Equality and Diversity Policy

Wooden figures stand in a circle together

For the purpose of policy the use of the term learner is inclusive of apprentices.

The following acts provide a statutory framework defining unlawful direct and indirect discrimination, and place on institutions a duty to promote equality and diversity:

  • Care Act 2014
  • Civil Partnerships Act 2004
  • Equal Pay Act 2010
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Equality Act 2010, including:
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (2010 amendment)
  • Employment Equality (Age) Regulation 2006
  • Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulation 2003
  • Employment Equality (Sex Discrimination) Regulations 2005
  • Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulation 2003
  • Equality Act 2006
  • Gender Recognition Act 2004 (2010 amendment)
  • Protection from Harassment Act 2007
  • Race Relations Act 1976 (2000 amendment)
  • Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1975
  • Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999
  • Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001

We aim to eliminate all forms of discrimination and institutional barriers, which might be disadvantaging current or prospective learners or staff within our Service, and to take positive action to remedy any forms of discrimination in all aspects of Adult Community Learning life.

In particular the Service is committed to ensuring all learners and staff are given  equal opportunities and treated fairly on a day to day basis regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation, these are known as protected characteristics, as well as those that are disadvantaged due to reasons of socio-economic, financial hardship and/or rural isolation.

There are four main types of discrimination.

Direct discrimination

This means treating one person worse than another person because of a protected characteristic. For example, a promotion comes up at work. The employer believes that people’s memories get worse as they get older so doesn’t tell one of his older employees about it, because he thinks the employee wouldn’t be able to do the job.

Indirect discrimination

This can happen when an organisation puts a rule or a policy or a way of doing things in place which has a worse impact on someone with a protected characteristic than someone without one. For example, a local authority is planning to redevelop some of its housing. It decides to hold consultation events in the evening. Many of the female residents complain that they cannot attend these meetings because of childcare responsibilities.

Harassment

This means people cannot treat you in a way that violates your dignity, or creates a hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. For example, a man with Down’s syndrome is visiting a pub with friends. The bar staff make derogatory and offensive comments about him, which upset and offend him.

Victimisation

This means people cannot treat you unfairly if you are taking action under the Equality Act (like making a complaint of discrimination), or if you are supporting someone else who is doing so. For example, an employee makes a complaint of sexual harassment at work and is dismissed as a consequence.

Equality and Human Rights Commission: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance/your-rights-under-equality-act-2010

In taking positive action to promote equality and diversity and to combat discriminatory practices, the following should be taken as guidelines for the Service:

 

Information, Advice

Any guidance given to learners must be non-discriminatory and impartial and staff should ensure that enquirers are not discouraged from taking non-traditional courses.

Special attention should be given to the continuing support required by learners who are in a minority and may be in an isolated position.

 

Publicity and Recruitment of Learners

The publicity and recruitment policies of the Service should be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that:

  • Course publicity stresses the Service policy for Equality and Diversity
  • The service continually assesses impacts on structural and operating model changes to ensure it continues to meet its statutory obligations.
  • Publicity reaches people in a variety of socio-economic groups, ethnic groups and those with a requirement for alternative formats, including access to information via the internet, in accordance with Essex County Council Policy.
  • Equality and diversity is positively promoted in teaching, learning and assessment
  • Positive action takes place to increase engagement with those that are disadvantaged.
  • The on line course listing includes a discrete section drawing the attention of prospective learners to services such as childcare provision, fee concessions, and provision for adults with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, additional learning support, Discretionary Learner Support fund, Community Learning Bursary Fund and 19 + Advanced Loan Bursary Fund and the compliments and complaints procedures. Additional documentation is made available to all learners via the ACL Charter and Learner Handbook.
  • Accessible documentation can be provided and made available upon request, dependent on budget position and ECC policy.
  • Liaison with local communities and employers provides greater information, about learning and/or employment opportunities to all potential learners who would not traditionally participate in adult education
  • All staff concerned with giving information and advice fully apply the requirements and principles to positively promote access to learning to all sections of society and not to discriminate on any grounds whatsoever.

