Creating accessible services

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Co-financed by the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals

7. Creating accessible services

7.3 Building a diverse workforce

A diverse workforce can help to build trust and awareness of your organisation. Employing people from across a broad range of backgrounds, nationalities and religions ensures that your workforce reflects your population profile. It can help with communication and ensure that staff better understand migrant experiences. However, it will be important to ensure that roles and responsibilities of these staff are clearly defined, and that appropriate support is provided to deal with requests for assistance from co-workers and/or migrant communities.

Some local authorities and other community planning partners have recruited migrants into frontline roles, which can be useful. However, employers must be aware of their responsibilities when recruiting foreign nationals. There is more information on this later in this chapter.

Another option is to work closely with local migrant organisations, to offer opportunities for these organisation to deliver services directly to migrants. This ensures that services are delivered by trusted organisations, closely connected to the communities they serve. However, it is important to be aware that these organisations are unlikely to cover all migrants in your area. For example, a Polish association may be less likely to work with, for example, migrants from other East European countries. A perception that these better represented groups have a ‘monopoly’ on services, can potentially increase tensions between migrant groupings.

Finally, as Scotland’s population ages, there will be increased demand for health and social care services. In this context, migrant workers could play an important part in filling shortages within this workforce. In the UK, around a third of health professionals come from outwith the UK. The NHS proactively provides advice about how to move, live and work in the UK, to attract skilled foreign nationals.

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The Equality and Human Rights Commission has produced very good advice on how to create an inclusive workplace.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation has produced guidance on how to commission migrant organisations to deliver services directly.

Wider research by CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, explores how and why migrant workers are employed in the UK.