Equality, Diversity, and Human Rights Policy (Version 1)

  1. Purpose: To provide information to employees on Swift Care Services Ltd.’s expectations and support in relation to equality, diversity, and human rights.

    Policy Statement: Swift Care is committed to equality, diversity, and human rights in areas such as recruitment, training, working practices and pay, and to tackling bullying, harassment, and discriminatory practices. This means that Swift Care will not tolerate any form of unlawful and unfair discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.  

    Swift Care Services Ltd will:

    • Expect all staff to treat each other, the people we support, their family, friends and carers, and visitors to the company with dignity and respect at all times.
    • Expect equality and fairness from all staff in our employment
    • Not to discriminate against anyone because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.
    • Not tolerate any form of bullying, harassment, or discriminatory practices.
    • Provide an environment that treats all staff equally and fairly on issues such as recruitment, training, working practices, environment, and pay.
    • Oppose any forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination
    • Promote diversity amongst the workforce.

    Breaches of this policy will be regarded as misconduct.

    Introduction

    1.1 As an equal opportunity employer, Swift Care Services Ltd (Swift Care) will promote equality with due regard to the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

    1.2 Everybody has a right to be treated with dignity and respect and in doing so; Swift Care recognises its legal duties under the Equality Act 2010 and Human Rights Act 1998.

    1.3 Swift Care is committed to creating a culture in which equality, diversity and human rights (EDHR) are promoted actively and unlawful discrimination is not tolerated. Swift Care recognises that the experiences and needs of every individual are unique and strives to respect and value the diversity of its service users, carers, public and staff.

    1.4 The management of Equality, Diversity and Human Rights (EDHR) is important to Swift Care as it will help to:

    • ensure that the services we provide are accessible to all people;
    • actively promote equality; and are free from unlawful discrimination; develop services which best meets the needs of our diverse communities;
    • eliminate from our services, policies and decision making, any adverse impact on the promotion of equality and inclusion for our service users and staff; and
    • promote the corporate reputation of the organisation.
    1. Scope

    2.1 Promoting EDHR is one of the cornerstones of all Swift Care’s functions and activities. This policy and its associated guidance will apply to:

    • service users and all areas of service provision; and
    • all staff directly employed by Swift Care. This also includes trainees, secondments and staff on honorary contracts or on joint contracts with Swift Care and another employer, visitors, patients, contractors and staff from other organisations working on Swift Care’s premises.

    2.2 The policy applies to all staff at all times, both during and outside of working hours when attending formal workplace functions when Swift Care retains an employer’s liability for the actions of its staff.

    1. Definitions

    3.1 Equality is not about treating everyone the same.

    3.1.1 Equality recognises that:

    • everyone has individual needs and the right to have those needs respected;
    • inequality exists and that unlawful discrimination needs to be tackled;
    • employment and Swift Care services should be accessible to all; and
    • it is about treating people fairly where everyone can participate and have the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

    3.2 Diversity is about respecting and valuing individual difference.

    3.2.1 Diversity recognises that:

    3.2.2 A diversity approach aims to recognise, value and manage differences to enable all Patients, service users and staff to contribute and realise their full potential. Diversity challenges us to recognise and value all sorts of differences in order to make Swift Care a better working environment and to ensure that we provide an excellent service for all people.

    3.3 Prohibited Conduct – Behaviour banned by the Equality Act 2012

    3.3.1 Swift Care will actively eliminate and avoid unlawful discrimination including: direct discrimination; indirect discrimination; associative discrimination; perceptive discrimination; harassment; victimisation; disability-related less favourable treatment; failure to comply with a duty to make reasonable adjustments and social exclusion.

    3.4 Direct discrimination means treating someone less favourably compared to others because they have certain protected characteristics or;

    • because they are thought to have a protected characteristics (Perception); and
    • are associated with someone who has a protected characteristic (Association).
    • This is new in the protected characteristics of Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment and Sex

    3.5 Indirect Discrimination can occur when you have a rule or policy that applies to everyone but disadvantages a person with a particular protected characteristic.

    3.6 Harassment, in general terms, is unwanted conduct affecting the dignity of men and women in the workplace. It may be related to any personal characteristic of the individual, and may be persistent or an isolated incident. The key is that the actions or comments are viewed as unwanted conduct that violates people’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. It is difficult to categorise all forms of harassment, but examples of some more easily recognisable forms of harassment are covered in more detail in the Dignity at Work Policy.

    3.7 Victimisation is prohibited conduct. It happens when a person is treated less favourably because they complain about discrimination or they witness it and give evidence about it.

