EQUAL OPPORTUNITY POLICY

INTRODUCTION

Youth educare operates an equal opportunities policy. At Youth Educare (which is referred as YE) we strive to ensure equal treatment and respect to everyone who comes in contact with the institute, whether learner, staff, volunteer or visitor.“The principle of treating all people the fairly according to their needs and not being influenced by a person’s sex, race, religion, etc.” Equal opportunity in education means that every student expressing a will to pursue a given course should be given the same chance to try it. A person’s life destiny is his to decide, and the only guidance programme consisted with this ideals is one that gives everyone the same chance at everything. Equal Opportunity does not of course, mean equal outcome for everybody”- (The Crisis in American Education. The Sudbury Valley School, 1970, P.27, 37).

 

"The institute is opposed to unlawful or unfavourable discrimination on grounds of:

  • Gender
  • Disability
  • Race
  • Colour
  • Ethnic and national origin
  • Nationality
  • Marital status
  • Responsibility for dependents
  • Religion
  • Trade union activity
  • Age

and shall ensure that students shall be treated fairly and receive equal consideration".

The institute is committed to designing policies and procedures based on the above principles and all related legislations including the Equality Act 2010 which came into force in October 2010, governing the equal opportunities.

This Policy aims to promote a community with multicultural academic and working environment at the institute. The institute will take effective and positive measures to enforce its Equal Opportunities Policy.

To comply with its legal obligations, the institute may collect data to monitor the effectiveness of this policy and to prevent instances of discrimination from occurring.

The institute reserves the right to change the terms of this policy from time to time and to introduce a replacement procedure as may be required.

 

Purpose:

  • The purpose of this policy is to promote the equality of opportunity afforded to each person (student/employee, potential student/employee or past student/employee of the institute), irrespective of matters such as their sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, beliefs or age.  
  • The Institute will treat any student/employee/volunteer/visitor, applicant for studies or employment, past employee/student equally irrespective of matters such as their sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, beliefs or age.
  • This policy sets out the institute’s intention to ensure that no applicant for education, employment, employee or former employee or a visitor/volunteer suffers discrimination, victimisation or harassment.
  • The institute will treat any reports or instances of such discrimination with the utmost seriousness and will investigate fully and invoke the disciplinary procedure if there are grounds to believe that any such conduct is discovered. Any instances of deliberate discriminatory conduct or breach of equality opportunities policies and procedures will be likely to lead to instant dismissal. 

Scope:

This policy covers all students, employees, agency workers, volunteers, visitors, directors of the company who must comply with its provisions. Visitors and independent contractors and suppliers on the institute’s premises are also required to comply with the terms of this policy and any instance of discriminatory conduct by any visiting staff, supplier or other contact of the institute will also be subject to its provisions. Any person who believes that any employee has been subject to treatment contrary to this policy should report the matter immediately to them, who will take such action as necessary to prevent any unlawful treatment from continuing.

Aims of the Policy and Underpinning Principles

The aim of this policy is to ensure that in carrying out its activities the Institute will have due regard to:

  • promoting equality of opportunity, across all the activities of the institute
  • promoting good relations between people of a diverse background
  • eliminating unlawful discrimination

This policy is guided by the following principles, that:

  • All staff, students and visitors should be treated, equally, fairly with legal requirements in selection, admission, education and assessment.
  • all staff, students and visitors should enjoy a safe environment free from discrimination and harassment or bullying
  • all students and employees should have equal access to quality services that are made available by the Institute
  •  all staff and students should have equal access to opportunities for personal, professional or academic development and career, progression and promotion opportunities
  • all staff and students should be able to participate fully in the work and life of the institute community and celebrate its diversity
  • staff and students at the institute should reflect the diversity of talent, experience and skills from the local, national and international pool from which it draws its students and workforce
  • Positive action initiatives continue to be used to redress inequalities and discriminatory practice such as in training, appraisal, development, promotion of staff and curriculum delivery and development.
  • All relevant members, including staff and students, have the right to be consulted about institute policy, procedures and practices and are encouraged to contribute to the decision making processes of the institute.
  • The institute is fully committed to providing a good, harmonious and diverse learning and working environment that offers equal treatment and equal opportunities for all students, learners and employees and   where every student, learner and employee is treated with respect and dignity. The institute's aim is that remuneration, recruitment, promotion, training, teaching and retention should not be affected either directly or indirectly by irrelevant considerations such as prejudices or stereotyping.
  • Institute will seek to provide reasonable resources to plan implement and monitor such a policy and steps, which will be taken to make all staff, students and visitors aware of this policy by a programme of dissemination.

