Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

NWT: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Last Review  – 25 November 2021

Introduction

By promoting equality, diversity and inclusion, the Trust aims to create an inclusive, welcoming volunteer environment. By recruiting in a variety of ways, developing organisational training and support, and being flexible with volunteer roles, the Trust can help to remove barriers that people may face and open up our opportunities to more people.

What do we mean by equality, diversity and inclusion?

Equality is making sure that people are treated fairly and given equal access to opportunities and resources. Equality is not about treating everyone in the same way, it is about treating everyone fairly and with respect, and recognises that different volunteers may have needs that are met in different ways.

Diversity is recognising, respecting, valuing and drawing on the positive aspects of differences. Diversity fosters an environment that recognises the contribution that every individual volunteer makes, or can make to the Trust.

Inclusion is creating a working culture where differences are not merely accepted, but valued; where everyone has the opportunity to develop in a way that is consistent with the values of impartiality, honesty, integrity and objectivity.

Our aim?

Our aim is to be an organisation where people feel involved, respected and connected to our success.

Why is promoting equality and diversity important?

It helps to create an inclusive and diverse volunteer environment.

It helps to promote principles of fairness, respect, equality and dignity.

Visibility and representation are important: they can help possible future volunteers to recognise their own potential, and believe that opportunities could be for them.

It helps to ensure that volunteers, employees and service users are all valued, respected, motivated and treated fairly.

We all have the right to be protected from discrimination and harassment.

We all have a responsibility not to discriminate against others.

What legislation is there?

The Equality Act 2010 is “a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all.” It provides protection by law from 

  • discrimination
  • harassment
  • victimisation
  • based on the perception of certain characteristics. There are nine protected characteristics:
    • Age
    • Disability
    • Sex
    • Gender reassignment
    • Race
    • Religion or belief
    • Sexual orientation
    • Marriage and civil partnership
    • Pregnancy and maternity.

What do we mean by discrimination?

Direct discrimination is where someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic. Example: A volunteer project rejects a volunteer applicant because the applicant has a disability.

Indirect discrimination occurs where a provision, criterion or practice applies equally to everyone but puts people from a particular background at a disadvantage compared to others; and which is not a reasonable and proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. Example: A volunteer project requires volunteers to produce three forms of ID including proof of address such as a utility bill. Although this rule seems fair, it could put at a disadvantage recently settled migrants, or Gypsies and Travellers, who are less likely to have such information or proof.

Disability discrimination: One of the most notable features of the disability discrimination legislation is that in prescribed circumstances it imposes a duty on employers and service providers to make reasonable adjustments in order to remove or reduce disadvantages suffered by disabled people in those circumstances. The duty to make reasonable adjustments may require that policies, practices and procedures are modified or waived; or that certain physical features of premises are removed, altered or avoided; or that auxiliary aids or services are provided. A failure to comply with the duty, when it arises, is a form of disability discrimination.

Victimisation means treating someone less favourably than others because they have already made a complaint under the relevant legislation (eg. undertook proceedings or threatened to bring proceedings), have helped someone else to do so (eg. provided evidence in proceedings or acted as a witness), or alleged that a service provider or others have committed an unlawful act under the law.

Harassment is unwanted conduct which is related to any of the equality grounds and which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or of creating an intimidating, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person. Many forms of behaviour can constitute harassment including physical assault, using derogatory language and visual or written material containing derogatory words or images.

Can Volunteers Expect Protection From Discrimination?

Volunteers are not protected by law in the same way as paid employees.

The Equality Act 2010 applies to employees and organisations providing a service.

Volunteering could be considered as a service and as such organisations involving volunteers should still protect volunteers from discrimination, harassment or victimisation on the grounds of the protected characteristics.

However, this should also be considered a moral responsibility and best practice by volunteer involving organisations – so the answer is yes, volunteers can and should expect protection from discrimination!

How can organisations promote equality and diversity in volunteering?

Promote volunteering opportunities widely, not just in one place.

  • use a variety of methods: online, flyers, word of mouth, outreach visits
  • different methods will reach different people.

Think about how accessible your recruitment process is:

  • What kind of language and how much text do you use on flyers or adverts?
  • Is everything available only online?
  • Do people need to fill out any forms?
  • Can people talk on the phone or pop in for a chat?

