Equality Diversity and Inclusion Policy
“EDI is more than a strategic concern, defined by statutory duties and performance standards, it is also a dynamic, human concern.
The success and welfare of people define the success of FST. It is therefore the business of FST to invest in the diversity of people”
This policy sets out the requirements and responsibilities of FST for ensuring and advancing equity and fairness to all members of the FST community in accordance with The Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty. The policy also establishes clear FST guidance; principles; structures and monitoring arrangements with regard to Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). The content and guidance should be applied to all of the FST community including:
- other third parties
FST is proud of its diversity and values the way in which this diversity enriches the life of FST and the experience of all its community.
FST’s EDI Commitment Statement
‘At FST you have a right to be treated with respect and dignity during your time with us as a learner, member of staff, visitor or service user. To achieve this FST will ensure that you are not treated unfairly for reasons which cannot be legitimately justified. FST is proud of and values the contributions made by the rich diversity of all who work and learn here.
It is our aim to provide an inclusive working and learning environment where everyone in the FST community is fully respected and supported.’
Public Sector Equality Duty
The Public Sector Equality Duty is made up of a General Equality Duty which is supported by Specific Duties:
The General Equality Duty requires public authorities, in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to the need to:
- Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Equality Act 2010.
- Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
- Foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not share it.
Public authorities, including FST, listed in Schedule 1 and 2 of The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011 are required to show functional transparency by:
- Preparing and publishing one or more equality objectives which can be achieved to do any of the things mentioned in the aims of the General Equality Duty, by 6 April 2012, and at least every four years thereafter.
- Ensuring that those equality objectives are specific and measurable.
Publishing those equality objectives in such a manner that they are accessible to the public.
This Policy is informed by and complies with provisions detailed in the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty 2011. The following Parts and chapters of the Equality Act apply to FST as an employer and education provider.
The Equality Act 2010 simplifies, strengthens and harmonises over 116 separate pieces of legislation into one single Act to provide a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. It replaces:
- The Equal Pay Act 1970
- The Sex Discrimination Act 1975
- The Race Relations Act 1976
- The Disability Discrimination Act 1995
- The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
- The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
- The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006
- The Equality Act 2006, Part 2
- The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007
The commitment to EDI is endorsed and led by the Managing Director, who is the lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. All FST staff and learners have responsibilities in relation to EDI and are encouraged to advance awareness of equality and actively challenge all instances of inequality, thus helping remove barriers to access, achievement and progression.
FST is committed to fair access to opportunities and equality of outcomes, and will not tolerate unfair discrimination, harassment or victimisation relating to any of the 9 protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010:
(*please note, there is NO hierarchy, the following are listed in alphabetical order for ease of reference only)
- Gender Reassignment
- Marriage & Civil Partnership
- Pregnancy & Maternity
- Religion or Belief
- Sexual Orientation
FST respects the dignity and diversity of all our learners and employees, regardless of personal characteristics and differences. It is our aim to give everyone fair and appropriate access to the greatest opportunity, and we will employ positive action, and/or make reasonable adjustments, to develop and fulfil an individual’s potential.
We value the contribution each person can make to FST . We believe that treating people fairly, with dignity and respect, is right and makes good business sense
This means that FST will:
- Not tolerate any form of discrimination, harassment or victimisation on any grounds;
- Provide appropriate, sensitive and accessible services to everyone;
- Work with stakeholders to eradicate prejudice, discrimination, harassment and negative stereotyping;
- Support campaigns for local and national initiatives which treat people equally and protect groups from discrimination;
- Ensure that everybody who studies or works at FST is respected and valued;
- Make reasonable adjustments for disabled learners and staff to ensure fair access to services and opportunities;
- Promote and support the use of a range of flexible working patterns to enable those working for FST to balance home and work responsibilities;
- Support people in a phased return to work after extended periods of absence;
- Treat people fairly and develop staff and learners so that they are able to reach their full potential.
The Equality Act 2010 protects people at work as employees, or people using a service from discrimination, harassment and victimisation. FST’s commitment to advancing equality of opportunities as an employer and education provider goes beyond legislative compliance to promoting positive relationships with all stakeholders, partners and the local community.
FST is also committed to the fair and non-discriminatory treatment of people with:
- Different socio – economic backgrounds;
- Trade union activities;
- Caring responsibilities
- Unrelated criminal convictions.
