NORTH EAST STRATEGIC HEALTH AUTHORITY
POLICY AND PROCEDURE
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.
1. POLICY STATEMENT
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.
This policy covers all staff and contractors working within the North
East Strategic Health Authority
3. NATIONAL CONTEXT
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.
4 LEGAL CONTEXT
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.
6.1 RESPONSIBILITIES FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF EQUAL
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
• further guidelines for monitoring purposes are attached as
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
Equal Opportunities Policy
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
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.