Equality and Diversity Policy

Introduction

The Family Support Centre is a Christian organisation and we offer a confidential listening and advice service for all clients who come to us for support, treating all people equally irrespective of diversity, which is at the heart of the Christian faith. The key purpose of the policy is twofold:

• To establish clear guidance regarding equality and diversity

• To establish key principles, and monitoring arrangements within the Family Support Centre, and to ensure that equality is embedded in all our activities and that diversity is recognised.

Equality and diversity statement

It is the policy of the Family Support Centre to recognise and encourage the valuable and enriching contributions from all who work here. We will also recognise and encourage the rights of all individuals who come into contact with the centre such as our clients, collaborative partners and members of the communities we serve.

We believe that people from a range of backgrounds and experiences can enhance the life and development of the Family Support Centre and that all individuals should be treated on the basis of individual merit and without prejudice. The Family Support Centre will therefore aim to provide a service which actively promotes equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender or gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation (known as the ‘protected characteristics’) We will strive vigorously to remove conditions which place people at a disadvantage and will actively combat prejudice and discrimination. The Family Support Centre requires all volunteers to adopt this policy.

Scope of the policy

The policy applies to all who come into contact with the centre, be it clients or potential clients, to seek support from the centre.

This policy also applies to all volunteers (advisers, receptionists, team leaders, trustees, admin) and those who work within the Family Support Centre in any other capacity.

Our code of practice Volunteers:

The FSC wants to make sure that we provide our volunteers with the best opportunities for working together. We aim to promote a culture and working environment that is free from any discrimination, harassment or victimisation and fully respects the diversity of individual volunteers and helps them achieve their full potential according to their individual skills, needs and circumstances.

To drive this policy forward we will seek to ensure that our volunteers reflect the diverse communities we serve and that every volunteer is treated fairly during the whole of his or her time working with the centre. We will take action to eradicate discrimination and inequality when delivering services and when appointing others to deliver services on our behalf such as trainers. We will strive to make reasonable adjustments to the physical environment in order to remove or minimise the impact of any impairment.

We require all our volunteers to treat each other with respect in order to make our organisation a safe and harmonious place to work. It should be free from ill or unfair treatment. In order for this to happen we require all volunteers to behave in a thoughtful and considerate way and respect individuality. All our volunteers have a responsibility:

• To participate in training so every volunteer understands how to implement our equality and diversity code of practice

• To treat each other fairly and avoid treatment or behaviours that may upset others, or conduct that may be regarded as harassment.

• To treat every individual client with respect for difference, and avoid behaviours which others may find offensive

• In the first instance to offer constructive feedback if working with a volunteer who inadvertently breaches the code of practice

• To inform their team leader or a trustee if they witness anyone who continues to breach the code of practice

• To work together to create a harmonious working environment which is free from discrimination, (direct or indirect) harassment and victimisation.

Our clients:

We will demonstrate a Christ-like approach to our clients. We will provide an environment that is free from any discrimination, harassment or victimisation for our clients, and fully respects the diversity of individual clients and helps them participate fully in the services we offer. We will show unconditional positive regard for every individual client.

We will survey our clients and listen to their feedback on a regular basis. We will ensure we act promptly on any reported prejudice or harassment. We will not victimise anyone who makes a complaint.

Our Commitment:

The FSC is working towards the successful implementation of this policy and we acknowledge that the co-operation of all volunteers and trustees is essential for the success of this statement.

We will work to raise awareness amongst our volunteers through on-going training. Volunteers will be made aware of policy updates and new volunteers will be made aware of policies at induction.

We will include regular and ongoing training regarding our awareness of different faith groups, cultural backgrounds, and other issues that have a bearing on any aspect of the policy.

We will monitor the service provided and encourage all those working within the FSC to take responsibility for achieving these objectives.

Definition of terms:

Volunteer The term volunteer includes all advisors, receptionists, team leaders, those with an admin role, trustees and those working within FSC in any other capacity.

Diversity The differences that make people unique

Protected characteristics Those characteristics that can form a basis for discrimination and are broadly broken down into age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race(an umbrella term for colour, ethnic origin, national origin and nationality) religion or belief, gender and sexual orientation.

Direct Discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than others would be treated, on the grounds of any of their protected characteristics.

Indirect Discrimination occurs when an unjustifiable requirement or condition is applied in the same way to everyone but has a worse effect on some people than others. An obvious example would be expecting everyone to use stairs so those unable to do so would be placed at a disadvantage. If the centre cannot justify such a requirement, it may be deemed unlawful.

Harassment occurs when any unwanted conduct that violates people’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

Victimisation is treating people less favourably because of something they have done e.g. made a formal complaint of discrimination.

Examples of our approach to remove barriers of discrimination and promote difference

Race

The FSC aims to ensure that there will be no discrimination against any volunteer or volunteer applicant, either directly or indirectly on grounds of colour, race, nationality or national or ethnic origin. Volunteers are required to ensure that they do not discriminate against our clients and partners on these grounds in relation to the provision of our services. We all have a duty to promote good race relations. We therefore need all volunteers to aim to end race discrimination, encourage real equality of opportunity, a respect for racial diversity, and to respect the cultural differences of people from different racial or ethnic groups.

Disability

The FSC aims to ensure that there will be no unjustifiable discrimination against any volunteer or volunteer applicant on the grounds of that person’s disability. We will aim to make reasonable adjustments to the centre, or offer an alternative meeting place, to ensure equality of access to our volunteers and clients. Volunteers are required to ensure that they do not discriminate against clients and partners on these grounds in relation to the provision of our services.

Religion or Belief

The FSC is a Christian organisation and Christian volunteers provide the services of the FSC. The FSC aims to create an environment based on mutual respect and good relations between our volunteers and clients of different religious or cultural beliefs.

Monitoring and Review

The FSC aims to embed the valuing and promoting of diversity into all of our policies and practices. Those principles will therefore be reflected in a number of policies, including recruitment of volunteers and trustees, induction, promotion, training and development opportunities. This policy will be reviewed on a two yearly basis. All procedures of the Family Support Centre must fit with and adhere to this policy. The person with overall responsibility for equality and diversity is the Family Support Centre Team Leader.

We will integrate the review of equality and diversity practice into the review of our annual plan of activities and during volunteers’ team meetings.

This policy was adopted on 17th January 2018 and will be reviewed in January 2020