Archive for 29 April 2011

Towards a Republican Monarchy?

Since the Welsh Assembly Powers Referendum and in the backdrop of the Royal Wedding I have been considering the constitutional situation and have thought of an integrated model that could provide for everyone’s needs.

The nationalists in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland want their nation to be a republic. Unionists often want the UK to be paramount with a monarchy and are often ‘anti-separatists’. And then there are the British Republicans who want the whole of the UK to be a republic, some of which don’t believe in devolution.

I consider myself British and am still nostalgic that we are not the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland anymore. Maybe we could be again if it was possible for a united Ireland to be an independent republic and part of the UK with the Queen as a figure head?

England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland could be independently constituted republics enabled by a new Act of Union. We could all be Member Nations of the UK with the monarchy performing the job of ‘signing the paperwork’ and encouraging tourism through their eccentric traditions. They could also collect taxes from the wealthy estates, like those which have existed since 1066 and other inherited estates. The profit the monarchy raises from tourism, these wealth taxes and international activities could in part be redistributed to our National Parliaments – They can work for us for a change. Our Presidents currently may be Carwyn Jones, Alex Salmond in Wales and Scotland respectively, and England and Ireland would have their elected presidents also. We would have no laws made in Westminster, only in our National Parliaments.

In the Act of Union we would have our rights as Citizens of the UK and our Member Nation set out, including that we could travel between each nation freely and live, work or study in each without interruption or barriers. The Parliaments in the Member Nations would have to act within the limitations of our rights under this Act, and if they went too far, the Supreme Court which we would all have as our joint highest court would be able to annul such a law.

All our Parliaments could agree jointing to pass a law affecting all the Member Nations, such as relating to European Union Law, technical rules like in relation to marriage and employment rights, and could jointly instruct the monarch to sign the international treaties that we all want to be subject to. The monarch could as now give royal assent to each Member Nation’s Acts of Parliament.

We could have the Bank of England as our central bank and ‘Federal Reserve’ to step in should we need assistance, and to regulate all the financial institutions in the UK. We would keep our secret service and Armed Forces at UK level, and all the Presidents would be members of the Privy Council. This would perform a similar role to what it does now with perhaps an extension to their role as protectors of national security, such as advising the monarchy to declare a war in a time of emergency, which otherwise would have to be agreed by each of the 4 Member Nation’s Parliaments in peace time.

Children are now better protected

I read Miles Phillip’s response to my concerns on the safety of children on southwaleskids.com (Observer, April 21).

It may shock some to know what I fell victim to inadequate child protection policies at a state-funded school I went to, but as the Children Act 1989 didn’t exist I had few rights.

But, I can help today’s children. I am the chief legal officer at a social enterprise I founded, and through the policies I make and inform my staff of, both the children we provide our services to, and our staff, feel safe and confident that they could raise concerns without shock or blame, unlike what happened to me by the authorities who were supposed to be looking after me.

Miles’ comment that his site already caught one person trying to infiltrate the system suggests it is possible other could fall though the net.

I was in the top 5% of law graduate in 2007, and I hold the most senior professional qualifications in IT. I am seen as an authority on online communities, so I think Hywel and Miles should listen.

The minimum parents should expect is that their consent is requested and recorded, and they are provided with “child protection policies” for the site, should they need to make a complaint.

This is the approach my firm takes to child protection, which received commendation from the Arts Council for Wales.

Anyone can register for our website as we sever the whole community. No one can use any service without an ‘unlock code’.

For children’s sections the child has to complete an invitation form to say they have their legal guardian’s permission to enroll.
Unless we get a consent form from that legal guardian after contacting them we won’t give them the unlock code for them to personally allow their child to use that site.

It may be that the parents of children using Hywel’s cross-organisation targeted site would prefer these unlock codes only being used by the teachers after they have given a consent form to the child’s school.

People often get offended by me citing the law all the time – even my school teacher did!

But as someone with a Masters degree in law who has taken courses in computer law covering the application of the law to protecting children online, I think instead of seeing me as a barrier to his site’s success, Hywel Dance and associates should see it as me helping to make it safer, so no other child has to go through what I went through due to child protection not being taken seriously.

Second Life and worth – impact of stereotypes

Aleks Krotoski states that the online virtual world called Second Life is one arena where we impose worth (Observer, March 20). This is certainly true.

