Equality and Diversity Policy

Introduction
Equality and Diversity is about valuing and embracing the differences in people whatever their age, gender, race, disability, religious beliefs or sexual orientation and ensuring that all people have equal access to services, training and employment.  It is also about promoting and exemplifying British values, such as democracy and the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of other people’s faith and beliefs.

At Skegness College equality of opportunity is a principle of fundamental importance and is instilled into the life of the college and its training centres and includes learning for all ages, from school links and 16-18 year olds to adult learning and students with learning difficulties and disabilities.

We are committed to providing an environment where all staff, students and service users (eg. clients, hirers, visitors, sub-contractors) are treated fairly; with respect and dignity; encouraged to reach their full potential; and derive maximum benefit and enjoyment from their involvement in college activities.

Policy Statement
The following statement is posted on all college notice boards and reflects our commitment to equality and diversity:

It is the policy of the Company that staff, students, prospective students, and service users shall be treated equally and with respect and dignity irrespective of gender, age, sexuality, marital status, religious or political views, disability, ethnic or national origin.

The Company is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all it’s activities to enable staff and students to reach their full potential.  The Company’s policies and procedures will be regularly monitored and reviewed to ensure that this policy is being implemented.

All staff and students are responsible for upholding the principles of this policy.  Any breach of the policy will not be tolerated by the Company, which will fully investigate any such behaviour or actions and may apply the appropriate disciplinary procedure.


Policy Objectives

The Company’s main objectives in implementing this policy are:

  1. To encourage everyone involved in College activities to have a positive attitude towards people’s different needs and interests.
  2. To encourage wider participation by students from many different backgrounds and particularly from under-represented groups.
  3. To value the talents, abilities and diversity of our staff and students and respect individual points of view as part of our commitment to academic freedom.
  4. To adopt management practices, which value and empower individuals, through listening, consulting, providing support, respecting diversity and promoting equality, to eliminate discrimination.
  5. To ensure good practice in teaching and learning where resources, teaching methods and assessment are fair and students have the opportunity to participate fully in the classroom and their course activities.
  6. To incorporate into all curriculum areas teaching, learning and development of students knowledge and awareness of equality and diversity issues in the workplace and in society.
  7. To gather and monitor data on the admission, progress and achievement of students, and the educational opportunities available to them, and on the recruitment, career development and retention of staff.
  8. To consult staff, students, service users and stakeholders on the College Equality and Diversity policy and practices and take action where improvements are identified

Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of all staff and students to promote the Equality and Diversity Policy and abide by the Policy Statement and any supporting codes of practice.

It is the responsibility of management to:

  • Ensure that this policy is effectively communicated, understood and implemented;
  • Senior Managers should encourage all staff and students to report any breaches of the policy and to investigate using the appropriate disciplinary or complaints procedure;
  • Provide training and awareness for staff and students to enable them to fulfil their responsibilities under this policy;
  • Ensure all teaching staff adopt good practice in the development and delivery of courses and programmes to enable all students to participate and achieve;
  • Carry out an annual review of the Equality Impact Assessment on all the Company’s policies and procedures, working practices, premises, teaching and learning activities and support for staff and students.
  • Monitor learner data and takes such steps as required to improve the recruitment, retention and achievement of under-represented groups in the community.
  • Ensure areas for improvement are incorporated into the self assessment process.
  • Ensure publicity materials reflect the diversity of the community and can be produced in a format accessible to all.

Individuals who suffer or experience what they consider may amount to harassment or victimisation will be encouraged to use the Company’s Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.

