The need for equal opportunities and diversity

It is widely recognised that particular groups suffer discrimination in the job market and in the allocation of services.  This can be caused by conscious or sub-conscious prejudice, physical impediment, lack of access to education or many other reasons.  In recognising the discrimination prevalent within our society we can show that the following experience discrimination or lack of access to services:

  • women
  • non-indigenous people, in particular Black people
  • working class people
  • people with disabilities (motor, sensor or physical)
  • unemployed people
  • lesbians, bisexuals, gay men, transsexuals and transgendered people
  • people with dependants, especially single parents
  • people with less access to education
  • council tenants or people living in social housing
  • inner city residents
  • people with HIV/AIDS
  • older people
  • young people

This list is not definitive and it is not intended to be.

We are opposed to, and will actively work against, prejudice towards any of these groups.

CASE is committed to equality of opportunities.  The aim of the policy is to ensure that the services and activities of the agency are equally accessible to all.  This policy applies to CASE employees and all clients and users of CASE.

CASE as an employer

All CASE workers are expected to follow the equal opportunities policy.  Failure to do so could lead to disciplinary action.

The effect of equal opportunities and diversity on CASE as a provider of services

As an agency that accesses contracts from public bodies, it is essential that our services are available to all citizens of Leicestershire.  CASE will endeavour to ensure that this objective is met.

Publicity

CASE will strive to ensure that its publicity and promotion is accessible to all sections of the community.  Some elements of publicity will be directed specifically towards Black and recently arrived communities, women and people with disabilities and older people as we recognise that conventional methods of communication often excludes these groups.  This work will be undertaken, in the main, via the Agency’s links with various community organisations.   We will also actively work with women’s groups, Black groups, organisations of people with disabilities, and other groups and organisations to positively work at overcoming their exclusion from other means of representation and communication.

We will liaise with community groups, colleges, and other business advice agencies to ensure that our services are known to a wide variety of people and agencies.

Training

We will not discriminate against people or groups on the basis of their inability to speak fluent English as a first language.  We therefore recognise the need to establish provision for training delivered in other languages when the need arises.  We would hope to do so by utilising our links with projects such as the Belgrave Baheno, Shama Women’s Centre, Somali Development Services and others.  CASE can best meet these needs by devising development programmes with other agencies that will provide generalist expertise whilst CASE provides the specialist co-operative or social enterprise advice and training.

We may consider providing access to women only training in selected areas to allow women to develop skills to which access may have previously been difficult.

Meetings

Meetings will take place at times that allow for the participation of people with responsibility for dependants.

Childcare and dependants’ costs

CASE will, where funds permit, pay for, or contribute towards, childcare or dependants’ costs for people attending CASE courses or meetings.

Monitoring

Whilst we are aware that monitoring may cause offence particularly if handled indelicately, we also recognise that it is only by monitoring that the effectiveness of equal opportunities policies can be judged.  New clients are asked to complete a form stating their ethnic origin, sex, age, employment status, how they heard about the CASE and the area that they live in.  This is purely on a voluntary basis and clients are informed verbally and in writing why this information is required.  The information gained is strictly confidential and is used by CASE to assess the effectiveness of its equal opportunities policy.

Access for people with disabilities

CASE is situated on the first floor of a Grade II listed building.  The building is not accessible to wheelchair users via the front entrance because access to the building involves a set of steps. However level access is possible via the rear entrance of the building via the car park.  Please inform CASE if you wish to access the building via this entrance.  Car parking can be provided for clients with disabilities – please request this when booking your meeting or training course.

CASE recognises that this situation is not ideal and will endeavour to investigate methods of improving access to, and facilities for, people with motor disabilities.  Wherever possible meetings will be held at an accessible venue of the client’s choice.

CASE is not able, due to staffing and financial considerations, to provide facilities such as aural loops, Braille or signers for the profoundly deaf or hard of hearing.  CASE can best meet these needs by devising development programmes with other organisations who are able to provide these facilities.  These organisations can also assist by providing generalist advice and expertise whilst CASE provides the specialist co-operative advice and training.

CASE will endeavour to ensure that people with disabilities are able to fully partake of the services of the Agency.  Where possible CASE employees will endeavour to meet with clients at their own premises or premises of the client’s choice.

Discriminatory behaviour by, or to, users and visitors

Discriminatory behaviour is not acceptable either within the Agency or to users who suffer it as a result of working with us or visiting us.  Members of staff are responsible for challenging clients or visitors who act in such a manner, and ending this behaviour.  Clients or visitors who persist in such behaviour will not be permitted assistance from CASE or to visit the Agency.

Language

It is important that the language we use in our dealings with one another (our everyday words and phrases, and ways of expressing things) does not help to form and continue attitudes that discriminate or patronise.  Language should not be:

  • Racist (that is, language should not show any collusion with racist ideology by supporting negative stereotypes about people’s ethnic background or colour)
  • Sexist
  • Anti-gay, anti-bisexual or anti-lesbian
  • Insulting to people with disabilities

Employees of CASE and users of the CASE service are requested to avoid language that contains jargon or technical terms that may exclude or patronise other people.

Harassment

Harassment can be defined as behaviour from an individual or group of people towards another individual or group which:

  • Causes offence or hurt to the people on the receiving end of the behaviour
  • Creates an unpleasant or intimidating environment

CASE will not tolerate harassment of any form.  Some examples are detailed below.  It is accepted that this list is not complete and neither is it intended to be.  It is included to give the reader an indication of the kinds of unacceptable behaviour of harassment.

  • There must not be sexual harassment of any kind.  Sexual harassment is any unwanted or unwelcome sexual comments, looks, actions, suggestions or physical contact that is found to be objectionable.
  • There must not be racial harassment of any kind.  Racial harassment is any unwanted or unwelcome terms, comments, actions or behaviour relating to a person’s race, ethnicity or colour which members of a racial, cultural or religious group find offensive.
  • There must not be any harassment of people with disabilities.  This is any unwelcome terms, comments, actions or behaviour relating to a person’s physical or mental abilities, which are found offensive.
  • There must not be heterosexist harassment of any kind.  Heterosexism is the unfounded fear and ignorance of lesbians, bisexuals and gay men by heterosexuals.  Heterosexist harassment is harassment that is directed towards lesbians, bisexuals and gay men in which being lesbian, bisexual or gay is belittled, compared unfavourably with heterosexuality or in any way negatively represented.

Ground rules for group work

Having a set of rules on conduct of personal behaviour is essential to ensure that everyone gets an equal say in discussions.  Everyone within the group has a right to make their voice heard and this right should be respected.  Group members should not mock or override the opinions of those who are shy or feel intimidated for any other reason.

Being aware of others

Every individual has a right to respect and courtesy.  Disrespect and discourtesy are not part of an equality framework.

Be aware that others have experience and skills, often gained from a variety of roles.  People’s contributions should be listened to and respected.

In a group situation wait until a speaker is finished, do not cut across someone else.  Try to have discussions not arguments.  Be brief and to the point.

Do not monopolise the discussion.  Ensure that others are given room and encouragement to speak.  Try not to repeat yourself.

Allow others to state their views even if you don’t agree with them – you may learn something!

Don’t make assumptions about people based solely on what you perceive.  If in doubt ask questions.

Criticising self and others

Feedback should aim to reinforce good points and make helpful suggestions. Destructive criticism should be avoided.

Remember we all contribute to situations which arise so appraise your own behaviour as well!

 

Please help us to provide and maintain a quality service to all our users by following the code of practice outlined above.