I had an empirical study into Second Life published three years ago by IGI Global titled, – ‘Increasing Capital Revenue in Social Networking Communities: Building Social and Economic Relationships through Avatars and Characters’. In the study, I found that those who used a very masculine and “patriarchal” appearance were more likely to be given kudos by the other members (428.42% ROI). Those members who adopted a creative “assiduous” look were least likely to benefit from others’ good will (12.63% loss). Those who adopted an anti-social “pariah” look also didn’t do well, with an average loss of 1.24%.

As can be seen Second Life can negatively affect the worth of a business or brand. While many can benefit from a presence on Second Life, they should give as much thought to how their “avatars” look online when for instance facing customers as they do with their appearance in the real world.

Lord Carey – I said first the Church was first!

I was pleased to read in Phil Goodwin’s article about Archbishop Lord Carey’s claim that the social change envisaged in the Big Society was already done my the Church millennia ago (The Saturday interview, Telegraph, April 23). I said the same thing at the ‘Faith, Spirituality, and Social Change conference’ in 2007! The same year I founded a social enterprise for ‘peoplising’ resources from the people- private- and public sectors to regenerate my community.

The Conservatives, however much they are able to walk the walk of the Big Society now, whereas Labour just talked the talk, are still coming to the game late. The Millionaires on the Tory front-bench, instead of lining their pockets the 13 years they were out of power could have been the 21st-century business-minded equivalents of the Victorian and Edwardian philanthropic change makers.

David Cameron and George Osborne probably have more personal wealth than every other person in Pontypridd combined, but they did nothing when out-of-power. Some of us on the other hand, came together before the term ‘Big Society’ was coined, to change our community for the better. Our ‘peoplisation’ approach of using the full benefit of the people, public and private sectors without privitisation has shown that even with limited expertise and personal wealth the Big Society model can work where the people and private sectors work in partnership with the public sector, and not in opposition of it.

What obligations to membership organisations have to others with regards to their civil and human rights?

I have for the last week been re-writing my social enterprise’s constitution and policies to ensure they explicitly comply with the Equality Acts of 2006 and 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998. I think these are three of the most significant pieces of legislation New Labour passed, but without the efforts of other governments they may never have come into being.

Many people argue how they believe the Human Rights Act is a ‘criminals charter’ or the Equality Acts are ‘political correctness gone mad’, but I think they are essential to ensuring that all people are able to go about their lives and expect to be treated equally to others.

Some of the points I make in this article I have presented to others and spoken on elsewhere in this blog, but I will need to mention them here for context. In the following paragraphs are the conclusions I have come to on how these laws apply to membership based organisations.

1. Every organisation which has members shall not be able to bar someone from being a member on the basis of their age, gender or sex, sexual orientation, marital or other civil union status, religion or other belief, race, gender reassignment status, or pregnancy/maternity status. I will refer to these as protected characteristics (Equality Act 2010 applied). Nor shall they, as a requirement of membership, compel any of their members to associate with any other member within a group within the organisation to which they may have a common protected characteristic (Human Rights Act 1998). They are also not allowed to compel a member to associate with other persons where doing so would compromise their protected characteristics. So for example, some trade unions currently require a member to be a member of the Labour Party in order to receive political aid. If a member had beliefs contrary to the Labour Party then it would be an infringement of that member’s rights to deny them aid because they didn’t believe in the Labour Party’s common beliefs.

This is because in the case of such a member exercising their protected characteristic with regards to religion of belief, the organisation must recognise that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and everyone has the freedom to change they religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or with other members or person, whether in public or private places, to manifest their religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance (Human Rights Act 1998 applied). The only time a member may not be entitled to express their religion or belief or associate with other members in this regard is where it conflicts with interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others (ibid).

2. An organisation is allowed have as it objects to promote the causes of a particular group of people sharing a protected characteristic above, but they are not allowed to exclude someone from membership because they do not meet a specific quality relating to one of that protected characteristic (Equality Act 2010 applied). So for example, an organisation that seeks to promote youth justice is required to allow anyone of any age to join. However, the parent or guardians of the young members have a right to ask that the organisation not allow an older member to associate with the younger members who the parents or guardians have collectively defined a group on the basis of a certain age or group of ages.

