main entrance could be very difficult to negotiate for some people.

Drawing: new hospital entrance canopy

We would like to see the canopy re-considered to make its structure simpler and its shadow less confusing.

Foyer

The artistic impression of the main hospital foyer is a large open plan area that the user steps into. Having been ‘funnelled’ through the entrance, it suddenly opens up into what could, at times, be a bustling part of the hospital. This may simply be too much for users sensitive to stimulus or who have hearing loss; for other users finding the information desk with nothing to guide you there, such as a handrail, may be difficult.

Drawing: new hospital main foyer

There does not appear to be any quiet room attached to the reception help desk where someone who is struggling with the foyer environment can be assisted privately.

The seating in the foyer appears to largely be without arm rests. This is unhelpful to people with certain disabilities who require armrests to help them stand/sit.

Doors

There are a lot of doors in the plans. Doors are problematic for wheelchair users, people with diminished strength (of which their will be a number in a hospital), people with restricted mobility and others, particularly if they are made ‘heavier’ through the use of door closers.

Whilst we acknowledge that door closers are required for fire safety, we hope that they will not be used on every door, e.g. the bathroom doors within the single bed wards would be more accessible without door closers. We hope that the use of free swing door closers, which allow the door to behave as if there is no door closer in place, but are linked to the fire alarm system so will close in an emergency, would be used on doors, such as to the single bed wards, as this would allow patients with any level of strength/mobility to leave their room unaided. We hope that all doors in passageways will be automated, opening on approach, and not manual or push pad opening.

Please consider whether facilities for disabled users are set behind doors that make those facilities inaccessible, e.g. in the knowledge centre on the ground floor there is a disabled WC, which has an outwards opening door (without door closer, we assume) that allows a user to control it better, but it is set behind an inward opening door to the suite of toilets.

Where doors need to be locked and accessible to staff only, key fobs are better than key pads. These should be set at an accessible height and well back from the door they control, ideally on the natural approach route. Many wheelchair users cannot get into the corner by a door jamb because of the footplate of their chair, in order to operate a key fob lock sited there. Often, they also cannot get back into position to get through the door before it locks again.

Wayfinding

There is much that will be key for wayfinding in the choices of colours, fonts, pictures etc in the new hospital. The design of signage and information may be outside the brief of planning, but we highlight it whenever we have the opportunity as it will be critical in making the new hospital accessible.

Having undertaken an exercise in wayfinding in the current hospital with various impairments, we are aware of how crucial this is to a patient finding their appointment or giving up before they get there.

Building users must not be reliant on staffed information points for assistance. What if the staff are called away? Too busy to help? Or Jersey cannot recruit people to fill these admin roles? Users may not have the confidence to ask for help, may wish to be independent, or may get confused enroute and not be near an information point, so there must ways to help yourself that are accessible for all.

We would like to see the use of strong colours that start on the appointment letter and follow all the way through the site from entrance to department, similar to the London tube map and the tiles on the tube tunnel walls. Colours assist people with low vision and learning disabilities, amongst others.

Colours may also be used to denote functions of rooms behind a door, e.g. blue for cleaning cupboards, green for toilets, red for staff areas.

Pictograms are also useful for assisting people who do not have English as a first language and/or have learning disabilities. Again, these should be used on the initial appointment letter and follow through the site.

Signage that uses words should be standardised in style and positioning, large sans serif font, proper case (capital then lower case), avoid shiny surfaces, and avoid black writing on a white background whilst still having a strong contrast between the background and letters.

Braille signage should be included at consistent heights/positions around the site to assist users.

Audio information points/intercoms should include auditory couplers/hearing loops.

Some of the above points are acknowledged at a high level within the submission, but detail is lacking as to how it is intended to be implemented.

Single bed wards

There is debate within the health profession over the advantages/disadvantages of single bed wards. There are 75% single bed wards and 25% four bed wards within the designs. Maternity and obstetrics is going to be 100% single bed wards.

