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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Vertical composite image of close-up male and female eyes isolated on multicolored neon background.

We're committed to being an inclusive employer.

We're proud to say everyone has a place with us and welcome a wide range of experience, skills and abilities in our teams.

As part of our commitment, we're looking at all our people policies and procedures to ensure they are fair, transparent and support equality for all.

As well as this, we're forming an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Forum made up of team members across Estuary to look at how we work, and to make sure EDI is part of everything we do. This forum will work with internal teams and external stakeholders to ensure our work is meaningful, consistent and valued by every team member.

We're already planning to launch EDI champions, who will work with teams to raise awareness of EDI. We'll also be making more time for training in areas such as unconscious bias and promoting inclusion.

Our aim is that we represent and champion all areas of diversity, both within our teams and as an employer of choice.

We're signed up to the CIH Charter for Housing, which means we make a public commitment to deliver a fair and accessible housing service. The  Equality_and_Diversity_Charter_for_Housing.pdf [pdf] 457KB is available to view

Our Equality and Diversity Policy has been updated. Some key areas covered in the policy can be accessed below. The full policy can be accessed here: https://admin.estuary.co.uk/?a=view&e=10&i=9195#

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Policy Purpose and Aim

 Purpose and Aim

Estuary is made up of brilliant people. Each of us is unique, whether in terms of our background, personal characteristics, experience, skills or motivations. We value our people for the differences they bring to the table. These differences - this diversity - is powerful.

Fostering an inclusive culture helps each of us to benefit from a wider range of these different perspectives, experiences and skills. We believe that this creates a happier, more productive working environment for us all.

To support this inclusive culture, this policy suite:

  • outlines our commitment throughout the employment lifecycle to equality, diversity and inclusion and sets out how we put this commitment into practice
  • explains the behaviours we expect of our people in support of this commitment; and
  • sets out the key steps we take to make our culture as inclusive as possible for people of all backgrounds, including how we ensure equality of opportunity throughout the employment lifecycle.

This policy suite does not form part of your contract of employment and we reserve the right to amend or withdraw it at any time.

Scope

This policy applies to anyone working for us. This includes employees, Board members, agency/bank workers, contractors, volunteers, interns and apprentices. The policy also relates to job applicants, and is relevant to all stages of the employment relationship.

Diversity & Inclusion

At Estuary, we’re committed to embedding equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of our culture and everything we do.  We aim to be an inclusive organisation in which individual differences and needs are supported, and a place where everyone has a fair opportunity to fulfil their potential without suffering discrimination, harassment or disadvantage.  We strive to ensure the people who work for us and use our services, as well as their families and carers, are treated with dignity and respect at all times.

This policy suite is available in a range of other formats upon request.

Responsibilities

  • Estuary’s Board of Management, having formally adopted the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Policy Suite, accepts overall responsibility for its implementation and for monitoring its effectiveness.
  • Our Governance & Remuneration Committee is responsible for scrutinising our performance in terms of the delivery of EDI objectives and Key Performance Indicators.
  • Board members will also collectively champion the implementation of this policy suite.
  • Together with the Chief Executive, the Executive Team has a particular duty to ensure that the requirements of this policy are planned and met. Directors and senior managers will have responsibility for the day-to-day implementation of the policy suite and will be accountable for this via recruitment, performance management, employee development and appraisal systems.
  • All staff, Board members, tenant representatives, groups and anyone representing the Association have a specific responsibility to ensure the positive application of this policy.

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Policy Our Commitment to You

1.      Our commitment to you

We believe that a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion not only benefits Estuary but supports wellbeing and enables our people to work better, because they can be themselves and feel that they belong.

We’re committed to promoting a working environment based on dignity, trust and respect, and one that is free from discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation.

We ensure that our recruitment, promotion and retention procedures do not treat people less favourably because of their:

  • disability
  • gender, gender identity or gender reassignment status
  • marital status
  • race, racial group, ethnic or national origin, or nationality
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation
  • age
  • civil partnership status
  • pregnancy or maternity
  • paternity
  • educational background
  • socio-economic background
  • caring responsibilities
  • part-time status, or
  • fixed-term status.