    3.8 Due Regard

    3.8.1 The Equality Act 2010 requires us to pay ‘Due Regard’, when considering the effects on different groups protected from discrimination (protected characteristics). Swift Care will demonstrate Due Regard by completing equality impact analysis (EqIA).

    1. Legislation

    4.1 The Equality Act 2010 provides protection against discrimination at work and in the provision of services. The Act simplifies, strengthens and harmonises previous equality legislation.

    4.2 The protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act are:

    • Age: This refers to a person having a particular age (for example, 32 years old) or being within an age band (for example, 18-25, 40-50 years old);
    • Disability: A person has a disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. A progressive condition is a condition that gets worse over time. People with progressive conditions can be classed as disabled. However, you automatically meet the disability definition under the Equality Act 2010 from the day you’re diagnosed with HIV infection, cancer or multiple sclerosis;
    • Gender reassignment: This is the process of transitioning from one sex to another;
    • Marriage and civil partnership: A union between a man and a woman or the legal recognition of a same-sex couple’s relationship;
    • Pregnancy and maternity: The condition of being pregnant or the period after giving birth. It is linked to maternity leave in the employment context;
    • Race: It refers to a group of people defined by their nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origins
    • Religion or belief: The religion a person belongs to. A belief, including lack of
    • belief, should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included;
    • Sex: Someone being a man or a woman; and ·Sexual orientation: This is whether a person’s sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes

    4.3 Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) 

    4.3.1 The general equality duty is set out in section 149 of the Equality Act http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/equalities/equality-act/equality-duty/. In summary, those subject to the general equality duty must demonstrate due regard in the exercise of their services and functions to:

    • eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited under the Act;
    • advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it; and
    • foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

    4.3.2 There is a statutory requirement for NHS organisations to publish information to demonstrate compliance with the PSED. This requirement arises from the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011:

    • Publishing information to demonstrate compliance with the general duty including information relating to employees and other persons affected by Swift Care policies and practices who share a relevant protected characteristic; and
    • Prepare and publish equality objectives that are specific and measurable. Swift Care equality objectives can be found within the equality and diversity pages of the Swift Care website.

    4.4 Human Rights Framework 

    4.4.1 The Human Rights Act 1998 sets universal standards to ensure that a person’s basic needs as a human being are recognised and met. Public authorities should have arrangements in place to ensure that they comply with the Human Rights Act 1998, and it is unlawful for a healthcare organisation to act in a way that is incompatible with the Act. The Act urges public authorities to apply a human rights framework to decision making across public services in order to achieve better service provision.

    4.4.2 In practice this means treating individuals with fairness, respect, equality, dignity and autonomy whilst also safeguarding the rights of the wider community when developing policies and procedures and carrying out our functions. Swift Care will consider these human rights principles in relation to our staff and service users at all times, aiming to demonstrate our commitment to quality outcomes which will improve the patient experience and provide satisfaction to staff that they are undertaking a job that is valued.

    4.4.3 The Care Quality Commission (CQC) standard stipulate requirements related to human rights. The organisations core purpose of putting service users first embodies the principles of respecting human rights.

    4.4.4 The Human Rights Act 1998 brought the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law. There are articles that are particularly relevant to the commissioning, employment and provision of healthcare services.

    4.5 The equality benefits of a human rights based approach include: 

    • An improved quality of health services – patients treated with fairness, respect, equality and dignity.
    • More person-centred care.
    • A reduced risk of complaints and litigation.
    • Improved decision making overall.
    • A broader range of marginalised groups being involved and considered.
    • More meaningful engagement of patients, carers and families.

    4.6 Raising Concerns About Human Rights 

    4.6.1 Although the rights embodied in the Human Rights Act may seem simple and straightforward, in practice the position may be more complex. As far as UK Law is concerned it is only as particular issues come to court that there is any clarity about the interpretation of the law and therefore of whether something is or is not to be regarded as a ‘right’. It is accepted that rights can be conflicting e.g. the right to liberty may conflict with someone else’s right to safety. These cases often need to be interpreted and decided upon.

    4.6.2 For these reasons the organisation is committed to fostering a culture where service users or their advocates can approach any member of staff and raise a concern. Whatever their concern is, they have a right for it to be considered and discussed with them and resolved where possible. This may be done at the time of raising the issue with a member of staff or by contacting the organisation’s Complaints Manager. Staff with concerns should raise these with their line manager, Human Resources or staff side representative and be met with the same consideration.

    4.6.3 Any employee who suspects another employee to have contravened the document has the right to inform the organisation without fear of discrimination. The organisation will investigate any allegations using the Disciplinary Policy and serious breaches by employees may be considered to be gross misconduct, and may lead to dismissal. Where the issue remains complex and difficult to decide on, staff should seek further guidance from their senior managers.

