Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Policy
Last Review: January 2022
Current Review: January 2023
Next Review: January 2024
Policy statement and aims
As an organisation, Herefordshire Community Foundation (HCF) values the variety of different views, outlooks and approaches that a diverse workforce brings. This assists the charity to provide improved services and increase our understanding of its donors, fund holders, grant applicants, employees and trustees.
HCF will do everything to ensure no one receives less favourable treatment or is disadvantaged by requirements or conditions which cannot be shown to be justifiable.
HCF recognises and values people’s differences and will assist them to use their talents to reach their full potential.
The charity will do all it can to ensure it recruits, trains and promotes people based on qualifications, experience and abilities for all roles within the organisation.
This policy is designed to ensure that HCF complies with its obligations under equality legislation and demonstrates our commitment to treating people equally and fairly.
HCF is unreservedly opposed to any form of discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation, part-time or fixed term status, low socio-economic background or parental responsibilities defined as Protected Characteristics.
Using fair and objective employment practices, the charity aims to ensure that:
- All employees and potential employees are treated fairly and with respect at all stages of their employment.
- All employees, trustees, and service users have the right to be free from harassment and bullying of any description or any other form of unwanted behaviour.
- Such behaviour may come from other employees or by third parties who are not employees of HCF such as donors or grant applicants.
- All employees, trustees and service users have an equal chance to contribute and to achieve their potential, irrespective of any defining feature that may give rise to unfair discrimination.
- All employees, trustees and service users have the right to be free from discrimination because they associate with another person who possesses a Protected Characteristic or because others perceive that they have a particular Protected Characteristic, even if they do not.
The policy is underpinned by adherence to the following legislation:
- Equality Act 2010
- Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and 2005
- Sex Discrimination Act 19785 and amendments 1986
- Equal Pay Act 1970 and amendment regulations 1983
- Race Relations Act 1976 and amendments 2000
- Employment Equality (age) regulations 2006
- Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) regulations 2003
- Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) regulations 2003003 01242 ● Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
- Protection from Harassment Act 1997
- Human Rights Act 2000
- Parental Leave Directive 2000
Scope of the policy
This policy applies to all employees, volunteers including trustees and job applicants, and donors, fund holders, grant applicants and suppliers, collectively referred to as service users.
This policy applies to governance, recruitment and employment, development, grant making, publicity and investments.
Direct discrimination is when an employee or applicant is treated less favourably than someone else because of a particular Protected Characteristic and there is no genuine occupational requirement for it.
Indirect discrimination is when there is a working condition, practice or rule that disadvantages one group of people more than another. In other words, it is more difficult for people from one group to comply with the requirement. Even if it is done accidentally, indirect discrimination is unlawful. Indirect discrimination is only allowed if it is necessary for the way the business works and there is no other way of achieving it.
Discrimination arising from disability is when a disabled person is treated unfavourably because of something connected to their disability where it cannot be objectively justified. This only applies where the charity knows or can reasonably be expected to know that the person is disabled.
Associative discrimination is when someone is treated worse than someone else because they are associated with someone with a particular Protected Characteristic.
Perceptive discrimination is when someone is treated worse than someone else because there has been an incorrect assumption that they have a particular Protected Characteristic. This applies even if the person does not possess the characteristic.
Harassment is a form of direct discrimination. It can be defined as unwanted and unwelcome behaviour which causes discomfort or upset to an individual and which has an adverse effect on working relationships. It creates an intimidating, hostile or humiliating work environment for the individual.
Third party harassment is when an employee is harassed by a third party who is not an employee such as volunteers or service users. The charity becomes liable if it has happened on at least two occasions, it is aware that it took place and has not taken steps to prevent it happening again.
Victimisation is when a person is treated less favourably than another when they have made allegations, brought proceedings, given evidence or complained about the behaviour of someone who has been harassing or discriminating against them or others.
Failure to make adjustments is if HCF’s premises or equipment, materials or working arrangements put a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage and HCF does not try to make any reasonable adjustment which removes or minimises that effect. This then becomes unlawful discrimination.
All members of staff, trustees and fund panel members have a duty to act within this policy, ensure it is followed and to draw attention to any suspected discriminatory acts or practices. All employees are required to comply with this policy when dealing with other employees, job applicants, donors, fund holders, grant applicants, suppliers and anyone else with whom they come into contact during the course of their employment.
All staff are made aware of their day-to-day responsibilities under this policy when they join HCF and training is provided where individuals require it.
The Chair of the Trustees and the CEO are responsible for promoting awareness of the policy and monitoring that it is being followed.
