Equality and Diversity Policy
(revised 8 September 2009)
(accepted by Board 10 September 2009)
reviewed 10th September 2012
reviewed 1st September 2014
reviewed 14th September 2015
reviewed 7th September 2016
reviewed 8th September 2017
reviewed 4th September 2018
This policy reconciles the Equal Opportunities Policy and Diversity Policies of Bloxwich Community Partnership. All previous versions are superseded and should be withdrawn from policy and procedure manuals and the Organisation website forthwith.
Breach of Policy
- Recruitment and Selection
- Training and Development
- Customer Service
- Glossary of Terms
- Formal Procedure for Discrimination, Harassment, Victimisation and Bullying
- BLOXWICH COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP
Equality and Diversity Policy
Bloxwich Community Partnership, (hereinafter called ‘the Organisation’), is committed to creating a culture in which diversity and equality of opportunity are promoted actively and in which unlawful discrimination is not tolerated. We recognise the real benefits of having a diverse community of staff and trustees and users and to this end, is working towards building and maintaining an environment which values diversity.
Bloxwich Community Partnership believes in the principles of social justice, acknowledges that discrimination affects people in complex ways and is committed to challenge all forms of inequality. To this end, we will aim to ensure that:
- Individuals are treated fairly, with dignity and respect regardless of their age, marital status, disability, race, faith, gender, language, social/ economical background or being lesbian or gay and any other inappropriate distinction;
- We will afford all individuals, staff, trustees and users the opportunity to fulfil their potential;
- We will promote an inclusive and supportive environment for staff, trustees, users and visitors.
- We will recognise the varied contributions to the achievement of the Organisation’s, mission, vision and values made by individuals from diverse backgrounds and with a wide range of experiences
Scope of the Policy
This policy applies to all staff, trustees, users and visitors to the Centres of the Organisation, together with those contracted to work at or for us.
Aims of the Policy and underpinning principles
The aim of this policy is to ensure that in carrying out its activities the Organisation will have due regard to:
- Promoting equality of opportunity, across all the activities of the Organisation.
- Promoting good relations between people of a diverse background
- Eliminating unlawful discrimination
This policy is guided by the following principles, that:
- All staff, trustees, users and visitors should enjoy a safe environment free from discrimination and harassment/bullying
- All users and employees should have equal access to quality services that are made available by the Organisation and its partners
- All staff and users should have equal access to opportunities for personal and professional development and career, progression and promotion opportunities
- All staff and users should be able to participate fully in the work and life of the organisation’s community and celebrate its diversity
- Staff and users at the organisation should reflect the diversity of talent, experience and skills from the local community.
- Positive action initiatives continue to be used to redress inequalities and discriminatory practice as outlined in the Equal Opportunities Policy and procedures
- All relevant stakeholders, including staff and users, have the right to be consulted about policies, procedures and practices and will be encouraged to contribute to the decision making processes of the Organisation.
Implementation of the Policy
The successful implementation of all strands of this policy relies on the mainstreaming of equality and diversity issues within the strategic planning process of the organisation. This will be achieved through the implementation of robust action plans, a framework for which will be the subject to continual consultation.
The Board of Directors / Trustees are responsibility for ensuring the Organisation meets its legal obligations in respect of legislation relating to equal opportunities.
The executive Committee supported by the Chief Executive Officer are responsible for ensuring the strategic development, implementation and review of the Equality and Diversity Policy and progress on the implementation of action plans.
Senior staff and Centre Managers are responsible for working with the Executive Committee to ensure that the organisation’s Equality and Diversity Policy and related action plans are implemented effectively across the whole organisation.
Managers are responsible for:
- Fostering a culture in which compliance with this policy is regarded as integral to the work of the area and in which equality and diversity issues are actively promoted;
- Producing and implementing area action plans.
