Equality and Diversity Policy July 2015

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1 Equality and Diversity Policy July 2015 Policy Group: Equality and Diversity Procedure Number: 3.1 Procedure Title: Equality and Diversity Policy Author: Gail Crossman Date and current version: July 2015 Review Date: July 2016 This document is issued and controlled by the Director of Curriculum and Quality and can only be modified after proposed modifications have been accepted by the Company Directors. The latest version will be maintained on the company S:Drive under Policies and Procedures 1

2 Scope This policy applies to all employees, learners, contractors, stakeholders, colleagues, employers, customers and prospective employees. Purpose The overall purpose of this policy is to ensure that Learning Curve Group is a place where learning and working exists in an environment that promotes equality of opportunity, celebrates diversity and allows everyone to achieve to their potential. Every customer, stakeholder, employer and contractor is entitled to receive a service from Learning Curve Group that is free of bias and all unreasonable barriers. Every employee and learner is entitled to expect equality of opportunity in all aspects of their employment including its terms and conditions. Every potential employee and learner is entitled to expect the recruitment process to be free of all unreasonable barriers This policy will be communicated through different means to all staff, learners, subcontractors and customers. Comment Learning Curve Group wishes to secure genuine equality of opportunity whether required by legislation or not, in all aspects of its activities as an employer and training provider. To this end, Learning Curve Group will take every reasonable and practicable steps to ensure that there be no discrimination against any individual or individuals, including staff, directors, beneficiaries, trainees, sub contractors and customers on account of their disability, age, sexual orientation, race, religion or belief, gender reassignment, gender, marital status and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity or any other criteria. Our Commitment Every employee is entitled to a working enviroment which promotes dignity and respect to all. No form of intimidation, bullying or harassment will be tolerated; Equality and diversity champions will share and promote successful actions that work in the learning, teaching and work setting; 2

3 The commitment to diversity and equality in the workplace is good management practice and makes sound business sense; Promotion and embedding of equality and diversity is at the fore front of our employees; Breachs of our diversity and equality policy will be regarded as misconduct and could lead to disciplinary proceedings; This policy is fully supported by senior management and improvement practices are embedded into the equality and diversity development plan; The policy will be monitored and reviewed annually; Definitions Direct discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favorable relating to any of the listed characteristics Indirect discrimination occurs when an apparently neutral practice or requirement disproportionally disadvantages one group and cannot be justified by the company Discrimination by association is direct discrimination against someone because they associate with another person who possesses a protected characteristic Perception discrimination is direct discrimination against an individual because others think they possess a particular protected characteristic. It applies even if the person does not actually possess that characteristic Harassment is recognised and means employees will be able to complain regarding behavior that they find offensive even if it is not directed at them, and the complainant need not possess the relevant characteristic themselves The Law This policy will be implemented within the framework of the relevant legislation, which includes: Equal Pay Act 1970 (Equal Value Amendment 1984) Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (Gender Reassignment Regulations 1999) Race Relations Act 1976 Disability Discrimination Act 1995 The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 Race Relations Act 1976 (Amendment) Regulations

4 Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 Disability Discrimination Act 2005 Empoyment Equality (Age) Regulations

5 Third part harassment means employers are potentially liable for harassment of employees by people (third parties) who are not employees of the company, such as customers or clients. Employers are only liable where harassment has occurred on at least two previous occasions, they are aware that it has taken place, and have not taken reasonable steps to prevent it from happening again. Equality & Diversity Statement Learning Curve Group is committed to being an equal opportunities company, promoting and developing equality and diversity in all its functions across the business. It will seek to do this by: communicating its commitment to equality and diversity to all creating an environment where there is mutual respect and equality of opportunity provide relevant training for all staff developing mechanisms for implementation, monitoring, evaluation and review treating acts of discrimination as a disciplinary offence dealing with harassment and bullying engaging staff in the development, implementation and execution of our policies actively promoting equality and diversity with our customers, learners and others engage a team of equality and diversity champions to share good practice People that we deal with will receive equal treatment regardless of sex, marital status, race, colour, ethnicity, nationality, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or belief. The Directors and Management Team recognise that they have responsibility for ensuring that the company operates within the legal framework for equality and for implementing the policy throughout the business. All employees and learners of Learning Curve Group are responsible for trying to prevent discrimination which is within their control to prevent or challenge.. Aims of the policy are To comply with legislation To ensure an environment free from Bullying and harassment and unfair or unlawful discrimination To develop an ethos of equality of opportunity and to take positive steps to promote it 5

