Equality and inclusion policy

Created: August 2020 by Jenny Owen

Last Reviewed/Updated: Reviewed and approved by Nancy Monaghan 12/08/2020

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Introduction

Wild Things Performing Arts CIC is committed to equality and inclusion at all levels of the company, and actively opposes all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination. Wild Things Performing Arts values the role diversity plays in fostering a positive learning and working environment. We therefore aim to ensure equality at all levels and in all activities, by adopting inclusive approaches to all that we do, and working to ensure that our policies and practices remain lawful, fair and actively inclusive.

This policy includes preventing discrimination associated with protected characteristics, as identified in the Equality Act:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment (whether or not they are under medical supervision)
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy or maternity
  • Race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins)
  • Religion and belief (or lack thereof)
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

To this list, Wild Things Performing Arts CIC adds:

  • Socio-economic deprivation (including factors such as poverty, rural isolation, low economic activity/unemployment and poor educational attainment)

Wild Things Performing Arts CIC’s work involves developing relationships with people from a range of backgrounds and cultures. It is therefore essential that we actively promote equality, diversity and inclusion across the company and our activities.

Equality is about treating all people fairly and lawfully, removing barriers, and creating accessible conditions that celebrate diversity and promote dignity. Our aim is to oppose and rectify imbalances stemming from bias based on perceived difference, or prejudice. Wild Things Performing Arts CIC will ensure dealings with staff, students, participants, partners and parents/guardians are conducted in a constructive, respectful and inclusive way, without discrimination.

Diversity is about recognising and celebrating the fact that people differ from one another in many ways. Understanding, valuing and effectively managing these differences can result in greater participation, extending the social reach and value of our company and services in the community. 

Inclusion is about reaching out, welcoming, and providing the conditions for people to be able to participate with our company in the way that they want to. Inclusion is at the core of Wild Things Performing Arts CIC’s ethos. Throughout our practice, we will actively implement a person-centred approach of openness, participation, engagement and response to community cultural needs. We must treat all people with dignity and respect and ensure that barriers to involvement are removed.

Scope

These principles apply to Wild Things Performing Arts CIC’s provision of services, working practices and its recruitment and training practices. The policy applies to the treatment of all Directors, staff (including guests), volunteers, students/participants, partners and parents/guardians.

Responsibility

Wild Things Performing Arts CIC’s Directors are responsible for overseeing the effective implementation of the Equal Opportunities Policy in all areas of our work. The Directors have delegated responsibility to the Chief Executive for the day-to-day policy implementation. 

All those working and interacting with Wild Things Performing Arts have a duty to uphold the Equal Opportunities Policy aims and objectives. 

Avoiding Pre-conceptions

In the application of this Equality and Inclusion Policy, it is essential that the Directors and staff guard against discrimination on the basis of possible assumptions that individuals’ “protected characteristics” would make them unsuitable for recruitment, volunteering or participation. 

Any restrictions applied by Directors or staff which affect certain groups more than others may effectively constitute indirect discrimination and should be reviewed and altered to redress any imbalance.

Practice

In order to ensure that Wild Things Performing Arts CIC’s services are accessible to all, the following principles will be followed:

  • Promoting a good and harmonious working and learning environment in which all persons are treated with respect and are able to feel confident of the support of others.
  • Preventing occurrences of unlawful direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
  • Fulfilling all our legal obligations under the equality legislation, including the Equality Act 2010, and all associated codes of practice.
  • Complying with our own Equality and Inclusion policy and associated policies.
  • Wild Things Performing Arts CIC will aim to ensure that its work is known about as widely as possible in the local areas. Free places will be made available, when funding allows, to avoid any young person being economically excluded.
  • Wild Things Performing Arts CIC will make its services available to disabled people, for example by ensuring all our venues are accessible, by using signers and interpreters where appropriate, and by ensuring these facilities are publicised to potential participants.
  • Wild Things Performing Arts CIC celebrates individuals, and recognises that different people learn in different ways, and join our activities for different reasons. Our staff work together to plan and run activities with differing needs in mind, so students and participants are welcome and able to engage however they wish.
  • Wild Things Performing Arts CIC values diversity and recognises the wealth of benefits this can bring to the company. We explore the ideas, feelings, prejudices and ambitions of the young people, as well as encouraging them to empathise with others. We aim to break down stereotypes and prejudice through discussion and role-play.
  • Wild Things Performing Arts CIC recognises that individuals have different needs that may impact on their ability to access our services. Wild Things Performing Arts CIC may sometimes deliver projects aimed expressly at engaging specific groups, with the aim of increasing the diversity and inclusion of people across our activities. We will work hard to ensure that project criteria are appropriate to needs identified in our community, and that all those who fit the criteria for engagement have the opportunity to access our services.
  • Publicity materials, publications, advertisements, events, workshops and performances shall avoid language which presents a stereotyped, offensive or detrimental view of any group or individual’s background on grounds of any “protected characteristics”. However, performances and workshops may present such language and views when the context of use is clear, for example to depict and challenge discrimination.
  • Wild Things Performing Arts CIC shall not allow its publicity, events, premises or facilities to be used for the expressions of views in conflict with this policy.
  • Breaches of the Equality and Inclusion policy shall be regarded as misconduct which could lead to disciplinary proceedings.

