Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and Procedure
The purpose of this document is to describe:
· the principles that underpin our approach to equal opportunities and anti-discriminatory practice
· the procedures we will follow to ensure a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion of opportunity and fair access in governance, employment and service delivery
The implementation of this policy and practice is the responsibility of Committee Members and Staff of the Orchard Housing Society Ltd (the Society)
This policy and practice applies to Committee Members, Staff, Tenants, visitors, Consultants, Contractors, applicants for employment and prospective tenants.
This policy covers discrimination on the grounds of age, gender reassignment, being married or in a civil partnership, being pregnant or on maternity leave disability, race, including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.
This policy applies to governance, employment practices and service delivery.
This policy should be read in conjunction with the Application Procedure, Recruitment & Selection Policy & Procedures, and Harassment Policy & Procedures.
The Society recognises that discrimination and prejudice exist, and that discrimination can be direct or indirect, individual or organisational.
The Society is committed to eliminating discrimination and recognises its responsibilities to promote equality of opportunity under the following legislation:
See Appendix 1 for more detail on the relevant legislation.
The Society further recognises its responsibilities to ensure equality of opportunity and fair access according to the following regulatory and good practice requirements:
· Regulator of Social Housing
· Statutory Code of Practice on Racial Equality in Rented Housing
· Statutory Code of Practice on Racial Equality in Employment
The Management Committee is responsible for setting specific targets and monitoring the effectiveness of our policies and procedures against these requirements.
The Management Committee is responsible for ensuring that Staff all know their responsibilities under equal opportunities legislation and good practice guidance.
The Tenant Support Manager is responsible for ensuring that Tenants and prospective Tenants are made aware of their rights and responsibilities around equal opportunities under the tenancy agreement.
Individual Tenants are responsible for their own behaviour under the terms of their tenancy agreement.
All Management Committee members and Staff will receive induction and training on the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy & Procedures, Applications Procedure, Harassment Policy & Procedure and Complaints Policy & Procedure.
All Tenants will be informed of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy & Procedures and theSafeguarding and Harassment Policy & Procedures in their Tenant Handbook and through Tenant Induction, and their rights and responsibilities under their tenancy agreement.
Applicants for employment, committee membership or housing and support services will be informed of their rights under the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy & Procedures.
The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy & Procedure will also be made available on the Society’s website.
Any Committee Member in breach of this policy may be expelled from the Management Committee.
Any employee in breach of this policy may be subject to disciplinary procedures.
Any tenant in breach of their tenancy agreement in terms of harassment may be subject to eviction procedures.
All Staff, Tenants, applicants for employment or committee membership and prospective tenants will be informed of their right to complain of unfair treatment under the Complaints Policy and Procedure.
The Management Committee will ensure that documents for tenants and prospective tenants can be made available in large text or languages other than English wherever possible, if the cost is proportionate and if requested.
The Management Committee will ensure that interviews for applicants for employment or committee membership will include questions on their understanding of equal opportunities and harassment.
The Management Committee and Staff will ensure that sub-contractors are aware of their obligations under this policy.
The Management Committee will monitor equality of opportunity and fair access in the following areas:
· applications to the service
· successful applications to the service
· applications for employment and committee membership
· successful applications for employment and committee membership
The Management Committee will look to this policy in relation to:
· recruiting to management committee membership
· recruiting staff
The Management Committee will review performance under this policy at least annually and produce a report identifying examples of good practice and highlighting areas for improvement.
The Committee Members and Staff responsible for conducting Needs and Risk Assessments will endeavour to access translation services when this need is identified from the Application Form.
The Committee Members and Staff responsible for conducting Needs and Risk Assessments will ensure that applicants understand what their responsibilities will be as tenants by using the Tenant Induction Sheet.
The Needs and Risk Assessment and subsequent Support Plan will address needs relating to the tenant’s age, gender, disability, including cultural and faith needs.
The Tenant Support Manager will hold information on community resources, including disability, gender specific, cultural and faith organisations.
Appendix 1 – Legislation
There is legal protection in the UK from discrimination on grounds of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious belief, age and disability.