FST’s aim is to create an environment where people give of their best, allowing them to develop and achieve their full potential. We aim to achieve this commitment by treating the whole FST community equitably, and by removing barriers to advancing a cohesive community and a culture of fairness.
This policy details our position with regard to all aspects of equality which are embedded in the organisation’s culture and academic and business functions, and it is supported by a suite of more detailed Business and Academic policies and procedures.
How will FST ensure that equality, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of all activity?
- By requiring senior staff to lead by example in treating all staff and learners with dignity and respect and by being fair and reasonable in their attitudes and behaviours.
- By expecting all staff and learners to behave in a way that others will see is respectful and fair to them.
- By continuing to review systems by which any behaviour that is intimidating, discriminatory or otherwise contrary to the EDI policy, can be dealt with rapidly and effectively, in an environment which positively supports those who challenge such behaviours.
EDI means more than disregarding differences. It means ensuring that different people receive services, consultation and employment opportunities in a fair non-discriminatory way. This means recognising, embracing and valuing diversity across FST and the community with which FST works. EDI describes an approach that embraces difference, treats each individual fairly, with dignity and respect, free from discrimination, harassment, victimisation and bullying.
- Equality is not about treating people equally, or the same. Equality protects people from being discriminated against. Equality gives people fair access to the same opportunities, resulting in equality of outcome – i.e. that all learners have the same right of access to services and resources to meet their specific needs. Consequently, to ensure equality, some individuals and / or groups may need to be treated differently in order to meet their different needs.
- Diversity describes the range of visible and non-visible differences that exist between people. Managing diversity harnesses and celebrates these differences to create a productive environment in which everybody feels valued, where talents are fully utilised and in which organisational objectives and targets are met.
- Inclusion the overarching context encompassing equality, diversity and human rights that focuses positively on individuals and/or groups who may feel, or are, excluded services for whatever reason.
- Direct discrimination – occurs when a person treats another less favourably than they treat or would treat others in comparable circumstances because of a protected characteristic.
- Discrimination by Association is direct discrimination against someone because they are associated with another person with a protected characteristic. (This includes carers of disabled people and elderly relatives, who can claim they were treated unfairly because of duties that they had to carry out at home relating to their care work. It also covers discrimination against someone because, for example, their partner is from another country). This does not apply to marriage and civil partnerships and pregnancy and maternity leave.
- Discrimination by perception is direct discrimination against someone because others think they have a protected characteristic (even if they don’t).
- Indirect discrimination – putting in place a policy or practice that has a differential (positive or negative) impact on someone with a protected characteristic than someone without that characteristic, when this cannot be objectively and legitimately justified.
- Discrimination arising from disability – treating a disabled person unfavourably because of something connected with their disability when this cannot be objectively justified. For example, prohibiting an employee from taking time off or breaks for medical treatment.
- Failing to make reasonable adjustments – Employers and service providers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees and service users to enable fair access. This duty is anticipatory and must be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure adjustments made are appropriate. Failing to do so is direct disability discrimination. There are exceptional circumstances that legitimise some forms of discriminatory practices. The Equality Act 2010 gives a definition that describes legitimate justification.
- A proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. –To be legitimate the aim of the provision, decision or practice must be legal and non-discriminatory and represent a real objective consideration. In the context of FST, examples of legitimate aims might include:
Although reasonable business needs and economic efficiency may be legitimate aims, an education provider simply aiming to reduce costs cannot expect to satisfy the test. For example, the education provider cannot simply argue that to discriminate is cheaper than not to discriminate.
Even if the aim is legitimate the means of achieving it must be proportionate. Proportionate means ‘appropriate and necessary’, but ‘necessary’ does not mean that the provision or practice is the only possible way of achieving the legitimate aim.
- Ensuring that education, benefits, facilities and services are targeted at those who most need them
- Preventing fraud or other forms of abuse or inappropriate use of services provided
- Maintaining academic and / or business standards
- Ensuring the Health & Safety, welfare and dignity of stakeholders
- Harassment – unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity, or which is hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive to someone with a protected characteristic, The Act also offers protection to people who do not have a “protected characteristic” but find behaviour offensive, even if not directed at them.
- Victimisation – treating someone unfavourably because they have taken (or might be taking) action under the Equality Act or supporting someone who is doing so.