Implementation

  1. The Company will publicise this policy as widely as possible and will promote it in recruitment documents for staff and students, via publicity material and official documents.
  1. The Company will raise awareness of equality and diversity through staff development and training.
  1. The Company policy and procedures will be reviewed by Senior Managers to assess their impact upon staff and student recruitment, retention, development and achievement and, where there is evidence that such policies and procedures may be discriminatory, they will be amended accordingly.
  1. Monitoring of student age, gender, ethnicity, disability, retention, development and achievement will be undertaken by Senior Managers and reported to Company Meetings.
  1. Monitoring of access to premises and activities by staff, students, clients and others using our premises and services, will be undertaken by Senior Managers and reported to Company Meetings.
  1. Equality and diversity principles will be actively applied to all Company services, processes and procedures associated with staff, students, clients, partners and sub-contractors, and the recruitment of external agencies, and employers.
  1. Monitor teaching and learning programmes to ensure courses and programmes are designed, planned and delivered with inclusivity and differentiation and that this is embedded into teaching and learning.
  1. Monitor the progress of all groups of students to ensure there are no gaps in retention, attendance and achievement rates and ensure that any gaps identified will be addressed using a range of inclusive strategies matched to students.
  1. Specific risk assessments will be undertaken to identify risks to staff and students with disabilities. Additional time, scribes or rest breaks will be requested for those students with learning difficulties.  Where reasonably practicable, additional aids or equipment, or adaptations to workstations will be purchased to support staff and students with a disability.
  1. To carry out and periodically review the Company’s Equality Impact Assessment and ensure the findings of the assessment are incorporated into the Company’s Quality Improvement Plan and Self Assessment Report.
  1. Ensure that all sub-contractors meet these standards by undertaking initial and periodic monitoring of policies and procedures, arrangements in place for students, the learning environment and that any actions needed to meet these standards are undertaken.


Bullying, Harassment & Victimisation
Bullying, victimisation and harassment of individuals will not be tolerated by the Company.   Such behaviour on the grounds of gender, age, sexuality, marital status, religion, faith, race, colour, creed, social class, disability, ethnic or national origin may also be unlawful.   Staff and students will be made aware of the behaviour that can constitute bullying, harassment and victimisation during their induction and ongoing training.

Harassment includes comments, actions, jokes or suggestions which might create a stressful working environment for a person.   Harassment may be verbal (language, jokes, comments, ridicule, nicknames and verbal threats), non-verbal (gestures, staring and offensive written or electronic communication) or physical (jostling, mistreating or assaulting).   The stress that such harassment can cause may not only be damaging to the individual being harassed, but also will affect others and have an impact on the Company.   The simple fact that an employee does not say that they object to such harassment does not mean that they are happy about the behaviour.

Victimisation occurs when a person is treated less favourably than others because they have brought proceedings, given evidence or complained about behaviour or conduct on the basis that it breaches the Company Policy.

Further details are contained in Appendix One of this policy.

Supporting Codes of Practice
All employees should familiarise themselves with the following policies and codes of practice which are filed in the policy folders held at each site:

  • Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults
  • Health & Safety Policy
  • Learner Involvement Policy
  • E-Safety Policy

Managers should be familiar with national policies and statutory codes of practice which include:

  • Equality Act 2010 Statutory Code of Practice
  • Equal Pay Statutory Code of Practice
  • Employment Statutory Code of Practice
  • Technical Guidance on Further & Higher Education

Further reading is available via The Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Equality & Diversity in Teaching and Learning
The attached guidance sets out good practice in teaching and learning and is available to all teaching staff.   On some programmes, such as hair and beauty, teaching staff should be mindful of the need to demonstrate the approach students should adopt in offering services to people with different cultural or religious beliefs, or different hair and skin types due to ethnic origin.

 

Complaints
Any complaint will be taken seriously and dealt with in a timely and sensitive manner, in accordance with Company Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures for Staff and Students.

 

Policy Review
The effectiveness of this Policy will be reviewed by the General Manager every 2 years or as changes in legislation or funding guidance dictates.  The results of the review and recommended action will be reported to the Managing Director.

Glossary
A glossary of relevant equal opportunities legislation is attached to this policy and is periodically updated.

Signed:

Dated: 14 August 2020

Appendix One – Bullying & Harassment

What is Bullying and Harassment
There is no statutory definition of bullying, but ACAS defines bullying as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient”.

In the Equality Act 2010 harassment is defined as “unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.”

 The protected characteristics are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Harassment and/or bullying can be persistent or an isolated incident. 