The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination on grounds of colour, nationality, race and ethnic and national origins. Two of the main purposes of the Act are to promote equality of opportunity and eliminate racial discrimination. It is unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of:
There are four different forms of discrimination:
· direct discrimination
· indirect discrimination
The Human Rights Act 1998 became law in the UK in October 2000. The Act requires public bodies to comply with the rights in the European Convention on Human Rights, and allows UK citizens to use a court of law in the UK if they believe their human rights have been breached by a public body.
The Convention guarantees the following rights and freedoms:
· Right to life (Article 2)
· Freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Article 3)
· Freedom from slavery and forced or compulsory labour (Article 4)
· Right to liberty and security of person (Article 5)
· Right to a fair and public trial within a reasonable time (Article 6)
· Freedom from retrospective criminal law and no punishment without law (Article 7)
· Right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence (Article 8)
· Freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 9)
· Freedom of expression (Article 10)
· Freedom of assembly and association (Article 11)
· Right to marry and found a family (Article 12)
· Prohibition of discrimination in the enjoyment of the Convention rights (Article 14)
· Right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions and protection of property (Article 1 of Protocol 1)
· Right to education (subject to a UK reservation) (Article 2 of Protocol 1)
· Right to free elections (Article 3 of Protocol 1)
· Right not to be subjected to the death penalty (Articles1 and 2 of Protocol 6)
The purpose of this document is to comply with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, by describing:
· the principles that underpin our approach to whistleblowing
· the procedure we will follow when raising concerns about poor practice, maladministration or serious wrongdoing within the organisation.
This policy and procedure applies to Staff and Committee Members of the Orchard Housing Society Limited (the Society)
This policy should be read in conjunction with the Code of Conduct, the Confidentiality and Data Protection Policy and Procedures and Safeguarding Policy and Procedures.
The Society expects Staff and Committee Members to comply with the Code of Conduct, which includes not disclosing confidential information about the Society, or publishing material that might bring the Society into disrepute.
The Society nevertheless acknowledges that Staff and Committee Members have a greater responsibility to comply with the law and good practice in the housing with support sector.
The Society therefore recognises the need for clear procedures for Staff and Committee Members wishing to raise concerns about poor practice, maladministration or serious wrongdoing at the Society.
The Society further recognises that such “whistleblowing” takes courage and may be in the best interests of the Society in the longer term.
Failure of Staff and Committee Members to comply with this policy may result in disciplinary action.
Staff and Committee members who knowingly make false or malicious disclosures will be subject to disciplinary action.
Staff should report any concerns they have to their line Manager unless their concerns involve the line manager or Committee Chair, in which case, they should speak to another member of the Management Committee.
Committee members should report any concerns they have to another Member of the Management Committee, unless it involves a Member of the Management Committee, in which case they should speak to the Chair of the Management Committee.
Staff feeling unable to report concerns to the Management Committee, because of:
· fear of reprisal (including disciplinary action or bullying)
· fear that they will be subject to detriment (including denial of promotion or training opportunities)
· fear that information may be destroyed or concealed
· lack of response to previous disclosures
may report their concerns to the relevant body listed in appendix 1.
In addition, Staff or Management Committee members reporting to external bodies must:
· make the disclosure in good faith
· reasonably believe that the information, and any allegation it contains, are substantially true
· not act for personal gain
· reasonably believe that the matter falls within the area of responsibility of that person or body see Appendix 1 – List of Prescribed Regulators
Regulator of Social Housing
The regulator is a ‘Prescribed Person’ able to provide workers with a mechanism to make their public interest disclosure to an independent body where the worker does not feel able to disclose the matter directly to their employer, or where they have made a disclosure, but their employer has failed to act.
Referrals and Regulatory Enquiries Team
Regulator of Social Housing
1st Floor - Lateral
8 City Walk
Leeds LS11 9AT
By email: email@example.com
By telephone: 0300 124 5225. Choose option 3
Health and Safety Executive
Matters in respect of which the person is prescribed:
· Matters which may affect the health or safety of any individual at work
· Matters which may affect the health and safety of any member of the public arising out of, or in connection with, the activities of persons at work
HSE Head Office
Health and Safety Executive
HSE does not operate a telephone helpline for general health and safety information. There is comprehensive Website: www.hse.gov.uk
If you need to engage the services of a health and safety consultant, you may wish to visit Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR) Part of HSE website.
Information Commissioner’s Office
Will investigate and take regulatory action, if required, in line with their statutory duties.
