Diversity and Values
Values all young people and aims to be non-judgmental. Recognises the potential of all young people and supports them to achieve their full potential. Recognises that all young people should have equality and seeks to create equal opportunities for young people of all backgrounds and abilities. Reviews and develops services in order to respond to changing needs amongst young people and involves young people in determining services and opportunities most appropriate to their needs.
Why equality matters and summary of our approach
This outlines why equality and human rights are integral to the work of Nightsafe, and the challenge that we face to make services genuinely responsive to needs of individuals. It outlines recent progress in integrating equality and human rights into the wider policy context and future opportunities to expand on this progress. It explains the requirements that equality legislation puts on organisations. Finally, it outlines how this Single Equality Scheme has been developed and how progress will be monitored.
Why equality matters:
Our service is personal. From the simplest advice to long term support our service is always the product of a relationship between young people and those supporting them. To deliver truly high quality service, that relationship must be based on an accurate and sensitive understanding of the context in which young people live.
Across our sector, there is now recognition that equality of outcomes and personalised services will only be delivered by working with young people, recognising difference and tailoring provision rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Furthermore, when people find themselves in need of support they can be at their most vulnerable. It is therefore vital that those who provide services proactively ensure that people’s individual needs, their dignity and their human rights are respected at every stage of the support journey. This is what it means to take equality, diversity and human rights seriously.
All support organisations, including Nightsafe, have a duty to promote equality. The fulfilment of these duties is a necessary part of Nightsafe’s mission to offer services that deliver high quality support to young homeless people.
In striving to excel at meeting our equality duties as an organisation, Nightsafe works to enable staff to deliver high quality service to all. There are two distinct routes to achieving this. Firstly, we provide targeted support and training on meeting the equality requirements. Secondly, and perhaps more critically, we are responsible for ensuring that the strategic framework set by the organisation mainstreams equality and human rights as day-to-day concern, so that by implementing initiatives, Nightsafe also make progress on equality goals.
Since the duties to promote equality were introduced into law, Nightsafe has made good progress in engaging with the equalities agenda and taking proactive steps to address unequal access and outcomes experienced by some sections of the community. We can point to many examples of good practice, however there is more to do as the commitment in principle to fairness and equality is not always matched by the reality of the services received. We know that there is more to be done to make services genuinely inclusive of some of the most vulnerable groups in society, such as people who are homeless and living chaotic lifestyles. We also know that there are groups whose outcomes do not compare well with those of the majority of young people. We must strive well beyond the legal minimums required of us if we are to achieve our goals of personalised services and of a system organised around the principle of quality.
Examples of recent progress
Implementation of equality impact assessments for all policies, procedures and projects to ensure equality issues are addressed and embedded in to everything we do. Young people we work with often hold extreme views, this was highlighted by staff as a particular issue, from this links were made with the police prevent agenda team and young people participated in extreme views training and residential. This work is being continued and expanded to take in further groups of young people. Nightsafe’s team of staff and volunteers have also taken part in training on this issue.
Looking forward we are able to see a long held ambition of providing emergency accommodation accessible to all come to fruition. Our move from the existing night shelter to the new building on the Boulevard will provide fully accessible accommodation and will also make access to our Day-centre and office easier.
We also plan to hold a diversity week early in 2012 to celebrate our diverse community and experience different cultures and backgrounds.
Legal context – Equalities Act 2010
The act replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single act to make the law simpler and to remove inconsistencies. This makes the law easier for people to understand and comply with. The act also strengthened protection in some situations. The act covers nine protected characteristics, which cannot be used as a reason to treat people unfairly. Every person has one or more of the protected characteristics, so the act protects everyone against unfair treatment. These protected characteristics are:
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
The Equality Act sets out the different ways in which it is unlawful to treat someone, such as direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, victimisation and failing to make a reasonable adjustment for a disabled person. The act prohibits unfair treatment in the workplace, when providing goods, facilities and services, when exercising public functions, in the disposal and management of premises, in education and by associations (such as private clubs).
Leadership and accountability
Clear accountability and strong, visible leadership are essential for delivering equality.
Why is this important?
It gives the direction for Nightsafe.
Ensures quality standards.
Sets the strategic framework for staff and volunteers to work within.
Management committee responsibilities
To have direct responsibility for ensuring that our policies, processes and procedures meet and exceed our legal obligations, including the role in setting the overall direction and strategic priorities for the Nightsafe.
Strong senior leadership and coherent, focussed accountability structures are critical to advancing equality within Nightsafe. Managers are responsible for ensuring all our policies, processes, and procedures are understood, implemented and adhered to within the organisation at all times, and that equality and diversity issues are seen as integral to everything we do.
Staff & volunteers responsibilities
All members of staff and volunteers are expected to comply with this Scheme, our Equality & Diversity Policy and with the Single Equality Action Plan and with any of the Nightsafe’s equality and diversity initiatives.
Key organisational objectives 2011-2012
To ensure smooth transition of relocation.
