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Equal at Work

Increasing access to employment through open HR practices


The “Equal at Work” labour market programme is the DEP project which has achieved greatest impact and led to several major and radical mainstreaming outcomes over the last four years. Its theme is “Increasing access to employment through open HR practices”. It has focussed on reforming and developing HR policies and practice to create a more equal and accessible labour market.

Partnership and budget

Developing and piloting solutions to employment exclusion through reform of recruitment practices in public authorities (e.g. replacing leaving certificate requirements with competency based recruitment), developing innovative access/progression paths in the private sector (e.g. piloting Job Rotation), creating a framework for a system of human resource management practices in the community and voluntary sector, and other initiatives tackling discrimination and social exclusion in the workplaceOver two rounds, this initiative under the EU Equal Initiative has involved over 50 partner organisations from the public, private and community sectors in Dublin. These have included four local authorities, seven area partnerships, various social partner organisations, seven hospitals and health service agencies, six major employers, forty community and & voluntary sector organisations, various training institutions, representative organisations etc. The two rounds have involved a total budget of approx. €3.4m, of which 70% was provided by ESF and the balance from public and private sector sources, and also input from the Local Development Social Inclusion Programme.

Project impacts to date

Equal at Work
has impacted strongly on HR policies and practices in the public, private, health, and community sectors, both across Dublin and nationally. A detailed report of successful initiatives through equal at Work appeared in a 4-page Special Report of the Irish Times on 24 th May 2004.
Equal at Work
has had a major impact, bringing about many substantial changes and developments:
  • changing national policy on recruitment for entry-level jobs in local authorities to a competency-based format, and developing tools to assist workers avail of interview and lifelong learning opportunities;
  • piloting intercultural workteams in public hospitals;
  • implementing equality reviews of HR practices and HR diversity action plans in several large private companies and health sector organisations;
  • piloting new HR software tools;
  • leading the reform of HR practices in the community sector through increased trade union organisation and employer networking, interaction with government funding policies, and developing online HR tools;
  • piloting the employment of members of the travelling community in both outdoor and clerical workteams in local authorities;

Equal at Work Project - "Building an Irish labour market based on equality and diversity"
View project final report

Project actions and Partners

  • Equal at Work – The fifteen project actions
  • Members of the Equal at Work Management Committee and of the Public, Private, Health and Community Sector Clusters
  • Partner organisations involved in Equal at Work
Transnational partnerships

Dublin-Belfast Cooperation

Under Equal at Work Round 1 (2001-04) several joint meetings were held involving representatives of the local authorities, the community sector, employment services and of public and private sector HR managers from the two cities. This cooperation was continued and further developed through the cooperation agreement between Equal at Work and the Belfast Equal project, Women into non-traditional employment (WINS) (See below, Publications and Seminars)

InterFAIR Equal Partnership

Continuing its tradition of linking with comparable cities across the EU, DEP established a transnational partnership with partnerships of local authorities, public and private sectors in the cities of Nuremberg, Budapest and Madrid, and with the training partnership of the Solidarnosc trade union in the Olzstyn region of northern Poland. Exchanges between cities focused on meetings of experts, site visits by practitioners and policy makers and meetings between partners. Trade unionists, HR managers and other representatives from the public, private, health, and community sectors too part in all exchanges. Special Interest Groups shared good practices, and the outcomes of some of these have been published. Further exchange programmes have been agreed with all partners under further project headings, notably in the areas of employment policy, sexual trafficking, neighbourhood regeneration etc.

Seminar papers and presentations :

Publications :