Equal Opportunities Policy 2007

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Equal Opportunities Policy 2007 Powered By Docstoc



        1.1      GWK is an equal opportunities organisation. The purpose of our equal opportunities
                 policy is to seek to ensure that we do not discriminate against people either directly or
                 indirectly in the provision of services or the employment of staff to provide these
                 services. Our policy is intended to ensure that nobody applying for a job, employment
                 by or in receipt of our services receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of
                 race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins, gender, religion, marital status,
                 sexuality, disability, health status, age or appearance. Our policy also aims to ensure
                 that nobody is disadvantaged by any conditions or requirements which cannot be
                 shown to be justifiable.

        1.2      GWK equal opportunities policy extends to the following areas of practice:

                 •   service delivery
                 •   communications
                 •   recruitment of staff
                 •   conditions of service
                 •   staff development and training

                 A code of practice has been drawn up in relation to each of the above areas.

        1.3      The equal opportunity implications of all issues that GWK discusses or works on must
                 be made explicit.

        1.4      The Partners have the ultimate responsibility for the implementation of GWK equal
                 opportunities policy. The staff are responsible for the day to day running of the policy.

        1.5      GWK equal opportunities policy is open for amendment or additions where new
                 information or issues come to light and is subject to annual review. Any changes will
                 be notified to all staff.

        1.6      Copies of GWK equal opportunities policy is available upon request.

        1.7      Implementation of all parts of this policy has a high priority with GWK.

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        2.1      GWK aims to ensure that all services provision, which includes training, advice,
                 information, consultancy, co-ordination and support for developing projects is made in
                 accordance with our commitment to equality of opportunity.

        2.2      GWK aims to ensure that its services are accessible and relevant to the needs of all its
                 users and those indirectly affected by its services.

        2.3      GWK will regularly survey the needs of its users and monitor their needs against
                 existing service provision. A range of appropriate methods should be used to assess
                 the needs of GWK users.

        2.4      GWK aims to ensure that its users have full access to its services. GWK aim to
                 promote full disabled access and appropriate facilities for people with hearing or sight
                 difficulties. Our current offices are accessible to people with mobility difficulties.

        2.5      GWK will monitor access to and take-up of its services.

        2.6      GWK reserves the right to refuse services to agencies that do not operate an equal
                 opportunities policy.

        2.7      GWK will when necessary seek advice from consultants from the groups identified in
                 the introduction to this policy as being subject to discrimination.

        2.8      Where appropriate consultants, clients and users will be issued with a copy of this
                 policy and will be asked to co-operate in implementing it.

        2.9      GWK will not knowingly use the services of any organisation not committed to the
                 principle of equality of opportunity.

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        3.1      GWK aims to ensure that any written or visual material produced by or on behalf of
                 GWK uses non-discriminatory language and is in plain English.

        3.2      Consideration will be given to producing information and delivering other services in
                 languages other than English and through other means (eg. audio visual) where

        3.3      All services and communications from GWK will aim to present positive images of
                 people from the groups mentioned in the introduction.

        3.4      GWK equal opportunities policy should be referred to in job advertisements, in material
                 sent to applicants applying for posts, promotional literature and given to all employees.

        3.5      The Annual Report should have a section reviewing the implementation of the equal
                 opportunities policy.

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        4.1      General

                 4.1.1      The following steps and procedures will be followed when there is a vacancy
                            to be filled in the organisation:


                            • Job Analysis
                            • Job Descriptions
                            • Person Specification

                            Recruitment Procedure

                            •    Advertising
                            •    Information for Candidates
                            •    Short-listing
                            •    Informal visits by candidates with disabilities
                            •    Information Session
                            •    Interviews
                            •    References

                 4.1.2      Monitoring Procedure

                            GWK recognises that in order to implement an equal opportunities policy in
                            relation to recruitment and selection, training in equal opportunities methods
                            of recruitment and selection is essential for all members of staff who will be
                            responsible for this process.