Implementation

In order to implement this policy we shall:

  • Ensure the policy is communicated to all Directors, staff, volunteers, job applicants, students/participants and other relevant people.
  • Provide training and guidance as appropriate for all staff.
  • Obtain commitments from other persons or organisations who work with us, that they too will comply with the policy in their dealings with our company
  • Ensure that adequate resources are made available to meet the policy’s objectives.

Implementation with students and participants

Wild Things Performing Arts CIC works predominantly with young people between the ages of 3-18, and our core principle is that our programmes must be inclusive of all young people regardless of background or ability. 

Wild Things Performing Arts is committed to raising awareness of issues related to equality and inclusion in its work, to ensure that all service users act in a way that fosters these principles. We aim to achieve this by striving to provide an environment in which all feel safe, respected and valued. Consideration is given to each person as an individual with particular needs, skills and physical abilities.

Students and participants will be supported in an age-appropriate manner to understand and uphold the principles of the Equality and Inclusion Policy by:

  • Receiving Wild Things Performing Arts CIC’s Terms & Conditions, including an inclusion statement, details of unacceptable behaviour and consequences to such behaviour
  • Signing a registration form to confirm that they have read and agree to the Terms and Conditions

All students receive Wild Things Performing Arts CIC’s Terms & Conditions, which include the following statement:

“Wild Things Performing Arts is, at its core, an inclusive company. This means we bring young people of different ages, backgrounds and abilities together to take part in exciting performance projects. We are committed to providing a space where every participant can feel welcome, valued and respected. By joining Wild Things Performing Arts, you agree to work with and act respectfully towards people who may be different to you.”

Before the start of each project, delivery staff and volunteers will receive the Equality and Inclusion, Anti-Bullying, and Safeguarding Policies in order to help them support students and participants to uphold our principles.

Wild Things Performing Arts CIC recognises that practical application of inclusion includes a firm stance on preventing bullying in all its forms and contexts. Wild Things Performing Arts CIC’s separate Anti-Bullying policy should be read along with this policy as supporting the culture of equality and inclusion in the company.

Recruitment

Applicants for posts and volunteering shall be given as much clear and accurate information about posts through advertisements, job descriptions and interviews in order to enable them to assess their own suitability for a post. Information about posts shall be placed and prominently displayed where it may reach individuals of all groups previously referred to.

All applicants and volunteers shall be informed that Wild Things Performing Arts CIC encourages equality, diversity and inclusion through this policy. Such information should be included in advertisements, job descriptions and/or application forms.

All personnel specifications for posts and voluntary work shall include only requirements that are necessary and justifiable for effective performance. 

All interviews shall be thorough, conducted on an objective basis and shall deal only with the applicant’s suitability for the job or voluntary work and ability to fulfil the job requirements. Where it is necessary to assess whether personal circumstances will affect performance of the job, for example when it involves unsocial hours or extensive travel, this should be discussed objectively without detailed questions based on assumptions about marital status, children and domestic obligations. 

Training

All staff and volunteers will receive and be asked to familiarise themselves with this policy alongside our others, including Terms and Conditions, Anti-Bullying Policy, and Safeguarding Policy. 

Staff may be asked to take additional external training that supports the implementation of equality and inclusion in their roles, including training in working with marginalised groups.

Appropriate training shall be provided to enable staff to perform their jobs effectively, and all staff will be encouraged to take full advantage of training opportunities.

All Directors and staff involved in interviewing shall receive training as needed to ensure that selection is made on an objective basis. 

Grievance

Any party who believes that they have suffered any form of discrimination, harassment or victimisation or has witnessed this kind of behaviour directed at another person is entitled to raise the matter through the Grievance Procedure. All complaints will be dealt with seriously, promptly and confidentially. There will be no victimisation of any person as a result of them making a complaint.