Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

1. Background – Why do we need a policy?

1.1 This policy sets out our commitment to equality, diversity and human rights, encompassed in our commitment to equality and inclusion, arising from obligations under the Equalities Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998. These legal obligations are also embedded in our contracts with local authorities and within our regulatory framework with CQC.
1.2 Equalities and inclusion considerations are a golden thread running through everything we do in the Trust.
1.3 We need everyone who works with us to understand what they need to do to enable us to fulfil our commitment and our legal obligations.

2. Purpose and Scope – What is the aim/who is it for?

2.1 To promote an understanding of equality and inclusion and the Trust’s commitment.
2.2 To set how equality and inclusion considerations affect the Trust’s activities.
2.3 To support good practice around equalities and inclusion.
2.4 To explain what is expected of staff in order to support a living and work environment and the provision of services to the people we support and the public free from discrimination, harassment and respectful of the human rights of people we support.
2.5 This policy is relevant for all staff, volunteers and Trustees within the Trust.

3. What is our policy?

3.1 Our communities are based on an ethical foundation that recognises the uniqueness of the individual and seeks to respect, value and enhance the strengths and potential of each member of the community. As such, we wish our communities to be places where the individual differences and the contributions of everyone are valued and where everyone is treated fairly and with respect.
3.2 We will not tolerate discrimination, harassment or victimisation or any other conduct unlawful under the Equalities Act 2010 against people on the basis of their protected characteristics – age, disability, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race, disability, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation. Everyone working with us is responsible for making sure such discrimination does not happen.
3.3 We believe it is fundamental to our ethos that everyone is treated with dignity and respect: we will not accept behaviour that we believe adversely affects someone’s dignity. We will not tolerate harassment or victimisation whether or not it is related to someone’s protected characteristics.
3.4 Discrimination, victimisation and harassment in any form can cause great stress to people and may undermine their health if left unaddressed. An individual may experience an incident as discriminatory, victimisation or harassment even when this is not evident to or intended by others. It is imperative that open communication is fostered so that conflicts and misunderstandings can be addressed at an early stage, if at all possible directly with the person concerned and it is in this context that concerns being raised and complaints made in good faith are encouraged.
3.5 Incidents of discrimination, victimisation or harassment will be treated as a serious matter and may result in formal action that could involve a person we support or a member of staff being required to leave.
3.6 We will take seriously our duty to make reasonable adjustments for disability.
3.7 We are committed to advancing equality of opportunity and to fostering good relations between people who have protected characteristics and those who do not.

4. What does our policy mean in practice?

4.1 All our policies, procedures and practices are developed with our legal obligations for equality, diversity and human rights considerations in mind.
4.2 Selection, promotion, training or any other benefit will be on the basis of aptitude and
ability. Staff and prospective staff will be treated fairly and no one will be disadvantaged by a condition or requirement, which is not justified by the genuine needs  of their role or the proposed role. Equal opportunities considerations in relation to recruitment and selection are reflected in our recruitment selection and induction policy.
4.3 Selection for admission to our communities will be based on fair and objective criteria. People we support will be treated fairly and involved in decisions that affect them. Equal opportunities considerations in relation to admission are reflected in our admission policy.
4.4 People who use our services or buy our products will be treated fairly and will not be
discriminated against on the basis of their protected characteristics.
4.5 Discrimination, victimisation or harassment of our staff or people we support will not be tolerated. We are committed to promoting an environment where people are not subjected to such behaviour. We have a dignity at work procedure that gives more information about harassment and bullying and help us to deal with such complaints by staff, a safeguarding policy to help us respond to incidents involving people we support and also a complaints procedure for people we support.
4.6 We will monitor our employment practices, social care admissions practices, the design and delivery of our services, and our policy and decision-making to make sure we do not discriminate and we advance equality of opportunity, foster good relations and respect people’s human rights.
4.7 We will offer training on equality and inclusion to everyone. Staff are encouraged to
discuss their understanding with their manager and raise any questions they may have.