        4.2      Preparation

                 4.2.1      While it is so often the case that there is a need to fill a vacancy as soon as
                            possible, GWK recognises that this should not be a reason for cutting
                            corners in the procedures to be followed. In order to be in a position to
                            recruit for any post as quickly as possible, it is therefore essential that the
                            following should be in place and reviewed annually:

                            a)        Up to date descriptions, reflecting the actual job to be done, with
                                      accompanying person specifications.

                            b)        A core of staff trained in equal opportunities recruitment procedures
                                      from which an interview panel can be selected.

                            c)        A job application procedure which allows applicants to be shortlisted
                                      solely on the basis of skills and experience unless an essential
                                      requirement of the post holder is that she/he is a member of a
                                      particular minority group.

                 4.2.2      Job Descriptions

                            a)        Every job must have a job description, written in a clear and concise

                            b)        A job description should be based upon a JOB ANALYSIS which
                                      should include:

                                      i)      the purpose of the post;

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                                     ii)      a list of the tasks to be done, divided into primary and
                                              secondary tasks and listed in order of priority;

                                     iii)     the lines of responsibility, ie. to whom the worker is
                                              accountable and any supervisory responsibilities where

                 4.2.3      Person Specifications

                            a)       Every job must have a person specification based on the job analysis
                                     and job description. Every requirement must match items from the
                                     job description. Requirements will usually include the following

                                     i)       attainments        (eg.       minimum        educational/training

                                     ii)      experience (eg. minimum number of years in particular area
                                              of work. Particular type of experience, eg. secretarial,
                                              computing, technical, etc);

                                     iii)     skills/abilities (eg. good communications skills, ability to write
                                              reports, etc);

                                     iv)      disposition (eg. self reliant, able to work in a team, etc);

                                     v)       circumstances (eg. driver, able to work away from home for
                                              short periods, etc);

                                     vi)      other categories could include physical health, if the job
                                              requires this, eg. good eyesight, good hand/eye co-
                                              ordination, etc;

                                     vii)     knowledge (eg. if job required detailed knowledge of, for
                                              example, regulations, law, etc);

                                     viii)    attitudes (eg. in relation to discriminated groups, style or
                                              work, etc).

                            b)       Items in the person specification must be capable of objective
                                     assessment either on a basis of previous work or other experience,
                                     or from information provided by references, or from a piece of work
                                     done as a part of the recruitment procedure or other similar

                            c)       Items listed as ‘essential requirements’ are those which applicants
                                     must fulfill in order to be shortlisted - they should therefore reflect the
                                     minimum requirement necessary to do the job.

                            d)       Items listed as ‘desirable requirements’ are those which should be
                                     used to select between candidates who fulfill all the essential

                            e)       A clear distinction should be made between ‘potential’ and ‘actual’
                                     attainment - that is, it is important to determine whether particular
                                     skills or experience are essential for the postholder to have acquired
                                     already, or whether the potential to learn, given the appropriate
                                     training, is adequate.

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        4.3      Recruitment Procedures

                 4.3.1      Advertising

                            a)       A post must never be advertised without checking if the job
                                     description and person specification are up to date and relevant.

                            b)       All permanent posts must be advertised.

                            c)       All temporary posts (full time or part time), if more than 6 months
                                     duration, must be advertised in the press. Temporary full time posts
                                     of less than 6 months and part time posts of more than 3 months
                                     must be advertised.

                            d)       Jobs should be advertised in a representative cross section of the
                                     press and local networks in order to reach a wide range of people
                                     including minority groups specified in the equal opportunities policy.

                 4.3.2      Information to Candidates

                            The following must be supplied to all applicants:

                            a)       application guidance notes and procedures;

                            b)       GWK equal opportunities policy statement;

                            c)       job description and background information.

                 4.3.3      Short Listing

                            a)       Application forms will be opened and registered by a person not
                                     involved in the recruitment process.

                            b)       The interview panel should draw up a list of candidates for interview
                                     based on the essential requirements in the person specifications for
                                     the post.

