And the short answer is yes, they are not only up to the mark, but actually Excellent.
I really enjoyed learning about some of their best practice, and was particularly interested in their Rainbow Tick scheme, promoting LGBT friendly businesses and their "If something doesn't right" policy for vulnerable residents. I am now hoping that Diane Weston, the lead officer, will come over to Liverpool, and to Venture Housing in particular to share her good work with us all.
Talking to a colleague about the visit later, he referred to equality strands and I told him that they are now to be known as Protected Characteristics - and thought you might be interested in learning what they are here.
What is a protected characteristic?
Where this is referred to, it refers to a person belonging to a particular age (e.g. 32 year olds) or range of ages (e.g. 18 - 30 year olds). For further information on age please follow the link to the UK Legislation website.
DisabilityA person has a disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. For further information on please see disability on the UK Legislation website.
Gender reassignmentsThe process of transitioning from one gender to another. For further information please see gender reassignment on the UK Legislation website.
Marriage and civil partnershipMarriage is defined as a 'union between a man and a woman'. Same-sex couples can have their relationships legally recognised as 'civil partnerships'. Civil partners must be treated the same as married couples on a wide range of legal matters. For further information please see marriage and civil on the UK Legislation website.
Pregnancy and maternityPregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context. In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding. For further information please see pregnancy and maternity on the UK Legislation website.
RaceRefers to the protected characteristic of Race. It refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins. For further information please see race on the UK Legislation website.
Religion and beliefReligion has the meaning usually given to it but belief includes religious and philosophical beliefs including lack of belief (e.g. Atheism). Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition. For further information please see religion and belief on the UK Legislation website.
SexA man or a woman. For further information please see sex on the UK Legislation website.
Sexual orientationWhether a person's sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes. For further information please see sexual orientation on the UK Legislation website.
You are also protected if you are discriminated against because you are perceived to have, or are associated with someone who has, a protected characteristic, For example protecting carers from discrimination. The Equality Act will protect people who are, for example, caring for a disabled child or relative. They will be protected by virtue of their association to that person.