Breaches of this policy or unlawful discrimination by employees will be treated as a disciplinary offence which may result in disciplinary action as laid out in the HCF Disciplinary Procedure.
Breaches of this policy or unlawful discrimination by volunteers including trustees will be treated as a disciplinary offence and may result in their position with HCF being withdrawn.
Employees, trustees and volunteers are also personally liable under equality legislation for any act of unlawful discrimination.
Equality and diversity in practice
HCF expects its management and governance to benefit from a wide range of opinions, experience and beliefs. HCF ensures that:
- Recruitment of members to the Board of Trustees and funding panels is done on the basis of the skills required, irrespective of a particular Protected Characteristic.
- Diversity is taken into consideration when recruiting members to the Board of Trustees, committees and funding panels.
- Policies and strategies recommended to the Board of Trustees comply with our stated commitment to diversity and equal opportunities.
- Strategies to broaden diversity among trustees and advisory panel members are promoted wherever possible.
HCF’s aim is to recruit the best person for the job, to make full use of the talents and resources of all its employees, to support and develop its staff and to create a working environment free from unlawful discrimination, victimisation and harassment, in which all employees are treated with dignity and respect.
HCF aims to be an equal opportunities employer and has developed procedures to assist in achieving this aim and to ensure that no applicant is treated unfairly. HCF undertakes to ensure that:
- No applicant receives less favourable treatment on the basis of a Protected Characteristic
- Each vacancy is based upon a clear and concise job description and person specification. The person specification includes only objective criteria which are required for the duties and responsibilities of the post.
- The assessment of applications is done on the basis of information provided so that ability and potential performance are the only criteria used in selection.
- All applications are monitored for equal opportunities purposes and this information does not play a part in short-listing or recruitment.
If there is a genuine and lawful reason for limiting the vacancy to a particular group it will be clearly stated together with the grounds for it on any advertisements. HCF retains the discretion to invite applications from individuals whose jobs might be at risk of redundancy or who are being re-deployed for health or disability reasons before advertising any post more widely.
Terms and conditions of employment
HCF will ensure that terms and conditions of employment are free from all forms of direct and indirect discrimination and apply equally regardless of a particular Protected Characteristic. No requirements or conditions will be imposed, directly or indirectly, which will or might place any group of employees at an unfair or unlawful disadvantage.
HCF recognises that flexibility regarding working patterns will assist the broadest range of people to work for the charity. HCF will not reject any request for non-standard working patterns unless there is objective justification after careful consideration.
Training, career development and promotion
All employees will be provided with the appropriate training, according to business need, to enable them to improve their performance and to achieve the performance standards and targets set for them by HCF. This is regardless of having a Protected Characteristic.
HCF will also ensure that opportunities for training and career development are made equally available to all employees regardless of the length of service or the number of hours worked. HCF will take steps to ensure that those who have caring responsibilities are able to access training and development opportunities that involve time outside the usual working day.
Promotion within HCF is based on merit and the reasonable requirements of the job regardless of having a Particular Characteristic.
Disability code of good practice
HCF values the individual contribution of employees and prospective employees from all sectors of the community. The charity is committed to facilitating the employment of disabled individuals wherever practicable and to achieve this HCF operates the following code of good practice:
- HCF will take reasonable steps to ensure that the working environment, working practices and terms and conditions of employment do not prevent disabled people from taking up positions for which they are suitably qualified and the best person for the job.
- HCF will bear in mind the desirability of avoiding barriers to the employment of disabled people when acquiring and fitting out buildings with equipment and devising working practices.
- HCF will make reasonable adjustments to recruitment arrangements, to the working environment, to working practices and to terms and conditions of employment to ensure that no particular disabled person is placed at an unreasonable disadvantage.
- A decision not to make an adjustment which might enable or assist an employee or a prospective employee to be employed in a particular post will not be taken below the level of CEO. Before making such a decision, the CEO will ensure that all possible adjustments have been fully investigated, including carrying out consultation with the employee or prospective employee concerned and taking any appropriate expert advice.
- Any employee who becomes disabled whilst in employment, will be given full support to continue in their own job where practicable and having put in place any reasonable adjustments, or to move to an alternative job appropriate to their experience and abilities if available.
- HCF will encourage the participation of disabled employees to ensure that, wherever possible, its employment practices recognise and meet their needs and will consult disabled employees on action to make sure they develop and use their abilities at work.
- Further guidance can be obtained on an entirely confidential basis from the CEO. If an employee knows or believes they may be disabled, they are encouraged to discuss this with the CEO so that HCF can ensure they achieve their full potential and that the organisation complies with its duties under the law.