2.        What we expect from you

We expect you, and every one of our people, to take personal responsibility for observing, upholding, promoting and applying this policy suite. Our culture is made in the day-to-day working interactions between us - so creating the right environment is a responsibility that we all share.

Cultivating this culture does not happen by accident, but it needs ongoing commitment and nurturing. The reality is that we live in a world where areas of difference (whether gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or others) often translate to biases, challenges and barriers that may not be faced by others. The more areas of difference a person brings, the more this effect can be compounded.

In this way, the experiences of a black woman with a disability may be very different to the experiences of a black woman without a disability and also very different from the experiences of a white woman. This way of looking at diversity and inclusion is known as "intersectionality".

We expect you to treat your colleagues and third parties (including customers, suppliers, contractors, agency/bank workers and consultants) fairly and with dignity, trust and respect. Sometimes, this may mean allowing for different views and viewpoints and making space for others to contribute.

By embedding such values and constructively challenging inappropriate comments or ways of working, you can help us achieve and maintain a truly inclusive workplace culture.

Any dealings that you have with colleagues or third parties must be free from any form of discrimination, harassment, victimisation or bullying.

If any of our people is found to have committed, authorised or condoned an act of discrimination, harassment, victimisation or bullying, we will take action against them including under our Disciplinary Policy & Procedure.

You should be aware that you can be personally liable for discrimination and harassment.

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Policy (EDI) Forum

7. Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Forum

We are proud to have an Equality Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Forum to provide an inclusive space for people who have a passion for, or a connection with, particular aspects of equality, diversity and inclusion.

The aim of the EDI Forum is to:

  • help shape Estuary’s EDI action plan
  • organise events to raise awareness and provide education
  • contribute ideas and suggestions for ways the organisation can be more diverse and inclusive, and
  • provide networking opportunities and peer-to-peer support.

We encourage participation from all areas of Estuary – whether you’ve been personally affected by issues of discrimination because of your background, or you would like to show up for your colleagues as an ally, we’d love you to get involved.

Please speak to your line manager or contact the People & OD team to find out more about getting involved.

 

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Policy Equality of Opportunity

Equality of opportunity

Recruitment

We are committed to taking action to encourage job applications from as diverse a range of people as possible.

Anyone making decisions about recruitment must not discriminate in any way, and must have attended appropriate equality, diversity and inclusion training.

It’s our expectation that every recruitment selection panel member will challenge themselves, and other members of the panel, to make sure that any stereotypes, unconscious bias or prejudice do not play any part in recruitment decisions.

Career development

If you’re involved in employee development, any decisions you make relating to a person's promotion or career development must be free from discrimination.

We ensure that selection criteria and processes for both recruitment and promotion are reviewed on a regular basis so that there is no discriminatory impact on a certain group.

10. Gender & ethnicity pay gap report

Estuary is legally required to produce an annual Gender Pay Gap Report and submit our gender pay gap data to the government.  Furthermore, we also produce a report for our ethnicity pay gap and continue to monitor this alongside our gender pay gap.

 

We’re dedicated to continuing to take action to address our gender and ethnicity pay gaps.  The report can be found on Estuary’s website here.

11. Disability inclusion

Recruiting people with a disability

The People &OD team will consider disability in advance of a recruitment campaign so that advertising, application forms and assessments, arrangements for interviews, role profiles and selection criteria are appropriate and as inclusive as possible. 

Estuary is accredited as a Disability Confident employer and are committed to guaranteeing interviews to disabled candidates who meet the minimum criteria of the role profile.

We will ask applicants at the outset if they require any reasonable adjustments to be made to the recruitment process. These may include thing like: ensuring easy access to the premises for an interview; adapting psychometric tests/replacing psychometric tests with an alternative option; providing an alternative to a telephone interview for a deaf candidate; providing a suitable chair for an interview with a candidate suffering from back problems.

If you are involved in the interview process, you must not ask job applicants about their health or disability.  Such approval is given only in exceptional circumstances and where there are specific legal grounds for doing so.   Successful candidates will be asked to disclose health information relevant to their role through a confidential pre-employment screening process through our Occupational Health provider and all information will be handled securely in accordance with our Candidate Privacy Notice.

Please see the Recruitment & Retention Policy Suite for more information.

Talking about disability

We understand that some people find it hard to discuss their disabilities and that disability can be invisible.

