Equality and Diversity

Equality & Diversity Policy

1. Overview
Application of this policy will be on the basis of equal opportunities regardless of race, colour, nationality, or ethnic origins, age, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion or other personal circumstances or disadvantages.
This policy provides guidance to enable all who work with or for the AXO to comply with anti-discrimination legislation.

2. Legislative Framework
Acts of Parliament -The Equality Act 2010:
This Act legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. It replaced previous antidiscrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations.
Scope of Policy
This policy applies to all AXO Management, employees, students, and visitors.
• This policy is applicable on and off AXO Premises during work-related activities.

3. Policy Statement:
AXO is an equal opportunity employer.
The organisation is committed to being a successful, caring and welcoming place for all employees. We want to create a supportive and inclusive environment where our employees can reach their full potential, without prejudice and discrimination. We are committed to a culture where respect and understanding is fostered and the diversity of people’s backgrounds and circumstances will be positively valued.
The policy aims to achieve equality by removing any potential discrimination in the way that our employees are treated by fellow employees or the organisation, including:

• people with disabilities
• people of different sexual orientations
• transgendered and transsexual people
• people of different races
• people on the grounds of their sex
• those of faith and of no faith
• in relation to their age
• in relation to their social class or medical condition
• people who work part-time
• those who are married or in a civil partnership
• women who are pregnant, have recently given birth or are breastfeeding.

Discrimination can be either direct or indirect discrimination. Some of the above are protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 and discrimination is prohibited, unless there is a legal exception under the Equality Act.
Direct Discrimination. This is where someone is treated less favourably due to one (or more) protected characteristics. It can be intentional or unintentional discrimination. Occasionally the discrimination may occur due to a protected characteristic of another person, so the discrimination may be because of association. An example is an advert for a job that requires ‘men only’ or ‘under 30s only’.
Indirect Discrimination. This is where someone is disadvantaged by an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice (PCP) that is applied ‘across the board’ or ‘equally across a particular group’. The PCP may have the consequence (usually unintended) of causing a disadvantage, which then actually affects somebody. For example, a PCP relating to clothing or headwear could be applied ‘equally’, but may cause someone with a protected characteristic to be disadvantaged. The PCP could be justified if it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
Victimisation. This is not the same as the common meaning of victimisation, but is specifically regarding treating someone less favourably because they have complained about or given information about discrimination or harassment, either regarding themselves or someone else.
Harassment. This is part of the Equality Act but is covered in more detail in the Bullying and Harassment policy.

The Equality Act 2010 applies to how employees treat fellow employees, visitors, suppliers and former employees. The Act also applies to customers/clients.
The organisation is committed to equality of opportunity and to providing a service and following practices which are free from unfair and unlawful discrimination.
The aim of this policy is to ensure that no applicant or member of staff receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, or is disadvantaged by conditions or requirements which cannot be shown to be relevant to performance. It seeks also to ensure that no person is victimised or subjected to any form of bullying or harassment.
The personal commitment of every employee to this policy and application of its principles are essential to eliminate discrimination and provide equality throughout the organisation.
Training, development and progression opportunities are available to all staff.
The Operations Director has particular responsibility for implementing and monitoring the equality and diversity policies and, as part of this process, all personnel policies and procedures are administered with the objective of promoting equality of opportunity and eliminating unfair or unlawful discrimination.
There will be monitoring and reviews of the effectiveness of the equal opportunities policy, including a review of job applicants and the benefits/career progression of existing employees. Comments and suggestions on the policy can be directed to HR.
As an organisation we recognise that drug and alcohol misuse affects diverse individuals and families and that all people misusing substances may require specific support and services.

4. Relevant Procedures & Implementation Guidelines
A. Training & Dissemination of Information
All employees, as a part of induction training, will be made aware of this policy and the importance of equal opportunities and diversity will be explained.
Modifications and updates to equal opportunities and diversity policies and procedures will be brought to the attention of all staff.
Contractors, visitors, students will also be made aware of our equal opportunities and diversity policy and values wherever reasonably practical.
B. Advice & Consultancy
Where reasonably practical all relevant staff will be consulted on modifications and updates to procedures and policies relating to equal opportunities and diversity.
C. Discrimination Law and Definition of Terms
The Equality Duty replaces the three previous public sector equality duties for race, disability and gender and covers the following protected characteristics; sex, including pregnancy and maternity
• marital status, including civil partnership status
• gender reassignment
• a person’s disability
• race
• age
• sexual orientation
• religion/belief
• trade union membership or non-membership
• status as a fixed-term or part-time worker

There are several types of legally defined discrimination:

• direct discrimination – treating somebody less favourably on the grounds of their religion, race, etc
• indirect discrimination – applying an apparently general rule
• which in practice disadvantages one religion, race, etc
• harassment – behaviours which are found to be threatening or disturbing (see Staff Welfare Policy for further details on this)
• victimisation – treating someone unfairly because, for example, they plan to raise a discrimination-related grievance
• not making reasonable adjustments – failure to make adjustments to working practices and environments where necessary and reasonably possible so that people with disabilities are not disadvantaged
• instructions and pressure to discriminate – tell people to discriminate or put pressure on them to do so
• segregation – physically separating someone from others because of their race, age, sexual orientation, etc

