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Equality and diversity

This policy sets out both our legal requirement and our organisational commitment to equality and diversity.

Equality and diversity policy and procedure

Last reviewed: January 2021


1. Why do we need this policy?

Social work is about people. Our purpose is to regulate social workers in England, so that people receive the best possible support whenever they might need it in life. We are committed to raising standards through collaboration with everyone involved in social work.

We believe in the power of collaboration and share a common goal with those we regulate – to protect the public, enable positive change, and ultimately improve people’s lives.

This policy and procedure set out not only our commitment to legal requirements, but also our commitment to equality and diversity.

Equality means maximising employee potential and ensuring that all employees and job applicants receive equal access to employment, terms and conditions, training, and promotion opportunities.

Diversity is about recognising, respecting, and valuing the differences between individuals. It means treating people as individuals and recognising their different needs.

We aim to promote an environment that welcomes and values diverse backgrounds, thinking, skills and experience. We want everyone to thrive and fulfil their potential regardless of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, marriage, civil partnership, or any other protected characteristic as defined under the Equality Act 2010.

This policy provides the standards that we will uphold with regards to Equality and Diversity.

These are to:

  • Provide equality, fairness, and respect for all our people, whether temporary, part-time, or full-time.
  • Not discriminate because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origin), religion or belief, gender, and sexual orientation.
  • Oppose and avoid all forms of unlawful discrimination. This includes pay and benefits, terms and conditions of employment, dealing with grievances and discipline, redundancy, leave for parents, requests for flexible working, and selection for employment, promotion, training or other developmental opportunities.

2. Who needs to follow this policy and why?

This policy applies to all employees who are contracted to Social Work England. This includes temporary agency employees and contractors.

3. What’s our policy and how will we implement it?

We are committed to encouraging equality and diversity among our workforce and eliminating discrimination.

The aim is for our workforce to be truly representative of all sections of society and our customers, and for each person to feel respected and able to give their best.
We are also against unlawful discrimination of social workers or the public. We commit to:

  • Encourage equality and diversity in the workplace
  • Monitor all policies and procedures for their equality impact
  • Create a working environment free from bullying, harassment, victimisation, and unlawful discrimination, promoting dignity and respect for all, and where individual differences and the contributions of all staff are recognised and valued
  • Training managers and all other employees about their rights and responsibilities under the equality and diversity policy. Responsibilities include staff conducting themselves to help the organisation provide equal opportunities in employment, and prevent bullying, harassment, victimisation, and unlawful discrimination
  • Holding employees liable for acts of bullying, harassment, victimisation, and unlawful discrimination, in the course of their employment, against fellow employees, suppliers and members of the public
  • Taking seriously complaints of bullying, harassment, victimisation, and unlawful discrimination by fellow employees, customers, suppliers, visitors, the public and any others in the course of the organisation’s work activities. Such behaviour will be dealt with as misconduct under the organisation’s grievance and/or disciplinary procedures, and any appropriate action will be taken. Particularly serious complaints could amount to gross misconduct and lead to dismissal without notice
  • Make opportunities for training, development, and progress available to all staff, who will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential, so their talents and resources can be fully utilised to maximise the efficiency of the organisation
  • Decisions concerning staff being based on merit (apart from in any necessary and limited exemptions and exceptions allowed under the Equality Act)
  • Review employment practices and procedures when necessary to ensure fairness, and also update them and the policy to take account of changes in the law
  • Monitor the make-up of the workforce regarding information such as age, gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and disability in encouraging equality and diversity, and in meeting the aims and commitments set out in the equality policy
  • Monitoring will also include assessing how the equality policy, and any supporting action plans, are working in practice, reviewing them annually, and considering and taking action to address any issues

If this policy isn’t followed, the most appropriate course of action will be agreed between the policy owner and the senior HR business partner, dependent on the circumstances.

4. Roles and responsibilities

4.1 All employees

The application of this policy is the responsibility of all staff as well as is the commitment to equality and diversity in every action taken within the organisation.

HR policy suite.

6. Data protection, equality and diversity

A data protection impact assessment (DPIA) and equality impact assessment (EIA) have been completed for this policy.

7. Queries?

If you have a query about this policy, please contact Jane Marr, Senior HR Business Partner.

8. Definitions

8.1 Equality

Equality means maximising employee potential and ensuring that all employees and job applicants receive equal access to employment, terms and conditions, training and promotion opportunities.

8.2 Diversity

Diversity is about recognising, respecting and valuing the differences between individuals. It means treating people as individuals and recognising their different needs.

9. Version

Last reviewed: January 2021 (interim review pending full refresh)

Policy owner: Tracy Watterson, Assistant Director – People and Business Support

Policy reference: POL_HR02

Version: 1.2

If you require a PDF version of this policy, please contact us.

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