We are here to help you think about, and plan how you will make your voluntary/community organisation as welcoming as possible to all those in the community and address discrimination.

Below are links to resources you may find helpful to address equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). If you know of any others please let us know.


Equality is about equal opportunities and protecting people from being discriminated against while diversity is about recognizing, respecting and valuing differences in people. Meanwhile, inclusion refers to an individual’s experience within the workplace and in wider society, and the extent to which they feel valued and included.

Government guidance
  • The government has published a number of guides about how the Equality Act 2010 relates in different circumstances including employment and for the voluntary and community sector.
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission has in depth guidance to the act and codes of practice which tend to be referred by the courts as minimum compliance. See their one specifically for the sector.
  • Acas has detailed guidance on how employers should follow the Equality Act.
Guidance for charities and voluntary/community groups
  • The Charity Commission has a guide to how the charity exemption to the Equality Act works.
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission has some specific guidance for voluntary and community organisations including the difference in equality law for charities and religious organisations.
  • NCVO has an introduction to  Equity, diversity and inclusion, with links to:
    • Get started with equity, diversity and inclusion, helps you get started in improving your organisations’ approach to equity, diversity and inclusion. It explains some key terms, why voluntary organisations should act and where to get further guidance.
    • The Equality Act: Your legal duties, explains some key aspects of the Equality Act 2010 as they apply to voluntary organisations. It includes links to learn more and other knowhow pages with additional guidance.
    • Respond to discrimination, about how to respond to discrimination occurring in your organisation.
  • NCVO also have pages relating to HR
  • The Resource Centre has a useful guide to developing a policy for small community groups.
  • CAN can help you develop a policy and we have a template policy here
  • Equally Ours (previously the Equality and Diversity Forum) is a UK charity that brings together people and organisations working across equality, human rights and social justice to make a reality of these in everyone’s lives. It has a guide to developing equality and human rights in practice designed by and for the voluntary sector.
  • A good example of an EDI Strategy is that of the Wildlife Trusts, although for a large national charity the style, format and language could easily be adapted to smaller, more local groups. The British Red Cross also have an excellent policy.
  • Charity Governance Code has a principle specifically addressing equality, diversity and inclusion with key outcomes and examples of good practice.  
 Tools and kits

There seems to be few up to date toolkits to help voluntary and community groups develop their EDI practice. Please let us know of any you find useful.

  • Big Issue Invest has designed a Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Measurement Tool to support organisations to measure their diversity characteristics internally and within the different groups that use their services.
  • CAN has adapted two simple reporting tables to help groups audit their EDI and then to report on it: CAN Equality Report Template CAN Equality Audit Checklist
  • Volunteering. NCVO has some useful pages, Volunteer Ireland has a couple of useful publications for volunteer co-ordinators, and WGVS has a toolkit to help you diversify your volunteers
 Local advice and support

The following CAN members can give you advice and support to develop your work to address equality, diversity and inclusion (let us know if you would like to be included):


 Last updated: 26th April, 2022

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