Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
This policy sets out our approach to equity, diversity, and inclusion and what we will do to create a safe and inclusive organisation that learns and grows to proactively dismantle barriers, eliminate discrimination, and create equity for our people and those we serve.
Distinct is committed to ensuring an inclusive environment, where people can be their genuine selves in accordance with our values. We are dedicated to taking proactive steps to advance a culture of non-discrimination and equity.
We want to live our values in our everyday working relationships, practices and behaviours. These are:
- Do the right thing
- To dare is to do
- No egos
- In it together
- Go home proud
We know that it is only through advancing equity and embracing diversity and inclusion that we can truly embody our organisational values. This policy ensures we benefit from a variety of perspectives and better reflect the communities we serve. It is supported by an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) objectives which sets out how the policy is applied operationally.
People are legally protected from discrimination by the Equality Act 2010. It is against the law to discriminate against someone because of the following protected characteristics: age; disability; gender reassignment; marital or civil partnership status; pregnancy and maternity; race including racial group, ethnic or national origin, or nationality; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation.
This policy applies to:
- all elements and stages of our work and to all stages of the provision of our services and income generation. At each stage, the rights, expectations, and obligations set out in this policy apply equally.
- anyone working for us. This includes all our staff, workers, contractors, volunteers, interns, and apprentices. The policy also relates to job applicants.
- all our work in the UK and internationally, and our relationships with third party providers, partners and stakeholders.
Distinct commits to:
- Treat everyone with dignity, fairness and respect and recognise individual uniqueness and identity regardless of any protected characteristic, combination of protected characteristics, or any other characteristic(s), socio-economic or demographic factors and/or cultural traits that may expose them to unfair disadvantage.
- Challenge all forms of unequal, offensive and unlawful treatment.
- Recognise that certain people are more disadvantaged and address their individual needs to overcome disadvantage and discrimination and ensure equity. This includes acknowledging the additional challenges that may be faced by our people and working to support these individuals and acting equitably to protect their security and safety.
- Have the leadership, effective management practices and resources in place so that everyone understands the barriers to EDI and the consequences of discrimination.
- Develop a culture which attracts and retains people from the widest possible range of backgrounds and experiences into all levels of the organisation and create a positive experience for all.
- Design and provide services that meet the needs of diverse communities, and which are accessible to all.
- Amplify, value and act upon the voice of lived experience.
In upholding these commitments, we will seek to:
Oppose and avoid all forms of unlawful discrimination. This includes in:
- Pay and benefits
- Terms and conditions of employment
- Dealing with grievances and discipline
- Leave for parents
- Requests for flexible working
- Selection for employment, promotion, training or other developmental opportunities
- Promote equity, dignity, fairness, inclusion and respect for all those who work for and have dealings with our organisation.
- Create a working environment free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination. This includes training managers and all other employees about their rights and responsibilities under the equity, diversity and inclusion policy. All staff should understand they, as well as their employer, can be held liable for acts of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, in the course of their employment, against fellow employees, customers, suppliers and the public
- Take seriously complaints of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination by fellow employees, customers, suppliers, visitors, the public and any others in the course of the organisation’s work activities. Such acts will be dealt with as misconduct under the organisation’s grievance and/or disciplinary procedures, and appropriate action will be taken. Particularly serious complaints could amount to gross misconduct and lead to dismissal without notice.
- Consult and engage with our people to enhance our understanding of the needs of, and obstacles faced by, those from marginalised groups including through engagement surveys and diversity networks.
- Ensure that our recruitment, selection, development, and progression processes are transparent, merit based, fair and accessible to all and remove barriers to progression and proactively widen diversity across senior leadership.
- Make jobs at all levels accessible, available on a flexible basis, where possible[SB1] , and proactively make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the needs of our people.
- Ensure transparency in decisions, equality in pay, benefits, and job evaluations, and take steps to ensure any disparity in terms and conditions is eliminated. Review employment practices and procedures when necessary to ensure fairness, and also update them and the policy to take account of changes in the law.