Equal Opportunities Policy Statement

YOUTH EDUCARE is an equal opportunity employer. It is committed to ensuring equal opportunities, fairness of treatment, dignity, work-life balance and the elimination of all forms of discrimination in the workplace for all staff and job applicants. The employer aims to create a working environment in which all individuals are able to make best use of their skills, free from discrimination or harassment, and in which all decisions are based on merit and experience. Therefore the organisation has adopted this policy as a means of helping to achieve these aims.

It is YOUTH EDUCARE’s stated policy to treat all workers and job applicants equally and fairly irrespective of their sex, marital status, civil partnership status, trans-gender status, sexual orientation, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, national origin, culture, religion, age, or disability. The principles of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity also apply to the way in which staffs treat colleagues, visitors, clients, customers, suppliers and former staff members.

Recruitment

Recruitment and selection will be in accordance with objective, job-related criteria and the appointed applicant will be chosen on her/his merits and abilities. BIC will endeavour to ensure that employees responsible for staff recruitment and selection do not discriminate unfairly. All reasonably practicable steps will be taken to ensure that problems relating to access or equipment do not debar disabled applicants from employment.

 

 

Human Resources Policies and Procedures

Guidance is given to staff on the implications of the equal opportunities policy and, in particular, to those involved in the management of other staff. The interpretation and application of all conditions of employment are intended to ensure that they are consistent with equal opportunity principles. Policies and procedures are reviewed and updated as necessary to improve, amend or adapt current practices to promote equality of opportunity.

YE is also committed to ensuring that no policy, procedure, provision, rule, requirement, condition or criterion will be imposed on any worker or job applicant without justification if it would be likely to put that person at a disadvantage on any of the above grounds.

Monitoring

Relevant data is collected to monitor the operation of this policy. Personal details provided by employees or applicants for jobs will be kept confidentially and will not be used for any other purpose.

Harassment

It is recognised that harassment is a form of discrimination. Harassment is defined as any action that is found objectionable and offensive and threatens an employee’s job security or creates an intimidating working environment. Any employee who experiences sexual, racial or any other kind of harassment is encouraged to use the grievance procedure described in above policy.

Organisational Responsibilities

The Executive Director has overall responsibility for implementing and monitoring the effectiveness of this policy. Departmental Heads are under a special obligation to promote equality of opportunity in their own areas of responsibility. All employees have a duty under the terms of this policy neither to discriminate unfairly against or harass colleagues or job applicants, nor to encourage other members of staff to do so. Unfair discrimination or harassment by an employee will result in disciplinary action, including summary dismissal, where appropriate.

 

 

 

Complaints

Any applicant who feels that s/he has been unfairly discriminated against during the recruitment process is invited to write to Executive Director with details. Complaints will be fully investigated.

Policy Development and Review

  • The institute will monitor Equal Opportunities Policy together with Senior Tutor, Admissions officer and Academic Head.
  • The institute will have overall responsibility for coordination of policy development and the identification of priorities. 
  •  The institute will hold its annual review on end of December every year. 
  • The institute will ensure that specific provisions for issues relating to equal opportunities are incorporated into strategic planning and policy development reviews.
  • The institute will regularly review institute regulations, assessments, delivery of curriculum, training, student disciplinary procedures, and student complaints procedures to ensure that all procedures are fair and equitable and consistently implemented.
  • The institute promotes good race relations between all racial groups within the institute and keeps under review its outreach and admissions policies in order to prevent racial discrimination.