Harassment can take many forms and may be directed at one person or a group of people.  It can be difficult to define and can by conveyed in a range of ways including:

  • Physical contact, assault or gestures, intimidation, aggressive behaviour
  • Verbal and emotional including unwelcome remarks, suggestions and propositions, malicious gossip, name-calling and banter based on any of the protected characteristics.
  • Non-verbal including offensive literature or pictures, gestures, graffiti and computer imagery, isolation or non-cooperation, exclusion from social activities

Cyber-bullying
This is the sending or posting of harmful or cruel text or images using the internet or other digital communication devices.  Examples of cyber-bullying are:

  • Unwelcome text messages or pictures/video clips sent via mobile phones which makes the victim feel threatened or embarrassed
  • Mobile phone calls, which may be silent calls or abusive messages
  • Stealing someone’s mobile phone and using it to harass others, to make them believe the victim is responsible
  • Threatening or bullying emails, often sent using a pseudonym or somebody else’s name
  • Posting menacing or upsetting responses to people when they are in a web-based chat room
  • Posting unpleasant messages when people are conducting real-time conversations online
  • Bullying via websites by using defamatory blogs, personal websites and online personal polling sites
  • Comments, images etc. posted on social networking sites that make people feel threatened, intimidated and have an adverse effect on a person’s wellbeing.

The actions listed above must be viewed in terms of the distress that they can cause.  Motive is not necessarily relevant, ie. saying “it’s a joke” is not a defence.  It is the perceptions of the recipient that determine whether any action or statement can be viewed as bullying.  Harassment is subject to a legal test in terms of whether it falls into the definition set out in the Equality Act 2010.

Signs and symptoms of bullying and harassment
Someone who is experiencing bullying and/or harassment may exhibit some or all of the following signs and symtoms:

  • Becoming withdrawn and lacking in confidence
  • Not wanting to go to college
  • Becoming anxious or withdrawn
  • Crying
  • Nightmares
  • Feeling ill
  • Becoming aggressive and unreasonable
  • Unexplained cuts and bruises
  • Poor performance
  • Declining attendance

Preventative Measures
We need to be able to demonstrate that all reasonable steps have been taken to prevent harassment and bullying in our centres and that an effective and sensitive response mechanism exists to address any incidents that occur.   This applies to staff as well as students, both in-house and from third parties.

We will take the following steps to prevent incidences of harassment and/or bullying:

  • Raising general awareness and an understanding of how to prevent bullying through the curriculum and training, and reviews and tutorials and by taking part in national campaigns such as National Anti-Bullying Week
  • Informing all staff and students of this policy, and our safeguarding and Prevent policies, during their induction training which should include where to find the policies and how to report and follow procedures if harassment and/or bullying takes place
  • Challenging prejudice-driven bullying through the curriculum and tutorials
  • Emphasising that the anti-bullying and harassment policy applies during any activity connected with the College, such as travelling to and from college, on all college premises and on trips, visits, work experience placements or other college business
  • Displaying Equality & Diversity, Prevent and British Values around the centres and encouraging students to create display material themselves
  • Making it clear that we expect all staff and students to recognise that they are responsible for adhering to and supporting the policy
  • Providing training and specific information for all staff to ensure they gain the knowledge, skills and awareness necessary to operate the college policies and reporting/recording procedures and to adhere to relevant legislation efficiently and effectively, and to communicate this to other staff and students
  • As part of in-house student surveys, which are carried out at the end of Term 1 and Term 2, students will be asked how safe they feel in college and if they know to whom they can and should report to if they feel they are being bullied or harassed
  • Students are encouraged to discuss issues surrounding bullying and harassment at the Student Council Meetings which are held each term (or as a minimum twice each academic year)

General Principles and Reporting Procedures
It is always desirable to try and resolve problems on an informal basis before moving to a more formal approach.   If this is not possible then the reporting and recording procedures set out in the SCVT Safeguarding Policy should be followed.

The Safeguarding Policy sets out what to do in the event that staff or students wish to appeal against a formal decision and/or disciplinary actions.

This policy should be read in conjunction with the following:

  • Employee Handbook – Staff Code of Conduct & Disciplinary Procedure
  • Student Induction Pack – Student Code of Conduct & Disciplinary Procedure
  • Equality & Diversity Policy
  • Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy
  • Safeguarding Policy

 

Glossary of Relevant Legislation

Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (and Regulations 2001)
This states that you cannot treat a person of one gender less fairly than a person of another gender or because they are married.