HCF is keen to uphold the principles of equal opportunities in all grant making activities – publicity, application, assessment and decision making. HCF considers all requests fairly against the criteria of relevant funding schemes. Priorities within discretionary grant programmes take account of the needs to recognise diversity. HCF tries its best to meet the needs of smaller community organisations and aims to reach people who are most disadvantaged or isolated, helping them to take advantage of opportunities that would not otherwise be available to them.
HCF is keen to support people who experience discrimination or disadvantage for whatever reason.
HCF undertakes to ensure that:
- Eligible groups are fully aware of its grants programme by widening public knowledge of the organisation.
- Guidelines and application forms are written in plain English and are jargon free.
- Grant assessment is consistent between staff members and assessment is carried out in accordance with the published grant making guidelines, taking into account any fund holder requests and the amount of funding available.
- Training is offered to staff, trustees and fund panel members so that they are aware of disability and cultural issues that may affect an application.
- The application and decision-making process is transparent.
- Grant recipients uphold equality opportunity principles and implement them in their activities.
HCF encourages local philanthropy from all people and gifts of all sizes through general donations, named funds, legacies, sponsorship and membership of specific groups. It especially encourages gifts from donors and sections of the community not already involved in HCF’s activities.
HCF seeks support from all sections of the community and offers ways of involving donors at different levels. It does this through:
- Donations – HCF accepts all size of donations through standing orders, one off payments, setting up a fund and adding to a fund.
- Donor Care – HCF undertakes to respect the wishes, confidentiality and charitable aims of donors and potential donors wherever possible and to provide them with the best information available in grant making opportunities.
- HCF aims to ensure that all donors understand the broad principles of our diversity and equal opportunities policy.
Although donations are pooled for investment purposes, HCF will, wherever possible, provide an investment system which takes account of special investment requirements of donors.
HCF tries to ensure that in all its communications it reflects the mix and diversity of its activities and beneficiaries.
HCF ensures that publicity about the availability of grants is accessible to as wide an audience as possible and that appropriate means of communication are used to reach those communities less likely to have access to traditional means of communication.
HCF ensures that publications reflect the diversity of activities and beneficiaries supported and are attractive to all sections of the community. Written communications are written in plain and jargon free language.
Implementation of the policy
All staff and trustees will be involved in creating an equality environment and one that values diversity.
HCF ensures that the policy is communicated to job applicants and employees through:
- Making a copy of the policy available to all prospective applicants. • Ensuring the policy is discussed with all new starters as part of the induction process. • Providing Equality and Diversity training and guidance to employees and trustees if required.
- Including reference to abiding by the policy in the Employee Terms and Conditions and Employee Handbook.
Working in Partnerships
HCF ensures that when selecting the partnerships the charity works in, it considers their commitment to Equality and Diversity through:
- Requesting to see their policy if necessary.
- Discussing their practice including monitoring the policy if necessary. Users of our Service
HCF ensures that its services are made accessible through:
- Using a wide range of social media platforms.
- Written promotional material and application forms being in appropriate, plain English and jargon free.
- HCF Grant Officers completing application forms over the telephone or face to face if the applicant does not have the facility or capability to complete online.
Monitoring the Policy
HCF is committed to monitoring the effectiveness of this diversity and equal opportunities policy. All aspects of policies, procedures and practices in relation to recruitment, terms and conditions of employment, training, career development, promotion and grievance and discipline to identify any trends or patterns emerging are reviewed annually. HCF is committed to identifying and taking all steps necessary to eliminate any unjustified discrimination which is revealed by this monitoring process. Recommendations for change are agreed by the Board of Trustees.
Employees who feel that they have suffered any form of discrimination should, in the first instance, raise the issue with the CEO or where the CEO is implicated, to the Chair of Trustees. All employees will be entitled to follow the HCF Grievance Procedure.
Service users who feel that they have suffered any form of discrimination should, in the first instance, raise the issue with the CEO or where the CEO is implicated, to the Chair of Trustees when the HCF Complaints Policy will be followed.
Employees, trustees and service users should also use this approach if they feel that they have been the subject of harassment from someone who is not an employee of HCF. The charity will not tolerate any harassment from third parties towards its employees and service users, and will take appropriate action to prevent it happening again.
If an employee, trustee or service user witnesses behaviour that they find offensive in relation to a Protected Characteristic, even if it is not directed at them, they should also use this procedure.
HCF will review this policy every year to ensure that it remains up to date and reflects the needs and practices of the organisation.
The policy may also be reviewed if legislation changes or if monitoring information suggests that the policy should be altered.