3. It is not unlawful for the other members of that organisation not to associate with that member if they identify themselves as a group meeting one of the protected characteristics and the member they don’t want to meet doesn’t have that characteristic (Equality Act 2006 and Human Rights Act 1998 applied).

However it is unlawful for members of such a group decide not to not associate with another member if they meet the protected characteristic that group is based on and the members don’t want to associate with them because of something arising from that or any other protected characteristic (Equality Act 2006 and Equality Act 2010 applied).

4. Any organisation shall not be allowed to inhibit a member’s rights to associate with other members sharing a protected characteristic, unless it is because they are doing so to protect national security or public safety, disorder or crime, health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others, which I shall call restricted acts of assembly.

The organisation shall not prevent those members from assembling using its facilities if they decide to form as a group based on that characteristic even if that group is not related to the characteristic the organisation wishes to promote. The exception to this is that group is not acting to promote the organisation’s objects relating to that characteristic or is encouraging, supporting or enacting a restricted act of assembly and is assembling to support other external interests, as this may compromise the organisation’s integrity (Equality Act 2006 and Human Rights Act 1998 applied).

The only time this doesn’t apply is where those interests are essential to the members rights to associate in the organisation, such as maintaining the privacy of their home or correspondence, their right to enter into a civil union,

5. Where members have agreed to form a group based on a protected characteristic, the organisation, to avoid claims of institutional discrimination, should consult with those members as to their collective needs and provide for those needs on a non-discriminatory basis (Equality Act 2006 applied). That is, the organisation’s privileges and benefits should not favour one group more than another, unless that group is based on disability, where that group can be treated more favourably.

6. Members of a group should not prevent any other members of the organisation whether part of the group or not from expressing themselves to or within because the consensus of the group differs from them where that difference is based on a protected characteristic, unless it is in order to protect the reputation of others, the health or morals of others, preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary (Equality Act 2006, Equality Act 2010 and Human Rights Act 1998 applied), which I will call protected acts of expression.

7. An organisation shall not require members to perform particular duties, whether paid or unpaid, where the condition of membership is not on the basis of employment or related status, unless that work forms part of that members normal civic obligations, to provide emergency aid to protect life, or as part of military service (Human Rights act 1998 applied).

This means workers co-operatives are protected, but other organisations whose membership criteria is not based on employment are not allowed to compel anyone to perform forced or compulsory labour. This is except where organisations supporting offenders who have been required by law to provide for that member to carry out that work, or where that member holds a position of say first aider and they are required to perform those duties.

8. Organisation shall not subject members to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, regardless of whether or not they have a protected characteristic (Human Rights Act 1998 applied). Nor shall they victimise or harass a member who demands their rights to enjoy their protected characteristic though either internal or external procedures, or where provide information to others about how the law protects this characteristic (Equality Act 2010).

9. An organisation shall not do anything that would shorten the life of a member or any other person (Human Rights Act 1998 applied). At all times they should have consideration for how wrongly managing a person’s protected characteristic can impact on their life expectancy, and take measures to prevent such an eventuality (ibid).

This includes a health insurance provider who by not providing someone with a particular treatment to extend their life in effect shortens it. It also includes an organisation which fails to act where they know one of their members is going to commit suicide and that member does. The only time a member of an organisation may limit someone’s life expectancy is in defence of any person from unlawful violence, in order to give effect to a lawful arrest or to prevent escape of a person lawfully detained, or in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection (Human Rights Act 1998 applied).

Redefining society – towards the fourth way in healthcare

Until recently politicians and political activists have differentiated themselves according to whether they are ‘right wing’ and support the private sector or whether they are ‘left wing’ and support the public sector. New Labour tried to change this through the ‘third way’ by mixing public and private finance through ‘Public Private Partnership’ and ‘Private Finance Initiative’ schemes. But there is a fourth way – the one the public choose themselves.

In the UK available to all is what I call ‘public health insurance’ in the form of the NHS provided on a state financed and run basis, ‘private health insurance’ such as from Tesco or AXA run in order to make those firms profit, as well as what I call ‘people health insurance’ such as Bupa, which is run for the benefit of members and any profit is reinvested into the scheme to improve services for members.