6 Objectives of the policy are To review regularly the policy and procedures that promote and protect equality and diversity To make all partners aware of their personal obligations to avoid discrimination in accordance with this Equality and Diversity Policy To organise or access opportunities that foster a culture of equality for all To discourage and/or actively oppose any unfair or unlawful discrimination To monitor procedures and activities to ensure the effectiveness of Learning Curve s approach To take account of the needs of all, particularly those with protected characteristics To take positive action to redress unjustified disparities in training and/or employment Legal background Discrimination is unlawful when it takes place against any of the following protected characteristics; - Age - Disability - Gender reassignment - Pregnancy and maternity - Race - Religion or belief - Gender - Sexual orientation Marriage and civil partnerships are not legally a protected characteristic for FE and HE institutes but it is for other service industries. The Learning Curve Group approach Staff and recruitment Job selection process will promote our commitment to Equality and Diversity and be examined to ensure any advertisement does not discourage applicants from underrepresented groups Job descriptions will contain without discrimination, the clear requirements based on the needs of the role and will as standard contain the employees responsibilities related to equality and diversity Candidates information relating to equality and diversity will not be shared with the recruitment team and will only be used for monitoring purposes 6

7 Pre employment health questionnaires will not be used as part of the selection process Successful candidates with protected characteristics will have their needs reviewed and catered for where reasonably possible All employees will monitor their conduct and language to eliminate discriminatory remarks or practices. All employees should challenge colleagues where this is not adhered to To enable employees to reach their potential, Learning Curve will provide support and guidance to all employees. Specific support for employees with protected characteristics may include: Tailored training programmes Job sharing Flexible working hours Negotiated career breaks Paternity and adoption leave Enhanced maternity leave Rehabilitation adjustments The company training programme will include a range of events relative to equality and diversity All employees should be aware of the complaints and bullying and harassment procedure Learning Curve Group will monitor the makeup of the workforce against the protected characteristics and compare this with similar sectors. Learning Curve Group will also externally publicise the equality and diversity aims and objectives annually and promote progress made against specific equality and diversity action plans Learners Learner recruitment processes will promote our commitment to equality and diversity and be examined to ensure any advertisement encourages applicants from underrepresented groups Learner eligibility will be established prior to starting the course Learning Curve Group will actively use images and undertake activities that promote diversity Learners equality and diversity information will not influence the admission processes and will only be used for monitoring and determine support requirements If required all reasonable adjustments will be made for learners with protected characteristics and will include; Additional learning support Provision of an area for pray Bespoke provision of work wear to suit religion or belief Purchase of specialist equipment Flexible timetabling Ensuring suitable physical access arrangement 7

8 Participates, retention and achievement rates for underrepresented groups will be analysed and actioned for improvement where required Where possible work experience will be provided across a wide range of employers learners from underrepresented groups Curriculum activity will look to promote equality and diversity and monitor learners ongoing understanding. This may include; Questioning within progress reviews Learner surveys Discussions and debate Bespoke project research Observation of practice Other Stakeholders The services you provide should be easily accessible to others regardless of their personal characteristics. Under the Equality Act 2010, protection is given on the basis of the following protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religiion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity. The ethos of good customer service applies to all providers: everyone, regardless of background, is entitled to the same good level of customer service. It is recommended that you pay particular attention to how you will meet the needs of: Clients with a disability who may require a reasonable adjustment to be made; and Clients who are unable to communicate effectively in English. Other Considerations Make sure that employees, including reception staff, are sufficiently trained to deal with people with courtesy, politeness and consideration regardless of their background. Take care to assess what clients can understand, and ask the client how they need to communicate rather than making assumptions about this based on their ethnic origin, age or disability. Ensure that you premises and services are accessible to people with disabilities, as far as possible. This does not always mean that you have to make expensive alterations or adjustments. 8