D. Equality, Diversity and Employment
AXO ensures that all employees are recruited, trained and promoted on the basis of ability to do the job, the demands of the job and the need to maintain efficient, effective and appropriate services. There should be no discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, religious beliefs, ethnic or national origins, nationality, disabilities, age, sexual orientation, caring or marital status in any matter relating to employment.
All gender-specific services are governed by the need for gender-sensitive employees and are covered by the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and are further supported by the Gender Equality Duty 2007.
Employees will be recruited on merit and ability only. To ensure that only relevant qualifications and experience are considered when recruitment takes place, each post will carry details of the job and the skills and experience requirements against which candidates will be assessed equally and fairly. Selection criteria and procedures will ensure that individuals are selected, transferred or promoted on the basis of their relevant skills, merit and abilities.
Advertisements in printed media shall adhere to clear print guidelines. And all recruitment advertisements will draw attention to Equal Employment Opportunity Policy, the recruitment process will be reviewed regularly and actions will be devised to address any imbalances shown in the monitoring and review processes.
Employee appraisal and supervision processes will ensure that an evaluation on equality performance is considered, and that individual career development plans are established and monitored for all staff, regardless of their origins and status. Career development and training will be reviewed to ensure that all employees are given equal access to opportunities to progress within the organisation.
Employees will be provided with appropriate training regardless of race, marital status, disability, age, part-time or fixed term contract status, sexual orientation or religion.

E. What does Equality of Opportunity mean to the Organisation?
• Fairness and equality
• Common procedures across AXO
• Actions taken which can be measured and justified and are recorded
• Recruiting the best personnel for the job
• Better retention of staff.
• A stronger chance of competing for staff
• A reputation as a good employer
• Breaking down barriers and working practices
• Flexibility in employment e.g. job-share arrangements
• Good management practice
• Training programmes and opportunities
• Motivating staff
• Team building
• Establishing support systems
• Improved career development
• Looking at potential within and outside the organisation
AXO also urges staff to be aware of the less obvious types of discrimination which result from general assumptions and pre-conceptions about the capabilities, interests and characteristics of individuals.

5. Equality, Diversity and Service Provision
AXO recognises that structural and individual discrimination can be subtle and therefore aims to monitor, identify, and review the potential needs of all current or prospective students.
Treating everyone in the same manner, irrespective of differing needs, often results in inequality. Treatment needs to be equal by ensuring that it reflects and responds to the different racial, cultural, disability, age, caring responsibility, and sexual orientation needs of the students.
Diversity is a broader concept that builds upon the progress made through equal opportunities. Everyone is different and diversity is about recognising, respecting and valuing the differences we each bring to work.
Equal opportunities and diversity work together by addressing the inequalities and barriers faced by people in under-represented groups and by valuing, learning and benefiting from the diverse cultures in society and our staff.
AXO aims to ensure that all services are equally accessible to a diverse range of students in our community. This involves reviewing and managing the following:

• Physical needs – ensuring that premises/facilities are easily accessible and that adaptations are made, wherever reasonably practical, to ensure access for people with disabilities.
• Information needs – ensuring that all potential users have access to appropriate and plain English information about the services we offer.
• Communication/language needs – ensuring that interpreters or translation services are arranged for non-English-speaking students
• Staff – ensuring that staff work in a non-discriminatory way, so that current and potential students feel at ease. All staff should receive training in equal opportunities and diversity.

5. Monitoring:
AXO is committed to monitoring, to the best of our ability, how we uphold equal opportunities and value diversity both as an employer and as a service provider.
It will therefore monitor all current and future staff by race, age, sexual orientation, caring and disability status. This is to identify if we are under- represented by certain groups in specific posts, grades, occupations and departments.

Effective monitoring has to include:
• Monitoring applicants
• Monitoring successful candidate
• Monitoring progress of staff

The results of our equal opportunities monitoring will be collated and reported to the Board on a regular basis. The Board will seek to identify gaps in service provision, take action to redress any gaps or imbalances, and will develop action plans to fill these gaps.

6. Responsibilities

The Board
• Has overall responsibility for policies and procedures at AXO, so far as is reasonably practical.
The Operations Director
• To oversee the review and renewal of policies and procedures aimed towards the equality of opportunities, outcomes and diversity.
• To ensure that adequate resources are made available to enable this policy and relevant procedures to be implemented.
• To ensure that all relevant equal opportunities statistics are collated, analysed and reported to the board of trustees and that regular reviews are undertaken by staff to monitor performance against targets and the effectiveness of procedures.

General Manager/Area Managers
• To ensure staff know what equal opportunities and diversity mean.
• To understand and reflect the needs of different members of our community and our different staff.
• To keep up to date with and operate within legislation and policy.
• To measure outcomes of services delivered as well as opportunity to access these.
• To develop and implement equality and diversity initiatives within the organisation.
• To create opportunities for discussion and open communication between staff and students.
• To challenge staff and others who discriminate either directly or indirectly.
Staff Members
• To ensure they do not discriminate against any staff member, student, contractor or other persons involved with the work AXO, or collude with discrimination against others.
• To be considerate, caring and thoughtful to everyone and take feelings of different individuals into consideration.
• To foster racial and cultural awareness for themselves, other staff, and students.
• To operate within current legislation and policy