 

Course Provision

The Service is committed to ensuring that:

  • Its provision is accessible to all those who wish to participate
  • This provision is relevant to the community, voluntary sector organisations, employers and their employees.
  • Its curriculum is responsive to the needs, interests and educational aspirations of local people
  • Recruitment is open and accessible
  • Its curriculum provides opportunities for progression
  • Learner feedback is used to inform curriculum offer and quality improvement.
  • The policy applies across curriculum irrespective of type of programme, duration, cost and learners it engages with.

 

The Service should:

  • Design, manage and staff courses within the framework of the Service Equality and Diversity policy
  • Regularly review the curriculum offer
  • Continue to develop courses for non-traditional learners
  • Continue to offer courses in different modes, times, locations
  • Continuously review the nature and extent of provision, together with accessibility and use of resources, whether in the form of materials, people and venues.
  • Ensure that facilities, premises and services are accessible to all and where appropriate make reasonable adjustments to meet learner need.
  • Undertake Equality Impact Analysis when required to investigate the impact of changes to policy, practice and/or function. Identifying potential negative impacts and make recommendations for improvements that are considered and implemented where possible.

 

Learner Recruitment Patterns

The Service should undertake to collect and regularly review data relating to:

  • Recruitment of learners from all equality strands across all areas of provision and geographical locality, (in line with SFA and EFA requirements) and where appropriate to analyse data for Service improvement.
  • Learners in receipt of concessionary rates and those not in receipt of concessionary rates
  • Allocation of Discretionary Learner Support Funds and Community Learning Budget Bursary Funds, and 19+ Advanced Loans Bursary
  • Additional learning support

 

Staff Commitment

ACL Service staff should undertake to pay due regard to:

  • ACL Charter
  • ECC Code of Conduct
  • ACL Policies:
    • Admissions
    • Learning Support
    • Disability Policy
    • Exam Disability Policy
    • Adult Safeguarding
    • Children and Young people Safeguarding
    • Fitness to Learn policy
    • Computer Use
    • ECC Data Protection
    • Exclusion
    • Fee
    • Harassment and Bullying
    • Health and Safety Policy
    • IAG Policy
    • Learner Involvement Policy
    • Teacher Training

 

In-Service Training

The Service should observe the following:

  • In-service training courses should be organised avoiding discrimination and promoting equality and diversity for all ACL Service staff
  • Staff should be kept informed of in-service training opportunities
  • In-service training should be held wherever possible in accessible premises, and at times, which make it possible for all relevant staff to attend, also taking into consideration working patterns, caring/domestic responsibilities and transport matters
  • Sample, review and analyse development opportunities undertaken by staff

Employment

  • All staff are employed by Essex County Council and have a duty to comply with Essex County Council policies.
  • Essex County Council Policy deals with Equality and Diversity in Employment and Recruitment

 

Monitoring, Evaluating and Effectiveness of Policy

All Managers will consult with and advise staff on the implementation of this policy and notify the Safeguarding and EDI Lead of progress/improvements and/or issues to inform the ACL Single Equality Scheme and the annual Self-Assessment process.

The ACL Service will undertake to complete an annual programme of Equality Impact Analysis in accordance with Essex County Council agreed procedure.  All completed Equality Impact Analysis recommendations will be received by the ACL Leadership team for consideration and implementation as appropriate and shared with the relevant Corporate Function.

It is a requirement for all Service Management and Team meetings to include Equality and Diversity item on each agenda and to inform the Safeguarding and EDI Lead of any

good practice, support needs, data concerns or any other issues that may impact on the aims and objectives of the ACL Single Equality Scheme.

 

Effectiveness measures:

Learners

Monitoring of % take-up of learners:

  • Age
  • Black and Minority Ethnic Groups
  • Disclosed Disability
  • Gender
  • Retention
  • Achievement
  • Success (including Timely success)
  • Enrolment
  • Mystery Shopping Activity
  • Satisfaction survey responses (learners)
  • FE Choices survey
  • Those receiving income-related state concessions
  • Those not receiving income-related state concessions
  • Those receiving benefits
  • Those from post-codes deemed deprived within the context of the Multiple Deprivation Indices

The Skills Funding Agency and the Education Funding Agency do not currently require providers to collect on: religion and belief or sexual orientation.

 

Staff

Monitoring of % across the Service by:

  • Absence
  • Age
  • Black and Minority Ethnic Groups
  • Disclosed Disability
  • Gender
  • Salary grade