This EDI Policy applies to all members of the FST community including learners, staff, visitors, contractors and suppliers. This policy covers all aspects of FST business and relates to both staff and learner activity including:
- Employment and promotion procedures for staff;
- Recruitment, selection and enrolment of learners;
- Curriculum content and development;
- Course delivery and assessment;
- Learning and teaching materials and methods;
- External contracts;
- All employment practices.
FST will follow best practice in all of the equality areas and work towards:
- Eliminating unlawful discrimination;
- Eliminating bullying, harassment and victimisation;
- Promoting equality of opportunity;
- Promoting good relations between different groups in the community;
- Recognising and taking account of people’s differences.
This Policy sets out how FST will work towards the promotion of EDI in all of its service delivery. It sets out how FST will ensure that discrimination is challenged and eliminated through legislative compliance and positive action. This Policy also sets out the responsibilities of the Managing Director, staff members and others, and actions that the organisation will take to ensure full compliance with this policy.
Responsibilities & Structures
Everyone in FST community has a responsibility to give full and active support for the EDI policy by ensuring:
- the policy is known, understood and implemented;
- their behaviour at all times takes into account the uniqueness of others;
- everyone is treated with respect and dignity;
- behaviour not in accordance with the EDI policy is challenged and acted upon.
Within this general responsibility, there are some specific responsibilities:
- The Managing Director; Leadership & Management Team and all other FST managers are responsible for the effective implementation and championing of EDI policies, actions and strategies.
- The EDI Committee (SMT members) is responsible for the coordination across FST of policy development; implementation; monitoring and review of progress in reference to the EDI Action Plan.
- The EDI Manager is responsible for provision of reports and relevant documents; maintaining FST’s awareness of statutory equality duties; links with regional and national equality bodies; achievement of EDI actions and delivery of agreed training.
The Company designates the Managing Director as having overall responsibility for EDI. The designated person will ensure regular reports are made to the Business.
The EDI Committee is chaired by the Managing Director for Organisational Development. The membership of the Committee must include senior management, any staff with time allocated to EDI work, representatives of each trade union recognised by FST and where possible representatives of community groups.
The remit of the Committee will be to promote policies and practices that ensure a FST environment in which equality flourishes. To this end, it will develop policies related to the programme, learner intake, the built environment, learner services etc, which seek to ensure the removal of prejudice and discrimination and advance inclusion. It is the responsibility of all members of FST community to uphold FST’s policy on EDI.
Employment policies and procedures will continue to be dealt with through existing consultation and negotiation arrangements, as appropriate.
The Committee will set equality targets for all aspects of FST life; develop actions; analyse statistics produced by monitoring and propose positive action where necessary with a view to objective setting.
Key Principles and Commitments
FST strongly believes that the diversity of the local communities is one of its greatest strengths and most valuable asset. FST is fully committed to EDI and believes that all individuals have an equal right to develop and achieve their full potential. FST’s strategic aims reflect this, taking full account of funding agencies’ priorities for the UK economy and the skilled workforce needed to deliver future prosperity at local and regional level.
FST firmly believes that all internal operations, work with local communities, partners and other agencies, will assist in pulling together a means to promote a culture and a community that celebrates and welcomes diversity.
In accordance with the Equality Act 2010, FST supports the development of a society in which:
- People’s ability to achieve their potential is not limited by prejudice or discrimination;
- There is respect for and protection of each individual’s human rights;
- There is respect for the dignity and value of each unique individual;
- Each individual has the opportunity to participate in society;
- There is mutual respect between groups based on understanding and valuing of diversity and on shared respect for equality and human rights.
FST believes that all forms of prejudice and discrimination are unacceptable. The ‘Respect is Central’ message will be a consistent and clear theme through all extra-curricular enrichment activities, resource development and strategic drivers.
FST recognises its obligations and responsibilities as an employer and as a major provider of education. It will seek to reflect its commitment to EDI in its dealings with members of the public, other agencies and suppliers of services and supplies.
FST will seek to challenge inequality, prejudice and discrimination whether direct, indirect, associative or by perception.
FST embraces diversity in all its aspects and aims to employ a diverse workforce.
FST will treat all members of its community with respect and dignity; and will seek to provide a culture and environment free from discrimination, harassment and victimisation. It will not tolerate any form of prejudice or discriminatory behaviour against members of its community, from either inside or from out.
