Equality and Diversity Policy

BCE is committed to providing equality and diversity throughout its activities and this policy sets out its aims in this regard. This Policy provides details of:

  • our overall aims in relation to Equality, Diversity and Community Cohesion;
  • the underlying principles which guide our approach to Equality and Diversity issues;
  • roles and responsibilities for the Policy and its implementation;
  • legal duties and responsibilities.

We monitor our progress, continually review the actions we take and we proactively revise our approaches where required. We do this so that we can be sure that we are consistently progressing towards the achievement of our aims and principles for equality and diversity.

An overview of key legislation is shown in Appendix 1, and in particular we have a positive commitment to address our responsibilities and duties under The Equality Act 2010. In addition, we also realise that the legislation includes ‘the public sector equality duty’ - this duty has a significant impact for us, (for example, via contracting with public authorities) and we will ensure that we adhere to any requirements in any areas of our work as a result of legislation.

BCE is fully committed to the view that discrimination is unacceptable on any grounds, whether covered by the above legislation or not, and will positively seek to ensure that it does not occur.

This Policy does not exist solely as a response to legal requirements; BCE sees Equality and Diversity as fundamental considerations underpinning all our activities. Therefore, this Policy applies to all members of the BCE community (learners, staff, parents, visitors, employers, community members and any other individual or organisation working with us). BCE is committed to promoting policies whereby no employee, learner or potential employee or learner is unfairly discriminated against.

AIMS

Our core aim is to provide education for all, acknowledging that the society within which we live is enriched by diversity.

We will strive to ensure that the culture and ethos of BCE reflects and celebrates the diversity of ALL members of the organisation and wider community.

We will also seek to ensure that everyone is equally valued and treats one another with respect and fairness. Learners and other members of our organisation will be provided with the opportunity to experience, understand and celebrate diversity.

Our core values are:

  • to encourage mutual respect for all
  • recognise and work with every diverse group
  • provide high quality inclusive services and facilities
  • ensure our employment policies and practices are fair and;
  • challenge harassment, victimisation and discrimination.

We will proactively seek to review and restructure the cultures, policies and practices in our organisation, so they can be welcoming and responsive to the full diversity of people locally, nationally and globally.

Principles

In working towards the realisation of our aims, we will be guided by the following principles:

i. All learners are valued equally
We see all learners and potential learners as of equal value regardless of disability/impairment, ethnicity, colour, creed, nationality, national origin or status, culture, religion or belief, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marriage or civil partnership or pregnancy and maternity status.

ii. Welcoming and celebrating diversity
Treating people equally does not necessarily mean treating them all the same. Our policies, procedures and activities must not discriminate, but are differentiated, as appropriate, to take account of differences of life-experience, outlook and background, and in the kinds of barriers and disadvantage which people may face, in relation to disability/impairment, medical needs, ethnicity, colour, creed, nationality, national origin or status, culture, religious affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marriage or civil partnership or pregnancy and maternity status.

iii. Fostering positive attitudes and relationships, and a shared sense of cohesion and belonging
We intend that our policies, procedures and activities should promote positive attitudes, an absence of harassment, positive interaction, good relations and dialogue between groups and communities different from each other, global citizenship, an absence of prejudice-related bullying and harassment and mutual respect.

iv. BCE as an employer
Policies and procedures should benefit all employees and potential employees, for example in recruitment, promotion, and in continuing professional development.

v. Proactively reviewing what we do in order to reduce and remove inequalities and barriers
We proactively ensure that we make progress in regard to ensuring equality of opportunity for all, and we regularly review our actions. We will not simply seek to avoid discriminatory practices, we will take opportunities to maximise positive impacts by actively going about reducing and removing inequalities and barriers to equality and taking positive actions towards promoting and enhancing equality of opportunity for all.

vi. Creating Opportunity
We recognise the needs of every individual along with our commitment to enabling them to achieve their full potential. In doing this we recognise the need to raise aspirations for all.

vii. Consulting widely
People affected by a policy or activity should be consulted and involved in the design of new policies, and in the review of existing ones.

viii. Society as a whole should benefit
We intend that our policies and activities should benefit society as a whole, both locally and nationally, by fostering greater social cohesion, and greater participation.

ix. Safeguarding
Everyone in our organisation has responsibility for the welfare of young people, vulnerable adults, and indeed all learners and staff. We proactively ensure that arrangements are in place to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults. This includes protecting people from any forms of bullying, harassment or any other maltreatment based on equalities issues.

Objectives & Actions

This Policy has so far stated our overall aims and the underlying principles by which we will work. In order to deliver on these, we need to ensure that the way in which we act proactively contributes to their achievement. Therefore:

  • We will keep all aspects of learning and indeed, all our activities, under review in order to ensure that they reflect our aims and principles.
  • We will use quantitative and qualitative data relating to the implementation of this policy, and take action as appropriate. In particular, we collect, analyse and use data in relation to achievement and employment, broken down according to impairment and special educational needs, age, ethnicity and gender, as well as other equalities ‘strands’ where appropriate to do so.
  • Prejudice-related incidents will be identified as such when anyone involved with the incident feels that it is motivated by prejudice. All such incidents are referred to the Managing Director, whose role it is to assess, record and deal with all incidents. We take seriously our commitment to report regularly to the Senior Management Team about the numbers, types and seriousness of any prejudice-related incidents at our organisation and how they were dealt with.
  • We respect the diversity of all staff, learners and parents/carers, and comply with reasonable requests relating to a full range of equalities issues.
  • We ensure that the content of this policy is known to all staff and all learners and parents/carers. All staff have access to a selection of resources, which discuss and explain concepts of equality, diversity and community cohesion in appropriate detail.
  • It is our policy that all staff receive training in Equality and Diversity principles, legislation and issues on an on-going basis. We will ensure that all staff are fully aware of their responsibilities towards the promotion of equality and diversity and take account of the different and differing needs of individuals/groups in all of their activities.
  • We will maintain records of the ethnic origin, sex and any disability of our learners and staff as a means of monitoring and identifying possible areas of inequality.
  • We will include Equality and Diversity on agendas for team meetings across BCE, including at board level.
  • It is the individual responsibility of every member of staff to seek to ensure the practical application of this policy. In addition, special responsibility falls upon management and those involved in staff recruitment and training delivery to ensure its effectiveness.
  • We ensure that the core principles listed above apply also to the full range of our policies and practices and our key mechanism for ensuring this is via our policy review process.

Rights of staff and learners

Recruitment, appraisal, job allocation and promotion will be conducted on a fair and lawful basis; assessment of merit must be based on clear work related criteria.

Access to a complaint’s procedure which incorporate equality and diversity related issues. This will ensure that any complaints are taken seriously and investigated at senior management level.

Equality of access to training and other career development opportunities.

An environment free from discrimination, bullying or harassment.

An environment that is consistent with and adaptable to the needs of the individual.

To complain, without fear of victimisation, should an individual or group feel they have been subject to discrimination, victimisation, bullying or harassment.

Responsibilities of Staff & Learners

All members of BCE should:

Be aware of and critically examine their attitudes to people and groups to ensure that prejudices, stereotypes, presumptions and generalisations do not affect their judgement during selection, appraisal, career development or the delivery of the organisation’s services.

Irrespective of their position within the organisation recognise that they are personally and individually responsible for ensuring that they act in accordance with the principles of Equality and Diversity as outlined in this Policy and its provisions. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

Everybody involved with BCE is expected to:

  • promote an inclusive and collaborative ethos and learning and working environment.
  • deal appropriately with any prejudice-related incidents that may occur.
  • identify and challenge bias and stereotyping.
  • support the diversity of learners based on individual need.

Everybody involved with BCE must not:

  • Discriminate against colleagues, other employees, job applicants or learners.
  • Bully or harass them or attempt to induce or attempt to induce other employees to practice unlawful discrimination.
  • Victimise a colleague, learner or applicant.

Responsibilities of Management and Supervision

Managers and supervisors are responsible for promoting equality and diversity within their own commands and for ensuring that the business is conducted in accordance with our equality and diversity policies.

While in-service training programmes may be directed at specific staff groups or learners, particular attention will be paid to ensure that training courses and access to them are not discriminatory.

Those responsible for organising training will ensure regular monitoring of participants on all training courses, to determine whether any particular group is under-represented.

A regular process of reviewing the work of each staff member will be carried out by those staff having supervisory and management responsibilities. Training needs will be identified in conjunction with employees. It is the responsibility of those who are identifying training needs to look at suitable ways of meeting those needs.

Overall responsibility for the implementation and enforcement of our equality and diversity policy lies with the Managing Director.

Managers have a particular responsibility to oversee equality and diversity in employment practices, to provide advice and guidance and to develop good practice.

Monitoring will take place regularly to ensure that every section has taken action to implement and discuss the policy with their staff and learners.

We commit to ensuring that all staff and learners that we are responsible for do not suffer discrimination, harassment or bullying.

Staff and Learner Recruitment

Recruitment and selection procedures and practices throughout our organisation are regularly reviewed to ensure that no group is put at a disadvantage either directly or indirectly. To assist us in the process, a monitoring system will be maintained with regard to the ethnic origin, sex and disability of those applying, short listed for and appointed posts and training positions.

The company’s aim is that the composition of the workforce should reflect that of the community. Where necessary, special steps as permitted by law will be taken to help disadvantaged and/or under-represented groups to compete for jobs on a genuine basis of equality.

All job descriptions will stipulate a commitment to the organisation's equality and diversity policy and specify any particular responsibilities for the post-holder in implementing it.

Every person appointed must be made aware, as part of the induction process, of the equality and diversity policy, and how it is applied.

To avoid racist, sexist or other discriminatory practices in staff recruitment, we will ensure:

  • That where possible those staff involved in interviewing and selection are given special training to avoid discrimination in these processes.
  • That staff and learners are given an equal opportunity to progress within the organisation and, where appropriate, may be offered special training to ensure that they are able to achieve their full potential.

Grievance and Disciplinary Procedure

No staff or learner at BCE should have to suffer discrimination, victimisation, bullying or harassment. All complaints of discrimination, victimisation, harassment or bullying etc. will be treated seriously and investigated with all possible speed, confidentially and sensitivity. Such activities, if established against BCE staff and learners, will be dealt with as misconduct. Anyone believing that a complaint has not been properly acted upon is entitled to and should initiate the Grievance Procedure. The procedure explains in detail how to do this and staff and learners are entitled to receive copies of the Grievance Procedure.

GENERAL

This policy should not be read in isolation, but cross-referenced with all relevant BCE employment and learner policies.