Whilst single bed wards may appeal to the public, who when fit and healthy place a premium on privacy, and in an age of COVID may seem like a way of controlling cross-infection, they can have disadvantages for people with disabilities:

  • for patients who have hearing loss being able to know whether you have summoned help relies on being able to see a call light has been lit. If this is located on the outside of your single bed ward, you have no idea whether your call for help has worked.
  • unlike in a Nightingale ward, staff cannot see all their patients at once, therefore patients who attempt to get out of bed and fall, or who have dementia and are prone to wander are not monitored.
  • similarly, on a busy shift, patients who require turning or encouraging to drink may be neglected because they cannot be seen by staff.
  • patients who have depression or may get depressed while recuperating may find a single room isolating and worsens their mental health leading to slower recovery times.
  • there is no flexibility for patients who require extra space for additional equipment, such as hoists, larger beds/wheelchairs.
  • for patients with limited mobility that means reaching a call button or pressing it is not possible a single bed ward could be a matter of life and death.

We would like every department within the hospital to have a choice of ward type in order that those who have additional needs may use a ward that gives them an environment that is better suited to them.

Other observations

The lecture theatre in the knowledge centre does not appear to have any provision for wheelchair users to attend a lecture as the first row of seats is up one step. The first row needs to start on floor level and have the ability to remove seats from the row so that a wheelchair user can join in the front row and not be stuck out in front of the audience on their own.

Lift design does not appear in the artistic impressions, however we have seen a number of lifts that have full length mirrors, reflective surfaces, gleaming metalwork etc. All these serve to disorientate some users. We also see lifts without tactile call/control buttons and with the emergency speaking port at standing level only and with no hearing loop.

Within the artistic impressions, there do not appear to be any pictures showing incidental seating enroute to departments. With a large building to navigate, a variety of seating must be provided for users at regular intervals in corridors, not just in waiting areas.

If you wish to view the plans or respond, the planning application can be viewed here:

International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021

Liberate’s Accès accreditation scheme launched in December 2019 with the aim of raising public awareness of the need to ensure premises were accessible by 1 September 2020, but interest in the scheme only really started to pick up after the final piece of the Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013 came into force.

The Accès accreditation provides organisations with a report containing recommendations for adjustments they could make to improve access for people with disabilities, employee training on welcoming people with disabilities as customers or colleagues, and a mystery shopper visit.

Liberate have also partnered with Eyecan to jointly badge the accreditation. Clients who are awarded with the Accès accreditation also receive Eyecan’s accreditation that gives people with sight impairment the confidence to use a business or service in the knowledge that their needs will be catered for. This joint working has been beneficial to both charities in sharing best practise about adjustments for people with disabilities, and for clients of the scheme in receiving both accreditations.

Over the last year, Liberate’s team of auditors that includes people with various disabilities has undertaken more than 60 accessibility audits of premises for clients including the Channel Islands Co-Operative Society, Romerils, Standard Bank, Mind Jersey, the States of Jersey Police and the Government of Jersey. Liberate’s auditors have visited buildings as varied as the Library, household recycling centre, the Opera House, the Royal Court, the States Chamber, the Central Market, Highlands College, Victoria College, numerous primary schools, shops, car parks, office blocks and health buildings.

The recommendations from the audits have been mixed with some challenging buildings that have a Grade I listed status being very difficult to adjust at one end of the spectrum and, at the other end, modern buildings constructed in the last 20 years having some accessibility already built-in and needing fewer adjustments.

The part of the audit that always causes Liberate’s auditors to write notes is the accessible toilet facilities. Organisations never seem to get these right. There are a number of common themes: items stored in the transfer space beside the toilet, such as bins or cleaning equipment; handwashing and drying equipment out of reach of the toilet; emergency cords tied up, so they do not reach to the floor; hooks at one (standing) height on the back of the door; and, sanitaryware that is white in a white room. If the transfer space is not kept clear someone cannot manoeuvre their wheelchair into the space beside the toilet to then transfer from it; if handwashing and drying facilities are not within reach of the toilet someone might have to transfer back to their wheelchair with dirty or wet hands; if the emergency cord is tied up you cannot reach to pull it if you have fallen on the floor; if hooks are only at standing height on the rear of the door people who are seated have nowhere to hang a bag or coat; and, if sanitaryware is white against white people with sight impairments may not distinguish it.