    4.6.4 The aim is, where appropriate, for staff concerns about human rights issues to be resolved informally between the individual and his or her line manager. If this is not possible or the concern has not been resolved, the individuals can raise this formally with the Human Resource (HR) team. Alternatively, where a member of staff feels unable to raise their concern through their line management chain, concerns can be raised to the complaints team.

    4.6.5 The organisation has developed a number of options for raising concerns, contained within the various policies such as Complaints and Whistle Blowing policy.

    1. Roles and Responsibilities

    5.1 Swift Care Services Ltd

    5.1.1 Swift Care has a statutory responsibility to have due regard to the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998. It is therefore essential a culture is established where unlawful discrimination is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. 5.1.2 In addition, Swift Care:

    • ensure that the organisation has equality objectives that meet the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty as set out under the provisions of the Equality Act 2010;
    • receive and consider regular reports in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the policy; and review and approve the Annual Equality Report.

    5.2 Chief Executive and the Management Team

    5.2.1 The Chief Executive and Management Team are accountable and responsible for ensuring that all policies and procedures consider Human Rights and that it is integral to the way the organisation manages existing employment and services. The organisation will, wherever possible, ensure the development of new opportunities for promoting continuous improvement in their performance. Furthermore, they will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Human Rights Act.

    5.2.2 The primary vehicle used to integrate and embed Human Rights into the organisation is the public sector equality duty, the equality strategy and Equality Analysis as part of developing policies and procedures.

    5.3 Equality and Diversity Lead 

    5.3.1 Swift Care will have an Equality and Diversity Lead, and it is the responsibility of the Equality and Diversity Lead to:

    • ensure that this policy is followed fairly and consistently;
    • advise management on requirements and performance against equality and human rights legislation;
    • support the organisation with setting and achieving equality objectives;
    • build and maintain relationships with key stakeholders who have a role to play in ensuring Swift Care meets equality objectives;
    • manage and report on the Equality Standard;
    • support the Learning and Development team (L&D) to ensure that staff are able to access high quality and appropriate equality training and ensure that the principles of promoting equality are embedded into all training materials as appropriate;
    • work with Directors and Managers to ensure that they are achieving their equality objectives and that Due Regard (equality analysis) is proportionate and meaningful; and
    • obtain feedback from service users, staff and key stakeholders on how the organisation is performing with respect to promoting equality and eliminating discrimination

    5.4 Managers 

    5.4.1 All managers have a responsibility to adhere to this policy and to bring it to the attention of staff in their work area in order to establish and maintain an inclusive environment free of unlawful discrimination. Managers have a responsibility to: Equality, Diversity and Human Rights:

    • set a positive example by treating others with respect and setting standards of acceptable behaviour;
    • promote an inclusive working environment where unlawful discrimination is unacceptable and not tolerated;
    • ensuring any allegations of discriminatory behaviour or practices are correctly investigated and appropriate action taken in accordance with Swift Care policies
    • ensure that their teams work effectively together;
    • ensure staff are given equal opportunity to access learning and development opportunities;
    • consult with the Human Resources Team and Equality and Diversity Lead for advice and support regarding EDHR issues; and
    • implement Swift Care Equality Standard.

    5.4.2 They will take positive steps to provide clear and visible leadership that promotes human rights as integral to the way the organisation delivers care and manages its staff. They will to the best of their ability take a lead role in establishing, promoting and maintaining a culture of respect and dignity.

    5.5 Staff

    5.5.1 All staff have a personal responsibility for their own behaviour and for ensuring that they comply with the Equality Act 2010. Swift Care expects all staff to:

    • understand Swift Care’s Values and how this impacts on everything we do;
    • have a personal responsibility to adhere to this Policy. This means staff should not undertake any acts of discriminatory practice in the course of their employment for which they will be personally liable;
    • help promote an inclusive environment by treating everyone with dignity and respect;
    • respecting and responding to the diverse needs of staff, service users and others;
    • appropriately challenge and/or report behaviour that may be considered to be offensive when directed against themselves or others in accordance to Swift Care policies and procedures;
    • have a responsibility to bring any potentially discriminatory actions or practice to the attention of their Line Manager or the Human Resources Department; and
    • implement Swift Care Equality Standard.

    5.5.2 Staff will ensure that they operate at the highest standard of professional and personal integrity and for ensuring day to day actions and behaviours respect and protect the human rights of service users, their carers and families and of those with whom they work. They are accountable for ensuring that the services provided by the organisation are compliant with the legislation.

    5.5.3 All employees have a personal responsibility to respect their colleagues and to treat everyone they meet fairly, equally and with dignity and respect. Training in equality and diversity is mandatory for all staff.

    5.6 Service Users/Carers/Visitors 

    5.6.1 Service Users Carers and Visitors will be expected to recognise and comply with the principles set out in this Policy whilst on Swift Care’s premises or whilst in our services.

    Every effort will be made by Swift Care to ensure all relevant information is available in a suitable format to achieve this aim.

    • service users, carers and visitors are expected to be respectful to all staff and other service users;
    • service users, carers and visitors who are verbally or physically abusive or who make derogatory statements that are of a discriminatory nature to any staff or other service users should be aware that they will be challenged about their behaviour;
    • where appropriate, Swift Care may consider limiting or withdrawing the provision of services to, service users/carers/visitors and may seek to prosecute individuals where it deems necessary.
    1. Swift Care Position

    6.1 Every day, decisions are made within Swift Care that affect the lives and relationships of all our service users, carers and staff. Swift Care endeavours to provide a supportive environment and culture in which unlawful discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated. The delivery of this policy will promote fair and equitable practice throughout Swift Care.

    6.2 Our services will be accessible and sensitive to the needs of our diverse communities and will not unfairly discriminate on the basis of any protected characteristic. Swift Care will not tolerate any practices that result in the provision of a lower standard of service due to unlawful discrimination.

    6.3 Equality Impact Analysis is undertaken on all policies to identify the impact on protected groups and to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty.

    6.4 The Equality Act enables Swift Care to be responsive and adaptive to the individual needs of service users and carers. Services will not be based on assumptions, stereotypes and prejudice of any equality groups, but on information gained through consulting with service users, carers and the public.

    6.5 Any employee, regardless of position in Swift Care, who unlawfully discriminates against another, fails to co-operate with the measures introduced to promote equal opportunity or induces others to unlawfully or unfairly discriminate, will be subject to Swift Care’s Disciplinary Policy.

    6.6 Complaints or allegations of discrimination or victimisation can be pursued through Swift Care’s Complaints Policy, and Dignity at Work Policy.

    6.7 There may be cases where an individual makes an unfounded allegation of discrimination for malicious reasons. These cases will be investigated and dealt with fairly and objectively under the Disciplinary Policy.

    1. Process

    7.1 Embedding EDHR in everything that we do 

    7.1.1 Swift Care has a strong commitment to embed EDHR in everything that we do.

    7.1.2 Swift Care is committed to promote awareness and understanding of the key issues that impact on our function as a service provider and employer. Our equality objectives include:

    • Service Delivery
    • Better Health Outcomes for all
    • Improved patient access and experience
    • Workforce
    • Empowered, engaged and support staff
    • Inclusive leadership at all levels
    1. Training Requirements

    8.1 Swift Care recognises the importance of appropriate training for staff and the principles of this policy will be addressed in Swift Care’s EDHR training. EDHR training forms part of Swift Care’s mandatory training requirements. All new starters will complete this training as part of their organisational induction programme. Line Managers will be required to ensure their respective staff are made aware of this policy when this is cascaded through the usual dissemination routes.

    1. Equality Impact Assessment (Appendix 1)

    9.1 The organisation has an equality analysis process which assesses services and employment policies to determine any adverse impact on the protected characteristics. The assessment will be in line with the Equality Act 2010, the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and other relevant equalities legislation.

    9.2 Human Rights are incorporated into the process and staff will ensure that they apply the basic fundamentals of the equality legislation when carrying out the analysis.

    1. Monitoring Compliance and Effectiveness

    10.1 The effectiveness of this policy will also be monitored and reported through the Annual Equality Report by the Equality and Diversity Team.

    10.2 Of particular importance will be the following key headings:

    • service user diversity;
    • service user experience;
    • workforce diversity;
    • recruitment and selection;
    • disciplinary, performance management action and grievances;
    • bullying and harassment;
    • sickness absence;
    • access to learning and development;
    • appraisals;
    • staff turnover; and
    • complaints

    10.3 Staff, service users, and other stakeholders will be encouraged to provide feedback on the organisations’ performance against their equality objectives through a variety of accessible forums.

    11.4 Subsequently, the data will be used to inform and improve policies, as well as provide recommendations for improving service and employment practices.

    1. Policy Review

    12.1 The policy may be reviewed at any time at the request of either staff or management, but will automatically be reviewed on a three yearly basis or as required following any amendments to legislation or National requirements.

     

    POLICY REVIEW TABLE

    Date

    Version number

    Summary of changes made

    Section(s) changed

    09/02/2023

    1

Equality, Diversity, and Human Rights Policy

  1. Purpose: To provide information to employees on Swift Care Services Ltd.’s expectations and support in relation to equality, diversity, and human rights.

    Policy Statement: Swift Care is committed to equality, diversity, and human rights in areas such as recruitment, training, working practices and pay, and to tackling bullying, harassment, and discriminatory practices. This means that Swift Care will not tolerate any form of unlawful and unfair discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.  

    Swift Care Services Ltd will:

    • Expect all staff to treat each other, the people we support, their family, friends and carers, and visitors to the company with dignity and respect at all times.
    • Expect equality and fairness from all staff in our employment
    • Not to discriminate against anyone because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.
    • Not tolerate any form of bullying, harassment, or discriminatory practices.
    • Provide an environment that treats all staff equally and fairly on issues such as recruitment, training, working practices, environment, and pay.
    • Oppose any forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination
    • Promote diversity amongst the workforce.

    Breaches of this policy will be regarded as misconduct.

    Introduction

    1.1 As an equal opportunity employer, Swift Care Services Ltd (Swift Care) will promote equality with due regard to the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

    1.2 Everybody has a right to be treated with dignity and respect and in doing so; Swift Care recognises its legal duties under the Equality Act 2010 and Human Rights Act 1998.

    1.3 Swift Care is committed to creating a culture in which equality, diversity and human rights (EDHR) are promoted actively and unlawful discrimination is not tolerated. Swift Care recognises that the experiences and needs of every individual are unique and strives to respect and value the diversity of its service users, carers, public and staff.

    1.4 The management of Equality, Diversity and Human Rights (EDHR) is important to Swift Care as it will help to:

    • ensure that the services we provide are accessible to all people;
    • actively promote equality; and are free from unlawful discrimination; develop services which best meets the needs of our diverse communities;
    • eliminate from our services, policies and decision making, any adverse impact on the promotion of equality and inclusion for our service users and staff; and
    • promote the corporate reputation of the organisation.
    1. Scope

    2.1 Promoting EDHR is one of the cornerstones of all Swift Care’s functions and activities. This policy and its associated guidance will apply to:

    • service users and all areas of service provision; and
    • all staff directly employed by Swift Care. This also includes trainees, secondments and staff on honorary contracts or on joint contracts with Swift Care and another employer, visitors, patients, contractors and staff from other organisations working on Swift Care’s premises.

    2.2 The policy applies to all staff at all times, both during and outside of working hours when attending formal workplace functions when Swift Care retains an employer’s liability for the actions of its staff.

    1. Definitions

    3.1 Equality is not about treating everyone the same.

    3.1.1 Equality recognises that:

    • everyone has individual needs and the right to have those needs respected;
    • inequality exists and that unlawful discrimination needs to be tackled;
    • employment and Swift Care services should be accessible to all; and
    • it is about treating people fairly where everyone can participate and have the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

    3.2 Diversity is about respecting and valuing individual difference.

    3.2.1 Diversity recognises that:

    3.2.2 A diversity approach aims to recognise, value and manage differences to enable all Patients, service users and staff to contribute and realise their full potential. Diversity challenges us to recognise and value all sorts of differences in order to make Swift Care a better working environment and to ensure that we provide an excellent service for all people.

    3.3 Prohibited Conduct – Behaviour banned by the Equality Act 2012

    3.3.1 Swift Care will actively eliminate and avoid unlawful discrimination including: direct discrimination; indirect discrimination; associative discrimination; perceptive discrimination; harassment; victimisation; disability-related less favourable treatment; failure to comply with a duty to make reasonable adjustments and social exclusion.

    3.4 Direct discrimination means treating someone less favourably compared to others because they have certain protected characteristics or;

    • because they are thought to have a protected characteristics (Perception); and
    • are associated with someone who has a protected characteristic (Association).
    • This is new in the protected characteristics of Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment and Sex

    3.5 Indirect Discrimination can occur when you have a rule or policy that applies to everyone but disadvantages a person with a particular protected characteristic.

    3.6 Harassment, in general terms, is unwanted conduct affecting the dignity of men and women in the workplace. It may be related to any personal characteristic of the individual, and may be persistent or an isolated incident. The key is that the actions or comments are viewed as unwanted conduct that violates people’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. It is difficult to categorise all forms of harassment, but examples of some more easily recognisable forms of harassment are covered in more detail in the Dignity at Work Policy.

    3.7 Victimisation is prohibited conduct. It happens when a person is treated less favourably because they complain about discrimination or they witness it and give evidence about it.