In seeking to achieve a balanced workforce at all levels, FST will ensure that no employee, job applicant or candidate for promotion will be disadvantaged, or treated less favourably because of conditions or requirements that are not related to the job. Reasonable adjustments will be made to arrangements and premises to ensure access for disabled members of FST community, or potential members.
In order to ensure that all members, or potential members of FST community, are treated fairly, with dignity and respect at all stages of employment and enrolment and that their treatment is based solely on open, fair and objective criteria, FST will ensure that equality issues are considered in all its policies and procedures through the effective implementation of Equality Analyses.
FST supports the social model of disability and will work to minimise the barriers that put disabled people at a disadvantage when accessing FST services or when seeking employment, training or promotion opportunities at FST. These barriers include those not just in the physical environment but the attitudes and behaviour of staff, policies, systems and processes that govern how FST carries out its functions. FST continues to be a ‘Two Ticks’ employer and is positive about employing and enrolling disabled people.
In ensuring that this policy is fully effective, and that all members of FST community are committed to it, FST undertakes to work locally in partnership with the recognised trade unions; community groups; staff, learners and third parties (such as employers) in its design, development and implementation.
Monitoring and Evaluation
FST will continue to conduct comprehensive and effective monitoring of all aspects of staffing and the learner populations. FST is committed to the collection of statistics, analysis of data and presentation of data, as well as monitoring on an on-going basis. FST will continue to monitor and act upon areas of concern and/or disparity with regard to EDI in respect of: learner success; withdrawal; achievement; representation and all aspects of learner feedback.
FST will use the two main forms of monitoring, i.e. of the composition of the existing workforce and the recruitment process, looking at the workforce with reference to age, ethnicity, disability and gender, sexuality and relief/belief in particular. FST will carry out the same monitoring with reference to the learner population.
FST will also categorise employees according to grade; contract type, i.e. whether full-time or part-time, permanent or temporary; age; length of time in post; place of work, salary etc. Records should also be kept of training, promotions and discretionary
After the employment relationship has ended, FST may retain data about the composition of the workforce, including appraisal and promotion records on an anonymous basis for the purpose of carrying out equal opportunities monitoring and may also look at reasons for resignation and resignation rates.
Monitoring will be undertaken in accordance with best practice recommendations, particularly from bodies such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Trade Unions etc and with regard to data protection principles.
”Lawful actions that seek to overcome or minimise disadvantages (e.g. in employment opportunities) that people who share a protected characteristic have experienced, or to meet their different needs”
Positive Action is NOT the same as Positive Discrimination.
“Treating someone with a protected characteristic more favourably to counteract the effects of past discrimination.”
Positive Discrimination is unlawful as it actively excludes someone. Positive action actively seeks inclusion for all. The only exception is the duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people whereby treating a disabled person more favourably may be required by law.
Section 158 of the Equality Act allows, but does not require, education providers to address disadvantages caused by social, economic or educational reasons. FST may take action to tackle the particular disadvantage, different needs or disproportionately low participation of a particular learner group, provided certain conditions are met.
Section 159 of the Act introduced a new, specific exemption, for positive action in relation to recruitment and promotion. Section 159 permits (but does not require) an employer to consider disadvantaged or under-represented candidates and employees when deciding whom to recruit or promote, where the candidates are “as qualified as” each other.
FST undertakes to follow positive action measures allowed by the Equality Act 2010 to rectify disadvantages in employment and education revealed by monitoring.
Positive action allows FST to:
- provide facilities or services (in the form of training, education, or welfare etc) to meet the special needs of people from particular under-represented groups;
- target job training and/or educational opportunities at particular groups that are under-represented in a particular area of work/study and encourage applications from such groups.
Positive action strategies are intended to be temporary measures only. They are under regular review, and they cannot be used once the special needs have been met, or if under representation no longer exists. FST will ensure that when using positive action as a strategy, it falls within the law.
Review and Action Planning
FST’s EDI Committee will monitor and evaluate achievement in respect of equality, diversity and inclusion by taking the following actions:
- gathering and interpreting statistical data in relation to staff and learners to identify any issues arising and working with individuals and/or FST teams to make proposals for specific actions to address inequalities identified;
- obtaining feedback from staff, learners and community partners through surveys, meetings, focus groups, quality audits, analysis of complaints and correspondence;
- preparing and delivering an agreed action plan and annual report;
- ensuring marketing, recruitment and selection procedures and training conform to EDI commitments and requirements;
- ensuring marketing and enrolment practices and processes conform to EDI commitments and requirements;
- ensuring curriculum and course design takes account of EDI in terms of access, content, delivery and assessment.
