Equality & Diversity Strategy

Making a Positive Impact on People and Communities

Introduction

We want to make sure that we deliver services that are inclusive, accessible to all and which respond and support the needs of our customers. We also recognise the value that diversity brings to the workplace want to ensure that our Board and colleagues reflect and represent a wide range of views and backgrounds.

We have recently reviewed our Equality & Diversity strategy to ensure that we can meet our vision to ‘make a positive impact on people and communities’ and our strategic aim ‘to provide excellent customer services’.

At LYHA Equality is ensuring individuals or groups of individuals are not treated differently or less favourably, based on their specific protected characteristic, including areas of race, gender, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation and age.

Our Commitment

We will deliver services that are inclusive, accessible to all and which respond and support the needs of our customers. We will also recognise the value that diversity brings to the work place and want to ensure that our Board and staff, represent and understand a wide range of views and backgrounds.

The Board will actively promote fairness and the elimination of prejudice in all the activities of the Association, so that we demonstrably exceed the minimum legal requirements for equality. It also recognises that everybody is different and will therefore ensure that products and services are appropriately shaped to be attractive to the range of customers we serve and that employment opportunities are flexible to attract a variety of employees.

Scope

This strategy applies to our customers, customer groups, our employees, Board Members, stakeholders, contractors and partners. We expect that everyone will abide by the principles set out in this strategy.

What do we mean by Equality & Diversity?

Equality is about ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents, and believing that no one should have poorer life chances because of where, what or whom they were born, what they believe, or whether they have a disability. Equality recognises that historically, certain groups of people with characteristics e.g. race, disability, sex and sexuality, have experienced discrimination.

At LYHA we want to:

  • Recognising differences
  • Celebrating diversity
  • Offering choice
  • Adjusting services to meet peoples’ needs

Who is affected?

There are many people, individuals and groups that may face social disadvantage and discrimination for example:

  • Black and Minority ethnic (BME) communities
  • People with a specific religion or belief
  • Disabled people
  • Older people and younger people
  • Households headed by women
  • People of different genders and those who identify as transgender
  • Gay men, bi sexual people and lesbians
  • Homeless people
  • Pregnant women and those on maternity leave
  • People who are economically or socially excluded

This list is not exhaustive but helps to raise awareness about the issues.

There are also groups that are specifically protected by legislation which is designed to prevent discrimination and promote the positive benefits of diversity. The Equality Act 2010 provides the framework which sets out the nine ‘protected characteristics’ which the legislation aims to protect as follows:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Marriage and Civil partnership
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex (man or a woman)
  • Gender reassignment
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Race

Aims of the Strategy

The aims of this strategy are to:

(i)            Provide an environment where people feel included and can make choices

(ii)           Provide services and homes that are accessible and respond to individual needs

(iii)          Address and tackle discrimination experienced by individuals and groups

(iv)         Promote the benefits of diverse communities

(v)          Have a positive impact and influence locally, by setting an example for others to follow

(vi)         Create an environment where everyone’s contribution is respected and valued

(vii)        Ensure that at work employees can grow and develop

(viii)       Consideration given to E & D in how we make investment decisions

 

Commitments

We are committed to tackling discrimination and harassment. We will also put measures in place which are aimed at preventing discrimination and harassment, and respond appropriately and promptly where it does occur.

Discrimination can occur in one of the following forms:

  • direct discrimination - treating someone with a protected characteristic less favourably than others
  • indirect discrimination - putting rules or arrangements in place that apply to everyone, but that put someone with a protected characteristic at an unfair disadvantage
  • harassment - unwanted behaviour linked to a protected characteristic that violates someone’s dignity or creates an offensive environment for them
  • victimisation - treating someone unfairly because they’ve complained about discrimination or harassment
  • institutional discrimination

Discrimination can take the form of discrimination by association – where discrimination takes place against someone because they are associated with a person who possesses a protected characteristic.

Discrimination can take place against an individual because others think they possess a protected characteristic – this is perceptive discrimination.