- Ensuring staff and users are encouraged, supported and enabled to reach their full potential
- Identifying appropriate staff development for themselves and their staff to meet the needs of their respective areas
Individual members of staff are responsible for:
- Supporting and implementing the aims of this policy;
- Promoting equality of opportunity;
- Contributing to an environment free of fear or intimidation and which celebrates diversity;
- Ensuring that their behaviour and actions do not amount to discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation in any way.
Breach of the Policy
The organisation will take seriously any instances of non-adherence to the Equality and Diversity policy by staff, trustees, users or visitors. Any instances of non-adherence will be investigated and where appropriate will be considered under the relevant disciplinary policy.
Monitoring and Review
The Executive will monitor performance against published equal opportunities targets as appropriate.
The organisation will seek to access the impact of its policies on staff, trustees and users to ensure that real improvements are being made in tackling discrimination and promoting diversity.
The policy and appendices (1-5 inclusive) will be reviewed annually.
- Taylor – Chair E. Boycott – Chief Officer
Policy Review Sept 2018
This policy is next due for review: September 2019
RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION
The Organisation recognises that fair and equitable recruitment and selection practices are crucial in delivering equality of opportunity. All staff involved in the recruitment and selection process will be required to abide by the provisions of the Organisations Recruitment Procedure. Specifically the Organisation will ensure that: –
- A positive statement about the Organisations’ commitment to Equal Opportunities appears in all job advertisements
- Job vacancies are advertised so that the widest possible range of applicants may
- Job criteria is determined solely on the essential requirements of the job, and that people are selected and appointed purely on merit and on the basis of their ability to do the job
- All applications for jobs are made only on the Organisations authorised application form on or before the closing date.
- The Application Form has been redesigned so as to satisfy the requirements of the Age Discrimination legislation.
- Everyone making recruitment and selection decisions is properly trained in the Organisations’ procedure and can demonstrate an understanding of the Organisations’ Equality and Diversity Policy, (revised September 2009).
- An equal opportunity representative is a full participatory member of every interview panel for all staff appointments
- There is a complaints procedure for job applicants who consider that they have not been dealt with fairly by the Organisations’ recruitment and selection procedure
- New and existing employees are informed of their responsibilities under the
Organisations’ Equality and Diversity policy.
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
The Organisation recognises its obligations towards disabled people, believing many jobs can be effectively undertaken by people with disabilities. The Organisation is committed to making all its workplaces accessible and usable by people with disabilities. The objectives shall always be to attempt to enable a disabled person to do the job by making any necessary reasonable adjustments.
Recruitment and Selection
- The ‘Positive About Disabled People’ symbol will be displayed on all recruitment literature.
- Before recruiting, the Job Description and Employee Specification will be reviewed to see that they are up to date, objective and unambiguous, Selection criteria will not be used which is unjustifiable or unlawfully discriminatory
- Prospective job applications will be asked if they require details of the vacancy in any other form, where appropriate.
- Although applicants will generally be expected to use a standard application form, applications provided in other media will also be considered, should the particular circumstances warrant it.
- Any job applicant who has a disability who meets the minimum essential criteria for the job will be interviewed.
- All candidates for interview will be asked if they have any particular needs (e.g. a B.S.L. interpreter) and as far as possible these will be met.
Training and Development
All staff, volunteers and trustees will be informed of their obligations to people
with disabilities on behalf of the Organisation under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
All employees with disabilities will be afforded equal access to training and development opportunities on the basis of their training needs. Special requirements arising from their disability (e.g. BSL interpreter or wheelchair access) will be met as far as is reasonably possible.
At their Staff Appraisal all employees with disabilities will be asked what the Organization as their employer can do to make sure they can develop and use their abilities at work.
Redundancy, Redeployment and Retirement
Employees will not be considered for redundancy solely on the grounds of their disability.
Employees who have become unable to do their job through disability but who are unable to retire on the grounds of permanent ill health will be considered for suitable alternative employment.
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
The success of this Policy and therefore the effective delivery of service will rely heavily upon the provision of quality training and development programmes which are designed to meet a variety of needs and circumstances.
Training will be provided for the following purposes:
- To enhance and develop the skills, knowledge and abilities of existing staff,
volunteers and trustees to realise their full potential irrespective of background or
- To enable staff, volunteers and trustees to be sensitive and responsive to the needs
of the wider community so that they can deliver even better services.
- To equip staff, volunteers and trustees with the skills to provide personal and
Organisational solutions to discriminatory practice and behaviour and to promote
anti-discriminatory behaviour generally.
- To promote greater awareness of equal opportunities and the contribution that staff,
volunteers and trustees at all levels can make.
- To gain commitment to the pursuit of equal opportunities.
It should also be noted that:
- Recruitment and selection training including interviewing techniques will be
mandatory for those involved in making recruitment and selection decisions.
- Staff, volunteers and trustees will have equal access to training. Particular attention
will be given to the needs of part-time staff.
- It is recognised that development is not only about formal training, but is also a
continuous process of learning brought about by self development, encouragement
and motivation. In this regard the Organisation places great emphasis on the
relationships between Managers and other staff and intends that staff should be
encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and development in a
The Organisation will regard any breach of this Policy as a serious matter and has, drawn up procedures, (Appendix 5) to deal with complaints of discrimination, bullying, harassment, victimisation and bullying. See glossary – Appendix 4.
Monitoring is a crucial aspect of this policy, as it can provide important information by which the Organisation can measure its performance against its aims and objectives
Monitoring will be undertaken in the following areas on an annual basis:
- The composition of the workforce by sex, race, disability
- Recruitment in the last year by sex, race, disability
- The take up of training opportunities, particularly with regards to career development
and promotion opportunities
- The use of complaints procedures currently in force
- The use of grievance and disciplinary procedures currently in force.
In addition, to enable continuous feedback the Organisation will ‘monitor’ the workforce through the following processes:
Annual staff surveys, and,
Annual or bi-annual staff appraisals (as may be deemed appropriate), and,
Performance monitoring, (as may be deemed appropriate), and,
Generally encouraging an on–going dialogue between Managers, staff and members of the Board.
EFFECTIVE CUSTOMER SERVICE
The Organisation’s Strategic Plan sets down standard benchmarks for the provision of quality Customer Service. Service excellence requires a continuous improvement in realistically meeting customer’s expectations. With this in mind, the following tools and techniques are available to enable better customer – focused services.
- Identifying User Needs
Accurate identification of needs will enable better targeting of resources into meeting user’s needs. Identification of needs will therefore require the Organisation to determine:
- Which section of the community each service is to reach, and,
- What the detailed requirements of each section are for a particular service
Failure to identify and respond to needs will result in reduced customer satisfaction. In considering what would represent a satisfactory service for a user, we need to be mindful of the user’s perspective on service delivery, namely: –
- Outcome: did the user get what they expected: and
- Experience: what did the user have to go through to obtain the service?
The experience is a direct reflection of the processes used by the provider to deliver the service. Managers will therefore need to consider the total package and set performance standards for both outcome and experience elements of the service.
Also programme planners need to understand the criteria used by customers to evaluate the service. Without the information, Managers will not be able to focus resources on elements which contribute most directly to achieving high customer satisfaction levels. The satisfaction criteria will vary between different programmes, centres, and different users.
- Designing the service to meet the user’s needs
This involves ensuring that the service which is designed is aligned with the expectations of users.
The intended service must be specified in terms of clear quantified standards which a user can expect and this information needs to be communicated to users. Only in this way will the provider ensure:-
That the user has an accurate expectation of the service standard which will be delivered; and,
That the Organisation can actually measure whether the Service has been delivered as promised.
The framework of the customer service standards incorporates 5 key elements, namely: information, access, choice, redress and safety. This ensures that maximum information is available on what a customer can or cannot expect when obtaining the particular service. Other techniques for informing the users should be considered and the form and style of communicating should be relevant to the target audience.
