Equality and Diversity Policy

The OpenEdu Ltd is committed to encouraging a dynamic and inclusive working environment, where we benefit from a variety of perspectives to make smarter decisions and better support people in crisis.

We have a humanitarian, ethical and legal responsibility to celebrate and champion equality and diversity. We will actively work to ensure that our company is inclusive and accessible to all.


Policy owner
Board of Directors
Policy lead
Executive Director
Audience
All our people, third-party providers and partners.
Legislation and
regulation
The policy supports compliance with:
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 Equality Act 2010
Human Rights Act 1998
European Community Directives
Formally endorsed by
Board of Directors
Endorsement date
May 2021
Next review
January 2023

1 Introduction

1.1 OpenEdu is a company that provides consulting services in e-learning and creates e-learning content compatible with the most common learning management systems and accessible from any browser by any devices: computer and mobiles.
1.2 We are committed to creating a more inclusive OpenEdu Ltd, where we benefit from a variety of perspectives and better reflect the communities we serve, to make smarter decisions and better support people in crisis.
1.3 We have a humanitarian and ethical responsibility to champion equality, diversity and inclusion. It is only through embracing equality and diversity that we can create a more compassionate and courageous OpenEdu Ltd.
1.4 We expect all our people to be accountable for equality, diversity and inclusion at the OpenEdu Ltd.
1.5 This policy reflects that we see equality, diversity and inclusion are an integral part of the OpenEdu Ltd. It sets out how we will treat all employees, contractors and other stakeholders with dignity, fairness and respect. This is regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

2 Policy statement

2.1 Purpose and aims
This policy sets out our commitment to:

  • A OpenEdu Ltd that is free from discrimination and prejudice.
  • Treat all people, regardless of their background, with dignity and respect – this includes: our people, those with whom we interact (e.g. service users and customers) and other stakeholders.
  • Comply with UK equalities legislation and our other external obligations including: equality standards set by contracts, regulatory requirements, accreditations and good practice schemes.
  • Make our people aware of their responsibilities, and know how and where to seek support to actively uphold and champion equality, diversity, and inclusion. See point 4, and point 7 for further details.
  • Ensure that we attract and retain people from the widest possible diversity of backgrounds and experiences to and at all levels of the company.

2.2 Scope
This policy applies to:

  • all OpenEdu Ltd staff
  • all of the OpenEdu Ltd’ work in the UK and internationally; and
  • working with third-party UK providers and partners.

3 Our Standards

3.1 No unlawful discrimination shall occur in the support and management of our staff and delivery of our services, and all decisions shall be objective and fair with individual circumstances taken into account.
3.2 Our services will take a person-centred approach, and diversity considerations will be incorporated into processes.
3.3 We expect all our staff will use appropriately inclusive language and behave in a way that will uphold the dignity of colleagues, and stakeholders.
3.4 Ensure that recruitment & selection, and promotion is transparent merit-based and fair.
3.5 Where reasonable we will make tailored adjustments to accommodate the needs of our staff.
3.6 Create a working environment that values difference and is free from prohibited discrimination, victimisation, bullying or harassment.

4 Responsibilities

4.1 The Board of Directors are responsible for championing equality, diversity and inclusion and ensuring that the policy is consistent with the fundamental principles and that resources, support and leadership is provided to ensure this policy can be meaningfully implemented
4.2 The Executive Director is the policy owner and is responsible for ensuring that this policy is fit for purpose and up to date.
4.3 Our staff are responsible for championing equality, diversity and inclusion, understanding how the policy relates to their role.

5 Laws and regulations

5.1 This policy ensures our compliance with the requirements of relevant UK legislation including the Equality Act 2010, The Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998.

6 Monitoring and compliance

6.1 All diversity-related staff and volunteer, service users and complaints data, will be captured and actively monitored, to ensure our policy and strategies are working effectively in practice and inform their development.
6.2 Diversity-related actions and targets within the corporate strategy will be monitored and reported on.

7 Training and support

7.1 All our staff will have access to training through mandatory and recommended routes to assist them to translate the requirements of this policy into practice.

8 Review and maintenance

8.1 The Equality and Diversity policy was refreshed and approved in May 2021. It is next due to be reviewed in January 2023.

9 Appendix 1: definitions

What we means by Equality, diversity and inclusion

9.1 Equality: ensuring people are not treated less favourably; unjustifiably. Specifically on the basis of one or more protected characteristics1 defined by the Equality Act 2010 and other anti-discrimination legislations (see Equality Act 2010 factsheets).
9.2 Diversity: recognising and valuing the benefits of different perspectives, backgrounds and experiences. Also, identifying and acknowledging under-representation, and taking active steps to address it through: initiatives, policies, and systemic change.
9.3 Inclusion: actively embracing people with diverse perspectives, backgrounds and experiences. And creating an environment that enables us all to feel a sense of belonging, and where we can achieve the extraordinary together.
9.4 Equality, diversity and inclusion are not identical, but they are reliant on one other to tackle discrimination. For example, we cannot achieve real inclusion unless we embrace equality and diversity. We often use diversity as umbrella term to describe any of our equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives.

1 The protected characteristics covered anti-discrimination laws are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnerships, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. Political opinion is a protected characteristic in Northern Ireland only.


Unlawful discrimination

When a person or group of people is treated less favourably than another person or group of people would be treated based on their protected characteristic or * religious or political opinion. *Only in Northern Ireland
Each of the above, are grounds covered by current anti-discrimination legislation in the UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands.


Types of discrimination

  • Direct discrimination – treating someone unfairly because of their protected characteristic
  • Indirect discrimination – A practice, policy or rule applied to everyone that may at first appear fair or neutral, but puts people of a particular protected characteristic at a disadvantage
  • Discrimination by association – a person is treated unfavourably because of another person’s protected characteristic
  • Discrimination by perception – when someone is treated unfairly because others believe they have a protected characteristic
  • Victimisation – a person is treated less favourably because they have or is expected to complain about discrimination
  • Harassment – unwanted conduct that has the purpose of effect of violating a person’s dignity of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment
  • Bullying – as persistent, offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting behaviour, abuse of power or unfair sanctions which make the recipient feel upset, threatened, humiliated or vulnerable, which undermines their self-confidence and which may cause them to suffer stress

Positive action

When an employer or company takes positive steps to help or encourage certain groups to participate in activity or overcome or minimise disadvantages. For example, offering leadership developing training to women when an company has identified that that women are under-represented in senior leadership roles.

This measure stops short of allowing preference to be given to less qualified applicants (e.g. employing or promoting an individual solely because they are from an under-represented group regardless of their suitability for the position); this is considered positive discrimination and is unlawful.


Occupational Requirement

There are times when it is fair and lawful to state a preference for a person of a particular sex or a particular ethnic origin. This is when you can prove that it is essential for the purposes of the job to be of a particular sex or to come from a particular ethnic background. This is referred to as an occupational requirement.


Equality targets

These are targets an company has decided to establish to ensure equality of opportunity. Equality targets are not the same as setting or establishing quotas. Quotas involve setting aside a number of jobs only to be filled by a particular group. This restricts the opportunity for other people to fill these positions and would therefore result in unfair or unlawful discrimination.


Reasonable Adjustments

Under anti-discrimination legislation (e.g. Equality Act 2010) employers are required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled staff. This means making changes to a disabled person’s environment or the way their employment is structured to mitigate any disadvantages, and allows them to work safely and productively. This may include, removing physical barriers, providing extra support, and providing flexibility.