The reality is that no building will ever be totally accessible because everyone who has a disability is different (even if nominally they have the same disability). For employees adjustments will often be made on an individual basis to suit them and their role. In the UK, ACAS found that only 4% of reasonable adjustments have a cost and, even then, the average is £184 per disabled employee. For visitors to organisations adjustments have to be made in anticipation of who might wish to use the premises, which is more difficult and where it is good to get some advice.

It is critical that organisations who do not want to discriminate against disabled customers think ahead about their premises and training their employees. Undertaking an audit will reveal small adjustments that can make a big difference to someone visiting your premises and demonstrates a willingness to support people with disabilities. Often these adjustments help people without disabilities, too. A large part of welcoming disabled people is good customer service, but there are some technical details it is helpful for employees to know, so undertaking training is key to being more understanding about the challenges people with disabilities can face.

For Liberate’s auditors with disabilities the experience of being part of Accés has been about making a difference for other people with disabilities, and rather than being about finding barriers, it has been about finding out where they can access. Some auditors, who thought they would never be able to access certain places, have gained confidence from visiting premises and seeing the adjustments already in place. Some auditors, who were having difficulties getting into work, have gained new skills and experience that they have taken into other roles.

As a result of the work carried out by Liberate’s auditors, there are now a number of organisations in Jersey that are making adjustments to their physical premises to welcome people with disabilities and have employees trained in how to work better with clients/colleagues with disabilities. Crucially, these organisations are committed to making the adjustments needed by people with disabilities who interact with them, as demonstrated by the Accès badge.

It is important that there are organisations making a public statement by displaying the Accès logo, and are demonstrating that they want people with disabilities to be able to fully engage with them. Liberate hopes that the kitemark will become a trusted symbol for people with disabilities in Jersey that guarantees a positive experience and friendly welcome. If you would like to know more about the Accès scheme, please contact paddy@liberate.je

Response to Scrutiny Review of Gender Pay Gap Reporting

Do you think statutory measures should be introduced in Jersey for gender pay gap reporting?

The UK will implement mandatory gender pay gap reporting on 5 October. It has been voluntary up to now. In June 2021 the FT reported that only 25% of those UK companies who would be eligible to report their gender pay gap had done so voluntarily (https://www.ft.com/content/24d5caad-9c67-4f78-9d85-7ef6dc71a93d).

Even when mandatory reporting is enforced there will be no requirement for organisations to say what they will do about any gap. The EHRC has recommended that the UK government make it mandatory for companies to publish action plans alongside gender pay figures and to empower them to issue fines for late reporting.

Gender pay gap reporting is an important tool for organisations to use to understand the size and cause of their own gap. The analysis can help organisations to develop action plans to tackle the gap and to monitor, over time, how they are shrinking the gap. But should it be compulsory?

It is currently unclear how effective gender pay gap reporting is going to be at closing the gender pay gap in the UK. By extension, is it going to be an effective tool in Jersey’s armoury against the gender pay gap, or are we in a different place (in terms of equality) from the UK and should we consider a different approach?

Gender pay gap reporting is a blunt instrument without context for customers, employees and other stakeholders. Any gender pay gap is likely to reflect a combination of internal and external factors that need to be examined.

Having a small pay gap does not necessarily translate into a fairer place to work, and it also doesn’t mean that these organisations have a more diverse workforce, e.g. Vauxhall UK reports a mean gender pay gap of -0.8% which means that women on average earn 0.8% more than men. At first sight this may seem advanced, but a closer look reveals that the percentage of women in each pay quartile is still less than 15%.

Unlike the UK, which has had equal pay legislation since 1970, Jersey does not. Jersey needs to consider equal pay first. If this is not happening then it will be accounting directly for some of the gender pay gap. Equal pay is an easier problem to address. The gender pay gap is much harder to solve as there are a plethora of reasons why women do not rise to the top of organisations, yet are numerous at the lower levels.

