Equality & Diversity Policy

Policy Ref: BA-POL-E&D
Version Number: 2
Policy Owner: Interim Assistant Director- Business Assurance


1) Scope of policy

1.1. This policy applies to all City West Housing Trust staff, customers, Board and partners. Where services are provided by external contractors or third parties, these contractors are responsible for complying with City West’s Equality and Diversity Policy.

2) Policy statement

2.1. City West is committed to promoting equality of opportunity, tackling discrimination, valuing diversity and ensuring that no individual or group is treated less favourably on the grounds of age, race, gender, sexuality, disability, marital status, gender reassignment, religion, maternity or pregnancy.

2.2. Equality and Diversity is an integral part of City West’s core organisational values. We will continue to develop robust policies, procedures and strategies to ensure diversity and inclusion remains integral to City West as a service provider, employer, partner, a purchaser of goods and services and as a registered landlord.

3) Policy aims

3.1. The aim of this policy is to:
• Support City West’s commitment to promoting equality and diversity as an employer, service provider, landlord and a business that commission and procure from others.
• Provide a strategic framework for fostering a culture of continuous improvement in equality and diversity.
• Encourage creative and innovative ways of embedding equality and diversity into the day-to-day work practices at City West.
• Provide a framework for monitoring performance and embracing best practice across all business areas and adopt appropriate targets.
• Develop a learning culture that encourages the usage of customer and staff profiling, findings from customer and staff feedback and satisfaction surveys to ensure services are tailored to meet the needs of individuals, embrace legislation and good practice.

4) Policy

4.1. City West will:
• Ensure there is a clear leadership commitment and sponsorship for equality and diversity at senior levels and throughout the organisation. City West will also ensure that there are diversity ambassadors from the Executive Management Team, the Board, Assistant Directors and staff.
• Continue to produce an equality and diversity strategy (Fairway) with deliverable Equality Objectives (action plans), clear outcomes and measureable targets.
• Foster good relations by promoting a culture of mutual respect and partnership working between staff, contractors, partners and customers. Forge strong links with community groups, including minority community groups within the City West area to meaningfully shape and improve services.
• Advance equality of opportunity by building a strong understanding of customers needs and tailoring service delivery to meet the needs of individuals.
• Eliminate discrimination by ensuring that services are accessible to all - both in terms of physical accessibility and in terms of making information available in different formats.
• Continue to operate the ‘Double Tick scheme’ offering a guaranteed job interview for all applicants with a disability who meet the essential requirements for a job vacancy.
• Have a positive and proactive approach to equalities by exploring examples of best practice including benchmarking with other organisations and looking to develop and build on these where appropriate.
• Carry out Equality Analysis in the introduction of new and review of existing services, policies or strategies. This will take into account equality considerations which affect customers and staff and will seek solutions to minimize or eliminate any negative impact.
• Require all contractors to sign up to a commitment to equality and diversity (including the provision of equality and diversity training for all their staff working with our customers).
• Take a zero tolerance approach to any form of unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimization and bullying through prejudice. Anyone that contravenes this policy will be dealt with in line with the disciplinary procedures, tenancy termination procedures and contract termination process. This includes all staff, agency workers and contractors who provide services for City West customers.
• Treat people fairly and reasonably in accordance with their individual merits and abilities. City West aims to develop a workforce that is reflective of the diversity of the communities it serves. City West will give equal access to opportunities including the recruitment, retention, development of staff and empower staff to maximise their own potential.
• Ensure that customers and job applicants are aware of their equality and diversity responsibilities under the tenancy agreement and contract of Employment.
• Ensure appropriate training, guidance and advice is provided to meet City West aims and commitments. All staff, Board Members, Involved Customers and Contractors will receive a mandatory Equality and Diversity training, regular briefings and refresher courses to keep them up to date. All new members of staff, Board members, Involved Customers and Contractors will receive a mandatory Equality and Diversity awareness session as part of their induction.

5) Delivery & monitoring

5.1. City West will undertake monitoring that not only meets statutory requirements but also aims to achieve best practice. This will be used to inform and improve our employment practices, service delivery and partnership working. If through monitoring any discrimination is identified, City West will take all necessary corrective actions to eliminate it. The Service Excellence Team has the responsibility for ensuring the maintenance, regular review and updating of this Policy.

5.2. City West will continue to seek external challenge on its equality and diversity framework and aim to remain at exemplar level of the Diversity in Business Accreditation (DiBA) award.

6) Related policies & procedures

6.1. City West will ensure that this policy forms the basis of all policy, procedure and strategy development within City West.

7) Legislation & regulation standards

7.1. This policy was developed in line with the Equality Act 2010 which provides a new legislative framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. The Act updates, simplifies, and strengthens the previous legislations it replaces – covering over 100 separate pieces of legislation.

7.2. The Human Rights Act 1998 came into force in 2000 and gives legal effect in the UK to the fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Article 14 of the Act specifically prohibits discrimination of any kind. City West will work with the community we service and with community partners to advance equality of opportunity, foster good relations between different groups to eliminate discrimination, tackle harassment, hate incidents and hate crime and domestic violence.

7.3. The Regulatory requirements for diversity are included in the Tenant Involvement and Empowerment standard. All Housing Providers must understand and respond to the diverse needs of their tenants in the delivery of all the standards. City West will continue to seek to understand and respond to the diverse needs of customers and treat them with fairness and respect.

8) Equality analysis

8.1. An Equality Analysis has been carried out on this policy and an action plan has been produced. The actions will be completed as part of City West’s commitment to embedding equality and diversity within the day-to-day work practices.