Equality Policy

Mission Statement
Write By You aims to provide high-quality workshops to help young people develop their creative, written and expressive skills. Providing workshops with a range of professional writers and one-to-one coaching on writing and development of a published piece, Write By You supports young people in order to develop written skills and nurture creativity.
 

This policy supports meeting the general aims of the organisation in particular:


● by encouraging each person to see themselves as a valued member of a wider community who can act independently and make a positive contribution for the good of all.
● by providing each young person with access to the arts and supporting them to fulfil their individual level of achievement.


Statement of Policy
Write By You actively opposes all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination and is committed to equality and inclusion at all levels of the organisation.

WBY values the role diversity plays in encouraging a positive creative and working environment.
We aim to ensure equality of opportunity in all activities by implementing impartial methods to all that we do. We strive to ensure that our policies and practices continue to be lawful, fair and actively inclusive.


Organisation Responsibilities in law
Legislation requires organisations both to avoid discrimination and to promote equality for members, staff and audience members. Our policies apply to treatment of members of management (including board of directors), permanent staff, temporary staff, freelance staff, volunteers, applicants and all youth theatre members.


Protected Characteristics:
Gender
Age
Race
Disability
Sexual orientation
Religion or belief
Gender reassignment

Pregnancy or maternity


Responsibility
The responsibility for upholding these policies lies with the project co-ordinator. She is responsible for overseeing the execution of the Equality and Diversity policies in all areas of WBY’s work.
All employees on any level are responsible for upholding the policies in their work for the company.


Promoting Equality
We are committed to promoting:
● the uniqueness of the individual – we believe that every person is a unique individual. We are therefore committed to treat every person with equality of esteem and respect and dignity.
● the search for excellence – we are committed to ensure that all are to be given every opportunity to develop their talents to the full.
● the artistic development of all – we have the duty to care for all, and strive to ensure that we provide for those who are socially, academically, physically or emotionally disadvantaged.
● Preventing occurrences of unlawful direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
● WBY will ensure that no financial barriers will hold young people back from using our services. The project is fully funded and so is completely free to all participants.
● WBY ensure that all services and classes are available to disabled people by using premises that are wheelchair accessible for all activities. We will strive to use interpreters and signers where necessary and assess the needs of every individual member.
● Fulfilling all our legal obligations under the equality legislation, including the Equality Act 2010, and all associated codes of practice.
● Complying with our own equal opportunities policy and associated policies.
● Publicity materials, publications, advertisements, events, workshops and performances shall avoid language which presents a stereotyped, offensive or detrimental view of any group or individual’s background on any of the above grounds. However, written source material and workshops may present such language and views when the context of use is clear.

Consequently, we will strive to ensure that:

● any person recruited to the service of the writing project, whether as a member of staff or a volunteer, is made fully aware of our aims and objectives and required to support them;
● young people who join the project and their families are fully aware of our aims and objectives and undertake to support them;
● all of our structures and policies are evaluated and kept under constant review in order to see that no individual is subject in any way to unlawful discrimination, whether intentional or unintentional, and to ensure that all are enabled to reach their full potential.

Unlawful behaviour
The Equality Act 2010 defines four kinds of unlawful behaviour – direct discrimination; indirect discrimination; harassment and victimisation.
Direct discrimination
This occurs when one person treats another less favourably, because of a protected characteristic, than they treat – or would treat – other people. This describes the most clear-cut and obvious examples of discrimination – for example if the project were to refuse to let a young person join because she is a lesbian.
Indirect discrimination
This occurs when a “provision, criterion or practice” is applied generally but has the effect of putting people with a particular characteristic at a disadvantage when compared to people without that characteristic. An example might be holding a writing workshop in an upstairs room, which could make it difficult for disabled members to attend. It is a defence against a claim of indirect discrimination if it can be shown to be “a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”. This means both that the reason for the rule or practice is legitimate, and that it could not reasonably be achieved in a different way which did not discriminate.
Harassment
Harassment has a specific legal definition in the Act – it is “unwanted conduct, related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person”. This covers unpleasant and bullying behaviour, but potentially extends also to actions which, whether intentionally or unintentionally, cause offence to a person because of a protected characteristic.