Having people health insurance I can choose which consultants I see when I have a problem, I can decide which treatment I think is best for me on basis of the number of options they give me and even some options I give them, and then using my public health insurance I can have the medication they recommended provided to me

The debate in the UK still surrounds whether public or private is best – but I think we should give that choice to the people, and in a way we have. I have decided to spend the equivalent of 70 packets of cigarettes a year on putting my health first though buying people health insurance. Other people would rather smoke and rely on public health insurance to pick up the pieces.

To me, having people health insurance is no different to being a member of a gym or other fitness club. It is just showing that you value your health more than other things.

So I have chosen the public and people health option, and I think the government should respect that choice. I think also the government should give people the choice over whether they want their local hospitals run on a public basis as they are mainly are now, or whether they want them provided on a private or people basis. I would opt for people, on the basis I set out elsewhere on my blog and to the now Welsh Health Minister Edwina Hart, even though I once said to Jane Hutt when she was in the post I would prefer private management of hospitals.

The most important thing I think it not that these health ministers or I decide, but that those who want to or do use the hospital do. That is the fourth way – the people decide on the basis on common sense and personal interest not ideology like the politicians usually do.

We must do more to protect our children from online predators

I read with hopefulness the front-page story that teenagers from South Wales were going to be safe from online predators (“Dad sets up safe ‘new Facebook’ website”, March 31). But the devil is in the detail as they say.
If I could bring to readers’ attention a shocking fact – browsing Google’s statistics websites Google Trends, there has been a decrease in searches for obscene images of children at the same rate there has been an increase in searches for social networking.
This suggests to me that sex offenders are fulfilling their sordid fantasies by pretending to be children and befriending them on these sites.

To road-testing of southwaleskids.com by journalist Ed Walker shows how even Hywel Dance’s site is open to abuse.

As Ed showed, it is a piece of cake for someone to pretend to be a pupil at a school and invite others to be “friends” with them. Without a system to verify the pupil’s identity, Hywel’s site is as open to abuse as Facebook.

I recently made a speech on the need for greater identity protection in order to protect vulnerable people online. I argued that there should be a special bank card that only children can have, and that they can only use social networking sites like Hywel’s if they verify their identity with that card and their parent/guardian uses their credit card to give them the permission to use it. This would make it much more difficult for predators to gain access to children online.

There is currently a European Union consultation on the role of technology to protect people’s identity online. I invite readers to take part and let the EU know that, whatever the ideal of anonymity online, the safety of our children comes first. The consultation is at tinyurl.com/eu-eid-sig and closes on April 15.

From false hero to Snert – characterisation in modern online communities

Firstly I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me to speak today.

Have you ever watched a film, and thought to yourself, ‘this plot is very familiar’ or ‘I’m sure I’ve met these characters before’?

This comes as no surprise. Screenwriters make frequent use of characters and situations, which they know we will find familiar. It is these plot components and familiar characterisations that help to keep our interest engaged.

The Russian scholar Vladimir Propp (prawp) devoted his career to analysing the plot components of common Russian folktales. He identified a staggering 31 narrative functions and eight broad character types. These were; the villain, the dispatcher, the helper, the princess, her father, the donor, the hero and the false hero.

According to Propp, every story has to have a hero who dominates the storyline – and nearly always seeks and eventually wins the heart of the ‘princess’.

Let us test this theory of Propp’s by applying it to the medium of feature film.

I’ve chosen Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves. In this legendary story of a man who robs from the rich, to give to the poor, Robin Hood is cast as hero with Maid Marion assuming the role of princess.  Some re-imaginings of the Robin Hood legend cast Guy of Gisbourne as the false hero while the villain is, of course, the Sheriff of Nottingham. Marion’s father presents an obstacle between her and Robin, although in some versions of the story – such as ‘Robin Hood Prince of Thieves’ – the role of Marion’s father is assumed by the woman who shares a house with her, whom makes attempts to ‘protect’ Marion. The dispatcher in this story is a character called Azeem who gets Robin out of prison, while the donor is Marion’s brother Peter, who gives Robin a ring (Propp’s magical object) and makes him swear to protect her. In nearly all renditions of the Robin Hood story, the character Little John takes on the role of helper, who, without which, Robin would not be able to complete his quests.