- Service Delivery and retrieval
There are two aspects to this:-
Ensuring that the service which has been planned is actually delivered; and if and when things go wrong, to make sure staff can respond promptly and effectively to retrieve the situation
Delivering the promised service
The most important person from the user’s point of view is the person dealing with the user – the direct service provider. The actions of these front-line staff have the most immediate impact upon the users’ perception of customer service to the user. Failure at this point can be perceived to mean that the whole service has failed.
Line Managers must also clarify and agree with staff what is expected, what their roles and responsibilities are, ensure that appropriate resources and support are available and provide feedback on actual performance. A critical tool for achieving this is a clear strategic plan.
In addition, the physical settings within which the service is delivered could convey to users the value that the Organisation places upon its customers. Managing these first impressions is a crucial element in achieving customer’s satisfaction.
Putting Things Right
Despite the most careful service planning and management, mistakes will occur, and the service promise will not be met. Service recovery is the process of putting things right.
- Dealing effectively with service failure can have a significant impact on retaining customer satisfaction by: –
- Solving the immediate problem as quickly as possible; and
- Learning from the failure and taking remedial action to reduce the risks of the
same failure recurring.
- A procedure for dealing with complaints is now in place. Managers should be utilising these procedures to enable the Organisation to make an effective response when a user registers a complaint. This would include an indication of when the problem will be resolved, and standards set for all aspects of the response.
- Having solved the immediate problem, the manager’s next step is to determine whether there is a fault in the planning and delivery of the service which requires corrective action. The steps involved with this are: –
Identify the root cause,
Consider corrective action,
Feeding back to the customer or service user.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Is the unfair or unequal treatment of individuals or groups.
This means treating someone less favourably than others would be treated in the same or similar circumstances.
This means applying a requirement or condition which cannot be justified to all groups but which has a disproportionately adverse effect on one group because the proportion of that group which can comply with it is smaller than the proportion of the group(s) which can comply with it.
This occurs when a person is treated less favourably than other persons would be treated because that person has done something in reference to the Equal Pay Act, Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (as amended) or Race Relations Act 1976, by, for example, bringing forward proceedings or giving evidence or information.
Definitions of Harassment
Harassment can take many forms from the most obvious abusive remarks to extremely subtle use of power. As with unfair or unlawful discrimination, harassment can be intentional or unintentional. However, the key issue is not simply the intention of the offender but the impact of the behaviour on the person receiving it.
Harassment may involve any, or a combination of the following: –
Physical contact or violence
Offensive, humiliating remarks or actions
Exclusion from participation in job related discussions, training or social or other events
Unfair work allocation
Unjust or excessive or humiliating criticism of performance
Offensive notices, signs, pictures calendars
Repeated requests or demands for sexual favours
It should be noted that these are purely examples of forms of harassment and do not represent an exhaustive list.
The term ‘staff’, generally, unless otherwise stated refers to paid employees, volunteers and trustees.
FORMAL PROCEDURE FOR DEALING WITH ALLEGATIONSOF DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT VICTIMISATION OR BULLYING
The Organisation through its Equality and Diversity Policy opposes unfair discrimination, harassment, victimisation and bullying on the grounds of sex, race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, age, trade union activity, political or religious belief.
The Organisation believes that all staff have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Therefore, cases of alleged harassment, discrimination, victimisation or bullying will not be permitted or condoned. Within this context, it is important that where any staff member, volunteer or trustee believes there has been unfair discrimination, harassment victimisation or bullying there is an internal means of redress which is specifically designed to deal with complaints of this nature. This accords with the accepted view of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, (formerly the Commission for Racial Equality and the Equal Opportunities Commission), (and the European Recommendation and Code of Practice on the Dignity of Women and Men at work.
The aim of this procedure is to ensure that allegations of unfair discrimination, harassment, victimisation and bullying are dealt with sensitively and without prejudice
It is recognised that whilst it is important to have a formal procedure to deal with alleged discrimination, harassment, victimisation and bullying it is equally important to have an informal process by which such matters may be dealt with. Many staff who feel that they have been harassed or discriminated against often feel more comfortable in discussing the issue with someone on an informal basis. This may be the immediate line manager, or another member of staff.
