Jigsaw (South East) is committed to promoting equality and diversity and a culture that actively values difference and recognises that a diverse workforce contributes to our aim of making our services inclusive and accessible to people from all sections of the community.
Jigsaw (South East) (JSE) recognises the importance of equality of opportunity in every aspect of its activities, and that discrimination on the grounds of disability, race, religion or belief, age, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, sex and sexual orientation is harmful and unlawful (except for certain services which are exempt)
Jigsaw (South East) will, through regular monitoring of policies and practice, take active steps to combat discrimination.
2. WHAT WE MEAN BY EQUALITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION:
Equality: is the basis for a fair society, in which everyone has the opportunity to achieve their potential in life.
Diversity: recognises that we are all different, and that our differences should be recognised, respected and valued.
Inclusion: we actively create a community which recognises and celebrates diversity and acknowledges that all have the right to be respected and valued members of that community.
3. THE LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK:
The Equality Act 2010 came into force on 1 October 2010, harmonising, strengthening and replacing previous anti-discrimination legislation e.g. The Race Relations Act 1976 and the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.It is designed to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all.
The Act sets out a list of prescribed protected characteristics, and provides protection for people who have, or are perceived to have a protected characteristic, from direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation in services and public functions, premises, work, education, associations and transport.
The protected characteristics are: • Age • Disability • Race • Religion or belief • Pregnancy and maternity • Sex • Sexual orientation • Gender reassignment • Marriage or civil partnership.
4. EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES:
JSE is committed to equality of opportunity, valuing diversity in all aspects of its work as well as providing an inclusive and supportive environment for all by:
• ensuring that people are treated fairly, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, sex, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, or any other distinction;
• promoting diversity and equality as well as valuing the contributions made by individuals and groups of people from diverse cultural, ethnic, socio-economic and distinctive backgrounds;
• challenging inequality and less favourable treatment wherever practicable; and
• promoting greater participation of under-represented groups by encouraging positive action to address inequality, promote an environment, free of harassment and bullying on any grounds in relation to all staff, trustees and users of JSE’s services.
5. SCOPE OF POLICY:
This policy applies to all individuals involved in JSE.
6. PROTECTED CHARACTERISTICS:
Individuals of any age or apparent age are protected from discrimination. JSE will ensure that people of all ages are treated with respect and dignity; ensure that people of working age are given equal access to our employment and volunteering opportunities, and challenge discriminatory assumptions about younger and older people. JSE acknowledges that it is unlawful to terminate employment by retirement unless the employer can objectively justify it, or the employee agrees to it. JSE is committed to equal opportunities for all its employees and recognises the contributions of a diverse workforce, including the skills and experience of older employees. It believes that employees should, wherever possible, be permitted to continue working for as long as they wish to do so.
A disability is a physical or mental impairment which has (or is likely to have) a substantial effect on a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities for a period of a year or more.
Certain medical conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV are a disability from the outset, whatever their impact on day-to-day activities. Protection from discrimination covers a person who has had a disability in the past.
There is no unfavourable treatment if the ‘discriminator’ did not know or could not reasonably have known the person had a disability. More favourable treatment of disabled persons is not unlawful discrimination against non-disabled people.
There are two ways in which there could be unlawful discrimination against a disabled employee or job applicant:
i. by treating an individual less favourably than others because of their disability. This includes initial employment, promotion opportunities, training as well as terms and conditions of employment;
ii. by failing to make reasonable adjustments. JSE has a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ where a ‘provision, criterion or practice’ puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled persons. Then a duty arises on JSE to take such reasonable steps as are necessary to avoid the disadvantage at no charge to the employee.
Race refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins. JSE recognises that the communities we offer services in are made up of a wide range of different people with cultural diversity. We actively promote equality of opportunity to access our services. We will challenge racism wherever it occurs; respond swiftly and sensitively to racist incidents, and actively promote race equality.
6.4 Religion or Belief.
Religion means any religion, including lack of religion. Belief is defined as any religious or philosophical belief including a lack of belief. JSE will ensure that religion or beliefs and related observances of employees, volunteers, service users and trustees are respected and accommodated wherever possible and respect people’s beliefs where the expression of those beliefs does not impinge on the legitimate rights of others.
6.5 Pregnancy and Maternity.
This protected characteristic covers the course of a pregnancy and any illness suffered as a result of the pregnancy or because a woman is exercising or is seeking to exercise the right to compulsory, ordinary or additional maternity leave. JSE will ensure that people are treated with respect and dignity and that a positive image is promoted regardless of pregnancy or maternity; challenge discriminatory assumptions about the pregnancy or maternity of our employees; ensure that no individual is disadvantaged; and that we take account of the needs of our employees’ pregnancy or maternity.
JSE will protect pregnant employees and new mothers, carrying out an individual risk assessment when informed that an employee is pregnant, has given birth in the last 6 months or who is breastfeeding and adjusting working conditions as required.
The Equality Act defines sex to mean either male or female, or a group of people, like men or boys, or women or girls. JSE will have due regard to the duty to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the grounds of a person’s sex.