Responsibility:

Employees should ensure that:

  • They co-operate, support and promote with any measures introduced to develop equal opportunities and diversity in the workplace.
  • They respect the sensitivities of others.
  • they refrain from taking discriminatory actions or decisions which are contrary to either the letter or spirit of this policy and, for employees of managerial status, that they ensure that those who report to them also comply with the policy
  • they do not instruct, induce, or attempt to induce or pressurise other employees to act in breach of this policy
  • Employees who make, or support, complaints in respect of breaches of this policy are not victimised but treated fairly and responsively both when the complaint is made and thereafter.
  • Breaches of the institution's equal opportunity policy and procedures, and any unfair or unlawful discrimination, bullying, victimisation or harassment will not be tolerated and will be dealt with under the institute's disciplinary procedures. In serious cases, this would lead to dismissal of the relevant individual on the grounds of gross misconduct.
  • The policy shall also apply to visitors, employees of contractors working at the institute's premises.
  • While the institute recognises that the overall responsibility for the effective operation of this policy lies with the directors, it is incumbent upon all employees, whatever their position within the institute, to take responsibility for ensuring its effective implementation in their day-to-day activities and working relationships with colleagues.

 The Quality Assurance person/Team is responsible:

  1. For ensuring the institute meets its legal obligations in respect of legislation relating to equal opportunities.
  2. For ensuring the strategic development, implementation and review of the Equality and Diversity Policy and progress on the implementation of corporate and area action plans.

The Executive Director is responsible for the institute's Equality Policy and related action plans are implemented effectively. Also, that appropriate action is taken against individuals on institute premises who do not act in accordance with the policy.

The director is responsible for overseeing the effective implementation of the following:

In conjunction with

  1. Various departments is responsible for ensuring that procedures relating to staff recruitment, selection, career development discipline and grievance are carried out in accordance with the Equality Policy. To support this, the Executive Director is responsible for providing advice, guidance and support on the application of this policy and for developing action plans in conjunction with other colleagues to address equalities related employment issues or admissions issues related to equal opportunities.
  2. for ensuring that all polices relating to the student experience are carried out in accordance with the Equality Policy.

 

Breach of the Policy

The institute will take seriously any instances of non-adherence to the Equality and Diversity policy by students, staff or visitors. Any instances of non-adherence will be investigated and where appropriate will be considered under the relevant disciplinary policy for staff or students. With regard to any breach of the policy by visitors, the Institute will take appropriate action in relation to the nature of the incident.

Implementation

The executive director will regularly report to the governing body. This group is responsible for advising the quality control team on equal opportunity issues. The Committee meets regularly to establish policies and strategies, as well as to monitor progress. In order to ensure effective implementation of policy, the Committee focuses upon key areas of development.

The successful implementation of all strands of this policy relies on the mainstreaming of equality and diversity issues within the strategic planning process. For the successful implementation of the policy, YOUTH EDUCARE will do the following activities:

I.  Staff Development and Awareness Training

Equal Opportunities awareness training will be made available for all staff such as attending induction training and is fully integrated into our staff development and Induction programmes. In addition, specific workshops, activities and initiatives to raise awareness about equal opportunities will be organised on a regular basis.

II.Appraisal and Assessment

Our staff appraisal and related training will seek to ensure that good equal opportunities practice is applied throughout these processes.

III.       Staff Recruitment, Selection, Promotion and Retention

It is in the interest of the institute that all our policies and procedures relating to recruitment, selection and promotion will be fairly and consistently applied and reflect good equal opportunities practice.

Our policies will seek to ensure that our staff profile reflects the widest possible representation of the community, as far as is reasonably possible. To facilitate this, we will regularly monitor our staff profile in terms of gender, ethnicity and disability across all levels. If necessary, appropriate strategies will be adopted, in consultation with the governing body, in order to target under-represented groups.