Iceland’s equal pay standard is often cited as being the best in terms of equalising pay. A balanced view of its pros and cons is provided here – http://www.nordiclabourjournal.org/i-fokus/in-focus-2019/future-of-work-iceland/article.2019-04-01.4989008637

In the above article, Aðalsteinn Þorsteinsson, Director General for Byggðastofnun says “The wage system is based on stability and equality. This creates positivity and trust, but sadly, in practice salaries are still secret in Iceland. As long as this is the case, a certain level of distrust will remain.”

This is the crux of the problem in Jersey, too, and gender pay gap reporting is unlikely to solve it. What is needed is a means for employees to legitimately see how much other people in their workplace are being paid.

This could be done with an amendment to Jersey’s Employment Law that allows employees to ask what other people in their workplace on their grade are paid and for that request to have to be honoured by employers. On discovering an imbalance with someone on their grade employees could then take a discrimination case to tribunal on the grounds of a particular protected characteristic (be it gender, race, disability etc). Knowing that employees can scrutinise salaries would lead employers to adopt clear pay scales.

An amendment to Employment Law that required all job advertisements to state the salary (or salary range) offered would also help. This is advantageous for women because salary then becomes a fixed element of the package and research shows that pay negotiation is more problematic for women than men (https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210615-how-the-salary-ask-gap-perpetuates-unequal-pay). A stated salary relieves employee and employer from the pain of negotiation. This is preferable as research has found that a salary range can encourage all applicants to negotiate including women, but that women still come away with less than men.

Finally, legislating to prevent employers from asking applicants about their previous remuneration would also help enable women to achieve a jump in salary where a previous employer had kept their wages unreasonably low.

None of the above options require any additional government manpower to implement and are not onerous on employers. Gender pay gap reporting is onerous on employers and will require government officials to administer the scheme and monitor the submissions from employers. This is not necessarily a reason not to do it, but it may not be a cost-effective solution to the problem.

Whilst gender pay gap reporting encourages organisations to engage in discussions about what equality in the workplace truly means, tackling equal pay, which has not been done in Jersey, has the potential to directly impact the pay gap.

What are your views on other types of mandatory reporting such as the ethnicity pay gap?

Making pay transparent (as the above suggests) would benefit all minority groups.

The disability employment gap is also of concern. Many of the solutions that work to solve this problem also work to reduce the gender pay gap, such as flexible working.

Do you think there has been any change in the cultural influences which affect the gender pay gap in Jersey?

This question is difficult to answer without a timescale. In my lifetime, yes there has been positive progress for women in the workplace. More women are achieving top/influential roles, more women are working in traditionally male occupations, more women are able to choose how they balance work and family (although more needs to be done on all three). In the last five to ten years, not so much.

Social media is without doubt the biggest cultural influence of the last five to ten years and it serves to polarise opinion, give people a platform to anonymously hate others and spread lies. But it can also serve to bring an issue to the attention of the wider public.

Liberate’s work with organisations shows that in employee surveys the majority of employees are aware or very aware of Black Lives Matter, Me Too and the Gender Pay Gap. Awareness of an issue is not necessarily a measure of support for its values, but it does suggest that people are thinking about its implications for them.

The response to MeToo saw a misogynistic backlash from some men that gained support on the Internet and created movements like MGTOW, who advise men to follow the ex-US Vice President Mike Pence’s advice, now known as the Pence Rule after he remarked that he would never eat a meal alone with a woman who is not his wife. One 2019 study found that 27% of American men now avoid one-on-one meetings with female colleagues.

There is no measure of how widespread this sort of misogyny is in Jersey, but it will be here because the Internet is. This is concerning because to achieve gender equality women need men to be part of the conversation and active participants in the solution, not afraid to take meetings alone with women colleagues.

Do you think the Government took a gender-sensitive approach to its Covid-19 policies?

The sensitivity to the needs of minority groups during COVID was not always apparent in Government’s approach both here and in the UK.

COVID-19 has impacted members of minority groups disproportionately. Women have carried the burden of home-schooling, low income and non-white communities have been hit hardest by the virus in terms of healthcare, people from the LGBTQ+ community have been locked down in unsupportive or hostile home environments, the old have been isolated and the young have missed out on schooling, critical exams and university experience, and people with disabilities have been (and continue to be) shielding. These inequalities existed before coronavirus, but the pandemic has highlighted them.

