Equality and Diversity Policy
Introduction

Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) strives for high standards both as an employer and as a provider of services. In so doing, it is recognised that OCF should encourage diversity and seek to implement a policy of equal opportunities in all areas of its work and responsibilities.

We believe that enhancing equality of opportunity is part of the core function of OCF, and that we must therefore play a constructive role in challenging and responding to such disadvantage and inequality. There are four strands of activity under which we have identified the importance of equal opportunities:

  • Governance and policy
  • Service delivery
  • Fund development
  • Recruitment and employment.

The trustees and staff of OCF are committed to ensure that it does not discriminate against people with disabilities.

This policy provides guidance to enable all who work with, or for, OCF to comply with anti-discrimination legislation. The policy will also address anti-discrimination issues involving areas that currently fall outside any legislation.

Failure to follow the procedures in the policy may lead to disciplinary or other appropriate action.

This policy will be delivered through action planning, effective monitoring and a willingness to tackle problems where they arise.

OCF will regularly review the implementation of its Equality and Diversity Policy and strategy by reviewing the diversity of grant applications and end of grant monitoring in preparation for our annual Impact Report, together with regular (at least annual) review of this policy. Where there is evidence of ineffectiveness, immediate remedial action will be taken to ensure implementation.

Definitions

Equal opportunity is a principle that emphasises that opportunities in employment, education and other areas are available to all. Equal opportunities in particular relates to a legal framework, which makes it illegal to discriminate against people because of a protected characteristic they have.

Diversity is a broader concept that builds upon the progress made through equal opportunities. Everyone is different and diversity is about recognising, respecting and valuing the differences we each bring to work.

Equal opportunities and diversity work together by identifying and addressing any inequalities and barriers faced by people and by valuing, learning and benefitting from the diverse cultures in society and our staff.

Protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010 are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation.

Direct discrimination occurs when an individual is treated less favourably than another because of a protected characteristic they have.

Indirect discrimination occurs when a provision, criterion or practice is applied universally, but its effect disadvantages people who share a protected characteristic.

Associative discrimination is direct discrimination against someone because they associate with another person who possesses a protected characteristic.

Perception discrimination is direct discrimination against an individual because others think they possess a protected characteristic. It applies even if the person does not actually possess the protected characteristic.

Victimisation occurs when an individual is treated less favourably because that person has asserted rights under the Sex Discrimination Act, the Race Relations Act or the Disability Discrimination Act or acted as a whistleblower on such activity. People must be able to act against unlawful discrimination without fear of reprisals.

Harassment is unwanted and offensive conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for them. Harassment can take any form, including, but not limited to, physical contact, jokes, offensive language, gossip, slander, posters, obscene gestures, offensive emails, screen savers, and/or intrusion by pestering, spying and stalking.

Positive action refers to measures taken to assist OCF to review aspects of under-representation in specific areas, whether as an employer, or through the services it offers as a grant-maker or to its donors and supporters. These measures would normally take the form of additional training or focused promotion. ‘Positive discrimination’ at the point of selection for work is not permissible.

OCF urges staff, board members and volunteers to be aware of the less obvious types of discrimination, which result from general assumptions and preconceptions about the capabilities, interests and characteristics of individuals.

Policy statements

Diversity

OCF will actively encourage diversity to maximise achievement, creativity and good practice and to bring benefit to individuals and communities.

OCF encourages all people it works with, and for, to contribute to an environment in which people feel comfortable expressing how they feel and what they need, knowing that they will be treated with respect and that their contribution will be valued.

The way everyone works, trains and learns within OCF reflects the Values, Mission and Vision of the charity and the spirit and intentions of legislation that outlaws discrimination and promotes equality and diversity.

OCF will make reasonable adjustments to working practices, equipment and premises and offer, where appropriate, additional support to trustees, staff and volunteers to ensure they are able to take a full and active part in OCF’s work.

OCF will endeavour to deliver services in a way that genuinely recognises the importance of an inclusive society that brings opportunities and access, not barriers to individuals.

Equal opportunities

OCF seeks to be an equal opportunities employer and provider of services, and the trustees and staff of OCF are committed to ensure that it does not discriminate against people with disabilities. No job applicant, employee, volunteer, trustee, member, adviser or grant applicant should receive less favourable treatment because of a protected characteristic that they might have. Nor will such a person be disadvantaged by conditions or requirements, which cannot be shown to be justifiable. This principle applies to recruitment, promotion, transfer, training, benefits, facilities procedures and all terms and conditions of employment.

Aims and objectives

The aims and objectives of the Equality and Diversity Policy are:

  • To encourage, promote and celebrate diversity in all of OCF’s activities and services
  • To ensure compliance with legislation on discrimination and equality
  • To promote equal opportunities in other areas not currently covered by legislation
  • To create environments free from harassment and discrimination
  • To confront and challenge discrimination where and whenever it arises whether it be between colleagues, or in any other area relating to the work of OCF
  • To make a willingness to accept and implement this policy to be a necessary qualification for any position in OCF
  • To ensure through positive action and so far as is practicable, that all the services of OCF are accessible to all people
  • To endeavour that the employment and advancement within the organisation is determined by objective criteria and personal merit.

Policy implementation: expectations

OCF recognises that passive policies do not provide equality and will seek to promote equality and diversity within the following framework of responsibilities.

Responsibility for implementing and developing the Policy rests with the Board of Trustees. The overall co-ordinating responsibility for equal opportunities and management of diversity is delegated to the Chief Executive.

Detailed expectations for employees of OCF are available in the Staff Handbook.

OCF ensure that responsibilities for the equality and diversity relating to employment of staff and volunteers is adhered to – details are available in the Staff Handbook.

The Chief Executive will:

  • Support line managers, offer advice and make recommendations in relation to equal opportunities and diversity and implementing relevant policies and procedures
  • Seek the views and opinions of employees, volunteers, and other stakeholders on the operation of the policy in their area of interest/responsibility, in particular to meet the diverse needs of the users
  • Facilitate training and discussion on equal opportunities and diversity issues as appropriate
  • Ensure board members and staff are appraised regularly on the state of equal opportunities and diversity within OCF
  • Ensure that the Equality and Diversity Policy and associated documents are reviewed on a regular basis agreed by the Board of Trustees
  • Review and approve policies, procedures and practices that impact on equal opportunities and diversity practice.

Policy implementation: recruitment and promotion

OCF strives to ensure that our Board Members, staff and volunteers reflect the wider community.

OCF employees should refer to the Recruitment Policy in the Staff Handbook.

Policy implementation: interviews and selection

OCF employees should refer to the Recruitment Policy in the Staff Handbook.

Policy implementation: training

In line with the intentions of this policy, OCF will not discriminate in the provision of training courses / opportunities wherever possible.

Appropriate training will be provided to enable trustees, staff, volunteers and committee members to perform their jobs effectively. The training offered will take into account the needs of all people.

Briefing on this policy will form part of the induction procedure for trustees, staff, advisers and volunteers.

Enforcement

OCF recognises the need for a continuing commitment to genuine equal opportunities and diversity within the organisation. The effectiveness of the policy’s aims and objectives can only be judged by how the policy operates in practice.

Policy enforcement: grievances

Any staff member or volunteer who feels a victim of unlawful discrimination or that he/she is being unfairly treated in a way contrary to the intention of this policy should raise the issue through OCF established Grievance Procedure (included in the staff handbook).

Any job applicant who feels unfairly treated and contrary to the intention of this policy should raise the issue with the Chief Executive or the Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Policy enforcement: disciplinary procedure

Any member of staff found to be in breach of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the staff handbook.

Any volunteer found to be in breach of this policy will be counselled on his/her actions and may, where necessary, be removed as an OCF volunteer.

Any member of any committee or advisory panel of OCF found in breach of this policy will be counselled on his/her actions and may, where necessary be asked to leave OCF.

Monitoring

OCF view the collection/analysis of data as vital in informing change and improving performance. Where appropriate, statistics on OCF’s services will be collated and analysed in relation to equality and diversity matters.

The Trustees will review periodically equality of opportunity relating to OCF services.

Where it appears that there may have been or there is a breach of the policy, the Chief Executive will investigate the circumstance and action will be taken to counter any proven breach of policy.

If it is found that the policy is excluding or discouraging the development of trustees, staff or volunteers or restricting grant applicants, the Chief Executive should take positive action to re-adjust the policy.

The Chief Executive will review the policy annually and recommend amendments if prompted by legislative changes or if it is thought that this will be in the best interests of the organisation.

All staff members should read this policy in conjunction with the Staff Handbook, which provides more detail regarding employment.

Reviewed: January 2018
Date for next review: January 2019
Approved by Oxfordshire Community Foundation Board of Trustees on 19th March 2018