We intend that all staff who participate in recruitment and selection processes are trained to achieve an appropriate level of competence. Staff will also be expected to attend annual refresher courses and development workshops as required.

We continually review our recruitment, selection, promotion and training procedures to ensure that good practice is being applied and in light of relevant legislation.

IV.      Student Admission and Progression

Applications and admission patterns across the Institute will be monitored. Institute will ensure that all staffs involved in to admission process are given training on implications of an Equality Policy and Procedures.

Admissions officers will be offered training in good equal opportunities practice.
Course organisation and teaching materials will endeavour to take account of the needs of different groups and care shall be taken to ensure that teaching materials are non-discriminatory and positively reflect the diversity of the institute community. Students who leave the Institute will be expected to have developed an awareness of equal opportunities as part of preparation for working in a diverse community.

Staff training is provided, focused on equal opportunities issues and the curriculum to support the above.

Support for Students and Staff

Institute provision which supports the needs of particular groups of students and staff is reviewed periodically as stated above. In addition, the Institute will recognise the need for the development of support networks for both students and staff, and will actively encourage such initiatives.

Recruitment and selection

The selection process is of crucial importance in this policy and must be carried out according to objective job-related criteria, which must be subject to regular review. The effectiveness of the policy will be determined to a great extent by this aspect of employment procedure. The institute will endeavour through appropriate training to ensure that employees making selection decisions will not discriminate whether consciously or unconsciously in making these decisions.

Training

Equal opportunities must be integrated into all training concerned with selection skills, staff assessment, counselling, staff development and the management or supervision of staff. The company's policy will form part of the induction training of all staff.

  • YE will work to promote relevant training opportunities for voluntary and community groups, for YE members, committee members, staff and volunteers, in accordance with the aims of its Mission Statement.
  • YE is committed to the development of its staff and volunteers’ skills and expertise as a resource base from which to provide the range and quality of services desired and for the achievement of its strategic objectives.
  • YE will ensure that staff and volunteers receive training to equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to carry out their present duties effectively and to prepare them for future requirements.
  • YE will endeavour to ensure that both the content and delivery of training are free from bias, that opportunities are made available equitably and that events are arranged taking account of the needs of particular individuals and groups who may experience disadvantage or discrimination.

Promotion

It is in YE's interest to provide equal opportunities for promotion to all employees. Managers must continually assess the promotion potential of all employees and all promotion decisions must be made in accordance with objective selection criteria.

Student Support

The Institute’s procedures or compliance will review payment requirements from time to time for giving discounts on course fees, which will be based predominantly on performance in Institute examinations where applicable. The Institute keeps under review its provision of student pastoral support and welfare services to ensure that these are equally accessible to all members of the institute community.

Staff selection, recruitment and remuneration

The Institute has adopted the Institute code of practice for the recruitment and selection of institute employees in order to ensure equality of opportunity. The Institute maintains a procedures which considers individual pay and grading changes, and determines salary levels for new posts on an ‘equal pay for equal value’ basis. 

Consultation

The Institute will ensure that the interests of all staff and students are represented and that these groups are consulted in the development and maintenance of the equal opportunities policy.

Admissions

  • The Institute selects only students to whom the institute has offered places and presumes that the offers accord to approve institute academic policy, with reference to the appropriate legislation.
  • Any post which comes to an end and is followed by a closely related post in the same field and the same conditions of service, but with a different job description may be advertised internally in the first instance.  All other vacancies will be advertised simultaneously both internally and externally.
  • Institute will strive to ensure that knowledge of vacancies reaches particular groups which experience disadvantage or discrimination in employment, through the application of advertising strategy.
  • All vacancy advertisements will include an appropriate short statement on equal opportunity.
  • As far as possible, all candidates should receive the same information about the post for which they are applying.  Canvassing by candidates of institute staff and/or panel members is discouraged.
  • YE will ensure that selection criteria (job description, person specification) are justifiable on non-discriminatory grounds as being essential for the effective performance of the job.  All job descriptions and person specifications will include an awareness of equal opportunities and ability to work in accordance with equal opportunities principles.
  • YE will ensure that those involved in short listing and interviewing record their reasons for the selection and rejection of applicants for vacancies.
  • YE will record the details of applicant’s gender, racial origin, sexual orientation, age and disability supplied through the Equal Opportunities monitoring form. 

