Waterloo Community Counselling Equality and Diversity Policy

WCC is committed to the following principles:

• WCC will foster an environment in which individual differences and staff contributions are recognised and valued.
• Every employee is entitled to a working environment which promotes dignity and respect to all. No form of intimidation, bullying or harassment will be tolerated.
• Training, development and progression opportunities are available to all staff.
• WCC will promote equality in the workplace, which we believe is good management practice and makes sound business sense.
• WCC will regularly review all employment practices and procedures to ensure fairness.
• Breaches of this Equality and Diversity Policy will be regarded as misconduct and could lead to disciplinary proceedings.
• This policy is fully supported by Trustees and senior management.
• This policy will be monitored and reviewed regularly

1. Policy Statement

a. WCC recognises that discrimination and victimisation are unacceptable and that it is in the interests of WCC and its employees to utilise the skills of the total workforce. To that end, the purpose of this policy is to provide equality and fairness for all in our employment.

b. It is the aim of WCC to ensure that no employee or job applicant receives less favourable facilities or treatment (either directly or indirectly) in recruitment or employment on grounds of age, disability, gender / gender reassignment, marriage / civil partnership, pregnancy / maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.

c. Our aim is to have a workforce which is truly representative of all sections of society and to ensure that each employee feels respected and able to do their best.

d. All employees, whether part-time, full-time or temporary, will be treated fairly and with respect. Selection for employment, promotion, training or any other benefit will be on the basis of aptitude and ability. All employees will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential and the talents and resources of the workforce will be fully utilised to maximise the efficiency of the organisation.

e. Our staff will not discriminate directly or indirectly, or harass clients because of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation in the provision of our services.

f. This policy and the associated arrangements shall operate in accordance with statutory requirements. In addition, full account will be taken of any guidance or Codes of Practice issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, any Government Departments, and any other statutory bodies.

2. Responsibilities of Management

a. Responsibility for ensuring the effective implementation and operation of these arrangements will rest with the Director. Managers will ensure that they and their staff operate within this policy and its arrangements, and that all reasonable and practical steps are taken to avoid discrimination. Each manager will ensure that:
i. All their staff are aware of the policy and the reasons for the policy
ii. Grievances concerning discrimination are dealt with properly, fairly and as quickly as possible
iii. Proper records are maintained.

b. The Director will be responsible for monitoring the operation of the policy in respect of employees and job applicants.

3. Responsibilities of Staff

a. Responsibility for ensuring that there is no unlawful discrimination rests with all staff; the attitudes of staff are crucial to the successful operation of fair employment practices. In particular, all members of staff should:
i. comply with this policy and other relevant arrangements
ii. not discriminate in their day to day activities or induce others to do so
iii. not victimise, harass or intimidate other staff or groups who have, or are perceived to have, one of the protected characteristics
iv. ensure that no individual is discriminated against or harassed because of their association with another individual who has a protected characteristic.
v. inform their line manager if they become aware of any discriminatory practice.

4. Third Parties

a. Third-party harassment occurs where an employee is harassed, and the harassment is related to a protected characteristic, by third parties such as clients. WCC will not tolerate such actions against its staff. The employee concerned should inform their line manager or supervisor at once. WCC will investigate fully and take all reasonable steps to ensure such harassment does not happen again.

5. Rights of Disabled People and people who identify as having mental / physical impairments

5.1 WCC attaches particular importance to the needs of disabled people or people who identify as having mental / physical impairments.
5.2 Under the terms of this policy, managers are required to:
5.2.1 Make reasonable adjustments to maintain the services of disabled / impaired employees or employees who become disabled / impaired, by, for example: providing training, special equipment, and reduced working hours. Managers are expected to seek advice on the availability of assistance from external agencies
5.2.2 Include disabled / impaired employees in training/development programmes
5.2.3 Give full and proper consideration to disabled / impaired people who apply for jobs.
5.2.4 Reasonable adjustments should be made in order to accommodate particular aptitudes and abilities, to allow making the job easier to complete.

6 Equality Training

This policy will be highlighted to new staff during induction. Training will be provided for managers on this policy and the associated arrangements, where appropriate.

7 Monitoring

7.1 WCC will ensure that this Equality and Diversity Policy is translated into practice consistently across the organisation as a whole. Accordingly, a monitoring system must be put in place to measure the effectiveness of the policy and its arrangements.
7.2 The monitoring system will involve, as part of the Annual Review (at the September trustees meeting), the routine collection and analysis of information on employees by gender, marital status, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religion / beliefs, job title. Information regarding the number of staff who declare themselves as disabled or having an impairment will also be maintained.
7.3 There will also be assessments during the Annual Review to measure the extent to which recruitment and access to training/development opportunities reflect equal opportunities for all groups.
7.4 We will maintain information on staff who have been involved in certain ke policies (in line with our GDPR statement) including those who have been subject to the Disciplinary Procedure as set out in the WCC Discipline and Conduct Policy.
7.5 Where appropriate, equality impact assessments will be carried out on the results of monitoring to ascertain the effect of the relevant WCC policies. This will give WCC an idea of how our services affect those who experience them.
7.6 The information collected for monitoring purposes will be treated as confidential and it will not be used for any other purpose, in accordance with the WCC Data Protection Policy.
7.7 If monitoring shows that WCC, or areas within it, are not representative, or that sections of our workforce are not progressing properly within WCC, then an action plan will be developed to address these issues. This will include a review of recruitment and selection procedures, WCC policies and practices, as well as consideration of taking positive legal action.

8 Grievances/Discipline

8.1 Employees have a right to pursue a complaint concerning discrimination or victimisation according to the procedure set out in the WCC Complaints Policy and Procedures.
8.2 Discrimination and victimisation will be treated as disciplinary offences and they will be dealt with under the Disciplinary Procedure as set out in the WCC Discipline and Conduct Policy.

9 Our Counsellors
9.1 WCC relies on the support of a range of counsellors who are described in a variety of ways, these are:
Paid sessional counsellors who are qualified postgraduates with BACP accreditation.
Volunteer counsellors who are usually qualified postgraduates and trainee counsellors, these are people who are enrolled in counselling and psychotherapy training programmes who come to WCC on placement in order to develop their clinical practice towards qualification.
9.2 We apply our equality and diversity principles, practices and relevant policies also to our relationships with them. This means that we aim to recruit a diverse range of counsellors, and to apply equality principles consistently in the way we organise their time and activity and listen to and respond to their needs and preferences.

10 Our Clients

10.1 WCC applies these same principles to our relationship with clients. Our charitable mission is to provide affordable therapy to adults who seek our help and are able to benefit from WCC’s range of psychological therapies. One of our strategic objectives is to improve access to services for those most in need by tackling barriers such as cost, inequality and stigma and by targeting vulnerable groups.
10.2 To this end we monitor the diversity of our clients and will take action where we can, to ensure that our services are accessible to all adults in our local area. It is our intention to provide equally good client experience and outcome for all clients of WCC Therapy and to respond to inquiries from the public professionally and fairly so that all those who can benefit from our help are able to make positive choices.

Agreed by chair of Trustees on: 1.3.20
Annual Reviews every September at Trustees’ meeting