What impact do you think Covid-19 has had on men and women in the home and workplace?

The different impacts felt by men and women during COVID-19 have been well documented by the media. Liberate has no additional information to add.

Pride 2021

Photo: CI Pride Live title screen

Channel Islands Pride 2021 was supposed to be hosted in Jersey on the beach. Working with the Government of Jersey to ensure islanders were safe to gather in an age of COVID-19, the event was scheduled for 21 August and the Pride Committee worked hard to get the Waterfront venue ready with plans for a stage, acts, food and drink vendors, community stalls, family fun and a live link-up with Guernsey’s smaller event – all the things that make CI Pride what it is.

Despite early indications that a summer date would ensure we were safe to meet in numbers again, the coronavirus rates started to rise and by mid-July it was clear that gathering 5,000 people in one place would not be good for the island. At which point we took the tough decision to cancel the in-person event.

Determined that CI Pride should go ahead in some format, the live link-up with Guernsey became the focal point. Could we pull off the Channel Islands first live-streamed pan-island concert in a month? Of course, we could!

Wanting people to be able to party at home for online Pride we quickly put together a printed programme and pack of Pride goodies. Thank you to our volunteers packed 2,000 Pride bags, which we distributed free in the Channel Islands Co-Operative stores. We also continued our promotion of Sippin Gin’s Pride Gin that had been mixed especially for CI Pride 2021 and which helped many Pride gatherings across the island go with a swing.

The venue for the live streaming was St James Centre in Jersey and the Princess Royal Centre for Performing Arts in Guernsey. Both islands would have concerts happening at the same time and the live stream would cut between the two islands. It was ambitions, but we had learned during COVID that technology could make connections possible that before had seemed impossible.

We got the technical team in place, we got the slightly amended acts in place (it wouldn’t be COVID if we didn’t lose one act to contact-tracing – Abbaloo stepped in to replace Inside Job at the last minute), and we crossed our fingers! At 3pm the afternoon kicked off with a message from Liberate’s long-time friend, Gary Burgess. All was going well, then suddenly we lost connection. After a 20 minute delay, where the technical team were working like mad to understand what had happened when everything had been tested thoroughly beforehand, they discovered that broadcasting from inside an old granite church has its drawbacks. Moving the router to the porch of the church put us back online!

The rest of the afternoon went without a hitch, and the live link up to Guernsey worked. We could not have asked for a better way to celebrate CI Pride, short of being in-person. The running order was:

15.00 Welcome

15.15 Abbaloo

16.00 The Rainbow Chorus (from Guernsey)

16.45 Rich Allo

17.15 Brick House

18.05 Shea & Kingsy

18.40 Eloise Fabbri (from Guernsey)

19.20 Siren

20.00 MadHen Party Band

21.00 Ends

Thank you to Stage 2 for designing and supplying the set, lighting and sound. Thank you to 3CI for the wizardry that streamed CI Pride live to the world. Thank you to Christophe and Julie Chateau for organising the line up of amazing acts. And thank you to all our performers.

The live stream had 7,000 individual social media logins across the globe from California to New Zealand and everywhere in between, making it the biggest Channel Islands Pride ever!

  • Photo: Gary Burgess introducing CI Pride
  • Photo: AbbaLoo at CI Pride
  • Photo: The Rainbow Chorus at CI Pride
  • Photo: Rich Allo at CI Pride
  • Photo: Brick House at CI Pride
  • Photo: Shea and Kingsy at CI Pride
  • Photo: Eloise Fabbari at CI Pride
  • Photo: Siren at CI Pride
  • Photo: MadHen Party Band at CI Pride
  • Photo: Christophe Chateau, compere of CI Pride

Thank you to our sponsors. They ensure that Pride remains free for anyone to attend, which is essential to making Pride one of the most inclusive events in the islands. 2021 was particularly difficult with the switch to online Pride, but our sponsors stuck with us as plans changed. Thank you to the Channel Islands Co-Operative Society, our lead sponsor for the sixth year running. Thank you to Mourant, who sponsored the free Pride packs. Thank you to Ogier, who sponsored the live streaming of online Pride. Thank you to HSBC, Citi and Jersey Electricity for sponsoring the stage costs. Thank you to RBC, IQ EQ, HLG Associates and Vistra for sponsoring the marketing costs of Pride.