Services

  • YE recognise that, because of discrimination, particular individuals and groups may be wary of using the services of an organisation which is not run exclusively for and by their communities or groups.  YE will therefore aim to provide a welcoming, non-discriminatory service and will take positive action to encourage such individuals and groups to YE as a resource.
  • YE will work to ensure that the views of such individuals and groups are sought and taken into consideration in the monitoring of current services and the development of future services.

Gender

YE is committed to actively opposing all forms of discrimination on the grounds of gender. YOUTH EDUCARE will work to combat sex discrimination.  In addition, YE recognise the existence of particular forms of discrimination on the grounds of gender and will oppose these through the means stated below.

YE is strive to become a model of good anti-sexist practice through making its style, structure, service delivery and language accessible and appropriate to all members.

Race

YE is committed to actively opposing racism and all forms of discrimination faced by minority ethnic people. YE recognise the existence of particular forms of discrimination on the grounds of race and will oppose these through the means stated below.

  • YE will recognise the institutional nature of racism and discrimination, both direct and indirect, and will work to counter this by reviewing the composition of staff, volunteers, and committees and by reviewing procedures, policies and service provision with reference to the needs and interests of the communities.
  • YE will strive to ensure that the views of minority ethnic communities in relation to its policies and work priorities are sought and acted upon.

Sexuality

YE is committed to combating discrimination against people on the grounds of their sexuality.  YE recognises the particular forms which such discrimination can take and will oppose these through the means stated below.

  • YE acknowledges that for many lesbians and gay men the decision to ‘come out’ at work is dependent on the work environment and that the process of coming out can be a very difficult one.  YE recognises that lesbians and gay men who are not openly so at work still suffer the effects of a thoughtless, unsupportive or hostile work environment.
  • YE affirm the right of staff, volunteers and members to be openly lesbian or gay.
  • In accordance with the duty of trust and confidence implicit in YE’s Terms and Conditions of Employment, staff have the right not to have their sexuality disclosed, without their permission, by other YE workers or volunteers.

Disability

YE is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities are given equal access to employment, volunteering and service provision. YE will work to be recognised as an organisation which is aware of and sensitive to the interests of people with disabilities in the community. YE acknowledges that some areas of its premises are inaccessible to many people with disabilities and will take positive action to improve this situation.

YE will place a high priority on the physical accessibility and other appropriate facilities and services of venues when organising internal and external meetings. YE is committed to offer practical support to enable employees, volunteers and members who become disabled to continue their involvement with YE.

HIV

YE is committed to combating HIV/AIDS related discrimination in all its forms, and acknowledges the particular discrimination faced by people who are HIV antibody positive and people often assumed to be affected by HIV: particularly gay men, intravenous drug users, people with haemophilia and people from Africa.

For the purpose of this policy document, the terms HIV, HIV positive and AIDS have been abbreviated to HIV/AIDS. No-one deemed medically fit will have an offer of work withdrawn on the grounds of their HIV status.  Fitness is related to the ability of the individual to undertake the requirements of the post. YE will not require an employee or applicant to be medically screened for HIV/AIDS.

Employees, volunteers and/or members will not be treated in any disadvantageous way on the basis of their actual or assumed HIV status. The needs of employees supporting or caring for partners/relatives with HIV/AIDS will be treated sympathetically and confidentially. YE will maintain absolute confidentiality concerning an employee, job applicant, volunteer or member’s HIV/AIDS status without written consent of the individual with HIV/AIDS.

Grievances

Employees who believe they have experienced any form of unfair or unlawful discrimination, bullying or harassment should raise their concern through the institution's grievance procedure.