The lawful basis they rely on to process personal data is article 6(1)(e) of the GDPR, which allows the processing of personal data when this is necessary to perform public tasks as a regulator.
Helpline 0303 123 1113
Live chat via the website; ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/
Appendix 2 – Advice and Information
Public Concern at Work
7-14 Great Dover St,
ve chat via the website te dy.manufacturer for repair as this part is obselete.ing on FA activation
020 3117 2520
Public Concern at Work is an independent organization that can provide guidance and training to employers on whistleblowing and can also offer free advice to employees unsure whether or how to raise a concern about workplace wrongdoing.
Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service
Acas operates a nationwide network of helplines that deal with queries about employment matters, including the rights and obligations arising out of employment law. The service is available to any individual or organisation free of charge. Any worker who contacts Acas will wish to bear in mind the distinction between seeking information about the provisions of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, and the requirements attached to making a protected disclosure.
Tel. 0300 123 1100
Appendix 3 - Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
The Act protects workers from detrimental treatment or victimisation from their employer if, in the public interest, they blow the whistle on wrongdoing.
The Act protects most workers in the public, private and voluntary sectors. The Act does not apply to genuinely self-employed professionals (other than in the NHS), voluntary workers (including charity trustees and charity volunteers) or the intelligence services.
The Act protects workers in a number of ways, for example:
· if a worker is dismissed because he has made a protected disclosure,
that will be treated as unfair dismissal
· workers are given a new right not to be subjected to any ‘detriment’ by their employers on the grounds that they have made a protected disclosure, and to present a complaint to an employment tribunal if they suffer detriment as a result of making a protected disclosure
Through the introduction of protection for workers who blow the whistle on wrongdoing within or concerning an organisation, the legislation aims to increase the accountability of organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Charities (as part of the voluntary sector) are within the jurisdiction of the Act.
The Act makes special provision for disclosures to ‘prescribed persons’. The Charity Commission is the regulatory body to whom workers can make appropriate disclosures on matters relating to ‘the proper administration of charities and funds given, or held, for charitable purposes’.
Workers who are aware of wrongdoing within a charity or a non-charitable body (where this involves the administration of charities or charitable funds) can now disclose that wrongdoing with the benefit of the protections the Act affords, if they raise their concerns in accordance with the Act’s provisions. For a disclosure to be protected by the Act’s provisions it must relate to matters that ‘qualify’ for protection under the Act. Qualifying disclosures are disclosures which the worker reasonably believes tends to show that one or more of the following matters is either happening now, took place in the past, or is likely to happen in the future:
· a criminal offence
· the breach of a legal obligation
· a miscarriage of justice
· a danger to the health and safety of any individual
· damage to the environment
· deliberate concealment of information tending to show any of the above five matters
A qualifying disclosure to the commission will be a ‘protected’ disclosure provided the worker:
· makes the disclosure in good faith
· reasonably believes that the relevant failure relates to ‘the proper administration of charities and funds given, or held, for charitable purposes’
· reasonably believes that the information disclosed and any allegation contained in it are substantially true.
Workers can “whistleblow” directly to the Commission when they have concerns that fall within the above description. It should be noted that where a worker is victimised for making a disclosure to the Commission, any claim they may have under the Act is against his or her employer and not against the Commission.
In the normal course of the Commission’s work supporting and supervising charities, members of the public often contact it with information about the management/activities/trustees of charitable funds. The Commission considers all concerns it is approached with.
The action the Commission will take as a result of the concerns brought to its attention will of course depend on the nature of these concerns. The Commission’s guidance, Complaints about Charities, explains in general terms what happens when a concern is raised with the Commission and gives examples of the powers it has to investigate these concerns and to put matters right.
The Commission will respect confidences so far as it is able, with due regard to the individual’s rights to privacy under data protection and human rights legislation. However, a person who is under inquiry is entitled to know the nature of the allegations being made, and any person criticised by the Commission as a result of an inquiry has a right to be told the nature of the evidence upon which the criticism has been based.
While the Commission will take every step to try to ensure that a complainant’s identity is not revealed without their consent, in some cases the nature of the allegations or evidence may give an indication as to their source. Also, in limited cases there may be an obligation to reveal information under the freedom of information legislation or by order of the court in legal proceedings. Information obtained in the course of an inquiry may, in the public interest be published in an inquiry report.
