Regulating within a Diverse Society – the Why’s and the How’s
“We bend over backwards for these people…” “People should fit in…” We’ve all heard these phrases at some time.
Complying with regulation can be confusing – and more so for some multi-cultural communities.
Consider how hard it can be sometimes to get to grips with the complexity of regulatory systems to ensure that we can comply with them, either as individuals or as business owners.
Now consider how much more difficult it would be to work it all out if English was our second language or if our genuinely held religious or cultural beliefs made us feel unsure or uneasy about why we were being asked to do (or not to do) something.
Oh, and then factor in negative perceptions that we may have about people in authority either from past experience or from reports in the media…
It’s small wonder that there can be disparity and distrust between minority ethnic communities and regulators.
But we need regulation
Anarchy might have been OK for the Sex Pistols but most people would agree that a just society needs well thought out consistent regulation to function equitably and to provide sanctions against those who consciously flout regulation.
How Can we Overcome the Challenges of Regulation in Multi-Cultural Communities?
A multicultural community is simply one that is comprised of many different ethnic, cultural and racial groups.
- Regulators need to work within the challenges and complexities of a diverse society.
Communities are enriched by diversity, but procedures and interactions with communities can be complicated by diversity. A lack of knowledge of cultural differences can result in inadvertent violation of individuals’ rights or cultural needs.
- It’s not about bending over backwards – it’s about being fair
Acquiring knowledge and skills that lead to cultural sensitivity does not imply preferential treatment of any one group; rather, it contributes to improved communication with members of all groups.
The Regulators Code
The Regulators’ Code came into effect on 6 April 2014, replacing the Regulators’ Compliance Code. It provides a clear, flexible and principles-based framework for how regulators should engage with those they regulate.
Nearly all regulators, including local authorities and fire and rescue authorities, need to work to the code when developing the policies and principles that guide their regulatory activities.
What Does it Mean to Regulation in Multi-Cultural Communities in Practice?
- It’s not about stopping regulators from regulating
- It is about tasking regulators to carry out their functions in clear, accessible and transparent ways so people understand what’s going on and can challenge if they need to
- It is about regulators developing an understanding of diverse cultures and communities so they can engage in sensitive and productive ways
- It is about building ongoing relationships with communities so that regulators aren’t always seen as appearing only when something negative has happened
So what can we do?
Make sure regulators are equipped with the knowledge and skills to respect cultural diversity whilst not diluting the value of their role.
- All groups have some bad, some average, and some good people within them
- Don’t be afraid to be a change agent in your organisation when it comes to improving cross-cultural relations between regulators and community