Diversity and inclusion

World map of inclusive words
  • Regulatory Standard: Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Standard
  • Author: Penny Gilyard, Director of Resources
  • Publish Date: 5 September 2018
  • Review Date: June 2019
  • Approving body: Board

© KNH [5 September 2018], Published in United Kingdom

All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, no part of this publication may be reproduced or utilised otherwise in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting on the internet or an intranet, without prior written permission. Permission can be requested from KNH at the address below.

Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing

Address Perseverance House, St Andrews Rd, Aspley, Huddersfield, HD1 6RZ

Phone + 44 1484 414886

Email housing@knh.org.uk

  • Date Originated: July 2007
  • Date Revised: October 2018
  • Ref: HR06/4
  • Approved by: Board
  • Approval Date: 5 September 2018
  • Minute Number 14

Contents

1. Introduction

1.1 At Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) we are dedicated to promoting and celebrating the positive effect that diversity has both in our workplace and within our community.

1.2 We want to ensure that everyone’s views are taken into account and that we promote an environment of inclusivity at all times.

1.3 Equality, Diversity and Inclusion are different things and they need to be progressed together. Equality of opportunity will only exist when we recognise and value difference and work together for inclusion.

2. Policy statement

2.1 The purpose of this policy is to support a working environment and culture in which unlawful and unfair discrimination is not condoned or tolerated.

2.2 This policy intends to communicate the commitment of the organisation in advancing equal opportunities, creating an inclusive environment and encouraging diversity both as an employer and a provider of services. Therefore we will be able to fulfil our obligations as set out by the Equality Act 2010.

2.3 It is our policy to provide employment equality to all, irrespective of the following 'protective characteristics'

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil Partnerships
  • Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

In addition this will also include:

  • Caring responsibilities for a 'Protected Characteristic' including dependants
  • Socio-economic background/grouping
  • Union activity
  • Unrelated spent criminal convictions

2.4 All service users, employees, volunteers (both present and potential) and contractors who work on behalf of the organisation will be treated fairly and will not be discriminated against on any of the above characteristics.

2.5 We also recognise that a key factor for many social housing tenants is the limited life chances because of relative poverty. 2.6 Decisions about recruitment and selection, promotion, training, remuneration (including benefits), access to services and service delivery will be made objectively, and without unlawful discrimination.

2.7 The organisation has developed policies, procedures and practices to ensure that discrimination does not occur in either employment, access to services and service delivery. The organisation is committed to regular monitoring and review of its policies, procedures and practices to ensure that they are effective in this regard, and will ensure that all those involved in recruitment, management and the procurement and provision of services are aware of, adhere to and promote this policy.

3. Policy scope

3.1 KNH employees/volunteers and those that deliver services on behalf of the organisation and members of the public that use our service should demonstrate behaviour that adheres to this policy.

4. Definitions

4.1 Equal Opportunity - The development of policies, procedures and practices that promote fairness and equality in all aspects of employment to enable development to full potential, together with the removal of barriers of discrimination and oppression experienced by certain groups.

4.2 Diversity - The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.

4.3 Inclusion - refers to an individual’s experience within the workplace and in wider society, and the extent to which they feel valued and included.

4.4 Protected Characteristics - It is unlawful to discriminate against an individual because of any of the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010. The nine protected characteristics are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

4.5 Direct Discrimination - Occurs where someone is treated less favourably from others in the same circumstances due to a particular characteristic. An example would be a refusal to appoint someone to a particular post simply because of his or her sexual orientation.

4.6 Indirect Discrimination - It is also unlawful to discriminate indirectly against anyone. That means applying a provision, criterion or practice which although applied equally to everyone is such that a considerably smaller proportion of a particular group can comply with it and which cannot be justified. An example would be making a rule about dress or uniform which would disadvantage those from a certain racial or ethnic group and for which there was no justification.

4.7 Associative Discrimination - is discrimination against a person because they have an association with someone with a particular protected characteristic. This already applies to race, religion or belief, and sexual orientation and is now extended to cover age, disability, gender reassignment and sex. An example of associative discrimination might be a non-disabled employee who is discriminated against because of action she needs to take to care for a disabled dependant.

4.8 Perceptive Discrimination - is discrimination against a person because the discriminator thinks the person possesses that characteristic, even if they do not in fact do so. Perceptive discrimination already applies to age, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation, and is now extended to cover disability, gender reassignment and sex.