The charity Public Concern at Work provides free confidential advice to workers who have concerns about wrongdoing in the workplace. See Appendix 2.
Making a qualifying disclosure to the employer or via internal procedures.
A qualifying disclosure will be a protected disclosure where it is made:
(a) to the worker's employer, either directly to the employer or by procedures authorised by the employer for that purpose; or
(b) to another person whom the worker reasonably believes to be solely or mainly responsible for the relevant failure.
The only additional requirement on the worker is that they should act in good faith. No other requirement is necessary to qualify for protection.
Making a qualifying disclosure to a prescribed person
Workers who are concerned about wrongdoing or failures can make disclosures to a person or body that has been prescribed by the Secretary of State for the purpose of receiving disclosures about the matters concerned. If a worker makes a qualifying disclosure to such persons, it will be a protected disclosure provided the worker:-
· makes the disclosure in good faith;
· reasonably believes that the information, and any allegation it contains, are substantially true; and
· reasonably believes that the matter falls within the description of matters for which the person or body has been prescribed. (For example, breaches of health and safety regulations can be brought to the attention of the Health and Safety Executive or appropriate local authority, or environmental dangers can be notified to the Environment Agency.)
A list of prescribed persons, the description of matters for which they are prescribed and contact details, are shown in Appendix 2.
Making a qualifying disclosure more generally
A qualifying disclosure will be a protected disclosure if the following conditions are met:
Firstly, the worker must:-
· make the disclosure in good faith
· reasonably believe that the information, and any allegation contained in it, are substantially true, and
· not act for personal gain.
In addition, one or more of the following conditions must be met:
· the worker reasonably believed that they would be subjected to a detriment by their employer if disclosure were to be made to the employer or to a prescribed person;
· in the absence of an appropriate prescribed person, the worker reasonably believed that disclosure to the employer would result in the destruction or concealment of informationabout the wrongdoing;
· the worker had previously disclosed substantially the same information to their employer or to a prescribed person.
Finally, it must be reasonable for the worker to make the disclosure. The employment tribunal will decide whether the worker acted reasonably, in all the circumstances, but in particular will take into account:
· the identity of the person to whom the disclosure was made(e.g., it may be more likely to be considered reasonable to disclose to a professional body that has responsibility for standards and conduct in a particular field, such as accountancy or medicine, than to the media);
· the seriousness of the relevant failure;
· whether the relevant failure is continuing or is likely to occur again;
· whether the disclosure breaches the employer's duty of confidentiality to others (e.g., information that is made available by the worker may contain confidential details about a client);
· what action has or might reasonably be expected to have been taken if a disclosure was made previously to the employer or a prescribed person; and
· whether the worker complied with any internal procedures approved by the employer if a disclosure was made previously to the employer.
1.1 The Orchard Housing Society is registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. The Society is a not for profit organisation and nothing shall be transferred or paid in the way of profit to members.
1.2 In their shareholding role, members should act as guardians of the Society’s objects for the benefit of the community and in the Society’s best interests at all times.
1.3 The aim of this policy is to explain the criteria and procedure for the admission of new members.
1.4 The Rules of the organisation refer to ‘members’ rather than ‘shareholders’. For the purposes of this policy, the terms are interchangeable.
2.1 A member is a person or body whose name and address are entered in the register of members.
3. Legislation and regulation
3.1 The Society’s Rules are based on the National Housing Federation’s (NHF) Model Rules 2020. All members are bound by the obligations in the Rules.
3.2 The Society is required to admit members in a manner which is open and transparent in line with the NHF’s 2020 Code of Governance.
4. Key points of policy
4.1 The members of the Society shall be the persons whose names are entered in the register of members. The Management Committee may in their discretion admit to membership any individual persons (including the nominees of unincorporated bodies), Societies, Companies and Local Authorities (being bodies corporate).
4.2 Every member shall hold one share only in the Society.
4.3 An applicant for membership shall forward to the registered office together with his application the sum of one pound (which shall be returned to him if the application is not approved) and every application shall be considered by the Committee at its next meeting after it is made, or so soon thereafter as is practicable. If the application is approved the name of the applicant and the other
necessary particulars shall be entered in the register of members and one share in the Society shall be issued to the applicant.
4.4 No person who is a minor shall be admitted to membership.
4.5 A member who is a nominee of an unincorporated body shall have entered against his name in the register of members the name of the unincorporate body by whom he has been nominated.
4.6 A member shall cease to be a member if
(i) he dies; or
(ii) in the case of a body corporate ceases to be a body corporate; or
(iii) is expelled; or
(iv) withdraws from the Society; or
(v) in the case of the nominee of an unincorporated body, transfers his share to another nominee.
4.7 Any member may withdraw from the Society by giving the Secretary one month’s notice in writing of his intention so to do.
4.8 (a) A member may be expelled by a resolution carried by the votes of two-thirds of the members present in person or by proxy and voting on a poll at an annual or special general meeting of the Society of which notice has been duly given, provided that a complaint in writing of conduct detrimental to the interests of the Society has been sent to him by order of the Committee not less than one calendar month before the meeting. Such complaint shall contain particulars of the conduct complained of and shall call upon the member to answer the complaint and to attend the meeting called under this rule. At such meeting the members shall consider evidence in support of the complaint and such evidence as the member may wish to place before them. If on due notice having been served upon him the member fails to attend the meeting without due cause the meeting may proceed in his absence.
(b) A person expelled from membership shall cease to be a member at the expiration of 28 days from the date at which the resolution to expel him was carried under the preceding paragraph of this rule.
(c) Subject to there being sufficient funds for payment of all existing claims against the Society known to the Committee, a member so expelled shall at the date of the resolution for his expulsion be paid the value of any loan stock held by him.
(d) No person who has been expelled from membership shall be readmitted except by resolution carried by the votes of two-thirds of the members present in person or by proxy and voting on a poll at any general meeting of which notice has been duly given.
4.9 A body corporate, being a member, may by resolution of its governing body appoint and revoke the appointment of any person it thinks fit as a deputy who shall during the continuance of his appointment be entitled to exercise at any general meeting of the Society all such rights and powers as the body corporate appointing him could exercise if it were an individual person. A copy of any such resolution signed by two members of the governing body and in the case of a local authority by the clerk of the Council shall be sent to the Secretary of the Society.
4.10 The share capital of the Society shall be raised by the issue of shares of the nominal value of one pound each.
4.11 (a) Except as provided in this rule shares shall be neither withdrawable nor transferable, shall carry no right to interest, dividend or bonus, and shall not be held jointly.
(b) Shares held by nominees of unincorporated bodies shall be transferable in such a manner as the Committee may from time to time determine and may be held jointly by any two persons, being nominees of any one unincorporated body.
4.12 On the death, expulsion or withdrawal from the Society of a member, his share, not being a share held jointly, shall be cancelled and the amount paid up thereon shall become the property of the Society.
5. Monitoring and reporting
5.1 A copy of this policy will be made available at each general meeting, when members will be able to comment on the policy and request information on the admission of shareholding members.
Complaints Policy and Procedures
The Orchard Housing Society aims to provide housing and support services of a high standard, and staff and Management Committee work together to this end. However, if a Tenant has reason to be dissatisfied with the quality of service offered a procedure is in place to enable them to complain. All complaints are taken seriously and dealt with in a timely and transparent way.
The Committee monitors complaints to ensure clients receive a good service and to highlight areas of policy and procedure that may need review or amendment.
Repairs and Maintenance
Minor matters, such as small maintenance items, should be referred to the Finance and Buildings Manager when they arise, and there is a box outside the ground floor office for this purpose. If the repair has not been dealt with in a reasonable time the Tenant should write to the Secretary of the Orchard Management Committee.
If the complaint relates to a more serious matter that the Managers are unable to resolve the Tenant should in the first place write to the Secretary of the Orchard’s Management Committee, who will make enquiries in an effort to settle the matter.
If the Secretary is unable to deal with the complaint satisfactorily the complaint will be forwarded to the Chairman of the Orchard Management Committee, with a formal request for it to be considered by the Committee at their next meeting.
All complaints will be acknowledged within seven days and a full reply within twenty-eight days.
If, after the Committee has considered the complaint, the Tenant is dissatisfied with the decision he/she has the right to take the complaint to:
The Independent Housing Ombudsman, whose address is:
P O Box 152, Liverpool, L33 7WQ.
The Ombudsman will only be able to consider a complaint if he/she is satisfied that the Orchard’s own complaints procedure
s, as detailed above, has been fully exhausted and that it falls within his/her jurisdiction.