                            c)       Only the applicants which meet all or most of the designated
                                     essential requirements should be selected. Under no circumstances
                                     should new requirements be introduced at this stage.

                            d)       Desirable requirements should only be used at this stage if a large
                                     number of applicants fulfill the essential requirements.

                            e)       Applicants with unspent criminal convictions should not be
                                     discriminated against on the basis of their convictions: if they fulfill all
                                     the essential requirements they must be shortlisted (unless the post
                                     is exempt under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act).

                            f)       Applicants with disabilities who fulfill all the ‘essential requirements’
                                     should be interviewed. Where there is doubt about the candidates’
                                     suitability for employment because of the nature of the disability,
                                     further advice must be sought about the disability and the
                                     adaptations of facilities which would be required for the candidate to
                                     do the job.

                            g)       Reasons for rejection or selection should be recorded and the
                                     records kept indefinitely.

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                            h)       A shortlisting record form must be used.

                 4.3.4      Informal Visit by Candidates with Disabilities

                            a)       Candidates with disabilities can be invited to visit the GWK office
                                     solely for the purpose of allowing the candidates to assess its
                                     suitability as a working environment.

                            b)       Members of the interview panel should not be involved in such a

                 4.3.5      Information Session

                            a)       The sole purpose of the information session is to answer the
                                     candidate’s questions about the job, premises and the organisation.
                                     It should be made clear that this session is separate from the
                                     selection process.

                            b)       The information session must be conducted entirely independently
                                     from the formal selection interview. No member of the interview
                                     panel may participate in the informal visit.

                            c)       If a candidate declines an invitation to the information session, this
                                     should in no way prejudice their application for the post.

                            d)       The information session must be conducted in a relaxed atmosphere
                                     and must not put a candidate under pressure. There must be no
                                     exchange of information about candidates between members of the
                                     interview panel and anyone involved in the information session.

                 4.3.6      Interviews

                            a)       All members of the interview panel must have participated in the
                                     preparatory work involved in selection:

                                     •    agreeing the job description and the person specification
                                     •    agreeing the content and the placing of the advert
                                     •    shortlisting candidates
                                     •    preparation of questions for the interview

                            b)       The aims of the interview are to assess the applicant’s ability for the
                                     job as defined by the job description and person specification using
                                     the information on the application form as a basis, and to provide an
                                     opportunity for the applicant to clarify their understanding of the
                                     nature of the job, the work of the organisation, terms and conditions
                                     of employment, etc.

                            c)       The interview panel must meet in advance in order to draw up a list
                                     of questions to be asked of all candidates. All questions must be
                                     based on the requirements of the person specification. The
                                     substance of the questions must not vary according to any perceived
                                     characteristic of the applicant such as ethnic or national origin,
                                     sexuality, disability or age.

                            d)       The interview panel must have at the interview the following

                                     i)       job description and person specification;

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                                     ii)      the candidate’s application;

                                     iii)     the person specification assessment form on which to
                                              record their assessment of the candidate.

                            e)       If the panel wants the candidates to complete some form of test - for
                                     example of typing or shorthand ability, or problem solving - it is
                                     essential that objective methods of assessment are agreed
                                     beforehand. Candidates should be told beforehand if they are to be
                                     given a test as part of the selection procedure.

                            f)       Each interview panel member must complete a person specification
                                     form for each candidate. The selection decision must be made on
                                     the basis of the extent of which candidates meet the requirements of
                                     the person specification. If the candidate is unsuccessful, the reason
                                     must be recorded on the person specification assessment form.

                            g)       Assumptions must not be made about what a candidate with
                                     disabilities can or cannot do. The interview must concentrate on the
                                     person’s abilities. At the end of the interview, questions may be
                                     asked about the nature of the disability and further advice may be
                                     sought, including that of the applicant’s doctor if she/he agrees to
                                     this, for which GWK will pay if a fee is involved.