Photo: Christian May, CI Pride Director

Finally, thank you especially to our Pride committee led by Christian May. It takes hundreds of hours to stage Pride and when you are doing it around the ups and downs of COVID it takes even more hours of meetings to do it safely. It has been especially challenging this year and Christian has been tenacious in ensuring that we delivered Channel Islands Pride – somehow. Thank you to Nigel, Eamonn, Angharad, James W, Ruben, Carla, Lorna, Paddy and James T.

Videos of the live streamed event can be viewed here:

Welcome from Gary Burgess (from timecode: 27.00)

Line up of acts, sponsor messages, thanks and the Pride message

MadHen Party Band

Live CI Pride pan-Island concert

Photo: Pride crowd taken from the stage

Live pan-Island concert first for Jersey and Guernsey as Islands celebrate Pride together

The organisers of Channel Islands Pride are making history this Saturday 21st August as they stream the first live concert held across both Jersey and Guernsey, as part of the Islands’ joint pride celebrations.

The free concert, running from 3pm to 9pm, will be live-streamed from the St James Centre in Jersey, and the Princess Royal Performing Arts Centre in Guernsey, on  www.channelislandspride.org and the Channel Islands Pride official social media accounts.

In Guernsey the acts will include the Rainbow Chorus, an inclusive choir run by Liberate; the equality and diversity charity behind Channel Islands Pride, and singer Eloise Fabbri.

In Jersey there will be performances by funk and soul band Brick House, soloist Rich Allo, duo Shea and Kingsy, and brand new female vocal group Siren!   

The event will culminate at 8pm on Saturday with a performance by MadHen, a five-piece party band from London who have supported Take That and have performed at festivals, film premieres and even Royal Weddings.

Pride Director for Jersey, Christian May, said:

“While we were disappointed not to have a physical event in Jersey this year, we wanted to take Pride into Islander’s homes. It’s vitally important that we can reflect as a community on the challenges that LGBTQ people face, both locally and globally, and also take the time to celebrate how lucky we are to live in a welcoming and inclusive Island.

“We’re looking forward to meeting the technical challenge of broadcasting live from Jersey and Guernsey, and we hope that as many Islanders as possible – across both Bailiwicks – are celebrating safely with their friends and family, and enjoying the fantastic local acts we have lined up!”

Pride Director for Guernsey, Ellie Jones, commented:

“The Channel Island Pride teams in both Guernsey and Jersey are known for setting the bar high when it come to the annual pride celebrations. CI Pride is the perfect example of inclusive collaboration and working together across the Channel Islands to create something that celebrates what makes us different but also brings us together. This pan-island livestream is another first that we are very proud to bring to the whole community.”

The online pan-Island celebration sets the stage for a much larger Pride Festival between both Islands which is planned for September 2022.

Islanders in Jersey who want a Pride Party Pack to boost their at-home celebrations can collect them, for free, from Channel Islands Co-Operative stores from Friday 20th August.

Channel Islands Pride physical celebrations in Jersey cancelled

Photo: Pride volunteers 2021

It is with sincere regret that the Channel Islands Pride Committee have chosen to cancel the 2021 Channel Islands Pride march and public entertainment, which were planned to take place in Jersey on Saturday 21 August.

The Pride Committee have worked hard to ensure the event could take place, but now it is simply not possible to operate a large-scale public event, given the increasing number of active COVID-19 cases in Jersey and changing restrictions on Islanders.  

Pride Director, Christian May, commented:

“We want to host a Pride that is inclusive, welcoming, and above all safe. Although we have planned extensive safety measures, neither we, nor our sponsors, would want to proceed with an event that could pose a risk to attendees. I am very sorry for the Islanders and visitors who will be disappointed by this outcome. Safety has always been paramount in the organisation of Pride, and this is the right decision; albeit a very difficult one to make.”

