Equality & Diversity Policy
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Equality & Diversity Policy

Policy Statement

This Policy has been developed in order to recognise and value the diversity that exists and is evolving within Mace Housing Co-operative. It is based on principles of mutual respect, fairness, social inclusion and a commitment to tackle inequality and injustice. Specific policies relating to race, age, gender, disability, religion/belief, and sexual orientation form a part of this Policy.

Meeting our legal responsibilities:
The Association will work within all current and relevant anti-discrimination laws, for example:

The Equal Opportunities Commission, the Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission, and Department of Education and Skills all produce Codes of Practice. These codes give recommendations and guidance on how to avoid discrimination in employment.

They contain advice on the policies that are needed to prevent discrimination in such matters as the recruitment and treatment of employees. Other Codes suggest steps to promote equality in service delivery, for example – the CRE’s Code of Practice in Rented Housing and the Code of Practice for Social Landlords – Tackling Racial Harassment (2001).

Gender Equality

The co-operative is committed to promoting gender equality, eliminating sex
discrimination and enabling women and men to participate on an equal basis.

Combating Disadvantage

The co-operative will ensure its services are equally accessible to all.

Equality For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender People

The Association is committed to eliminating homophobic prejudice and discrimination.

Equality For People with disabilities

Equality On Religion And Belief

The Co-operative is committed to affording equal access to employment and services and will not discriminate on the grounds of religion or belief.

Eliminating Age Discrimination

Black And Minority Ethnic Communities

The way forward – Mace Housing Strategy

The Co-operative will have a coherent, strategic approach to the issue of equality, which is effective and appropriate. This approach will be built into existing mechanisms of corporate/strategic planning and performance management. We will ensure our approach to equality and diversity issues, and to valuing diversity, are incorporated into service planning and delivery activities. Departments and individual managers will build in to their day-to-day activity the commitment to equality for all people.

Learning and development opportunities will be provided for all employees and elected members to enable them to fulfil the organisation’s commitment to equality. We will comply with the best practice from legal, regulatory and inspection requirements. Codes of Practice and other guidance will be used appropriately to ensure progress on diversity.

Equality & Diversity action plan

The aims of this policy will be progressed through the Equality and Diversity Action Plan, which encompasses service delivery and employment issues, and will be reviewed annually.

Working towards mainstreaming

Equality will be embedded into the planning process, through programmes of the
Co-operative and through the application of impact assessments on policies.

Organisational Development

We will seek to challenge and change organisational culture and behaviour through formal training, workshops, seminars, and briefings.

Implementation and Monitoring

The Co-operative will take the following steps towards achieving its policy of equality and diversity:

Sanctions

The following actions may be regarded as disciplinary offences:

Such matters will be addressed through the relevant disciplinary procedure. The Co-operative is opposed to all forms of harassment and will give positive support and assistance to victims of racial and/or other harassment. All claims of harassment will be thoroughly investigated and in substantiated cases, the Co-operative will take action.

Welcoming our responsibility

Members and staff will work together to make sure the commitments in the Policy are turned into action.

Access to information

The Co-operative believes that inequality can occur whenever a person or group is
unaware of the services that exist and will ensure that its services are publicised to all sectors of the community and in particular to groups of people who may be facing discrimination or exclusion. We are committed to making information about our services accessible by:

Key Co-operative publications will explain that the document can be made available on request in other languages and other accessible formats. The design and content of the Co-operative’s website will take account of accessibility issues and requirements.

The Co-operative will ensure that information is available by means of:

We are committed to ensuring that all our communications both internal and external will use images and language, which promote equality of opportunity and good community and race relations and eliminate any unlawful discrimination.

Access to services

We will make every endeavour to ensure that our offices and services are accessible and appropriate to all customers. We will routinely consider the potential different needs of our customer base and flex services accordingly so as not to disadvantage them.

People who use our services are entitled to receive these free from discrimination and harassment. Information about our formal complaints procedure may be obtained through the Co-op’s leaflet or from the website. The Co-operative will ensure that the principles of equality and diversity are applied to the provision of housing and other services, and will work with other agencies to assess and prioritise the needs of the local community, including minority groups and those who may be facing discrimination or exclusion

Employees and any other people providing services to the public are aware that they do not have the right to refuse to provide a service on the basis of a person’s sex, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin, nationality, or age. Contractors will have access to data when appropriate and on a need to know basis.

Complaints against contractors with regard to alleged discrimination or harassment will be thoroughly investigated by the Co-op and appropriate action taken where necessary.

Contractors will be expected to take prompt and appropriate action against any of their employees found to be acting in a way that breaches this policy. The Co-operative will ensure that the selection of contractors and consultants is fair and non-discriminatory.

Employment

Mace Housing Co-operative is committed to being an equal opportunities employer and will appoint and promote employees on the basis of merit. It is the Co-op’s policy to ensure that job applicants and employees are treated equally, regardless of their diversity.

Every effort will be made to ensure that employees are recruited from all sectors of the local community. Recruitment will be open and fair and will conform to the requirements of this Policy and the Co-operative’s Recruitment Procedure.

The Co-operative will regularly review and monitor its selection policy to ensure that individuals are selected, promoted, and treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities. Information regarding those seeking employment with the Co-operative will be regularly reported to the Management Committee to ensure compliance with this Policy.

Contractors will be expected to take prompt and appropriate action against any of their employees found to be acting in a way that breaches this policy. The Co-operative will ensure that the selection of contractors and consultants is fair and non-discriminatory.

Membership

Every effort will be made to ensure that the Co-operative’s Board of Management includes representation from all sections of the membership and takes account of the commitment to equality and diversity in its operation. Membership to the Board will be open and to all members and will conform to the requirements of this Policy and the Co-op’s membership procedure.

We will ensure that all members of staff and Board Members will have the opportunities to ensure that this Policy is translated into action. In particular, training will be available for and provided to:

It is the Co-op’s responsibility to ensure that its employees have the skills they need to meet the requirements of this Policy. The Co-operative recognises that effective communication and the learning and development of both employees and members will play a key role in the implementation of the policy.

All Board Members and employees should undertake relevant training. The Co-operative will monitor the effectiveness of its training programmes and use the results to make continuous improvements.

In providing training, the Association will consider individual circumstances and requirements to ensure that no person or group is disadvantaged in any manner.