The medium of feature film is now almost a century old. Does Propp’s analysis of character types still hold true when put to the test against a more modern phenomenon: the online community?

Some types of online community, such as Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs), continue to support Propp’s theory well, but for the majority the eight characterisations that he identified they are largely irrelevant.

Following some research in 2008, I identified no less than eleven characters which exist in online environments. Some of these were already documented. Others I invented.

The most talked about and controversial variety of online community participant is definitely the Troll, so named after the supernatural beings in Scandinavian folklore in the 17th century. The Troll posts deliberately provocative messages intended to start a fierce argument (‘flame war’) between other members of the community.  Stepping in to counter troll activity is the Big Man, so-named after the ‘Big Men’ in tribes such as the Siane who form a de facto council that confirms social policy and practices. Big Men are pivotal in the community, supporting group order and stability by personally absorbing conflicts.

Snerts are even more badly behaved than trolls. It is their raison d’être to be obnoxious by posting messages with the sole intention of causing gross offense. Snerts are apparent in most online communities and rarely support or recognize any of the Big Men unless there is immediate personal benefit in doing so.

The posted messages of Snerts and Trolls may look similar. However, when you apply the definitions described in my theory the key differences between them become clear. A troll’s intention is to provoke a reaction, for example by playing devil’s advocate in an argument.  Snerts, on the other hand, are only interested in being directly and openly offensive.

Howard Rheingold, the online community researcher and author of seminal text ‘The Virtual Community’ describes sociable online community participants, who I have now termed Flirts. Marc Smith on the other hand has identified members of an online community who, after being banned for unacceptable behavior, return (as might the Scarlet Pimpernel) with a new identity, intent on realising for themselves a form of personal justice. I call these E-vengers.

Jenny Preece has written a number of articles on the subject of ‘empathic communities’. She has described sympathetic and empathetic online community participants. Their common reaction to others may be summed up with the acronym ‘MHBFY’ (my heart bleeds for you). I call such characters MHBFY Jennies.

Some community members – known as Chat Room Bobs – are driven by the desire to achieve sexual gratification through the sharing of pictures and dialogue of a sexual nature. Others – I call them Rippers – are characterized by feelings of helplessness (such as 21-year-old computer expert Brandon Vedas who killed himself during an online chat session in 2003 – Ripper was Brandon’s screen name).

Finally, there are Wizards and Iconoclasts. Wizards are the beta testers of the online community. They love a learning curve and are always open to experiencing advances in technology.  Iconoclasts are the Wizards’ nemeses, who seek only to destroy rather than build online communities.

As I hope I have shown you, the codes and conventions that apply to one form of new media may not apply to another. Those characters in films which are merely broadcasted to us are widely different from those we create as manifestations of ourselves in cyberspace. So I’ll leave you to ponder this – which character are you?

What is the impact of the ECJ ruling on discrimination law?

The Court of Justice of the EU recently determined that national rules which, in order to promote access of younger persons to employment, permitted an employer to dismiss employees who had acquired the right to draw their retirement pension, when that right was acquired by women at an age five years younger than the age at which it was acquired by men, constituted direct discrimination on the grounds of sex.
There has been a lot of debate about the impacts this ruling will have on the country, with some newspapers quoting Labour Party MEPs who thinks the decision is wrong, even though only last year Labour introduced new legislation to make this ruling easy enforcing this decision. This case, Kleist v Pensionsversicherungsanstalt (C-356/09) has wide implications for other â”protected characteristicsâ” under the Equality Act 2010, which is based on EU law. I will consider two of them – disability and civil unions – now.

Consider disabilities. I have to currently pay twice the amount of insurance others do in order to have my ‘pre-existing’ conditions covered. Considering the judgement in the Kleist case the insurance I take out is acquired by able-bodied people at a cheaper price than a disabled person for the same amount of cover, which constitutes direct discrimination on the grounds of disability.

Consider marriage and civil partnership (‘civil unions’). I am not in a civil union. The government want to encourage civil unions and provide tax incentives to encourage this. They are therefore taxing the wealth acquired by someone who is in a civil union less that the wealth acquired by someone who is not, which constitutes direct discrimination on the grounds of civil union status.