Think about those you are not reaching:

  • What barriers are in your way?
  • Are they ones that you can help to remove? If so, how?
  • Nobody is truly hard to reach, the onus is on us to work out what we could be doing differently
  • Develop your opportunities to suit individual needs
  • No role should be set in stone
  • make reasonable adjustments tailored to individual ability and needs
  • have flexibility within roles – can you divide up the tasks differently? Differently people will do things differently – and that’s okay
  • Ask people what would make it easier for them to volunteer
  • Ensure ongoing regular and ad hoc support
  • Be available
  • Listen
  • Act
  • Develop training and support for volunteers and staff to help create a welcoming, inclusive environment that everyone has ownership of

How Do Organisations Promote Equality In Volunteering?

A volunteer involving organisation seeking to promote diversity and equality of opportunity will:

  1. Commit to Promoting Equality and Diversity
  2. Allocate Appropriate Resources
  3. Encourage Fair Participation for All
  4. Develop Inclusive and Diverse Volunteer Opportunities
  5. Protect Volunteers from Harassment
  6. Promote Fair and Transparent Recruitment
  7. Communicate Clear and Fair Procedures
  8. Support Diverse Individual Needs.

Procedures  

The Trust will ensure that:

  • All related volunteer policies are assessed to promote equality and regularly reviewed.
  • All volunteers within the organisation have a clear understanding of agreed equality expectations and commitments.
  • The Trust seeks to involve volunteers from all sections of the community.
  • The Trust develops appropriate roles for volunteers and considers the unique abilities and needs of each volunteer. Task descriptions are developed for volunteer roles. Requirements for each role are clearly defined.
  • As far as possible roles are developed or adapted to meet individual needs, abilities and interests.
  • The Trust promotes fair and harmonious volunteering environments.
  • The Trust investigates any complaints of harassment quickly and thoroughly.
  • Volunteers from all backgrounds are treated with respect.
  • The Trust is committed to using fair, efficient and consistent recruitment procedures for all potential volunteers.There is an accessible recruitment / information pack. Consistent procedures and recording is in place.
  • Only appropriate applicant information is asked for.
  • Clear procedures are put into place to support volunteers in their role.
  • Volunteers are made aware of the organisation’s equality expectations and commitments.
  • Volunteers are clear on how to raise a complaint or concern if they feel they are not being afforded equality of opportunity.
  • The Trust will take into account the diverse needs of volunteers and seek to make opportunities as accessible as possible.
  • The Trust will take into account the unique needs of each individual volunteer and support them as far as practicable.
  • Volunteers have an opportunity to input into the ongoing process of promoting equality of opportunity. Volunteers are provided with relevant guidelines and procedures.

How to report concerns

 If you experience any form of discrimination or harassment while volunteering with us you have a right to raise a complaint with us. In the first instance this will be to one of the Trustees. This will be dealt with on an informal basis. If you do not feel the complaint has been dealt with, you can ask that Trustee to formally take the complaint to the main committee (of all Trustees). The decision of the main committee is final. All complaints will be dealt with seriously, promptly and confidentially.

Appendix 1: Equality and Diversity Commitments to Volunteers for welcome pack

Our Commitment to our volunteers…

This organisation is committed to providing equality of opportunity to all persons when developing, co-ordinating and supporting volunteering. Although there is no statutory obligation under equality legislation we recognise a clear moral obligation to promote fairness and equality in volunteering and value all individuals and their diverse & unique identity and backgrounds. These include (but are not exclusive to) the established equality grounds of religious belief; political opinion; community background; ethnic and national origin; sex; sexual orientation; disability or age.

What you can expect from us…

We believe that all volunteers should reflect the diversity of communities they work in and have the right to work in an environment which is free from discrimination.

If you experience any form of discrimination or harassment while volunteering with us you have a right to raise a complaint with us through our grievance procedure. All complaints will be dealt with seriously, promptly and confidentially.

What we can expect from you…

When representing this organisation as a volunteer we expect you to support our commitment to promoting equality. You must treat others with dignity and respect and not seek to discriminate against others.

You are expected to discourage discrimination by making it clear that you find such behaviour unacceptable and should alert a Trustee if an incident occurs to enable the Trust to deal with it.

The steps we will take to protect volunteers from discrimination…

This organisation will make every effort to ensure that discrimination and harassment does not occur. To do this we will:

  • Ensure that all volunteers are given our statement on the organisation’s commitment to equality in opportunity;
  • Explain the statement to all volunteers;
  • Ensure that all complaints of discrimination are dealt with promptly;
  • Set a good example by treating all volunteers with fairness, dignity and respect;
  • Be alert to unacceptable behaviour and take appropriate proactive action where necessary;

Declaration



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