Victimisation occurs when a person is treated less favourably than they otherwise would have been because of something they have done (“a protected act”) in connection with the Act. A protected act might involve, for example, making an allegation of discrimination or bringing a case under the Act, or supporting another person’s complaint by giving evidence or information, but it includes anything that is done under or in connection with the Act. Even if what a person did or said was incorrect or misconceived, for example based on a misunderstanding of the situation or of what the law provides, they are protected against retaliation unless they were acting in bad faith. The reason for this is to ensure that people are not afraid to raise genuine concerns about discrimination because of fear of retaliation.

As well as it being unlawful to victimise a person who does a protected act, a child must not be victimised because of something done by their parent or a sibling in relation to the Act. This means that a child must not be made to suffer in any way because, for example, her mother has made a complaint of sex discrimination against the organisation, or her brother has claimed that a workshop leader is bullying him because he is gay, whether or not the mother or brother was acting in good faith.
If a member has himself or herself done a protected act – such as making a complaint of discrimination against a workshop leader – then the child’s own good faith will be relevant. For example, if the parent’s complaint is based on information from his daughter and the daughter was deliberately lying, it is not victimisation for the project to punish her in the same way as it might do any other dishonest member. Unless it can be clear that the father was also acting in bad faith (for example that he knew her daughter was lying) it would still be unlawful to victimise him for pursuing the complaint.


Promoting Equality
We are committed to promoting:


● the uniqueness of the individual
We believe that every person is a unique individual. We are therefore committed to treat every person with equality of esteem and respect and dignity.


● the search for excellence
We are committed to ensure that all are to be given every opportunity to develop their talents to the full.


 the education of all
We have the duty to care for all, and strive to ensure that we provide for those who are socially, academically, physically or emotionally disadvantaged.


Consequently, we will strive to ensure that:


● any person recruited to the service of the writing project, whether as a member of staff or a volunteer, is made fully aware of our aims and objectives and required to support them;


● young people who join the writing project and their families are fully aware of our
aims and objectives and undertake to support them;


● all of our structures and policies are evaluated and kept under constant review in order to see that no individual is subject in any way to unlawful discrimination, whether intentional or unintentional, and to ensure that all are enabled to reach their full potential.

Finally, we acknowledge that minority groups have often suffered disadvantage due to prejudice or ignorance. We recognise that it is all too easy for the structures of institutions to result in “inequality by default”. We therefore commit ourselves to take positive steps to examine our policies and practice annually and to adapt them where necessary.

Write By You – Geographical Context


WBY is located in North London (Haringey) and may recruit young people from neighbouring boroughs.

The project will endeavour to address discrimination in all policies.


The project intends to:
i. meet all the participants’ needs, encouraging them to reach their full
potential
ii. create a positive, inclusive atmosphere, based on respect for people’s
differences, and show commitment to challenging and preventing
discrimination
iii. make full use of the skills and knowledge of all people.


Implementation with service users
Write By You works with young people between the ages of 13-18, and our programmes aim to be inclusive of all young people regardless of background or ability.
WBY is committed to raising awareness of issues related to equal opportunities in its work, to ensuring that all service users act in a way that enables equality and inclusion.
We aim to achieve this by striving to provide an environment in which all feel safe, respected and valued. Consideration is given to each person as an individual with particular needs, skills and physical abilities.


Before the start of each project, delivery staff, tutors and volunteers will receive the Equal Opportunities, Data Protection and Safeguarding Policies in order to help them support participants to uphold equalities principles. WBY recognises that practical application of inclusion includes a firm stance on preventing bullying in all its contexts, whether physical, emotional, verbal or online.


Monitoring and Reviewing
Regular monitoring of WBY services and participants takes place to ensure that the equal opportunities policy is implemented and effective.


WBY is proactive in programming services and activities which target under represented groups in particular.


● Based on funding from the Emergence Foundation, WBY is targeted at girls and young women who are deemed ‘disadvantaged’ in terms of their socio-economic status, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity.

Created: November 2020
Review Date: November 2021

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