9 Ask your client if there are any adjustments that you can make to help him or her better access service, for example: o A client with a visual impairment may like to receive an audio message or may prefer to be contacted by and receive electronic attachments. o A client with a hearing or speech impairment may prefer advice by or textphone in replacement of a phone based service. o Car parking arrangements can be notified in advance for those clients with mobility difficulties. Dealing with discrimination All matters of discrimination and bullying and harassment will be dealt with effectively and efficiently using the following processes where applicable; - Complaints procedure - Grievance procedure - Discipline procedure (staff) - Student discipline procedure Information from the above processes will be analysed and regularly reported to the senior management team. Impact Assessment As a function of the quality team, Equality and Diversity impact assessments will be conducted on all company policy and procedures. Supporting documentation A fair and diverse workplace Good workplace practices There are strong business benefits in developing good practice that encourages fairness and diversity. You can refer to the sample Equality and Diversity Policy as a checklist for what to include in your policy. A good policy would include policies and practices that are fair to: 9

10 Job applicants Volunteers/ work experience staff Employees Self employed Contract and part-time workers Partners A good policy would also cover the following topics: Arrangements for recruitment and selection Criteria used to select employees Terms and conditions of employment Access to training opportunities, promotions and transfers Grievances and disciplinary action Demotion Selection for redundancies Dress Codes Post employment activities such as the provision of references Bonus schemes and work allocation Any other benefits such as childcare provision or health care benefits There is a vast amount of advice and guidance on how to develop equality and diversity policies and practices for the workplace. This guide does not seek to replace that advice. Some sources are provided below. ACAS: Provides information, good practice advice and guidance to employers and employees on a wide range of employment relation issues, including the latest developments in equality law and easy guides for employers. ACAS equality and diversity advisers specialise in providing practical help. Equality and Human Rights Commission EHRC is the statutory body has the responsibility to protect, enforce and promote equality across the seven "protected" grounds - age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, sexual orientation and gender reassignment.july 2010 England: textphone Wales: textphone

11 Training plan The Contracts require you to have an equality and diversity training plan for your staff. Your training plan can be included in your Equality and Diversity Policy or a separate document. Training is important to bring attention about the Equality and Diversity Policy to the attention of staff, partners, member or directors. As a minimum your Training Plan should included details of arrangements for training on the Policy itself, including customer service policies and procedures covered by your Communications Plan. We suggest that you identify: who will be trained, in what topics; who is responsible for ensuring training takes place; and timelines for completing training. When developing your Training Plan we expect that you will take account of your needs in relation to the size and nature of your organisation and what training you have already carried out. Training need not be time-consuming or expensive; it can be delivered in-house or by an external provider. It is most effective if tailored to your staffs needs taking into consideration the diversity of the clients you serve and staff roles. You may wish to consider training needs in relation to the following: General cultural awareness training: recognising how we form stereotypes and prejudice and how to avoid acting on them in our working lives, whether dealing with colleagues, clients or third parties. Cultural awareness training can cover discrimination on any of the protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity. Equality training: cultural awareness training is relevant for how you deal with clients as well as colleagues and third parties. However it is strongly recommended that you also provide training on practical steps that staff can take July in relation to customer service and in the workplace that is appropriate to their job roles. Customer service: practical information for all members of staff on how to meet the client need, with particular attention to the clients you serve taking account of 1 1

12 protected characteristics. In respect of disability, pay attention to the different types of disability and to steps that you may need to take to make reasonable adjustments. Employment: practical information for members of staff with managerial responsibility on how to meet employee diversity needs, with particular attention to responsibilities relating to protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity. You may also wish to pay attention to the needs of carers, who could be carers of dependants of a wide range of needs (young, elderly, any age group with long-term health conditions or a learning disability). Again, in respect of disability, pay attention to different types of disability and to steps that you may need to take to make reasonable adjustments. However you tailor training to the needs of your organisation you should aim to ensure that you have as an organisation an adequate knowledge of the different needs people in relation to diverse groups. With regard to disability you should pay attention to different forms of disability and implications of each for clients, employees and partners. 1 2

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