4.9 Harassment - Subjecting someone to harassment can amount to discrimination. Harassment is unwanted conduct that violates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment having regard to all the circumstances and the perception of the victim. The organisation has in place a Dignity at Work Policy with a view to preventing harassment in the workplace and to ensure that appropriate action is taken when allegations of harassment by employees/volunteers, service users or members of the public are made.

4.10 Victimisation - occurs where an individual is treated less favourably than colleagues because he/she has initiated complaints proceedings or taken action to assert their legal rights or have assisted a colleague in that regard.

4.11 Positive Action - discrimination is only permitted in limited circumstances if there is a genuine occupational requirement for an individual to have a particular characteristic. Selection for recruitment or promotion is currently on merit: however in some circumstances it is possible to take certain steps to redress the effects of previous inequality of opportunity. This is called positive action and employers may give special encouragement to or provide training to individuals with a specific characteristic.

5. Culture and governance

  • We aim to promote a culture where discrimination is eliminated, and to provide an environment of equal opportunities where everyone recognises the positive contribution a diverse and inclusive workforce and community can make
  • We will promote a good and harmonious working environment in which all persons are treated with dignity and respect
  • Create an open and trusting environment where individuals are encouraged to discuss issues relating to diversity & inclusion and are encouraged to challenge inequality in an appropriate manner
  • Prevent occurrences of unlawful direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  • Respond seriously to, and investigating complaints of, bullying, harassment, discrimination, victimisation or hate crime of any kind
  • Fulfil all our legal obligations under the equality legislation and associated codes of practice
  • Comply with our own diversity & inclusion policy and associated policies
  • Take lawful affirmative or positive action, where appropriate
  • Regard all breaches of the Diversity and Inclusion policy as misconduct, which could lead to disciplinary proceedings

Understanding Our Customers

  • We aim to regularly update systems and procedures to ensure all available data on customers and services is accurate and used both strategically and operationally. This data will be used to identify opportunities where improvements can be made and services can be shaped to meet customers’ needs, promoting equal opportunity for all
  • We will reflect the views and expectations of customers in our business planning and service review processes in monitoring performance and improving services

Shaping Services

  • We aim to make services accessible to all, providing dignity and choice, and fostering good relations with and between customers. We will achieve this through our proactive and positive approach to the most vulnerable members of our community. Services will be developed based on the equality information held, on customer consultation feedback and working with partner agencies, to ensure different needs are considered in respect of the equality protected characteristics
  • We will target resources particularly at those who are vulnerable, marginalised and at greatest risk
  • We will carry out and report on equality analysis in all key service areas to ensure any new policies or changes to existing policies or services do not have a negative impact on any particular group of people. Policies will be assessed on the possible negative impact on each of the nine protected characteristics, plus their potential socio-economic impact Action through Procurement and Partnerships
  • We aim to ensure all major procurement partners operate appropriate policies aligned to the Equality Act 2010
  • We wish to engage with suppliers who take active steps to follow good practice in promoting Diversity and Inclusion within its own staff teams, and are willing to work within the remit of KNH's Diversity and Inclusion and Dignity and Respect policies
  • As a criterion for award of work or contracts and as a condition for doing business, we have specified the requirements of contractors, consultants, partners and suppliers in meeting equality legislation and eliminating all forms of discrimination
  • We will maintain standards promoting Diversity and Inclusion in service areas where contractors, consultants and partners are employed
  • We will develop standard contract agreements with contractors, consultants, partners and suppliers that meet KNH’s principles of Diversity and Inclusion - Where catering and/or other culturally sensitive events are being contracted out to external providers, discussions and guidance with regards to KNH’s expectations will be provided

6. What you can expect from KNH

  • To contribute to a working environment that is without discrimination, accessible, comfortable, healthy, well maintained, welcoming, and free of harassment, victimisation, and bullying
  • To demonstrate and share a commitment to valuing diversity and inclusion, and develop attitudes and behaviours that support this
  • To challenge what is considered to be unacceptable behaviour, be pro-active with regard to diversity, and take personal responsibility to promote good practice and create change
  • To identify our own learning and development needs on equality, diversity and inclusion issues continuously, and undertake relevant training to maintain and improve knowledge and contribute to the learning and development of others
  • To consider what may be offensive to others

7. Consultation

7.1 At KNH we have a duty to engage and consult our employees and service users to ensure continued improvement and access to services. Appropriate communication channels will be established for employees and our customers to be involved in the decision making processes.