Harassment can take place even where a comment or action is not directed at an individual – but it is still offensive to the individual who has heard it.

Harassment can also take place by a third party - where partners, suppliers or customers direct offensive behaviour or remarks at members of staff.

Racial and homophobic harassment are serious offences which will not be tolerated and will be dealt with sensitively and appropriately. The definition of Racial and Homophobic Harassment is as set out in the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report as follows:

‘A racist or homophobic incident is any incident, which is perceived to be racist or homophobic by the victim or by any other person’

LYHA takes a similar zero tolerance stance towards all forms of discrimination and harassment.  

How we will realise our aims?:

This strategy provides the framework for our commitment to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. We will realise our aims through raising awareness and understanding, communicating our intentions, taking actions and monitoring progress.

We will use information and analyse data to understand the priority areas that need to be addressed, and to shape service delivery.

We will gather information in the following areas:

  • Local demographics
  • Our customers
  • Customer Involvement Activities
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Complaints
  • Anti - Social Behaviour
  • Lettings
  • Workforce Profile
  • Recruitment & Selection
  • Employee Engagement Survey
  • Learning & Development
  • Grievance & Disciplinary

Action plan:

We will develop action plans to respond to the identified priorities informed by the data and feedback we receive, aligned with the 9 protected characteristics and to address any areas of concern (currently being developed).

Communicate:

Information, promotion and performance in reaction to equality and diversity issues will be provided to employees, customers and the Board in a variety of ways including:

LYHA website, Customer and Staff Newsletters, Local Events, the Annual Report and other publications.

Provide Training & Raising Awareness:

All staff and Board members will receive training on equality and diversity issues, complemented by specific targeted training as appropriate in areas that relate to the 9 protected characteristics. Involved customers and contractors will also be expected to undertake training and awareness activities.

Working in Partnership:

We will ensure that partners, understand our commitment to equality and diversity and our expectations. This will be set out in our tendering and procurement information, our policies, and in the standards and targets we set and expect them to achieve.

Complete Impact Assessments:

A framework for carrying out impact assessments will ensure that we understand and consider the impact of our policies, when they are developed and reviewed and where changes of service or new services are being considered.

Responsibilities for Delivering E&D

Board Members:

Will provide leadership on equality issues and ensure that the commitments within the strategy are delivered. They will also ensure that reports, policies and the way the business of the board is conducted reflects these commitments.

Executive Management Team:

Will make sure all staff are aware of the approach as set out in the strategy that staff receive adequate training, and that monitoring of progress against plans, recruitment and targets takes place and is reported to the board. The Executive Management Team will provide leadership and act against anyone who does not comply with the strategy.

Managers / Team Leaders:

Will take responsibility for promoting E & D within their area and ensure compliance with policies and procedures that support the strategy. They will induct new staff, regularly review policies and make improvements based on feedback from customers and staff. Managers will ensure that service delivery is designed to respond to customers’ needs.

Employees:

Have a responsibility for promoting equality and diversity and working in a non-discriminatory way and in accordance with the code of conduct. They should do whatever they can to respond to and take account of individual needs of customers

Customers:

Will be expected to adhere to the commitments in this strategy and to act in a nondiscriminatory way.

Partners:

All partners including contractors, will be expected to adhere to the commitments in this strategy, to act in a non-discriminatory way and deliver services against LYHA standards.

Non-Compliance:

Appropriate action will be taken against any person or group who wilfully breaches the standards and expected conduct and behaviours.

Monitoring and Review:

Performance against the strategy will be monitored by the Board on an annual basis through delivery of the action plans and against targets. The strategy will be reviewed every 3 years.

Supporting Strategies and Policies:

Key LYHA policies that support this Equality and Diversity Strategy are as follows:

  • Bullying and Harassment Policy (Dignity Policy)
  • Codes of conduct for employees and the Board
  • Safeguarding Policy
  • Real Life Reform
  • Customer Care Policy
  • ASB policy
  • Recruitment & Selection Policy

Useful documents and links: