Equal Opportunity in Employment policy

Policy statement

In Reading Borough Council, we recognise the importance of equality of opportunity in employment and the need to set an example as an employer.  We value and respect diversity within our workforce and the local community. Diversity within our workforce helps us understand the needs of our customers better and plan and provide services to meet those needs. We will therefore incorporate equality principles in all of our employment policies and practices and ensure that they are carried out fairly. 

Policy objectives

Reading Borough Council‘s main objective is to provide quality services to all sections of the community and to strive for continuous improvement. To achieve this, we aim to:

  • Create a workforce profile, which matches the different communities we serve
  • Help all employees develop an understanding of what equal opportunity means for them in doing their jobs
  • Carry out regular monitoring to ensure that our objectives remain on course.

Strategy

In order to achieve the objectives we have:

  • Built equality into our organisation’s values
  • Set standards, to which all employees must adhere
  • Established responsibilities for employees and managers
  • Reviewed and continue to review our policies and practices regularly
  • Built equality into our planning and monitoring processes and review action regularly
  • Identified three groups against which to monitor the success of equality in employment, these are people from black communities, women and people with disabilities 
  • Established workforce targets for both the whole workforce and employees at a senior level based on the representative levels of these groups across the local community 
  • Established workforce targets for employees in services based on the particular community they serve

Standards

  1. Every employee will be treated fairly at work and will not receive less favourable treatment on the grounds of age, disability, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, race, religion, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin or any other grounds, which cannot be justified.
  2. Employees will be selected and promoted only on the basis of their knowledge, experience and skills. 
  3. Every employee will be given equal access to training and development in relation to their jobs and personal need subject to the objectives and priorities of the service, division/organisation learning and development policy
  4. All of the Council’s employment procedures will be applied fairly and appropriately according to the circumstances.
  5. Applicants and employees will be treated fairly under the Council’s Recruitment and Selection procedure and will only be selected on the basis that they have the necessary knowledge/experience/skills to do the job.  Criteria for selection will therefore be justifiable and necessary for satisfactory job performance.
  6. All employees will be entitled to review their progress and development through supervision meetings, appraisals and team meetings.
  7. Reading Borough Council supports Positive Action in recruiting and developing employees to ensure that any disadvantaged or under-represented groups can compete on equal terms. 
  8. Reading Borough Council will ensure these standards are maintained by regular monitoring of division/service/team objectives and action plans.  These will be tied in with monitoring service delivery objectives and reported at regular intervals through our democratic processes.

Employee Rights 

Employees have a right:

  • Not to be discriminated against;
  • To challenge all discrimination and bullying, including abusive and offensive language/behaviour and to bring this to the attention of the Council;
  • To make a complaint when you have grounds to feel you have been unfairly treated;
  • To suggest equalities service improvements and be taken seriously.
  • For your culture, and identity to be respected and valued;
  • To be valued and supported by your manager and colleagues;
  • For your contributions to be acknowledged and respected.

Responsibilities

Employees:

  1. Develop an understanding of the Council’s Equal Opportunity Policy objectives for both employment and service delivery.  This should be done with managers and colleagues to establish what it means for each individual employee.
  2. Treat each other fairly in accordance with the policy and standards
  3. Tell colleague(s) where their conduct is causing offence to them or another colleague
  4. Provide support to an individual receiving less favourable treatment and, if necessary, inform another member of staff who is able to take the appropriate action.

Managers:

  1. Ensure that all their employees are aware of the policy objectives and standards and understand how to apply them day to day
  2. Ensure that these are discussed as part of the induction process
  3. Ensure that all employees have the opportunity to improve their job skills and develop skills to meet the wider needs of the service, directorate or organisation.
  4. Ensure that all personnel procedures are carried out in accordance with the policy and standards.
  5. Take action when standards of conduct and behaviour do not comply with the policy.
  6. Take prompt action to stop discriminatory treatment as soon as it is identified.  This will include using the disciplinary procedure where an employee knowingly commits a discriminatory act, induces others to commit such an act or victimises those who have complained of harassment.
  7. Before acting, consider the most appropriate way. Challenge behaviour in a sensitive way proportionate to the nature of the conduct identified.

Personnel Service:

  1. Draw up, progress and monitor action plans in conjunction with directorate senior management
  2. Provide advice, assistance and/or training
  3. Ensure equality principles are built into training and development
  4. Ensure equality principles are built into procedural reviews
  5. Monitor the effectiveness of the policy and the progress towards meeting the objectives.

Action plan – equal opportunity in employment

We will draw up an annual action plan for equality in employment, which will be part of the larger corporate equality plan for the whole authority. The objectives will be translated into appropriate actions and target dates in directorate service plans.