ADDRESS

2nd Floor, 200a Pentonville Road, Somali N1 9JP

Email

Info@firststepaction.com

Equality Policy

Introduction

First Step Action is committed to equality in its provision of services and in all its employment practices, policies and procedures. This includes recruitment, training, remuneration and promotion and equal terms and conditions of employment. It is committed to the creation of a non-discriminatory working environment. This policy applies to employees whether part-time, full-time, fixed term or temporary, contractors, volunteers and trustees.

Statement of values

First Step Action aims to provide advocacy services to help advance the wellbeing of the ethnic communities. We are committed to social justice and working with those who are most excluded and disadvantaged First Step Action celebrates our society as diverse in race, culture, faith and other beliefs, sexuality, abilities, gender and age. First Step Action is committed to challenging disadvantage and inequality and aims to promote diversity and equality in all areas of its work and structures.

First Step Action believes:

Discrimination

Direct Discrimination is when you treat someone less favourably than others for unlawful means, for example not employing someone because of their gender or disability. First Step Action will treat direct discrimination as a disciplinary matter. Indirect Discrimination is when a policy, practice or procedure that applies to everyone might disadvantage a particular group, and which cannot be justified in relation to the job. First Step Action will monitor and regularly review its policies, practices and procedures in order to ensure that they do not disadvantage any particular group. Discrimination by association is direct discrimination against someone because they associate with another person who possesses one of the applicable protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, sex, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation). It is unlawful and First Step Action will treat it as a disciplinary manner. Perception discrimination is direct discrimination against an individual because others think they possess a particular protected characteristic. It applies even if the person does not possess that characteristic. It is unlawful and First Step Action will treat it as a disciplinary matter in relation to age, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability, gender reassignment and sex Harassment is unwanted conduct that violates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive working environment. First Step Action will treat harassment as a disciplinary matter. Victimisation is when you treat someone less favourably or discriminate against them because they have pursued or intend to pursue their rights relating to alleged discrimination. First Step Action will treat victimisation as a disciplinary matter. Positive discrimination is unlawful. Positive action to address imbalances in the workforce is allowed in particular circumstances. Examples would include setting equality targets (but not quotas which are unlawful); encouraging people from particular groups to apply where they are underrepresented; training for promotion or skill training for employees from under-represented groups who show potential. First Step Action will use positive action to address imbalances that are apparent from monitoring data.

Statement of intent

Our intention is to ensure that no user of First Step Action services, job applicant or employee receives less favourable treatment due to a protected characteristic (i.e. age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation), unrelated criminal convictions, or membership or non-membership of a trade union. All employees have a responsibility to cooperate with measures to ensure equal opportunity and non-discrimination. We aim to create a culture that respects and values each others’ differences, that promotes dignity, equality and diversity, and that encourages individuals to develop and maximise their true potential. We aim to remove any barriers, bias or discrimination that prevent individuals or groups from realising their potential and contributing fully to First Step Action’s performance and to develop an organisational culture that positively values diversity. We are committed wherever practicable, to achieving and maintaining a workforce that broadly reflects the local community in which we operate. Every possible step will be taken to ensure that individuals are treated fairly as users of First Step Action services and in all aspects of their employment at First Step Action.

Legislation

You should be aware that whilst an employer can be held liable in law for acts of discrimination committed by employees, individual employees can also be held personally liable in law for acts of discrimination that they commit, authorise, contribute to or condone. You should therefore be aware that the following acts are unlawful and would constitute misconduct or gross misconduct liable to disciplinary action, which may include summary dismissal:
Full details of relevant legislation that First Step Action will apply can be found in Appendix A

Implementation

The Founder of First Step Action and all employees of First Step Action are responsible for the policy’s day-to-day implementation. Consultation will take place with all staff about the implementation and development of this policy. First Step Action will collect monitoring information about the implementation of this policy and from this information will produce an action plan detailing how it will promote equality through its work. To achieve a workforce that is truly representative of all sections of society selection for employment or promotion or any other benefit will be on the basis of merit and ability only. Selection for training will be on the basis of job requirements only. Intimidation, harassment and bullying will not be tolerated and may lead to disciplinary action. If you perceive a problem in recruitment, selection, training, promotion or the application of terms and conditions of employment you should raise it in the first instance with your line manager or another appropriate manager. All cases of such behaviour will be investigated and we will treat all complaints fairly, quickly and with confidentiality. Any grievance arising from the Equality Policy will be dealt with using the existing Grievance Procedure. Any employee who has taken action, in good faith, over allegations of discrimination or harassment, will not be victimised by being treated any less favourably than any other employee as a consequence of taking such action. First Step Action will monitor the practical effectsofthepolicybyregularlycollectingandreviewingrelevantinformation. Youare expected to co-operate in work being undertaken to monitor, review and implement this policy. We will use our induction, supervision, appraisal and learning and development policies to ensure that staff and trustees have the skills to support good practice on equality and diversity. We will use the supervision and appraisal process to encourage staff to make suggestions and contribute to the ways in which we promote equality as an organisation and with the users of our services. We will ensure that venues that we use for meetings, workshops and training events are accessible and will make reasonable adjustments where necessary. We will aim to ensure that our communications are accessible, including our web site. When necessary we will make specific provision, such as the engaging a British Sign Language interpreter, to ensure that our communication is accessible. We will bring this policy to the attention of our trustees, staff, volunteers, suppliers and service users when they join First Step Action and by making use of our communications. We will monitor the use of our services and make use of this monitoring information when planning future developments.