Liberate in Guernsey are still planning to host a smaller event on 21 August 2021 (more details here), and Channel Islands Pride are investigating the possibility of offering both Islands a live online streaming celebration – including musical entertainment – and at-home Pride packs; in order to continue the spirit of celebration and reflection that underpins Pride. Further details will be made available as soon as possible.

The Committee are also asking all Islanders to mark Pride Day on 21 August by flying rainbow flags, creating their own rainbow flags at home, and posting their flag photos online with the hashtag #CIPride2021.

Mr May said:

“I would like to thank all our sponsors and partners for the continued support they have offered us, as we have worked through the increased logistical difficulties of planning a Pride event in light of COVID-19. Their support for Liberate and our Island’s wider diverse communities is hugely appreciated.

“We are absolutely committed to building a bigger and better Channel Islands Pride in 2022 – one that brings together our Island communities and also provides significant economic benefit by making the Channel Islands pride destinations of choice. Working in collaboration with colleagues at Liberate Guernsey we are proposing a week-long Channel Islands Pride Festival that will span Jersey, Guernsey and the other islands in early September 2022.”

International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2020

Photo: the public entrance of the States Chamber in Jersey

Jersey’s public buildings are being independently assessed to determine how suitable they are for people with disabilities to access.

Liberate Jersey, an equality and diversity charity, is conducting audits of the Government’s property portfolio.

So far, the Jersey Library, States building, Central Market and the Opera House have been assessed against a checklist of more than 100 building criteria including car parking, lifts, lighting and handrails.

Liberate’s Accès Scheme delivers audits which enable organisations to meet their obligations under the Disabilities Law. The audit’s results are allocated a blue, orange or green status depending on the level of improvement that might be needed. Training is given to employees on how to improve inclusion for people with disabilities.

Paul McGinnety, Director of Customer and Local Services said: “The work Liberate Jersey are doing supports government’s Disability Strategy which focusses on ensuring disabled Islanders are able to have greater access to public buildings and the services they provide. The work is ongoing, and we welcome the findings of the audits.”

Vic Tanner Davy from Liberate Jersey said: “Today is the United Nations as International Day of Persons With Disabilities, so it’s an appropriate time to remember how important it is for people with disabilities to access our public buildings.

“We know that the audit will not be without challenges, particularly in listed buildings. For example, when assessing a building like the States Chamber there will be significant barriers in place. Making reasonable adjustments to remove these barriers aims to provide everyone with equal opportunities to engage fully in the public life of the Island.”

National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2020

Poster: stop hate U K, hate doesn't belong here

This year’s National Hate Crime Awareness Week will take place from 10– 17 October 2020.

Jersey is a multi-cultural island and whilst some celebrate this rich diversity, others can directly or indirectly affect people’s enjoyment of life by acting on their prejudice, discriminate or even commit crime motivated by hatred toward people who are different to them. Here are some of the communities or different strands of diversity that can be affected by hate:

Race                         Religion                       Gender                      Disability                        Age                  

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity/Expression, and Sex Characteristics                       

The States of Jersey Police will be promoting the Hate Crime Awareness Week on their social media platform and have a number of activities planned in schools, businesses and across the community. The Police recognise that hate crimes and incidents are under reported and would appreciate anything you can do to support any victims of hate crime you encounter and encourage engagement either directly with the Police or reporting indirectly and in confidence via Stop Hate UK.

Some hate crimes or incidents may not be so obvious and may happen in your workplace or perhaps socially. I hope you join us in standing together and putting a clear message out across your network that there is no place for hate in Jersey, thus promoting a safe place for all. You can do this by posting some of the international hashtags below on your social media accounts, learning more about the subject and talking with those around you about diversity and hate – the more we talk openly about hate, the more visibly unacceptable it will become.

#NationalHCAW                       #WeStandTogether                  #NoPlaceForHate                #SafePlaceForAll                        #SpreadLoveNotHate                            #StopHateStartsHere

For further information regarding promoting the week, please visit https://nationalhcaw.uk/ and https://www.stophateuk.org/hate-crime-awareness-week/ You can use published ideas on how to participate, print off and display some posters and find resources regarding this matter – you can make a difference in stopping hate.