This covers direct and indirect discrimination e.g. not employing a man to undertake work traditionally undertaken by a woman or visa versa, or requiring a person to be at least 6 foot tall for a specific job role.

The Gender Reassignment Regulations 1999 provides similar provision for transsexuals.

Race Relations Act 1976
This prohibits discrimination on racial grounds in the areas of employment, education, and the provision of goods, facilities and services and premises. Following changes made by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, there is also now a positive duty on public authorities to eliminate unlawful discrimination and promote equality of opportunity.

Disability Discrimination Act 1995
This deals with discrimination against disabled people in the areas of employment, the provision of goods, facilities and services and premises, education and public transport.

Employment Act 1989
This includes an exemption from the operation of the Sex Discrimination Act for acts done in connection with employment or vocational training to comply with certain specified statutory provisions relating to the protection of women at work.

Employment Act 2002 (Flexible working regulations)
This makes changes to maternity, paternity and adoption rights in the Employment Rights Act 1996. From April 2003, S.47 of the 2002 Act introduces a new right for employees to request flexible working. The details of that right are set out in set out in the Flexible Working (Eligibility, Complaints and Remedies) Regulations 2002.

Employment Relations Act 1999
This includes a right to be accompanied at disciplinary or grievance hearings by a trade union official or another of the employer’s workers.

Employment Rights Act 1996

This includes the following rights:

  • The right not to be unfairly dismissed. A dismissal is automatically unfair if it is for a reason related to pregnancy, childbirth, maternity leave, parental leave, or time off for dependants.
  • The right to maternity leave.
  • The right to paid time off for ante-natal care.
  • The right to unpaid time off to care for or to arrange care for dependants where the dependant is ill, injured, assaulted, gives birth or dies; if arrangements for the care of a dependant break down; or if there is an unexpected incident involving a child at school.
  • The right to be offered suitable alternative work on not substantially less favourable terms and conditions if a legislative requirement or a health and safety recommendation prohibits a woman from doing her usual job because she is pregnant, has recently given birth or is breastfeeding.
  • The right to be suspended on full pay if a woman is unable to do her usual job on maternity grounds as described above and no suitable alternative work is available.
  • The right to a statement of employment particulars.
  • The right to an itemised pay statement.
  • The right not to suffer unauthorised deductions from wages.
  • The right to a minimum period of notice on termination of employment.
  • The right to a redundancy payment.
  • The right to a written statement of reasons for dismissal.

Employment Tribunals (Interest on Awards in Discrimination Cases) Regulations 1996

These provide for tribunals to award interest on backpay in Equal Pay Act cases and compensation awards made under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
From 1 December 2003, these regulations prohibit discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in the employment field. The regulations were amended before they came into force by the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) (Amendment) Regulations 2003, which extended the scope of the regulations to cover discrimination in occupational pension schemes.

 

The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
From 1 December 2003, these regulations prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the employment field. The regulations were amended before they came into force by the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) (Amendment) Regulations 2003, which extended the scope of the regulations to cover discrimination in occupational pension schemes.

Equal Pay (Complaints to Employment Tribunals) (Armed Forces) Regulations 1997
These allow individuals serving in the armed forces to bring equal pay claims in the employment tribunal provided a complaint has been made about the same matter under the service redress procedures which has not been withdrawn.

Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
This places a duty on employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees. There are criminal sanctions for failure to comply with this duty and enforcement is by the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities.

Human Rights Act 1998
This incorporates rights under the European Convention of Human Rights into domestic law. Individuals can bring claims under the HRA against public authorities for breaches of Convention rights. UK courts and tribunals are required to interpret domestic law, as far as possible, in accordance with Convention rights. Previous case law may be overturned if there is a breach of Convention rights and the relevant law can be re-interpreted in a way which is compatible with Convention rights. Convention rights include a right not to be discriminated against on non-exhaustive grounds, which include that of sex, where another Convention right is engaged.

Management of Health and Safety at Work (amended) Regulations 2003

These require employers to carry out risk assessments. There are specific obligations on employers to assess risk where there are women of childbearing age at work. Employers may have to alter working conditions or hours of work, offer suitable alternative work or suspend an expectant or new mother on full pay if necessary to avoid risk to her or her baby.