The Equality Act has some exceptions that allow employers or organisations to discriminate because of your sex. e.g. where being a particular sex is essential for a job, or where positive action is being taken.
• challenge discriminatory assumptions about women and men
• offer equal access for women and men to services, employment,
• take positive action to redress the negative effects of discrimination against women and men
6.7 Sexual Orientation
The Equality Act 2010 protects a person’s sexual orientation towards: • people of the same sex as him or her (e.g. a gay man or a lesbian woman); • people of the opposite sex from him or her; and • people of both sexes. JSE will ensure it considers the needs of all sexual orientations. It will challenge homophobia and discriminatory language wherever it occurs, and ensure that everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, is treated with dignity and respect.
6.8 Gender Reassignment
Gender reassignment is a protected characteristic that applies to a transsexual (transgender) person who is proposing to undergo, is undergoing, or has undergone a process (or part of a process) to change their sex. • provide support to prevent discrimination against transsexual people who have or who are about to undergo gender reassignment • challenge transphobia wherever it occurs, ensuring that all are treated with dignity and respect.
6.9 Marriage and Civil Partnership
Partnership Protection is given to people who have or share the characteristics of being married or being a civil partner. JSE will ensure that people are treated with respect and dignity and that a positive image is promoted regardless of marriage or civil partnership; challenge discriminatory assumptions about the marriage or civil partnership of our employees; and ensure that no individual is disadvantaged and that we take account of the needs of our employees’ marriage or civil partnership.
It is important to note that carers are also protected through association to any of the ‘protected characteristics’ described above. JSE further recognises that there is a range of other groups that may face additional disadvantage and discrimination, and they will be considered when making decisions, ensuring respect is shown to everyone at all times.
JSE is an equal opportunities employer and will ensure that, within the framework of the law, it’s recruitment process for staff, trustees and volunteers is free from unlawful or unfair discrimination.
Any recruitment advertisement will be non-discriminatory and will avoid any gender or culturally specific language and include a statement of commitment to equal opportunities, welcoming applications from all sections of the community. JSE aims to receive the widest response to employment vacancies in order to achieve a diverse workforce that is reflective of the local community. Application forms should ask whether the applicant has been convicted of a criminal offence and, if so, to give details. Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 a conviction can become spent. If so, the applicant is not obliged to disclose it. Job applications should not ask for the applicant’s age. During the interview process, candidates will be asked a standard set of agreed questions to avoid potentially discriminatory questions. Personal questions relating to the candidate’s age, sex, sexual orientation, race, marital status, nationality, religion or belief, disability, membership or non-membership of a trade union will not be asked.
All employees whether full-time, part-time, fixed contract, agency workers or temporary staff, will be treated fairly and equally. Selection for employment, promotion, training, remuneration or any other benefit will be based on aptitude and ability. All employees will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential and the talents and resources of the workforce will be fully utilised to maximise the efficient running of JSE.
9. SERVICE PROVISION:
Printed information (posters/leaflets) about JSE’s service will be in a minimum of 10pt type. Any information held electronically can be adapted to large print and will be sent out on request. Any information requiring translation will be adapted as requested.
JSE will ensure that its website includes photos of service users that are reflective of a diverse population and convey a message of inclusivity to anyone accessing its website and social media platforms. Where possible, this will also apply to coverage of fundraisers and fundraising activities.
JSE’s Statement of Intent will be on the JSE website and in any other appropriate publications/media.
JSE’s services are fully inclusive and accessible to all users and members of the community. JSE will ask all service users to share with us certain information so that we can monitor the diversity of our service users and report on them when needed.
When recording information about service users 16 and under, JSE will also note any additional vulnerabilities that we believe may be relevant in providing the best support possible.
JSE will ensure that all schools serving communities in the 30% most deprived areas according to the IMD Deprivation Index are aware of our service on an annual basis to encourage them to recommend a referral to our service if there is a need.
If any service user is unable to access our service in the usual way, such as attend our group activities, JSE will, as far as is reasonable, seek to facilitate full access. This might be by arranging transportation to venues for those unable to travel.
JSE will, as far as possible, choose venues that are fully accessible with accessible facilities.
The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy will be provided to all new employees, Trustees and volunteers as part of the induction process. In addition, the Trustee Board and Management team will from time to time provide training on equality, diversity and inclusion, including the need to avoid ‘unconscious bias’ in society and the importance of actively promoting equality and inclusion.
Purchasing: Jigsaw (South East) will try to ensure that the goods and services it offers are accessible to all groups. It will not knowingly receive or purchase goods and services from agencies which practise discrimination.
10. COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
JSE takes seriously any breach of this policy. If any service user, member of staff, volunteer or member of the public believes that an act of discrimination has taken place, they should make a formal complaint as part of the complaints process. This could lead to disciplinary action. Acts of discrimination might also be unlawful in which case the appropriate action will be taken.
Monitoring: Regular monitoring and reviews of all procedures will take place from time to time, to check the effectiveness of JSE’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy. Staff will be required to report the results of such monitoring to the Trustee Board and to recommend such amendments as are needed to ensure that the policy is effective at all levels of the organisation.
Approved by the Board of Trustees – July 2012
Last Review – August 2023
Next Review – August 2024