5. Types of unlawful discrimination

5.1 Direct discrimination is where a person is treated less favourably than another because of a protected characteristic. An example of direct discrimination would be refusing to employ a woman because she is pregnant.
5.2 Indirect discrimination is where a provision, criterion or practice discriminates against individuals who have a relevant protected characteristic, such that it would be to the detriment of people who share the protected characteristic compared with people who do not and it cannot be shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. (This does not explicitly include pregnancy and maternity, which is covered by indirect sex discrimination.)
5.3 Harassment is where there is unwanted conduct related to one of the protected characteristics that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. It does not matter whether or not this effect was intended by the person responsible for the conduct. (This does not cover marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity.)
5.4 Associative discrimination is where an individual is directly discriminated against or harassed for association with another who has a protected characteristic. (This does not cover harassment because of marriage or civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity.)
5.5 Perceptive discrimination is where an individual is directly discriminated against or harassed based on a perception that he/she has a particular protected characteristic, although the person does not, in fact, have that protected characteristic. (This does not cover marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity.)
5.6 Victimisation occurs where an employee is subjected to a detriment, such as being denied a training place or a promotion because he/she made or supported a complaint or raised a grievance under the Equality Act 2010, or because they are suspected of doing so.

6. Who is responsible?

6.1 The board of trustees has overall responsibility for equality and inclusion within the Trust.
6.2 The Trust’s quality lead is responsible for quality assurance aspects and the Head of HR and the directors of operations/care and support are co-responsible for this policy and for providing an appropriate framework to support its implementation.
6.3 All those holding management responsibilities within the Trust are responsible for ensuring that they and those working with them are complying with this policy.
6.4 Everyone working within the Trust is expected to support this policy and its
implementation and for promoting equality and inclusion.

7. What can I do to promote equality and inclusion?

7.1 Read this policy and seek to understand it and how it affects you work. Raise any queries you have with your manger or the person or group you normally report to.
7.2 Follow all the requirements in this and other policies relating about how to meet our legal obligations.
7.3 Treat everyone fairly, courteously and reasonably and ensure that no-one living or working in the Trust is treated disrespectfully or less favourably than others through any form of discrimination or is subject to harassment.
7.4 Ensure applicants to our services are selected on the grounds of individual need and suitability for integration in the service, according only to the terms of the admissions policy and free from any form of discrimination.
7.5 Work towards making all buildings and services accessible to everyone as far as reasonably possible.
7.6 Avoid making any living or working arrangements which disadvantage one person or group of people through any form of discrimination.
7.7 Challenge in an appropriate manner any unlawful or unjustifiable discrimination within the Trust and any unlawful or unjustifiable discrimination demonstrated to us by any external agency, individual or charity with which the Trust has contact.
7.8 If you manage or supervise others, seek to raise the awareness and understanding of this policy, the principles and values which underpin the promotion of equality and inclusion and how that affects their work.
7.9 Refrain from supporting any supplier or partner that actively promotes or practices unlawful or unjustifiable discrimination.
7.10 Take appropriate and effective action on all complaints about discriminatory treatment and ensure that complainants are not victimised.

8. What to do if you have concerns about our practices?

8.1 We recognise that discrimination can sometimes occur unintentionally and we expect everyone to engage willingly with addressing any concerns raised. If you are concerned that the way we work may lead to discrimination or undermine someone’s human rights, please talk withyour manager in the first instance and if not resolved you can raise a whistleblowing. Please see separate whistleblowing policy.
8.2 We encourage anyone who feels they have been the subject of discrimination, harassment or victimisation. Staff should raise this through the Workplace concerns – grievance or harassment and bully policies. People we support through our complaint policy. Please see separate Workplace concerns and Complaints policies.
8.3 We will treat allegations seriously. No one will be victimised for raising such concerns. However, false allegations made in bad faith, for example out of malice may lead to the relevant concerns procedure being used by the Trust and in serious cases, such conduct may result in disciplinary action or asked to leave.

9. Equality Impact Assessment

9.1 This policy has been assessed using an equality impact assessment initial screening template in order to meet current equality requirements.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy