·       The Board of Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource works to promote equal opportunities in the recruitment and employment of Board members, volunteers and staff.  This equality of opportunity also applies to the provision and access of service.

·       The Board of Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource considers it essential to produce a statement of policy on equal opportunities in employment and operation.  It is also important to provide guidelines to all those involved in the recruitment and employment of staff (paid and unpaid).

·       Equal opportunities also applies to the provision of services and affiliation criteria.  The policy set out in this document should be strictly adhered to by all members of the Board, employees and others involved in the organisation’s operations.

·       Disciplinary action may be taken in the case of breaches of this policy.

Aims and Objectives

The Board of Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource aims to:

·       Ensure that both the letter and the spirit of the law i.e.

Disabled Persons (Employment) Acts 1944 & 1958

Sex Discrimination Act 1975

Race Relations Act 1965, 1968 & 1976

Disability Discrimination Act 1995

Human Rights Acts 1998

Data Protection Act

Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000

Protection against discrimination at work on grounds of sexual orientation (2003)

Protection against discrimination at work on grounds of religion or belief (2003)

Are upheld within the organisation.

·       Create a working atmosphere where there is freedom from harassment.

·       Ensure that equal opportunity is given to all applicants for employment (paid or unpaid).  Each individual will be assessed purely on his or her ability to fulfil the requirements of the job.

·       Provide equal access to the services of the organisation.

·       Promote the principle of equality of opportunity.

·       All staff, volunteers and Board members shall be made aware of the provisions of this policy and expected to express a willingness both to accept and implement it as required.

·       Both employment and advancement within the organisation shall be, and be seen to be, determined solely by application of objective criteria and personal merit.

Statement Policy

·       The Board of Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource acknowledges that the United Kingdom is socially diverse in race, culture, beliefs and religions.

·       The organisation is committed to developing equal opportunities in all areas of its work and structure.

·       The Board of Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource is actively committed to opposing discrimination against people on the grounds of:

§       Race

§       Colour

§       Ethnic origins

§       Class

§       Age

§       Disability (sensory, physical and / or learning)

§       Mental Health problems

§       Gender

§       Marital Status

§       Sexual orientation

§       Political beliefs

§       Religious beliefs

·       The Board of Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource accepts that certain groups and individuals in society have been, and are denied equal opportunities in employment and other areas.  These groups and individuals may also be the target of abuse and victimisation.  The Board of Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource is committed to taking positive steps to prevent such inequalities and harassment within the organisation and during any event hosted by the organisation.

In pursuit of its aims The Board of Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource will:

·       Raise awareness both in our own organisation and others into the cause and effect of oppression and inequality.  The effect it has on the individual and in the workplace.

·       Work with other organisations to promote equal opportunities and raise awareness of discriminatory practises.

·       Challenge practices, legislation and institutions which seek to discriminate against or deny rights.

·       Seek and take account of, advice from minority and / or disadvantaged community groups about equal opportunities issues in relation to service provision and employment.

Accessibility of Service and Employment

·       The Board of Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource will work to ensure that all its services are provided in a way which promotes awareness of the rights and needs of people from minority groups and enables all people to have access to them.

The Board of Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource will endeavour to make services, events and employment (paid or unpaid) accessible by:

·       The provision of suitable venues and equipment.

·       Taking account of access, cultural, ethnic, religious, dietary or other special requirements.

·       Where it is not appropriate or possible to provide a service which can be used by all, the Board of Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource will consider offering services specifically for particular groups.

Recruitment and Promotion Guidelines

·       Applicants for posts should be given clear and accurate information about posts through advertisements, job descriptions and supporting literature in order to enable them to assess their own suitability for the post.

·       Any genuine occupational requirements such as specific skills or educational requirements, irregular or unsociable hours, travel or the holding of a valid driving licence should be stated in the advertisement.

·       Advertisements and recruitment drives should be aimed at as wide a group of suitably qualified and / or experienced people as possible.

·       All advertisements and recruitment forms should state that the organisation operates an equal opportunities policy.

·       The job description should include any requirements necessary to the post and specify a commitment to the equal opportunities policy.

·       A person profile reflecting the essential skills, knowledge and experience for the post holder to carry out the job should be built into the job description.

·       The Board should familiarise themselves with the extracts from the Race Relations and Sex Discrimination Acts.

·       A personnel specification should be drawn up and used as a basis for short listing and performance evaluation at interview.  This should provide objective criteria for selection based on the current analysis of tasks and subsequent job description and not on a previous post-holder’s qualities or qualifications.

·       No criteria should be used for short-listing or selection which is not stated in the job specification.  The personnel specification is not to be seen by any of the candidates.

·       In view of the size of the organisation it is not considered appropriate to require the use of a recruitment monitoring form or a standard job application form.  However these may be used if the Board so decide.

·       Short-listed candidates should be notified within three weeks of the closing date and informed of the name and job title of each member of the interview panel.

·       At least one member of the interviewing panel should have received appropriate training in interview techniques and, if necessary, should brief the other members on the most pertinent points.

·       References will be taken up for each short-listed candidate.  These will be given to the selection panel after the interview when a decision has been made to appoint.

Violation of this Policy

Any action which fails to protect the rights of minorities with respect to the equality of opportunity may be deemed in breach of this policy.

Such actions would include:

·       Failure to observe the guidelines regarding recruitment.

·       Failure to take reasonable steps to ensure that services are made accessible.

·       Misrepresentation of the stated views of minority groups.

·       Failure to take appropriate steps to challenge behaviour in breach of this Equal Opportunities Policy.

Behaviour which would constitute a violation of the Equal Opportunities Policy including:

·       Verbal or physical attacks on individuals or groups on any of grounds mentioned in Section 3.

·       Discriminatory name-calling, insulting remarks, jokes or threats.

·       Written discriminatory remarks or abuse through the various forms of communication, i.e.  verbal, written or electronic.

·       Encouraging other people to harass or discriminate against another individual or group.

·       Provocative behaviour, such as wearing racist badges.

·       Bringing into the premises and openly displaying material such as leaflets and magazines which in any way support discrimination.

In the case of a breach of this policy the Chairman, Executive Officer or member of the Board or staff will take the following action:

·       Discuss the incident with the alleged perpetrator, restating our policy.  A retraction of the offending remark or apology may be requested where appropriate.

·       Aid and support the injured party / parties.

·       In the case of physical attack the alleged perpetrator, whatever their status, shall be immediately suspended from the organisation pending an investigation.  There shall be no delay in such an investigation.

·       In the case of a member being the alleged perpetrator, where the incident cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties, it will be passed to the Board who have the right to withdraw membership.

·       The person concerned has the right to appeal against such a decision.  Such appeal should be directed to the Board through the Chairperson or through another member of the Board if the Chairperson is involved.

·       In the case of a member of staff being the alleged perpetrator, disciplinary action may be taken via the appropriate channels.

·       A written report of the incident and the action taken will be made, and the Board informed.

Monitoring the Policy

·       The Board will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of this policy.

·       The Board will make recommendations on working practice and revision of this policy.

·       Any complaints dealt with under the policy will be directed to the Board.

·       Complains relating to unfair treatment at interview should be directed to the Chair and received within seven days of notification of the result of the interview.  The Board shall be notified of all complaints.

·       This policy will be reviewed annually from the date of adoption.