Where such grievances may concern the normal line of supervision or management, individuals may approach the HR department.

Disciplinary process

Where following an investigation it is deemed that there is a case to answer, matters will be dealt with under the institution's disciplinary procedure.

Monitoring

Examining the effects of policy and programmes of action on a regular and structured basis is a fundamental part of the process of successfully establishing equal opportunities. Personnel data are therefore collected, analysed and interpreted across the group. The objectives of monitoring are to:

  • to identify areas of and reasons for under-representation of particular groups in the workforce
  • to assess the effect of employment procedures and practices and identify any unintentional impact on particular groups
  • to enable appropriate corrective action to take place, including defining targets for future change
  • to enable the company to review and reshape its equal opportunities policy and programme of action.

  Monitoring arrangements

  • The institute will ensure that the following functions are subject to monitoring in the course of each academic year:

a.   Staff selection and career progression, grievances, discipline and access to training

b.   Student admissions, progress and performance, complaints and discipline.

  • The Institute will publish the Equal Opportunities Policy on the Institute website and distribute copies to all staff and students and post on the staff notice boards
  • In consultation with relevant committees, the management committee will monitor and assess activities annually and publish the results of monitoring and assessments every year.  Reports will include information on consultation undertaken as part of the assessment process.
  • Staff contracts incorporate references to equality provisions and the institute Equal Opportunities Policy.

Impact assessment

  • The management committee will identify criteria against which the outcome of monitoring may be assessed. In the event that the outcome of monitoring discloses potentially adverse impact on a group or groups, the management committee will bring this to the attention of the Governing Body for consideration and action including further research, where appropriate

Monitoring and Review

  • The Institute’s human resources department will monitor performance against the institute’s published equal opportunities targets as appropriate.
  • The Institute will seek to access the impact of its policies on staff and students to ensure that real improvements are being made in tackling discrimination and promoting diversity.
  • The Institute will share information on its achievements and areas for further improvement, by making public the results of the impact assessments, the hard data obtained and the actions taken to address the issues identified.
  • The policy will be reviewed every year.

Communication

This policy must be communicated widely and effectively throughout the workforce and to potential employees. It is the responsibility of management at all levels to ensure that such communication takes place and that the policy is adhered to.

Publicity

An equal opportunities statement will appear in institute advertisements and publicity materials.

In addition, publicity materials relating to the Institute will broadly reflect the diversity of its community and show positive images of all groups and sections.

All students have a responsibility to ensure that they act in accordance with these objectives. Anyone who feels that they are being discriminated against or harassed can use the Institute's Grievance Procedure to raise the issue.

 

Sources including relevant legislation

The institute will implement its Equality and Diversity Policy in accordance with current legislation and codes of practice including:

1.Code of Good Practice on the Employment of Disabled People, Employment Service.  1990.

2.Guidance on Equal Opportunities Policies and Practices in Employment.

3.Equal Opportunities Commission.  1986.

4.Implementing an Equal Opportunities Policy, NACVS.  1990.

5.Lesbian & Gay Policy Guidelines for Voluntary Organisations, Lesbian and Gay Employment Rights.  1991.

6.A Measure of Equality. Council for Racial Equality, 1991

7.Equal Pay Act 1970 & (Amendment) Regulations 1983

8.Sex Discrimination Acts 1975 & 1986

9.Race Relations Act 1976 & Race Relations Amendment Act 2001

10.Race Relations Code of Practice 1984

11.Code of Good Practice on the Employment of Disabled People 1990

12.Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 & (Amendment) Act 1976

13.Data Protection Act 1988

14.Working Time Regulations 1998

15.National Minimum Wage Act 1998.

16.EU Anti-Discrimination Directives (which currently include the Race Relations Act 1976 (Amendment) Regulations 2003,  Religion and Belief Regulation 2003 and Sexual Orientation Regulation 2003

17.Special Educational Needs and Disability Rights in Education Act 2001

18.Human Rights Act 1998

19.Disability Discrimination Act 1995

 

 

 

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