Review

The Trustee Board will keep this policy under review, with input from the Management Team and staff. This review and our action plan will be included as part of our annual Business Plan.

Appendix A

In it employment practices and service provision First Step Action will take full account of the following legislation:

The Equality Act 2010

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000

Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002

The Asylum and Immigration Act 1996

Safe Recruitment

Safe recruitment and selection practice are vital in safeguarding and protecting children. Bright Start recognises and takes seriously its responsibility to adopt practice which minimises risk to the children accessing our services. Appropriate checks are carried out on new staff and volunteers to ensure they are suitable to work with children. The safety of children is paramount when recruiting staff and volunteers. Recruitment processes include drawing up job descriptions and person specifications, advertising posts, calling for and scrutinising references and picking up on gaps in employment history through to the interview process and carrying out enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and professional checks and verifications of qualifications and identity.

Allegations Against Staff

All our organisations providing services to children and young people must ensure that their staff and volunteers are safe to do so. The vast majority of adults who work with children/young people act professionally and aim to provide a safe and supportive environment for the children and young people in their care. But it must be recognised that there are adults who will deliberately seek out, create or exploit opportunities to abuse children. It is therefore essential that a clear process exists for the investigation and resolution of allegations made against staff and volunteers. If an allegation is made that a member of staff has harmed a child; is alleged to have behaved in a way in their private life that may suggest they are unsuitable to work with children and young people; *or if a disqualified person lives or is employed in their household, the designated safeguarding lead, must be informed immediately. If the allegation concerns the designated safeguarding lead or the deputy designated safeguarding lead the LADO must be informed. The allegations’ process is managed by Islington’s LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer). All statutory partner agencies are required to report all allegations to the LADO within one working day. Please see appendix B and follow the procedures for allegations/concerns about a member of staff.

Staff Code of Conduct

Staff must not:

Mobile Phones and Cameras

In view of recent serious case reviews, it is not permitted for parents/carers to use mobile phones or other similar devices in the centre. Parents/carers are permitted to take photographs at special events. If you do not want your child to be photographed, please excuse yourselves from the event. If you want to take a photograph of your child engaging in an activity, please DO NOT include other children in your photographs without parent/carer consent.

Confidentiality

All staff will understand that child protection issues warrant a high level of confidentiality, not only out of respect for the pupil and staff involved but also to ensure that being released into the public domain does not compromise evidence. All matters relating to child protection are strictly confidential. We respect the right of families to have information about them dealt with sensitively and confidentially in line with statute and guidance. Child protection information regarding children in our provision will be shared with staff on a strictly need to know basis. A member of staff will ‘need to know’ information when it is demonstrably to benefit the child. All staff are expected to conform to good professional practice and maintain confidentiality appropriately at all times. All staff must be aware of their responsibility to share information with the Designated Safeguarding Lead and with other agencies in order to protect and safeguard children.

COVD-19 Pandemic circumstances

Recognising that the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic has not had equal effects and therefore actions and policy in place needs to be assessed for their impact upon equality in having a positive impact upon human well-being. Employers have to consider this and in addition not to make decisions against employees with protected characteristics i.e. age, disability and sexual orientation especially in regards to the economic crisis, These decisions include who to bring back into the workplace (physical) who to make redundant and who is given extra hours (equalityhumanrights.com). Coronavirus Act: In relation Social care and child practitioners now more flexing and protecting children whilst parents are away from work. Vetting practitioners e.g. fast-tracked DBS checks to return to work promptly Employees, volunteers, services users (public) particularly vulnerable or immunocompromised Risk assessment in opening back up offices and resuming services in light of a pandemic and professional guidelines

Contact Details

Senior lead for Safeguarding Sadia Farah