Having a look at the various protected characteristics it is likely that you will see a circumstance in which some good or service you have acquired has cost more because of a certain aspect of who you are in reference to these. Under the Equality Act 2010 and various other laws in EU countries using the same directives to make their laws, you should be considered to have been discriminated against if you were treated worse than someone else because you fall into a protected characteristic.

Age discrimination provisions in the Equality Act 2010 – Does it create enough unlawful practices?

I think the Equality Act 2010 is one of the most exciting Acts of Parliament written, as how far it can reach in changing the way we do things is uncertain, particularly if primary legislation and case law from away EU is applied.

Looking specifically at age discrimination, I’ve thought of a few things we take for granted that may have to change if what was intended by the EU directives is redlined in full through the Equality Act 2010. Under the act one’s age, or one’s age-range is a “protected characteristic” meaning it should be difficult to discriminate against someone because of their age. I will now outline some of the public policies this could affect if EU precedents and principles are applied in a UK context.

Discounts and restrictions for children

Children under a certain age can often have discount or free meals. This should now should be discrimination. Restaurants should base their pricing discounts on the basis of height. One’s age does not strictly affect our capacity to eat food, whereas our height does. So a person with a growth disorder will have the same capacity for consuming food as a child of the same height, so discounts or exemptions may have to be based on this so that children are not treated more favourable than adults with similar needs.

Children, usually under 12 years of age, can currently pay a ‘half fare’ for public transport. One’s age has little impact on our ability to use public transport, except that children subject to compulsory education are more likely to use the bus, for example, at specific times. So public transport discounts should ideally be based on another status, such as whether someone is attending full-time or compulsory education, meaning adults in full time learning are treated the same as they are not as able to earn a livingwhen in full-time education as children in compulsary education.

Discounts and restrictions for pensioners

Like children, pensioners get concessionary travel at a certain age, such as 60. This discriminates on the grounds of age. For example, it is possible to be a pensioner at 55, or in the case of a professional footballer, 35. So discounts will have to be made available on other factors. This could include the status of being a pensioner, not being in work, having a low income, or being a carer for children or disabled people.
Also, special rates for “OAPs” should ideally change to one of these factors, as only giving pensioners discount if they are “old-age” could be condidered age discrimination.

Healthcare

Healthcare professionals should ideally no longer make health decision based on onew’s age. Just become someone is at an age close to their life expectancy, doesn’t mean they should be denied healthcare. Insurance companies shouldn’t ideally base their charges on age. But equally they can’t base in on someone health conditions as this would unfairly discriminate against more senior citizens and disabled people. Also they sjouldn’t ideally base fees or treatment availability on consumption of services, as older people need more treatment as often do children. In fact, the law says it is fair to treat people with disabilities, which many older people have, more favourably, but not less favourably. So healthcare pricing may have to the same for everyone, even though disabled/elderly people are likely to use it more.

Education

Basing entry and nature of education on age could be considered discrimination. It is unfair that at present someone born in October cannot join the same classes at school as those born in August.

Clearly entry to a school on the basis of ability is also wrong because people with special educational needs may face indirect discrimination because they may find it harder to meet this criterion than others. So ideally, individual learning plans should become the norm.

Entry to “compulsory” education, and “post-compulsory” education should ideally have to based not on age or ability, but on “need” – that is which establishment is most likely to helper the learner reach their potential. This is problematic also, as it could be that the only reason a school is not suitable is because it is not making reasonable adjustments to help accommodate learners with a disability. So any assessment of need will have to include in it those adaptions education establishments will need to make to support those with disabilities.

Employment

In employment, assessments of suitability based on age should ideally be seen as unlawful. Potential employees shoulf have to be assessed on qualifications and experience, rather than years of service, being of “childrearing age”, or “near retirement”. So a university graduate at 25 who did a sandwich year of relevant intense industry experience, may have to be considered more favourably than someone older who had years of service with less intense or that relevant work experience – this is an example, but age shouldn’t ideslly even be considered by employers in this comparative way.

It is also, without considering age, likely to be permissible to employ someone with little qualifications or experience if they employer wants to “train them up” rather than someone plentiful qualifications and experience who may have prejudices about the “right way” to do things. So long as this is not based on age related concerns, such as that an employer thinks because someone is older they are less able to learn, or another protected characteristic, such as the effects of disability, then a decision based on qualifications and experience will be lawful.

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