    3.8 Due Regard

    3.8.1 The Equality Act 2010 requires us to pay ‘Due Regard’, when considering the effects on different groups protected from discrimination (protected characteristics). Swift Care will demonstrate Due Regard by completing equality impact analysis (EqIA).

    1. Legislation

    4.1 The Equality Act 2010 provides protection against discrimination at work and in the provision of services. The Act simplifies, strengthens and harmonises previous equality legislation.

    4.2 The protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act are:

    • Age: This refers to a person having a particular age (for example, 32 years old) or being within an age band (for example, 18-25, 40-50 years old);
    • Disability: A person has a disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. A progressive condition is a condition that gets worse over time. People with progressive conditions can be classed as disabled. However, you automatically meet the disability definition under the Equality Act 2010 from the day you’re diagnosed with HIV infection, cancer or multiple sclerosis;
    • Gender reassignment: This is the process of transitioning from one sex to another;
    • Marriage and civil partnership: A union between a man and a woman or the legal recognition of a same-sex couple’s relationship;
    • Pregnancy and maternity: The condition of being pregnant or the period after giving birth. It is linked to maternity leave in the employment context;
    • Race: It refers to a group of people defined by their nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origins
    • Religion or belief: The religion a person belongs to. A belief, including lack of
    • belief, should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included;
    • Sex: Someone being a man or a woman; and ·Sexual orientation: This is whether a person’s sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes

    4.3 Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) 

    4.3.1 The general equality duty is set out in section 149 of the Equality Act http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/equalities/equality-act/equality-duty/. In summary, those subject to the general equality duty must demonstrate due regard in the exercise of their services and functions to:

    • eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited under the Act;
    • advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it; and
    • foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

    4.3.2 There is a statutory requirement for NHS organisations to publish information to demonstrate compliance with the PSED. This requirement arises from the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011:

    • Publishing information to demonstrate compliance with the general duty including information relating to employees and other persons affected by Swift Care policies and practices who share a relevant protected characteristic; and
    • Prepare and publish equality objectives that are specific and measurable. Swift Care equality objectives can be found within the equality and diversity pages of the Swift Care website.

    4.4 Human Rights Framework 

    4.4.1 The Human Rights Act 1998 sets universal standards to ensure that a person’s basic needs as a human being are recognised and met. Public authorities should have arrangements in place to ensure that they comply with the Human Rights Act 1998, and it is unlawful for a healthcare organisation to act in a way that is incompatible with the Act. The Act urges public authorities to apply a human rights framework to decision making across public services in order to achieve better service provision.

    4.4.2 In practice this means treating individuals with fairness, respect, equality, dignity and autonomy whilst also safeguarding the rights of the wider community when developing policies and procedures and carrying out our functions. Swift Care will consider these human rights principles in relation to our staff and service users at all times, aiming to demonstrate our commitment to quality outcomes which will improve the patient experience and provide satisfaction to staff that they are undertaking a job that is valued.

    4.4.3 The Care Quality Commission (CQC) standard stipulate requirements related to human rights. The organisations core purpose of putting service users first embodies the principles of respecting human rights.

    4.4.4 The Human Rights Act 1998 brought the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law. There are articles that are particularly relevant to the commissioning, employment and provision of healthcare services.

    4.5 The equality benefits of a human rights based approach include: 

    • An improved quality of health services – patients treated with fairness, respect, equality and dignity.
    • More person-centred care.
    • A reduced risk of complaints and litigation.
    • Improved decision making overall.
    • A broader range of marginalised groups being involved and considered.
    • More meaningful engagement of patients, carers and families.

    4.6 Raising Concerns About Human Rights 

    4.6.1 Although the rights embodied in the Human Rights Act may seem simple and straightforward, in practice the position may be more complex. As far as UK Law is concerned it is only as particular issues come to court that there is any clarity about the interpretation of the law and therefore of whether something is or is not to be regarded as a ‘right’. It is accepted that rights can be conflicting e.g. the right to liberty may conflict with someone else’s right to safety. These cases often need to be interpreted and decided upon.

    4.6.2 For these reasons the organisation is committed to fostering a culture where service users or their advocates can approach any member of staff and raise a concern. Whatever their concern is, they have a right for it to be considered and discussed with them and resolved where possible. This may be done at the time of raising the issue with a member of staff or by contacting the organisation’s Complaints Manager. Staff with concerns should raise these with their line manager, Human Resources or staff side representative and be met with the same consideration.

    4.6.3 Any employee who suspects another employee to have contravened the document has the right to inform the organisation without fear of discrimination. The organisation will investigate any allegations using the Disciplinary Policy and serious breaches by employees may be considered to be gross misconduct, and may lead to dismissal. Where the issue remains complex and difficult to decide on, staff should seek further guidance from their senior managers.

