acta accepts that in our society groups and individuals are discriminated against, and we believe we have a moral responsibility to actively work towards a society where there is no discrimination. Through our programme of work and approach, acta will work to positively foster an environment that encourages diversity.
We believe people should not be discriminated against on the grounds of their race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion & belief, age, family status, class or health status. The Company will not tolerate discrimination, harassment or bullying.
We acknowledge, while much can be achieved by legal measures, real progress can only be made by practical day to day commitment to promote equality of opportunity and diversity at a grass roots level. Due to the nature of our work, positive action to implement this will be made at all levels, including:-
- Employment practices and procedures
- Working conditions
- Working practices (including the people with whom we work, method of work and approach); outlined in detail in our diversity action plan
To ensure that this is effective, there will be regular monitoring and reviewing by workers and management.
Who is the policy for?
This policy will relate to the following groups of people, both existing & prospective:-
- Board members
We recognise that the implementation of positive diversity and equal opportunity initiatives play a crucial part in the way we deliver our services.
Our policy aims to promote
- Equality of opportunity for all
- A workplace where people are treated with dignity and respect and valued for who they are and the contribution they make to the organisation
- Active opposition to all forms of discrimination, bullying and harassment
Our policy further sets out to:
- Create an atmosphere of mutual respect which recognises and accepts differences between people, throughout the organisation
- Ensure that no employee or any other person connected to acta, experiences unlawful or unfair discrimination
- Ensure that no employee or other acta stakeholder receives less favourable treatment on the grounds outlined in the above Statement of Intent
- Ensure that no employee or job applicant is placed at a disadvantage by requirements or conditions which have a disproportionately adverse effect on them
- Actively encourage, through the sharing of information, guidelines and learning, our partners, suppliers & others to develop and implement positive equal opportunities and diversity policies, practices and procedures
- Demonstrate our commitment by producing and communicating to all staff, board members and other stakeholders, our diversity action plan which makes this policy fully effective
The implementation of this equality & diversity policy is central to the way in which acta operates, and therefore overall responsibility rests with the Council of Management. The Director will ensure that all staff, particularly those with managerial and supervisory responsibility, are aware of and trained in the requirements of the policy and in the management of diversity. As people responsible for making decisions in recruitment, promotion and training, managers have specific responsibilities to ensure that their decisions do not discriminate unlawfully against members of staff, participants, job applicants or any other acta stakeholder.
The Council of Management, together with the Director will:
- Promote the policy
- Ensure all are aware of the policy & action plan
- Monitor, review & update action plan
- Continuously review policy & procedures and, where necessary, make changes as a result
The Director will co-ordinate implementation of the action plan & policy on a day-to-day basis. This will include working to acta employment procedures (see appendix 1 “acta recruitment & selection guide”). In addition to the detail outlined in the action plan, day-to-day implementation includes:
- Taking appropriate measures to ensure equality of opportunity in employment
- Collection and analysis of monitoring information
- Ensuring all employees know and understand their responsibilities
- Ensuring that appropriate information is available to all staff across the organisation, so that new staff can be briefed in the policy and trained in its implementation.
acta has an employee-centred approach to training, which allows employees to define their own training needs and suggest possible training courses, relevant to their role within The Company. Employees are asked to take their training requests to their line manager, who will make a decision. Management may also suggest training courses for specific employees. acta has a budget to cover the cost of this training.
There are also regular skills exchange and training days for existing & potential employees e.g. weekly CPD workshops, quarterly foundation seminars, and a commitment to child protection training and regular disability equality and diversity training days for the whole Company. In addition, new employees will be encouraged to attend diversity training, if there is not an acta training day planned in their induction period.
(Please see acta diversity action plan for more detailed information on our diversity targets.)
- acta will make no charges to participants for workshops, to ensure people are not prevented from participating for economic reasons
- acta workshops are open to everyone within the project target group
- Workshop venues are always accessible to the needs of the specific target group
- acta will endeavour to provide transport to workshops for participants who may not otherwise be able to attend
- acta’s artistic policy applies to all service provision. All participants are given equal opportunity to be involved in the project, with people encouraged to develop their own roles within the group
- acta has a range of volunteering opportunities which are open to all. All volunteers meet with their link worker at the beginning to draw up a contract, and then meet regularly to review this. acta pays travel and childcare expenses to volunteers. See acta’s volunteer policy (separate document) for more detail.
