Equality & Diversity Policy

This policy outlines Furness College’s :

  • Commitment to equality and diversity
  • Legal duties under the 2010 Equality Act in employment, facilities, goods and services, admission and treatment of students
  • General equality duty to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; to advance equality of opportunity between people from different groups; and to foster good relations between people from different groups

The commitments within this policy apply to all learners, staff, governors, volunteers and users of the College. The policy also forms the standards the College sets for work with other organisations and visitors with regards achieving equality, for example work placements & employers, collaborative partners and not least contractors. 

This policy has direct implications for all other College policies. We believe that delivering Equality and Diversity is one crucial strand of our College approach to overall quality improvement and we place it at the very heart of everything we do.

Furness College’s vision statement is:

inspiring people and changing lives through education and training”

This is supported by five core values:

Excellence, Respect, Innovation, Celebration and Excellence

and,

Four strategic aims:

  1. To inspire individuals through a rewarding, safe and inclusive environment
  2. To raise individual aspirations, create opportunities and promote personal development and progression by delivering high-quality inclusive education and training
  3. To contribute to the economic development and success of Furness through close working partnerships with employers and other key stakeholders
  4. To be financially successful through efficiency, cost-effectiveness and the delivery of sustained income

the achievement of these are informed by principles of equality. 

The college aims to go beyond compliance with equality legislation.  It aspires to be a champion of best practice in all aspects of equality and diversity and seeks to create an inclusive environment where all can learn, work and reach their full potential.

This Equality Policy reflects the harmonised and strengthened content and requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and the college’s further statutory responsibilities under the new Public Sector Equality Duty. 

The Act identifies nine Protected Characteristics. These are:

Age (older people, younger people, people of any age group)

Disability (physical or sensory impairments, mental health disability, some long term medical conditions, aspects of learning difficulties, neuro-diverse conditions such as dyslexia, autism, Touretteā€Ÿs or ADHD)

Gender reassignment (transsexual people, transgender people)

Marriage and civil partnerships (a person who is married, a person who is a civil partner)

Pregnancy and maternity (pregnant women, women on maternity leave, women who have recently given birth)

Race (colour, nationality, ethnic or national backgrounds, heritage)

Religion or belief (any religion or lack of religion, any religious or philosophical belief or lack of belief)

Sex (women and men - gender)

Sexual orientation (gay and lesbian people, bisexual people, heterosexual people)

All nine protected characteristics are covered with regards employment. The protected characteristic of marriage and civil partnership is explicitly excluded in the further education chapter of the Act (Ss.90-94).

The Act defines the following types of illegality and our policy recognises these:

Direct discrimination, including by association (e.g. carer) and perception

Indirect discrimination

Harassment

Victimisation

Discrimination arising from a disability

Failure to make reasonable adjustments.

This policy outlines how the college intends to fulfil its General Public Sector Duty to give due regard to:

eliminating discrimination, harassment and victimisation

advancing equality of opportunity between those who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who don't

fostering good relations between those who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who don't;

and its Specific Public Sector Duty that allows the public to judge our progress. The college will publish and go on to achieve key Equality Objectives from 6th April 2012 and will review these objectives at least on a four yearly cycle. 

In addition, the college considers it best practice to maintain a Single Equality Scheme which will outline in more detail the strategies, responsibilities, accountabilities and actions that the college will adopt in order to promote equality and diversity and meet our legal duties.  The SES and its associated action plan, together with an annual Equality Report, will be key in outlining our priorities, actions and progress in realising our ambition for inclusion.  A summary of progress will be published on the Furness College website.

Equality Objectives

Equality objectives will be set at least every four years defining long term goals which are essential to delivering our business fairly. Action plans will support the achievement of these objectives. Progress will be reviewed at least annually and existing objectives will be modified as appropriate or new ones set.

Involving stakeholders

Equality of opportunity and inclusion is at the heart of the college ethos and we will seek to make consultation accessible as far as is practicable.

Consultation on the development and implementation of the Equality Policy and more so the development of our Equality Objectives will involve individuals and groups as well as the formal groups and committees of the College such as the Corporation, Senior and Middle Management teams, Equalities Group, Student Council and the analysis of surveys.

Publication

This policy, the Single Equlaity Scheme will be published on the college’s website. A summary of the policy will be published in the student and for students on the college's VLE.  This policy will be made available in alternative formats on request.

Date: February 2016

Date of next review: February 2018

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