    4.6.4 The aim is, where appropriate, for staff concerns about human rights issues to be resolved informally between the individual and his or her line manager. If this is not possible or the concern has not been resolved, the individuals can raise this formally with the Human Resource (HR) team. Alternatively, where a member of staff feels unable to raise their concern through their line management chain, concerns can be raised to the complaints team.

    4.6.5 The organisation has developed a number of options for raising concerns, contained within the various policies such as Complaints and Whistle Blowing policy.

    1. Roles and Responsibilities

    5.1 Swift Care Services Ltd

    5.1.1 Swift Care has a statutory responsibility to have due regard to the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998. It is therefore essential a culture is established where unlawful discrimination is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. 5.1.2 In addition, Swift Care:

    • ensure that the organisation has equality objectives that meet the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty as set out under the provisions of the Equality Act 2010;
    • receive and consider regular reports in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the policy; and review and approve the Annual Equality Report.

    5.2 Chief Executive and the Management Team

    5.2.1 The Chief Executive and Management Team are accountable and responsible for ensuring that all policies and procedures consider Human Rights and that it is integral to the way the organisation manages existing employment and services. The organisation will, wherever possible, ensure the development of new opportunities for promoting continuous improvement in their performance. Furthermore, they will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Human Rights Act.

    5.2.2 The primary vehicle used to integrate and embed Human Rights into the organisation is the public sector equality duty, the equality strategy and Equality Analysis as part of developing policies and procedures.

    5.3 Equality and Diversity Lead 

    5.3.1 Swift Care will have an Equality and Diversity Lead, and it is the responsibility of the Equality and Diversity Lead to:

    • ensure that this policy is followed fairly and consistently;
    • advise management on requirements and performance against equality and human rights legislation;
    • support the organisation with setting and achieving equality objectives;
    • build and maintain relationships with key stakeholders who have a role to play in ensuring Swift Care meets equality objectives;
    • manage and report on the Equality Standard;
    • support the Learning and Development team (L&D) to ensure that staff are able to access high quality and appropriate equality training and ensure that the principles of promoting equality are embedded into all training materials as appropriate;
    • work with Directors and Managers to ensure that they are achieving their equality objectives and that Due Regard (equality analysis) is proportionate and meaningful; and
    • obtain feedback from service users, staff and key stakeholders on how the organisation is performing with respect to promoting equality and eliminating discrimination

    5.4 Managers 

    5.4.1 All managers have a responsibility to adhere to this policy and to bring it to the attention of staff in their work area in order to establish and maintain an inclusive environment free of unlawful discrimination. Managers have a responsibility to: Equality, Diversity and Human Rights:

    • set a positive example by treating others with respect and setting standards of acceptable behaviour;
    • promote an inclusive working environment where unlawful discrimination is unacceptable and not tolerated;
    • ensuring any allegations of discriminatory behaviour or practices are correctly investigated and appropriate action taken in accordance with Swift Care policies
    • ensure that their teams work effectively together;
    • ensure staff are given equal opportunity to access learning and development opportunities;
    • consult with the Human Resources Team and Equality and Diversity Lead for advice and support regarding EDHR issues; and
    • implement Swift Care Equality Standard.

    5.4.2 They will take positive steps to provide clear and visible leadership that promotes human rights as integral to the way the organisation delivers care and manages its staff. They will to the best of their ability take a lead role in establishing, promoting and maintaining a culture of respect and dignity.

    5.5 Staff

    5.5.1 All staff have a personal responsibility for their own behaviour and for ensuring that they comply with the Equality Act 2010. Swift Care expects all staff to:

    • understand Swift Care’s Values and how this impacts on everything we do;
    • have a personal responsibility to adhere to this Policy. This means staff should not undertake any acts of discriminatory practice in the course of their employment for which they will be personally liable;
    • help promote an inclusive environment by treating everyone with dignity and respect;
    • respecting and responding to the diverse needs of staff, service users and others;
    • appropriately challenge and/or report behaviour that may be considered to be offensive when directed against themselves or others in accordance to Swift Care policies and procedures;
    • have a responsibility to bring any potentially discriminatory actions or practice to the attention of their Line Manager or the Human Resources Department; and
    • implement Swift Care Equality Standard.

    5.5.2 Staff will ensure that they operate at the highest standard of professional and personal integrity and for ensuring day to day actions and behaviours respect and protect the human rights of service users, their carers and families and of those with whom they work. They are accountable for ensuring that the services provided by the organisation are compliant with the legislation.

    5.5.3 All employees have a personal responsibility to respect their colleagues and to treat everyone they meet fairly, equally and with dignity and respect. Training in equality and diversity is mandatory for all staff.

    5.6 Service Users/Carers/Visitors 

    5.6.1 Service Users Carers and Visitors will be expected to recognise and comply with the principles set out in this Policy whilst on Swift Care’s premises or whilst in our services.

    Every effort will be made by Swift Care to ensure all relevant information is available in a suitable format to achieve this aim.

    • service users, carers and visitors are expected to be respectful to all staff and other service users;
    • service users, carers and visitors who are verbally or physically abusive or who make derogatory statements that are of a discriminatory nature to any staff or other service users should be aware that they will be challenged about their behaviour;
    • where appropriate, Swift Care may consider limiting or withdrawing the provision of services to, service users/carers/visitors and may seek to prosecute individuals where it deems necessary.
    1. Swift Care Position

    6.1 Every day, decisions are made within Swift Care that affect the lives and relationships of all our service users, carers and staff. Swift Care endeavours to provide a supportive environment and culture in which unlawful discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated. The delivery of this policy will promote fair and equitable practice throughout Swift Care.

    6.2 Our services will be accessible and sensitive to the needs of our diverse communities and will not unfairly discriminate on the basis of any protected characteristic. Swift Care will not tolerate any practices that result in the provision of a lower standard of service due to unlawful discrimination.

    6.3 Equality Impact Analysis is undertaken on all policies to identify the impact on protected groups and to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty.

    6.4 The Equality Act enables Swift Care to be responsive and adaptive to the individual needs of service users and carers. Services will not be based on assumptions, stereotypes and prejudice of any equality groups, but on information gained through consulting with service users, carers and the public.

    6.5 Any employee, regardless of position in Swift Care, who unlawfully discriminates against another, fails to co-operate with the measures introduced to promote equal opportunity or induces others to unlawfully or unfairly discriminate, will be subject to Swift Care’s Disciplinary Policy.

    6.6 Complaints or allegations of discrimination or victimisation can be pursued through Swift Care’s Complaints Policy, and Dignity at Work Policy.

    6.7 There may be cases where an individual makes an unfounded allegation of discrimination for malicious reasons. These cases will be investigated and dealt with fairly and objectively under the Disciplinary Policy.

    1. Process

    7.1 Embedding EDHR in everything that we do 

    7.1.1 Swift Care has a strong commitment to embed EDHR in everything that we do.

    7.1.2 Swift Care is committed to promote awareness and understanding of the key issues that impact on our function as a service provider and employer. Our equality objectives include:

    • Service Delivery
    • Better Health Outcomes for all
    • Improved patient access and experience
    • Workforce
    • Empowered, engaged and support staff
    • Inclusive leadership at all levels
    1. Training Requirements

    8.1 Swift Care recognises the importance of appropriate training for staff and the principles of this policy will be addressed in Swift Care’s EDHR training. EDHR training forms part of Swift Care’s mandatory training requirements. All new starters will complete this training as part of their organisational induction programme. Line Managers will be required to ensure their respective staff are made aware of this policy when this is cascaded through the usual dissemination routes.

    1. Equality Impact Assessment (Appendix 1)

    9.1 The organisation has an equality analysis process which assesses services and employment policies to determine any adverse impact on the protected characteristics. The assessment will be in line with the Equality Act 2010, the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and other relevant equalities legislation.

    9.2 Human Rights are incorporated into the process and staff will ensure that they apply the basic fundamentals of the equality legislation when carrying out the analysis.

    1. Monitoring Compliance and Effectiveness

    10.1 The effectiveness of this policy will also be monitored and reported through the Annual Equality Report by the Equality and Diversity Team.

    10.2 Of particular importance will be the following key headings:

    • service user diversity;
    • service user experience;
    • workforce diversity;
    • recruitment and selection;
    • disciplinary, performance management action and grievances;
    • bullying and harassment;
    • sickness absence;
    • access to learning and development;
    • appraisals;
    • staff turnover; and
    • complaints

    10.3 Staff, service users, and other stakeholders will be encouraged to provide feedback on the organisations’ performance against their equality objectives through a variety of accessible forums.

    11.4 Subsequently, the data will be used to inform and improve policies, as well as provide recommendations for improving service and employment practices.

    1. Policy Review

    12.1 The policy may be reviewed at any time at the request of either staff or management, but will automatically be reviewed on a three yearly basis or as required following any amendments to legislation or National requirements.

     

    POLICY REVIEW TABLE

    Date

    Version number

    Summary of changes made

    Section(s) changed

    09/02/2023

    1