Oxhey Village Environment Group | www.oveg.org
A) STATEMENT OF POLICY
1. OVEG recognises that we live in a society where discrimination still operates to the disadvantage of many groups in society.
2. OVEG believes that all persons should have equal rights to recognition of their human dignity, and to have equal opportunities to be educated, to work, receive services and to participate in society.
3. OVEG is committed to the promotion of equal opportunities within the community of Oxhey through the way we manage the organisation and provide services to the community. In order to express this commitment, we develop, promote and maintain policies that will be conductive to the principles of fairness and equality in our activities.
4. The objective of this policy is that no person should suffer or experience less favourable treatment, discrimination or lack of opportunities on the grounds of gender, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, religious or philosophical beliefs, health status, HIV status, age, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, political beliefs or trade union membership, class, responsibility for dependents, physical attributes, ex-offender status as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, lack of formal qualifications where such qualifications are not formally required, or any other grounds which cannot be shown to be justifiable within the context of this policy.
5. This policy will influence and affect every aspect of activities carried out i.e. promotional work, campaigning, recording of the history of Oxhey, the making of small grants and other functions linked to the OVEG Constitution, as determined by the management committee.
6. In the provision of services as described in our Constitution, OVEG is committed to promoting equal opportunities for everyone. Throughout its activities, OVEG will treat all people equally whether they are:
• Seeking or using our services.
• Applying for a position on our Committee.
• Requesting help in campaigning (so far as it is in keeping with our Constitution).
B) IMPLEMENTATIONS & RESPONSIBILITIES
All committee members have equal responsibility and we expect all our members to abide by the policy and help create the equality environment which is its objective.
In order to implement this policy we shall:
• Communicate the policy to the wider membership through our website and social media.
• Ensure that all persons wishing to become committee members are aware of the policy and of their responsibility to uphold its objectives.
• Ensure that adequate time is made available in committee meetings to review and fulfill the objectives of the policy.
Conduct and general standards of behaviour
All Committee members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional and considerate manner at all times. OVEG will not tolerate behaviour such as:
• making threats
• physical violence
• swearing at others
• persistent rudeness
• isolating, ignoring or refusing to work with certain people
• telling offensive jokes or name calling
• displaying offensive material such as pornography or sexist / racist cartoons, or the distribution of such material via email / text message or any other format.
• any other forms of harassment or victimisation.
The items on the above list of unacceptable behaviours are considered to be counter to the principles of OVEG and can lead to suspension or termination of Committee membership. OVEG does, however, encourage members to resolve misunderstandings and problems informally wherever possible, depending on the circumstances. However, whether dealt with informally or formally, it is important for Committee members who may have caused offence to understand that it is no defence to say that they did not intend to do so, or to blame individuals for being over sensitive. It is the impact of the behaviour, rather than the intent, that counts, and that should shape the solution found both to the immediate problem and to preventing further similar problems in the future.
Complaints of discrimination
OVEG will treat seriously all complaints of unlawful discrimination on any forbidden grounds made by Committee members, the wider general membership or other third parties with whom OVEG is engaged with and will take action where appropriate.
All complaints will be investigated by the OVEG Chair as appropriate and the complainant will be informed of the outcome.
The Chair will also monitor the number and outcomes of complaints of discrimination made by Committee members, the general membership and other third parties.
C) LEGAL OBLIGATIONS
Equal Opportunities and Discrimination (Equality Act 2010)
The new Equality Act came into force in October 2010 and replaces all previous equality legislation in England, Scotland and Wales – namely the Race Relations Act 1976, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Sex Discrimination Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, The Civil Partnership Act 2004, the Employment Equality Regulations 2003 (religions and belief and sexual orientation).
The Equality Act 2010 protected characteristics are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief sex and sexual orientation.
In valuing diversity OVEG is committed to go beyond the legal minimum regarding equality.
The Equality Act 2010 harmonises and strengthens and replaces most previous equality legislation. The following legislation is still relevant:
• The Human Rights Act 1998.
• The Work and Families Act 2006.
• Employment Equal Treatment Framework Directive 2000 (as amended).
D) RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION
1. OVEG as a community organisation has no formal recruitment and selection processes and we strongly encourage the active participation of OVEG members in the Committee and its activities. We will endeavour to ensure that the existing Committee when assessing expressions of interest in involvement does not discriminate, whether consciously or unconsciously, in making these decisions.
2. We will adopt a consistent, non-discriminatory approach to the advertising of vacancies on the Committee, or of any sub-Committee that is established within the terms of OVEG’s constitution.
3. Selection decisions will not be influenced by any perceived prejudices of other Committee members.
OVEG will revise and review this policy regularly.
Review date: July 2016.