This policy will be reviewed on an annual basis and in accordance with legislative developments and the need for good practice, using the local consultation/negotiating arrangements within FST.
Actions to implement and develop policy
Actions to implement and develop this policy are incorporated into FST’s EDI Action Plan, which is supported by FST Development Plan and Self-Assessment Action Plan. This sets out how FST will:
- put learners at the heart of all activity;
- demonstrate our commitment to advancing EDI;
- involve staff and learners in celebrating EDI and in identifying areas for improvement;
- evidence how we are fulfilling our statutory duties;
- Equality Analyse key decisions, policy, practice and processes.
The EDI Action Plan will build upon the work of the previous EDI Action Plan and will widen responsibilities to incorporate actions to address the duties specified in the Equality Act 2010.
Key actions identified in the EDI Action Plan will include:
- Annual FST EDI health check
- Rollout and evaluate the impact of EDI training opportunities;
- Improving the visibility to EDI in learning and teaching materials;
- Equality Analyses of all FST policies, practices and processes;
- Collation and analysis of staff and learner data to provide information and inform strategic actions.
Consultation and Involvement
FST is committed to obtaining and listening to the experiences of different groups within FST community, both to celebrate the rich diversity of the community, and to remove any inadvertent discrimination.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Training
FST is committed to the development and delivery of a blend of training opportunities using a blended learning approach to academic and business support staff, learners and external partners. Training will be responsive to development needs identified through data monitoring, Self-Assessment Reporting, Performance Monitoring and Quality Assurance procedures.
Training will be arranged and promoted for FST wide CPD days and a full training menu will be promoted via internal staff communications where specified workshops can be booked at convenient times.
Resources will be developed and promoted to academic staff and tutorial staff to support the delivery of EDI training for learners through induction and as part of the ongoing tutorial framework.
Procurement and Partnerships
FST acknowledges its duty to advance and promote EDI extends into those situations where any of its functions or services are contracted, or subcontracted, to other companies, organisations, groups or individuals, as well as direct works.
FST will continue to equality analyse its procurement, tendering and contract management processes as an early measure to ensure that meeting the equality duty is built into the procurement process. This will ensure that services are provided in ways which promote EDI, eliminate discrimination and harassment, and promote positive inclusive attitudes.
FST will monitor any outsourced service providers to ensure they are fully aware of this policy and comply with the organisational requirements when acting on the FST’s behalf.
In addition to the above, FST recognises that if there is partnership working with other organisations, its responsibility to promote EDI continues to apply.
FST will continue to ensure that all partners support it in meeting the ‘General’ and, where relevant, the ‘Specific’ elements of the equality duty, as appropriate to the precise form of partnership.
FST will also ensure that partners receive a copy of this EDI policy and that EDI is considered at an early stage in entering into partnership agreements.
FST will also review its current list of partners to ensure inclusion of organisations representing the interests of all diversity groups.
Breaches of Policy and Complaints
Proven acts of discrimination, harassment, abuse or victimisation may be treated as a serious disciplinary offence. Staff and learners who feel they are being discriminated against should seek resolution through the complaints procedure, outlined below if unable to resolve through informal means. Disciplinary action could include dismissal in the case of staff and expulsion in the case of learners.
Staff or learners who feel that they have experienced discrimination from third party members will receive support from FST and FST will take appropriate action where discrimination has been found.
Prospective staff who are dissatisfied with any aspect of the recruitment and selection procedure should write giving details to the Human Resources Manager. Prospective learners who consider that they have been unfairly treated with respect to their application should email giving details to the Managing Director Julie Duckett-Day. All complaints will be investigated and the complainant informed of any action taken.
No member of FST community shall be victimised as a result of giving information about any act by a person who contravenes this Policy. Persons making allegations, which are proved to be false, will be dealt with in accordance with FST grievance, harassment and disciplinary procedures, as will any person who bullies or harasses another person who they believe has made an accusation against them, whether it be proved or not. All members of FST community will be able to report matters detailed in the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 without fear, in accordance with the Company’s policy.