Equality and Diversity Policy

PURPOSE OF POLICY

The purpose of this policy is to ensure we have a culture where all individuals and specifically for this policy, the people we support, receive equal and fair treatment and where we can demonstrate our commitment to equality, diversity and human rights values and our commitment to non-discriminatory practice.

SCOPE OF POLICY

  • Trustees
  • Staff
  • Self-employed carers
  • Volunteers (supporters)
  • Students
  • People who use our services

This policy is communicated to all those covered in its scope with a requirement that it will be adhered to.

KEY LEGISLATION

The Equalities Act (2010)

Mental Capacity Act (2005)

The Human Rights Act (1998)

The Data Protection Act (1998)

ORGANISATIONAL COMMITMENT

PSS is committed to upholding the rights of the people we support to live their lives without experiencing discrimination or harassment, and that as far as possible we remove any barriers faced by people from different groups so they can achieve equal access to our services and experience equal outcomes.

We recognise that we support a diverse range of people and we will seek to understand and address their needs and wishes in a person-centred way, recognising them as an individual.

PSS will actively strive to combat prejudice and discrimination experienced by people who use our services, including that based on people’s ‘protected characteristics’ – Age, Disability, Sex, Sexual Orientation, Race (including ethnic or national origins, colour or nationality) , Religion or Belief (this includes lack of belief), Gender reassignment, Marriage or Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity.

PSS is committed to promoting human rights. This means that we observe and promote the core human rights principles of fairness, respect, equality, dignity, autonomy and participation for all.

Such a ‘human rights approach’ is consistent with our values. It emphasises the specific rights that everyone has, while still recognising their unique identities. We want to empower people, to treat them with the dignity that is their right, and to place them at the very centre of what we do. We emphasise people’s rights and entitlements, rather than their needs and requirements.

We will ensure people who use our services are able to exercise choice and control over the services they receive.

We will take steps to support people who use our services to be fully involved in making choices about their lives and the support they receive, including those who may have limited capacity in some aspects of their lives. We consider any differing level of participation by individuals and we consider what potential physical and/or social barriers there may be, e.g. language, format, proximity etc and take steps to address these.

Our staff will be trained in recognizing equality, diversity and human rights issues, and how they are to put these into practice in the course of their work.

Our staff will be trained in helping people who may have difficulties communicating, including for those with language barriers or disabilities. Our staff will understand best practice regarding communication techniques for different groups of people.

We will have information available in a range of formats which are accessible to the people who use our services.

We will help people access specialist services, such as Advocacy, people trained in sign language and specialist communication techniques.

We will take account of people’s preferences regarding the gender of staff where staff are providing personal care, and where appropriate in other types of care and support.

We will take account in support plans of people’s requirements in relation to their protected characteristics.

We will meet our obligations under the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments to remove or alter physical features that prevent disabled people having equal access to our services.

We will promote the use of Assistive Technology to address barriers people may have to living the life they want.

We will monitor the delivery of services to ensure that people with diverse needs do not experience a poorer quality of service, and in particular we will monitor peoples experience who have protected characteristics. We will record sufficient personal data (whilst at the same time as adhering strictly to Data Protection principles) to be able to recognise whether service-users have protected characteristics. This will ensure we can take full account of these protected characteristics and specific requirements and/or needs related to them as we individually support plan with service-users.

MONITORING

The implementation of this policy will be monitored at local service level as well as at Board and Senior Management meetings.

RELATED POLICIES

This policy is closely linked to our Dignity at Work Policy which includes –

  • Our responsibilities to staff, including their recruitment, making reasonable adjustments in the workplace ,training in relation to equality and diversity
  • Our relationships with other organisations and expectations that they will adhere to equality and diversity principles
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of this organisational policy

It is also closely linked to our Service-User Inclusion Policy, and Service-user Inclusion Framework as we are committed to actively involving people in their support; in being proactive regarding feedback and in working in partnership with people and in so doing provide a voice for people most at risk from being excluded

It is also closely linked to our PSS’s Mental Capacity Act Policy, where issues of consent, fluctuating capacity, support to make choices, and advocacy are addressed.

DEFINITIONS

Bullying

A form of harassment which may be related to an abuse or misuse of power

Diversity

Recognising and valuing the differences which people have

Direct discrimination

Treating a person less favourably because of a particular characteristic covered by discrimination legislation

Equality

Treating all people equally regardless of personal characteristics

Harassment

Unwanted conduct, real of perceived, that violates a persons dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading; humiliating or offensive environment for them or it is a form of bullying or unwanted behaviour that relates to a relevant protected characteristic.

Harassment

Unwanted conduct, real of perceived, that violates a persons dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading; humiliating or offensive environment for them or it is a form of bullying or unwanted behaviour that relates to a relevant protected characteristic.

Indirect discrimination

Applying criteria or practice equally to all people but which has the effect of disadvantaging a group of people covered by discrimination legislation and has a detrimental impact on an individual.

Protected characteristics

Age, Disability, Sex, Sexual Orientation, Race (including ethnic or national origins, colour or nationality) , Religion or Belief (this includes lack of belief), Gender reassignment, Marriage or Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity