Third Sector Excellence Awards: Big Impact

Help the Aged's Just Equal Treatment campaign is 'an outstanding example of persistently promoting matters of social justice to MPs and ministers and persuading them to change the law'.

Help the Aged Just Equal Treatment campaign
Help the Aged Just Equal Treatment campaign

For the organisation that has had the biggest impact on national or international life

Judging panel:
Stephen Cook, editor, Third Sector
Hannah Jordan, Paul Jump and Rosie Walker, reporters
Mathew Little, freelance contributor

Alzheimer’s Society
Help the Aged
Leonard Cheshire Disability
Motor Neurone Disease Association
Royal British Legion
Women Like Us

Winner: Help the Aged’s Just Equal Treatment campaign
The measure of the impact of this campaign is, quite simply, that it succeeded in persuading the Government to change the law to prevent unfair age discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services.
After a year of lobbying, the breakthrough came when Harriet Harman, the minister for women and equality, said the Equality Bill in this year’s Queen’s Speech would include a provision to this effect, along with a duty on all public bodies to promote age equality.
When Harman made the pledge, she paid tribute to the “persistent and dedicated work” of Help the Aged as “determined advocates for tackling unfairness and discrimination”,
producing “the evidence that has made it imperative for us to act”.
The campaign began after legislation in October 2006 outlawed age discrimination in the workplace. The charity remained only too aware that discrimination against older people outside the workplace remained common and lawful. So it launched Just Equal Treatment, a campaign that advanced on three fronts.
The first was gathering evidence to highlight the extent of the problem, including a consultation and the publication of case studies. The second was gaining and demonstrating public support for ageism to be outlawed, including opinion polls, demonstrations, a viral email and celebrity endorsement from TV presenter Kate Garraway and actor Sylvia Syms.
The third was lobbying of government, carried out by the charity’s public affairs, campaigns and media teams. Their programme included examining potential legislation, developing a model of how it could work and building parliamentary support by briefing MPs and organising events at party conferences.
One of the judges, Stephen Cook, said the campaign was an outstanding example of persistently promoting matters of social justice to MPs and ministers and persuading them to change the law.

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