Equal Opportunities

(A pdf version of this policy is available for download here)

St. Just Town Council is committed to encouraging diversity and eliminating discrimination in both its role as an employer and as a provider of services. Our aim is that our staff and volunteers are truly representative of all sections of society and work in an environment where everyone is respected and able to perform to the best of their ability. The Council opposes all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination. It is our policy to provide a suitable environment for people with disabilities. All reasonable facilities will be provided for staff, elected members and volunteers with disabilities to perform their roles without difficulty or disadvantage.

The Council will not tolerate direct or indirect discrimination against any person on grounds of age, disability, gender / gender reassignment, marriage / civil partnership, pregnancy / maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation whether in the field of recruitment, terms and conditions of employment, career progression, training, transfer or dismissal.

It is also the responsibility of all staff in their daily actions, decisions and behaviour to endeavour to promote these concepts, to comply with all relevant legislation and to ensure that they do not discriminate against colleagues, customers, suppliers or any other person associated with the Town Council.

In adopting these principles St. Just Town Council :

  • Will not tolerate acts that breach this policy and all such breaches or alleged breaches will be taken seriously, be fully investigated and may be subject to disciplinary action where appropriate;
  • Fully recognises its legal obligations under all relevant legislation and codes of practice;
  • Will allow staff to pursue any matter through the internal procedures, which they believe has exposed them to inequitable treatment within the scope of this policy.( If you need to access these procedures e.g. Grievance Procedure, they form part of the Staff Handbook;
  • Will ensure that all managers understand and maintain their responsibilities and those of their team under this policy;
  • Will offer opportunities for flexible working patterns, wherever operationally feasible, to help employees to combine a career with their domestic responsibilities;
  • Will provide equal opportunity to all who apply for vacancies through open competition;
  • Will select candidates only on the basis of their ability to carry out the job, using a clear and open process;
  • Will provide all employees with the training and development that they need to carry out their job effectively;
  • Will provide all reasonable assistance to employees who are or who become disabled, making reasonable adjustments wherever possible to provide continued employment. We will ensure an appropriate risk assessment is carried out and that appropriate specialist advice is obtained when necessary; and
  • Will distribute and publicise this policy statement throughout the Council.

THE POLICY

St. Just Town Council is committed to being an effective Equal Opportunities organisation. This means that the Council will do everything in its power to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and with respect at all times.

This applies to all areas of the Council’s activities; including recruitment, employment, and provision of Council services.

2.1    As an Employer

We will provide equality and fairness for all in our employment and will not discriminate on grounds of:

  • Age;
  • Disability;
  • Sex or gender;
  • Gender reassignment;
  • Marriage and civil partnership;
  • Pregnancy and maternity;
  • Race (including ethnic origin, skin colour, nationality, and national origin);
  • Religion or belief; or
  • Sexual orientation

All employees will be treated fairly and with respect regardless of position, part-time/full-time working, or length of contract. Selection for employment, promotion, training, or any other benefit will be on the basis of aptitude and ability.

All employees are required to treat one another with mutual respect.  Actions, behaviour, and attitudes should consistently demonstrate respect for the dignity and worth of an individual.

Harassment and discrimination in any form is unacceptable behaviour and offenders will be subject to disciplinary action.

2.2    As a Service Provider

The Council will strive to ensure that all services provided by, or on behalf of, the Council are made accessible to all individuals and groups equally and without discrimination.

All service users will be treated with respect.  Actions, behaviour, and attitudes will consistently demonstrate respect for the dignity and worth of an individual.

The Council will, wherever appropriate, work in partnership with other agencies in the area; including the relevant unitary council, voluntary groups, and community organisations to promote equal opportunities.

The Council will ensure that all contractors directly supplying goods and services or executing works for, or on behalf of, the Council comply with this Council’s stated policy on equal opportunities.

THE POLICY IN ACTION

3.1    As an Employer

The Council aims to achieve the policy by:

  • Ensuring that its employees are made aware of their rights and responsibilities to each other, the customer, and the organisation regarding equal opportunities issues;
  • Providing a way in which individuals can communicate any concerns via competent named personnel;
  • Treating any unacceptable behaviour seriously; and
  • Ensuring that all Managers realise they have a key role in implementing this policy and are expected to take personal responsibility for ensuring its success.

3.2    As a Service Provider

The Council aims to achieve its policy by:

  • Ensuring that employees are made aware of the Council’s standards of service and customer care, including equal treatment in service delivery;
  • Ensuring that no member of the public is disadvantaged or treated less favourably than others in terms of access to Council services.  Where the Council’s practices, policies, or procedures are found to make access impossible or unreasonably difficult, we will take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances to change these practices, policies or procedures;
  • Ensuring that, wherever practical, all public buildings and premises owned or managed by the Council are accessible to all.  Where this is impractical in the short-term, we will provide reasonable alternative methods of access so that no member of the public is disadvantaged by physical barriers;
  • Recognising the importance of communication in attaining equality and providing quality services, which are responsive to the needs of all local people, for example through the provision of information in large print and on audio tape on request; and
  • Complying with all relevant legislation relating to discrimination and equality.

ROLE OF COUNCILLORS AND EMPLOYEES

All Councillors and employees are responsible for implementing the Council’s Equal Opportunities Policy. It is important that all individuals who are employed by the Council appreciate that they have a responsibility and a role to play in the provision of equal opportunities.

COMPLAINTS

5.1      Complaints from staff about discrimination or unfair treatment will be dealt with as laid down in the Council’s Grievance Procedure.

5.2      Any prospective employee wishing to raise a complaint should do so, in writing, to the Town Clerk within 15 days, at the latest, of the alleged incident.  An investigation will then be conducted by a representative of the Town Council who has not been previously involved with the selection procedure.  The individual will receive written notification of the outcome.

5.3      Complaints from members of the public about discrimination or unfair treatment will be dealt with through the Council’s Complaints Procedure.

MONITORING AND REVIEW

The Council’s Staffing Committee will have responsibility for the implementation and monitoring of the policy as it applies to the Council as an employer.

Vs1 Approved & adopted by Council: 17 April 2023