                            h)       Selection decisions must not be influenced by any felt need for
                                     candidates to ‘fit in’ with existing racial, gender or class profile of the

                            i)       All applications and interview notes must be kept for 6 weeks after
                                     the end of the recruitment process.

                            j)       Letters of rejection must be sent as soon as possible. The letters
                                     must include a name and telephone number of the person to contact
                                     if further information is required.

                 4.3.7      References

                            a)       References will not be taken up until the job is offered to an applicant
                                     subject to satisfactory references.

                            b)       Persons given as referees must be sent copies of the job description
                                     and person specification and asked to comment upon the
                                     candidate’s ability on the basis of these.

                            c)       No appointment will be confirmed without satisfactory references. If
                                     an unsatisfactory reference is received, this must be discussed by
                                     the interview panel so that their decision can be reviewed in the light
                                     of the new information.

        4.4      Monitoring

                 4.4.1      It is GWK policy to monitor the equal opportunities aspects of the recruitment
                            process. The information recorded is for three main reasons:

                            a)       to provide statistics;

                            b)       to be used in the case of grievance;

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                            c)       to provide a basis upon which GWK can review and improve the
                                     recruitment and selection process.

                 4.4.2      The documents needed for the monitoring process are:

                            a)       the job description and the person specification;

                            b)       the successful application;

                            c)       the shortlisting record form;

                            d)       the person specification assessment form.

                 4.4.3      A statistical analysis of the recruitment and selection process must be done
                            after the process is completed. A review of the process should take place on
                            an annual basis or after completion of two recruitment procedures, whichever
                            is the longest period of time.

                 4.4.4      All relevant documents should be kept indefinitely.

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        5.1      All staff should familiarise themselves with GWK equal opportunities policy and are
                 required to sign, via a clause in their contract of employment, that they will work in line
                 with it.

        5.2      Contracts of employment will make specific allowances for:

                 •   compassionate leave
                 •   maternity leave
                 •   parental/adoption leave
                 •   careers leave
                 •   annual leave for recognised religious holidays

        5.3      Public transport will normally be used for journeys outside the North-East region. Use
                 of public transport for journeys within the North-East region may not be a practical or
                 safe option for :

                 • people with disabilities
                 • people who feel vulnerable travelling at night or very early in the morning (eg.

        5.4      Harassment on any of the grounds listed in the introduction is viewed as gross
                 misconduct and will be dealt with under the disciplinary procedure. Anyone subject to
                 harassment will be given all necessary support.

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        6.1      GWK acknowledges the crucial role of training and development for staff to enhance
                 personal growth, development and performance and to enable the achievement of
                 GWK aims, objectives and work programme.

        6.2      In line with GWK staff supervision, support and appraisal policy, each member of staff
                 will have an appraisal undertaken by the Practice Manager on a regular basis following
                 completion of their probationary period. During the probationary period, a review will
                 be held. Staff appraisals and reviews will be used to identify staff training and
                 development needs.

        6.3      The Office Manager will monitor training uptake by staff on an annual basis.

        6.4      In line with GWK Staff Supervision, Support and Appraisal Policy, staff will be
                 supervised through regular progress and review meetings with senior staff.

        6.5      The Practice Manager will assess the practice’s needs and the needs of the staff in
                 relation to equal opportunities training and, if necessary, such training will be arranged
                 and relevant staff asked to attend.

        6.6      Staff will be able to participate in discussion of GWK equal opportunities policy at
                 review meetings.

        6.7      Management training will be made available to any senior staff in a supervisory role.

        6.8      A budget will be allocated for staff training and development and will, as far as
                 possible, be set in relation to training needs identified.

        6.9      Consideration will be given to staff requiring child care costs/provision to enable them
                 to attend courses away from the North-East and outside normal working hours.

        6.10     Staff are encouraged to share their knowledge, skills and experiences with each other,
                 and where possible, training will be available to enhance their ability to do so.

        6.11     GWK will consider giving, with or without pay, time off for staff to attend adult
                 education day release courses. Staff should make applications to the Practice

        6.12     All new staff will undergo a formal introduction process.

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