Should a member of staff wish to deal with any matter informally he/she may be represented at any discussion relating to the matter. This may be for example, a Trade Union representative, colleague or friend. Equally the Organisation acknowledges that employees may prefer to speak to a person of a particular race or gender. In such cases the Organisation will endeavour to meet such requests as far as practicable.
It should be noted that notwithstanding the above, any incidents which an employee wishes to process under the formal procedure, must be notified to the Chief Officer, (CEO) and dealt with as described below.
No record will be kept of meetings held on an informal basis unless the complainant specifically requests this.
Should an employee wish to pursue any matter formally the following procedure will be adopted.
Formal complaint received in writing by the Chief Officer, (CEO) within 4 weeks of an alleged incident.
Complaint to be acknowledged by the Chief Officer, (CEO), within 3 working days. This acknowledgement will also inform the complaint of the name of the Investigating Officer who will conduct a formal investigation should it not be appropriate for the Chief Officer, (CEO) to undertake the investigation personally.
Investigation of complaint and written response to be sent to the complainant within 10 working days. This time limit will be strictly adhered to unless the complaint is sufficiently complex to justify an extension which will be agreed with the complainant. If appropriate the complainant should be advised of the right of appeal in this written response.
If the complainant is satisfied and no formal disciplinary action is contemplated the matter will end here.
Stage Two is activated if (a) further action is considered to be appropriate or (b) the complainant is not satisfied with the response.
Investigating Officer considers case warrants further action
Arrangements shall be made for a formal hearing in accordance with the Organisations’ Disciplinary Procedure.
All parties shall be given 7 working days notice to attend.
The complainant shall be advised of the outcome of the Hearing within 7 days.
A right of appeal exists under the Organisations’ Disciplinary Procedure for any member of staff issued with a Disciplinary sanction. (See Stage Three below)
Complaint not satisfied with Investigating Officers response
The complainant may appeal in writing to the Chairperson within 5 days of
Receipt of the written notification of the response.
The Chairperson will either reply or arrange a meeting to discuss the matter within 5 working days.
The Chairperson will confirm the result of any meeting within 4 working days.
Should the complainant continue to be dissatisfied there exists a right of appeal. (See Stage Three below)
A meeting of the appropriate ‘appeals’ body which will normally be a Sub-Committee of the Executive Committee shall be convened within 4 weeks unless otherwise mutually agreed in writing.
The appellant shall be informed of the decision of the Appeals hearing within 5 working days.
A report shall be submitted to the Full Board if the decision of the Appeals Committee, has, or may have, policy implications.
Nothing in this procedure affects an employee’s right to register the complaint with an
Employment Tribunal or seek redress if the complaint is not processed in accordance with the timetable set out in this procedure or if the employee is not satisfied with the result.
COMPLAINTS AGAINST THE CHIEF OFFICER
Complaints against or involving the Chief Officer , (CEO) or Senior Managers,(SMT) shall be dealt with in accordance with the terms and conditions contained in that agreement, in particular, paragraph 4 (b) which relate to discipline.
It is recognised that this procedure can only work in the context of staff and managers being made aware of their responsibilities and roles in promoting good working relationships and, where appropriate, in ensuring that problems may be dealt with effectively.
In this regard and central to the successful operation of this procedure is the provision of quality and properly focused training. The Organisation undertakes to make such training available for the following purposes:
To enable staff to be aware of words and behaviour which may cause offence to others?
To develop the skills of managers to recognise potential and actual harassment and discriminatory behaviour, victimisation and bullying, to understand the causes of such cases. In particular, training will be provided for managers in the use of this procedure.
To develop the counselling skills and techniques of managers so that counselling may be offered to the recipients of harassment, discriminatory behaviour and bullying, also to those who may have been the cause of such behaviour.