Maintain and develop current service levels ensuring consistent quality and standards across all projects – The Day centre, Night shelter, Witton Project and Darwen project.
Ensure that Nightsafe remains a main focus for homeless young people and is included in all new national and local strategies and policy decisions.
Ensure staff and volunteers have the relevant training and development to meet demands of changes in service provision, and are kept informed of local and national changes.
Maintain and develop active partnerships within the Borough.
These ambitions can only be achieved through people, that is the staff and young people who make up our community. These are the people who will reflect the culture, values and ambitions that will aim to achieve our objectives. This Scheme will show how equality and diversity will be promoted in every area of the Nightsafe’s life, such that all staff and young people are fully able to realise their potential and contribute to the achievement of our ambitions.
Blackburn with Darwen has a population of 144,400 with the highest proportion of young people in the country, just under a third being under 19. 77.9% of the population are white British 10.7%, Indian, 8.7% Pakistani. The area has a higher than average population with disabilities, long term illness, long term unemployment and no qualifications. Nightsafe’s vision for equality & diversity.
Nightsafe is proud of its diverse community. The Nightsafe written Commitment to Equality and Diversity, distributed to all staff and young people, states:
‘Nightsafe wholeheartedly supports the principles of equal opportunities and diversity in employment and service delivery and opposes all forms of unlawful or unfair discrimination on the grounds of sexuality, age, gender, housing status, gender identity, race, religion and disability. The project accepts that certain groups of people in society are denied equal opportunity and suffer discrimination. Nightsafe is committed to developing an effective Equality & Diversity policy and strives for good practice in all its areas of work including services to young people; in its practice as an employer and in the way it works with other organisations, statutory and voluntary.’
This Scheme is designed to further articulate the Nightsafe’s commitment to equality and diversity in a coherent and structured manner, accompanied as it is by a set of objectives and priorities detailed in the Equalities Action Plan. The scheme also stands alongside our Equality & Diversity policy and Recruitment and Selection procedures.
Community cohesion is about working towards a society in which:
- There is a common vision and sense of belonging by all communities.
- The diversity of people’s backgrounds is appreciated and valued.
- Similar life opportunities are available to all.
- Strong and positive relationships exist and are developed in the workplace, all Nightsafe projects and wider community.
Nightsafe, through its management committee, staff and volunteers, is responsible for equipping the young people to live and thrive alongside people from many different backgrounds. We need to ensure that we:
- Provide opportunities for interaction between young people from different backgrounds.
- Consider how aspects of our work already supports integration and community harmony.
- Take stock of what has worked so far, for us and others and consider the scope for more focus on the impact of our activities on community cohesion.
- Consider how the duty to promote community cohesion can also contribute to our duty to promote young’s people’s well-being through our delivery of the 5 outcomes.
Single equality scheme
In identifying how best to progress, this Scheme has been developed to give further momentum to the equality and diversity agenda by reporting on actions to date, and identifying an overarching action plan which will address all equality strands and take us forward for the next year. As noted above, the ambition is to promote equality and diversity in every area of Nightsafe. The Single Equality Action Plan has taken into account progress on earlier action plans, and Nightsafe’s strategy and vision. The plan has been drawn up in order to try and achieve a holistic approach to equality and diversity at Nightsafe. Consultation, involvement & training. Nightsafe is committed to involving staff, volunteers and young people on this scheme and the equalities action plan. Nightsafe uses a variety of methods to consult and involve staff in all we do these include: – residents meeting and forums, questionnaires, focus groups etc.
All staff receives training in Equality & Diversity, Values and attitudes, Challenging prejudice. Equality & diversity is one of the units in Nightsafe’s induction standard which are completed within the first 6 months of employment.
EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESSMENTS
All policies and procedures are being systematically assessed for equality impact as they are being reviewed; all new policies are to have an equality impact assessment prior to sign off. Managers are also doing equality impact assessments on all new projects to ensure all young people’s needs are catered for.
Nightsafe will continue to monitor the following areas of its work with staff and young people.
Monitoring (staff) – applications for vacancies, the staff profile, promotions, training and development activities, grievances and disciplinary procedures, resignations, dismissals and redundancies, incidents of harassment, and participation in training and development
Monitoring (Young people) – Fair access, Fair exit, the young people’s profile , complaints, appeals
Consultation will take place regularly with staff and young people through the variety of methods outlined above. As and when required, consultations on specific topics will be undertaken
Equality Impact Assessments – as above
Reporting on progress
Each year the Management committee will receive reports on the following :
- A review of this Scheme, including any feedback and proposed revisions.
- A review of progress on the Action Plan.
- A report on the equality activities involving young people.
- A review of any relevant equality and diversity policies, and proposals for any new policies.
- Staff & Volunteer profile.
- Young people’s profile.
- A report of learning and development activities.
- Any other relevant activities which have taken place during the year.
The Management Committee will review this scheme on an annual basis.