Maternity and Parental Leave etc (Amendment) Regulations 2006
These contain the detail of the rights to maternity and parental leave contained in the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA). They also prescribe the circumstances in which a dismissal will be automatically unfair for the purposes of the ERA if the dismissal is for a reason related to pregnancy, childbirth, maternity leave, parental leave, or time off for dependants.

Work and Families Act 2006
The Work and Families Act applies to parents whose babies are born on or after 1st April 2007.  It introduces changes under the Maternity and Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2006 (see above).  It is an act under which the government is given the power to make various changes to maternity and adoption pay and leave, paternity and parental leave, flexible working, working time regulations and unfair dismissal and redundancy compensation.

National Minimum Wage Act 1998
This provides that workers shall not be paid less than a designated minimum rate per hour.

Occupational Pension Schemes (Equal Treatment) Regulations 1995
These set out how claims may be made to enforce rights to equal treatment in occupational pension schemes.

Part-time Workers Regulations 2000
These give part-time workers the right not to be treated less favourably than comparable full-time workers unless the difference in treatment is objectively justifiable. They do not give a right to work part-time.

Pensions Act 1995
This requires occupational pension schemes to observe the principle of equal treatment between men and women.

Protection from Harassment Act 1997
This creates a criminal offence of harassment. It also creates a new type of civil claim, allowing individuals who are harassed to claim damages and/or seek a court order to stop the harasser from continuing the harassment.

Sex Discrimination (Complaints to Employment Tribunals) (Armed Forces) Regulations 1997

These allow individuals serving in the armed forces to bring sex discrimination claims in the employment tribunal provided a complaint has been made about the same matter under the service redress procedures which has not been withdrawn.

Sex Discrimination (Questions and Replies) Order 1975

This prescribes the forms to be used to obtain information in accordance with s.74 Sex Discrimination Act 1975. It also sets out the time limits and methods for service of these questionnaires.

Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992

Statutory Maternity Pay (General) Regulations 1986

Statutory Maternity Pay (General) (Modification and Amendment) Regulations 2000
These contain the provisions relating to entitlement to Statutory Maternity Pay.

Working Time Regulations 1998
These contain provisions regulating working time including:

  • A limit of average 48 hours work per week (with exceptions)
  • Daily and weekly rest entitlements and rest breaks.
  • A right to 4 weeks paid annual leave and to be paid for accrued but untaken leave on termination of employment.
  • Special provisions relating to night work.

National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999
These contain detailed rules as to who qualifies for the National Minimum Wage and what counts as working time and renumeration for these purposes.

Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006
New regulations which make it unlawful to discriminate against any person on the grounds of their age.

The above list is not exhaustive and does not provide for the amendment of existing legislation or new legislation introduced after production of this policy.

Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulation 2003
The directive protects against discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief in employment, vocational training, promotion and working conditions.

The Employment Equality (Sex Discrimination) Regulations 2005
Introduces new definitions of indirect discrimination and harassment, explicitly prohibits discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy or maternity leave, sets out the extent to which it is discriminatory to pay a woman less than she would otherwise have been paid due to pregnancy or maternity issues.

Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulation 2003
The directive protects against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in employment, vocational training, promotion, and working conditions.

Equality Act 2006
Establishes a single Commission for Equality and Human Rights by 2007 that replaces the three existing commissions. Introduces a positive duty on public sector bodies to promote equality of opportunity between women and men and eliminate sex discrimination. Protects access discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in terms of access to good facilities and services.

Gender Recognition Act 2004
The purpose of the Act is to provide transsexual people with legal recognition in their acquired gender. Legal recognition follows from the issue of a full gender recognition certificate by a gender recognition panel.

The Equality Act 2010
A new Equality Act came into force on 1 October 2010. The Equality Act brings together over 116 separate pieces of legislation into one single Act. Combined, they make up a new Act that provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all.   The Act simplifies, strengthens and harmonises the current legislation to provide Britain with a new discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society.

The nine main pieces of legislation that have merged are:

  • the Equal Pay Act 1970
  • the Sex Discrimination Act 1975
  • the Race Relations Act 1976
  • the Disability Discrimination Act 1995
  • the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
  • the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
  • the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006
  • the Equality Act 2006, Part 2
  • the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007