- Make opportunities for training, development and progress available to all staff, who will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential, so their talents and resources can be fully utilised to maximise the efficiency of the organisation.
- Work to raise awareness of, and provide support for, health, safety, and wellbeing issues.
- Ensure any new and reviewed policies, programmes, decisions that will affect our people will undergo an Equality Impact Assessment to ensure that any negative impact is mitigated wherever possible.
- Monitor the make-up of the workforce regarding information such as age, sex, ethnic background, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and disability in encouraging equity, diversity and inclusion, and in meeting the aims and commitments set out in the equity, diversity and inclusion policy. Monitoring will also include assessing how the equity, diversity and inclusion policy, and any supporting action plan, are working in practice, reviewing them annually, and considering and taking action to address any issues.
Responsibilities and Engagement
The equity, diversity and inclusion policy is fully supported by senior management and has been agreed with representatives from our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group[SB2] .
The Board of Directors have ultimate responsibility for the policy and are responsible for championing EDI.
The People Operations Manager is responsible for ensuring that this policy allows achievement of external and internal standards and is responsible for the development, monitoring, and review of this policy, alongside monitoring, reviewing and reporting on progress against the associated EDI action plan.
Our people are all responsible for adhering to this policy.
Laws and regulations
This policy supports our compliance with the requirements of relevant UK legislation including the Equality Act 2010. Where legislation outside of the UK is contrary to the commitments of this policy, we aim to apply the highest standard[SB3] .
Monitoring and compliance
We will collect and monitor diversity-related data to better understand the experiences of our people and identify and remove barriers, ensure our policy and strategies are working effectively and set EDI targets.
Any breach of this policy by our people will be promptly investigated through our Grievance and Disciplinary policy and procedure.
Review and maintenance
The EDI policy was updated in October 2023. It is next due to be reviewed in October 2025.
APPENDIX A: KEY DEFINITIONS
Equality, equity, diversity, and inclusion
Equality: the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities.
Equity: refers to fairness and justice and recognising that we do not all start from the same place and must acknowledge and make adjustments to imbalances.
Diversity: the existence of variations of different characteristics in a group of people. These characteristics could be everything that makes us unique, such as our cognitive skills and personality traits, along with the things that shape our identity (e.g. race, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, cultural background).
Inclusion: actively embracing people with diverse perspectives, backgrounds. and experiences.
When a person or group of people is treated less favourably than another person or group of people would be treated based on their protected characteristic.
Types of discrimination
- Direct discrimination – treating someone unfairly because of their protected characteristic.
- Indirect discrimination – A practice, policy or rule applied to everyone that may at first appear fair or neutral but puts people of a particular protected characteristic at a disadvantage.
- Discrimination by association – a person is treated unfavourably because of another person’s protected characteristic.
- Discrimination by perception – when someone is treated unfairly because others believe they have a protected characteristic.
- Victimisation – a person is treated less favourably because they have or is expected to complain about discrimination.
- Harassment – unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity by creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
- Bullying – persistent, offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting behaviour, abuse of power or unfair sanctions which make the recipient feel upset, threatened, humiliated or vulnerable, which undermines their self confidence, and which may cause them to suffer stress.
Each of the above, are grounds covered by current anti-discrimination legislation in the UK.
Equality Impact Assessment
An evidence-based approach designed to help ensure that policies, practices, events, and decision-making processes are fair and do not present barriers to participation or disadvantage any protected groups from participation.
Our people include employees (whether part time, full time, fixed term or permanent); casual workers, agency workers, contractors, delegates on secondment, volunteers, interns, apprentices, job applicants, third-party providers and partners.
A preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.
Under anti-discrimination legislation (Equality Act 2010) employers are required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled staff. This means making changes to a disabled person’s environment or the way their employment is structured to mitigate any disadvantages and allows them to work safely and productively. This may include, for example, removing physical barriers, providing extra support, and providing flexibility.