Psychological safety, where people feel able to speak up about their experiences without fear of negative consequences, is paramount to ensuring disability inclusion.

However, this is only possible if we treat people with dignity, trust and respect and we expect everyone to uphold these values.

We do not tolerate ableist language in our organisation. Ableist language is language that is negative, inappropriate or offensive towards people with a disability and may take the form of jokes or "banter". If you adopt such language, we will take action against you including (for those to whom it applies) under our Disciplinary Policy & Procedure.

Reasonable adjustments

If you have a disability, you do not have to tell us. However, we would encourage you to let us know so that we can support you, for example by making reasonable adjustments to our premises or to aspects of your role, or to our working practices.

If you are experiencing difficulties at work because of your disability, please contact your manager or People & OD to discuss potential reasonable adjustments that may alleviate or minimise such difficulties. We may need to discuss your needs with you and your medical adviser or our Occupational Health provider to help us get the right support in place.

We’re also committed to treating people with disabilities fairly and supportively when it comes to absence management.  Please see our Sickness Absence & Long Term Sick, Absence Management and Disability Leave Policies for more information.

Support

If you have a disability, or you care for someone with a disability, and need emotional support or help with practical issues, please contact our Employee Assistance Programme or Plumm Wellbeing portal for free, confidential advice which is available 24/7. Details of how to access these services are available on the intranet or from the People & OD team.

If you feel comfortable to do so, we also encourage you to join our EDI Forum to speak with others who may also have experience of disability and who understand the associated workplace challenges. You can make your voice heard and make a difference by helping raise disability awareness and understanding across the wider organisation.

12. Support for women

We recognise that women have faced a number of significant disadvantages in the workplace historically, and we’re committed to supporting equality for women in the following ways:

Domestic abuse policy

Although domestic abuse (DA) can, and does, affect anyone regardless of their background, it is well known that women are statistically the most likely to be victims of this kind of abuse.  Estuary is committed to supporting employees who are experiencing DA; please refer to our Domestic Abuse Policy for more information.

Family friendly and flexible working policies

We also recognise that women are more likely to be primary caregivers to children or other dependents, and that this can come with many challenges when trying to achieve work-life balance. 

We’re passionate about wellbeing, and we support all our employees with caring responsibilities by offering a range of parental leave and other flexible working options.  Please see our Family Friendly Policy Suite for more information.

Menopause policy

We understand the issues women may face when going through the menopause, and want to create an open and honest workplace where employees can discuss any issues associated with the menopause, to ensure the necessary support is known and offered to employees when needed.  Please see our Menopause Policy for more information.

13. Training

If you are involved with making decisions about a person's employment, you must attend appropriate equality, diversity and inclusion training.

All new starters must attend equality, diversity and inclusion training as part of their onboarding programme.

Every current employee and Board member must attend regular equality, diversity and inclusion training on at least a two-yearly basis.

We expect all our people to proactively support our equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives by attending events and workshops organised by the People & OD Team and EDI Forum to educate themselves on the challenges faced by others and how to help alleviate these in the workplace.

14. Monitoring and review

We will gather and analyse information relating to the diversity of our workforce and applicants for employment and promotion, in relation to all of the protected characteristics identified in Section 3 of the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Policy.

Equality monitoring enables us to identify under-representation and where there are barriers to inclusion. This helps inform our priorities for action and provides a baseline for measuring progress.

The disclosure of personal information by employees/job applicants is voluntary and employees may withdraw their consent to its processing at any time. Any information disclosed will be treated in confidence, stored securely and used only to provide statistics for monitoring purposes in accordance with our Data Protection Policy and Employee/Candidate Privacy Notices.

When communicating monitoring data, we will ensure that it is anonymised to avoid identifying individuals, and monitoring data is never made available to hiring managers during the recruitment process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mindful Employer

Mindful Employer Logo Blue

The Mindful Employer symbol is displayed by employers who have signed the Mindful Employer Charter who wish to improve the working lives of their staff and willing to work towards better mental health practice. 

Disability Confident Employer

Disability Confident Logo

We’re delighted to have been awarded level 2 Disability Confident Employer status by the Department of Work & Pensions. This award remains in place until 2025.