Recruitment & Selection
(See appendix 1 “acta recruitment & selection guide” for detailed outline of procedures)
acta is an equal opportunities employer, and this equality and diversity policy is therefore underpinned by the following national legal framework:-
There are currently six strands to the framework of UK equality legislation:
1. Sex [including marital status and gender re-assignment]
(Sex Discrimination Act, 1975)
2. Race [including colour, nationality, national origin, ethnic origin]
(Race Relations Act, 1976)
(Disability Discrimination Act, 1995)
4. Sexual orientation
(Employment Equality [Sexual Orientation] Regulations 2003)
5. Religion and belief
(Employment Equality [Religion or Belief] Regulations 2003)
(Employment Equality Act [Age] Regulations 2006)
Under UK legislation, acta is responsible for any act of unlawful discrimination carried out by an employee in the course of their employment, whether it knows about it or not. It would only be a defence in proceedings if it can show that it has taken all steps that are reasonably practicable to stop an employee from unlawfully discriminating. It is therefore important that all members of staff are not only aware of the employer’s responsibility, but that they also clearly understand their own responsibilities as an acta employee.
Rights & Responsibilities – acta Equal Opportunities and You
Equal opportunities and diversity gives you many rights:
- The right to be treated fairly at all times and to progress on the basis of your merit alone
- The right to challenge and remove any unfair barriers that get in the way of your progress
- The right to be valued and respected as an individual
- The right to contribute to acta and achieve your full potential here
- The right to be treated with respect and consideration in observing your religious and cultural traditions, as well as religious and cultural practices
- The right to receive full support from acta should you need to raise any concerns or challenge any unacceptable behaviour
In addition, being a part of acta also gives you responsibilities:
Through your behaviour, the way you treat others and the language that you use, you are responsible for ensuring that you don’t infringe the rights of others
- Challenge unacceptable language and behaviour when you see it
- Not to unlawfully or unfairly discriminate against colleagues or anyone else.
- Not to encourage, instruct, or pressurise other members of staff to unlawfully discriminate
- Not to harass, bully, abuse or intimidate other members of staff or other stakeholders
- To co-operate with all measures taken to promote and implement equal opportunities at acta
- To bring to the attention of management any discriminatory acts or practices
- To both adhere to, and play an active part in the implementation of, acta’s equality & diversity policy & all other relevant policies
acta Recruitment & Selection Guide
a) Core team worker recruitment:
- Job descriptions and person specifications will always be set for core team posts. They will always include a need to understand and further acta’s equal opportunities policy and diversity action plan
- Advertisements – wording will not discriminate in any way. Adverts will be placed more widely than standard press & media, specifically targeting under-represented groups and people new to working in the arts, where appropriate e.g. disability websites, social media
- All applicants will be sent / asked to download a “job pack” – to include an application form which asks applicants to refer to the person specification. Applicants will not be asked questions which are irrelevant to their ability to carry out the job. The job pack will also include a link to acta’s equal opportunities statement
- All applications will be numbered on receipt, and made anonymous to the selection panel. Short-listing will be carried out systematically using the person specification, by a representative panel. The same people will form the interview panel
- When we send interview invitations, we will always check applicants’ access needs. Acta will pay travel expenses, where necessary. Interviews will be carried out in line with standard equal opportunities systems i.e. selection criteria agreed, and applicants to be asked the same basic questions, and scored
- Formal references will only be taken after selection
- All new employees will receive a formal induction
- All core team workers will receive a standard contract of employment, which includes disciplinary procedure, grievance procedure, family responsibility leave (incl. compassionate, maternity & paternity leave), childcare expenses for overtime worked, and leave for religious festivals
b) Freelance artistic facilitator recruitment:
- Every two years, or more frequently if necessary, acta will undergo a large-scale recruitment process for artistic facilitators. This will involve advertising widely online, using social media and professional networks. Applicants will be selected to attend interviews, which will be conducted in the same way as core team interviews, as outlined above.
- If we have applicants for freelance work at other times, who have the relevant skills and experience to be potential acta workers, we will invite them to have further contact with the Company by inviting them to a CPD workshop, show or event, and endeavour to arrange a meeting for them with acta’s Director, as appropriate. At this meeting, experience, knowledge and skills will be assessed.
- When short-term contracts of work become available, acta will appoint workers on the basis of their availability, and relevant skills and experience to carry out the job.
- The work that freelancers carry out for acta will be continuously monitored. acta work experience will also be considered when determining the most appropriate workers for short term contracts of work.
- All freelance workers will receive a standard contract for services, including full details of the job to which they are being appointed, i.e. a job description.
- Freelance workers will receive an induction pack with their contract, which will include a copy of this policy, our code of practise, and various pieces of information regarding working for the company.
- There will also be an induction day, which will include child protection training, and an introduction to policies and procedures.