7.2 We will consult with a diverse range of customers from the nine protected characteristics who are under-represented at community involvement events to see how they would like to be involved in participation and consultation in relation to service delivery and review, removing any potential barriers to involvement.

7.3 We will assist customers to be actively involved in scrutinising our services by building strong panels with groups to help us provide transparent services.

7.4 In supporting community and tenants’ groups, we will work with them to ensure that Diversity and Inclusion principles are integrated into their terms of reference and are acted upon.

7.5 We will ensure our consultations are fully inclusive of all our employee and customer base and provide accessible venues and other reasonable adjustments for this to happen.

7.6 As KNH has recognised trade unions we will work jointly in partnership to address any related issues and to raise awareness to advance equality.

8. Making a complaint

8.1 Any person who feels that they have been treated less favourably than others in the same circumstances has the right to use the organisations Grievance Policy and Procedure to seek redress. All complaints and grievances in respect of equality and equal opportunity issues will be thoroughly investigated and dealt with fairly and consistently.

8.2 All employees/volunteers have a right to work in an environment, which is free from harassment. Harassment at work in any form is unacceptable behaviour and will not be permitted or condoned. Any individual who considers they have been subject to harassment may take action in accordance with the organisations Dignity at Work Policy.

8.3 Service users/potential service users or applicants can make complaints via the organisations Complaints Procedure.

9. Relevant legislation

9.1 Implementation of this Diversity and Inclusion Policy ensures that the organisation complies with the Equality Act 2010 and associated codes of practice.

10. Responsibilities

Board Members

10.1 The Board has in place a Code of Conduct that outlines the responsibilities in relation to Diversity and Inclusion.

10.2 The Board has overall responsibility for ensuring managers and employees implement this policy. The Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Group aids the Board by monitoring and providing challenge on how KNH is meeting its aims and legal obligations.

Managers

10.3 All Managers are responsible for implementing fair non–discriminatory practices within their areas and or departments and encouraging a diverse inclusive environment.

10.4 Conduct initial stage 1 Equality Impact Assessments on all strategies, policies and procedures and further stage 2 detailed EIA’s where appropriate.

10.5 Provide diversity training and guidance as appropriate.

10.6 Support awareness raising events run via the Equality Team or Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group.

Employees, Volunteers, Service Users and Contractors

10.7 All employees, volunteers, service users and contractors (those carrying out activities on behalf of the organisation) are responsible for ensuring that they are aware of, understand and comply with this policy and associated procedures, and that they help create the equality environment which is its objective.

Human Resources

10.8 The Human Resources Department is responsible for monitoring and reviewing the policy in accordance with legislation and good practice.

11. Monitoring and reporting

11.1 The Human Resources Department will undertake equal opportunities monitoring and report statistics to the Resources & Remuneration Committee on a quarterly basis. In addition an annual report will be produced on the workforce profile. All monitoring will be carried out on an anonymous basis.

11.2 Specific departments within the organisation will conduct monitoring as deemed appropriate for their service activity this will include looking at demographic changes. Where trends relating to the Protected Characteristics are identified actions will be taken as deemed appropriate. All monitoring will be carried out on an anonymous basis.

11.3 Customer Complaints will be monitored by the nine protected characteristics to ensure fair access to services and their standard of delivery.

11.4 Provide reports to the Board and Committees on how existing and future services meet the diverse needs of local communities.

12. Training

12.1 Specific programmes of training will be designed and rolled out across the organisation aimed at employees and Board Members.

12.2 All employees and Board Members will receive an introduction to Diversity and Inclusion related to housing and this will be a mandatory training requirement.

13. Associated documents

  • Employee Handbook
  • Dignity at Work Policy
  • Grievance Policy and Procedure
  • Disciplinary Policy and Procedure
  • Whistleblowing Policy
  • Customer Complaints Procedure

14. Additional information

14.1 Further information can be obtained from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)  

14.2 The organisation has in place an Equality Strategy and Action Plan which sets out how we will deliver on these policy commitments.

15. Review

15.1 This Policy will be reviewed on an annual basis, or if subject to legislative changes.

© 2019 All rights reserved. Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing, Perseverance House, St. Andrews Road, Huddersfield, HD1 6RZ.