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Equal Opportunities


  • pg 1


                Equal Opportunities

Version control reference    version 1.0
Approved by                  Management Team
Date approved                Monday 6th August 2007
Date to be reviewed          August 2010
Author/owner                 Chief Executive
Link/s with the NHS North    This policy and procedure applies to all
East vision, if applicable   aspects of the vision.
Communication plan           Chief executives briefing, intranet and email
Accessibility checklist       Yes

 The content of this policy and procedure document may be
  disclosed in response to a request for access under the
                 Freedom of Information Act.
                          EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES


     All employees have a right to equal opportunity. This policy has been
     developed to ensure that all employees of the North East Strategic
     Health Authority (SHA) are treated equally and not discriminated against
     because of their race, colour, gender, marital status, disability, age,
     sexual orientation, social status, responsibility for dependents, political or
     trade union affiliations, religion or nationality. This policy also includes
     discrimination against employees on the basis of their HIV status and
     those who may be diagnosed with cancer or multiple sclerosis as
     described in the amended Disability Discrimination Act 2004.

     It is essential that all managers, staff and trade unions/staff
     associations are fully committed to the principles and accept personal
     responsibility for practical application of the policy. This policy contains
     positive measures to prevent, as far as possible, not only overt acts of
     discrimination but also conditions and requirements which might have a
     discriminatory effect. It will enable the authority to ensure, as far as
     possible, that there is now unlawful direct or indirect discrimination. It
     will also aid the development of good employment practices in respect
     of all employees.

2.   SCOPE

     This policy covers all staff and contractors working within the North
     East Strategic Health Authority


     The Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions handbook provides
     detailed information on Equality and Diversity for all staff.

     All job descriptions should include compliance with Equality and

     Everyone who works in the NHS, or applies to work in the NHS, should
     be treated fairly and valued equally.


     The North East Strategic Health Authority will regularly review its
     policies, procedures and practices to ensure that they accord with the
     principles of equal opportunity for all, and are consistently applied.
     The policy is informed by the:

     •   The Sex Discrimination Act 1975
      •   The Race Relations Act 1976
      •   The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 in particular the duty to
          promote race equality
      •   The Disability Discrimination Act 1995
      •   The Disability Discrimination Act 2005
      •   The Equal Pay Act 1970
      •   The Human Rights Act 1998
      •   The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006
      •   Other Acts of Parliament, Circulars, Codes of Practice or case law
          concerning equality that apply to the service or policy under review


5.1   In this policy ‘discrimination’ means where a person is treated less
      favourably on grounds of gender, martial status, disability, race, colour,
      age, ethnic or national origins or religion.

5.2   Indirect discrimination occurs when a requirement or condition is
      applied to people equally but has the effect, in practice, of
      disadvantaging a considerably higher proportion of one group than the

5.3   Victimisation occurs if someone is given less favourable treatment
      than others because he/she has exercised his/her right under the
      policy or the relevant legislation, for example, by making a complaint or
      providing information on discrimination.

5.4   Harassment is any behaviour directed at an individual that is found to
      be offensive to the recipient and might threaten the employee's job
      security or create an intimidating environment. Sexual harassment is
      any uninvited, unreciprocated and unwelcome behaviour of a sexual
      nature which is offensive to the person involved and causes that
      person to feel threatened, humiliated or embarrassed.



6.2   Directors of the SHA (Lead Director responsible for Equality and

      The Directors have overall responsibility for the introduction, operation
      and monitoring of the policy on behalf of the Strategic Health Authority.
      It is their responsibility to ensure:-
          •   the policy is properly implemented
          •   staff receive proper guidance and training
          •   adequate records are established
         •   monitoring and evaluation information is made available as
         •   follow-up action is taken as necessary
         •   ensure a zero tolerance approach to harassment is adopted in
             the workplace
         •   further guidelines for monitoring purposes are attached as
             Appendix 1

6.2   Line Managers

      Line managers are responsible for ensuring:-
         •   all employees are aware of their responsibilities, the law and
             authority’s policy on equal opportunities
         •   staff receive appropriate guidance and training
         •   staff members concerns are dealt with in a fair and consistent
         •   proper records of employment decisions are maintained and
             regular reviews carried out of employment practices
         •   responsible for promoting equality in relation to the Race,
             Disability and Gender Equality Schemes

6.3   All Staff

      All staff are responsible for their personal involvement in the practical
      application of this policy. In particular staff will:-
         •   participate and co-operate in the implementation, operation and
             monitoring of the policy,
         •   not discriminate in their day-to-day activities nor induce or
             attempt to induce others to do so,
         •   not victimise, harass or intimidate other staff or groups of staff,
         •   inform line managers if they suspect discrimination is taking
         •   staff are responsible for attending appropriate training
         •   utilise other relevant policies such as “grievance” policy where
                                                                  APPENDIX I

               Equal Opportunities Policy
                 Monitoring Guidelines
1   Have a policy statement, communicated to all employees and new
    entrants setting out top level commitment to equal opportunity in
    recruitment and promotion, training and development, and all aspects
    of employment practice. Emphasise benefits of policy to organisation
    and all employees, and identify member of top management
    accountable for its implementation.

2    Develop an action plan, setting measurable goals, including numerical
    targets, and timetables, and accountability for achieving them. Monitor
    progress on a regular basis; review and update action plan in the light
    of findings.

3   Monitor ethnic composition of workforce by grade, department,
    specialism, location; as appropriate; identify areas of under-
    representation and possible barriers to equal opportunity and take
    action to address these.

4   Monitor effect of employment policies and procedures, such as
    advertising, recruitment, promotion, take up of training and
    development opportunities, performance and promotability
    assessments, performance pay, disciplinary action, redundancy and
    redeployment, resignations and the reasons for them, grievances
    relating to discrimination and/or harassment. Analyse information and
    take action to identify and address possible barriers to equal

5   Train all staff and key decision makers, such as managers and those
    involved in selection, in their equal opportunity responsibilities under
    the organisation’s policy and the legislation.

6   Ensure fair selection by advertising jobs to all sections of the
    community, drawing up job related, non discriminatory selection
    criteria, against which selectors are trained to assess candidates in a
    fair and consistent manner. Use only tests which are valid for different
    racial groups and the work in question.

7   Consider positive action encouragement and training, as permitted
    under Sections 37 and 38 of the Race Relations Act 1976, to help
    encourage and or prepare people from particular racial groups take up
    work in which they are under represented. Consider, too, training to
    cover the identified special needs of particular racial groups in relation
    to their education, training or welfare.
8    Consider the organisation’s equal opportunity image as reflected in the
     workforce, recruitment literature, choice of media for recruitment
     advertising, links with colleges, schools and local community groups.

9    Ensure there are fair and effective policies and procedures for handling
     complaints of discrimination and harassment, which are known to all

10   Make discrimination and harassment a disciplinary offence leading, in
     serious cases, to dismissal.

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