Diversity and Equality policy

New Forest Basics Bank is committed to encouraging equality and diversity among our Trustees and volunteers and eliminating unlawful discrimination.
The aim is for our Trustees and volunteers to be truly representative of all sections of society and our clients, and for each volunteer to feel respected and able to give their best.
The organisation – in providing food parcels and discretionary grants – is also committed against unlawful discrimination of volunteers or our clients.

The policy’s purpose is to:
• provide equality, fairness and respect for all our volunteers
• not unlawfully discriminate because of the Equality Act 2010 protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origin), religion or belief, sex (gender) and sexual orientation
• oppose and avoid all forms of unlawful discrimination. This includes in these Guidelines, dealing with grievances and discipline, dismissal, and selection for employment, training or other developmental opportunities

The organisation commits to:
• encourage equality and diversity in the workplace as they are good practice and make business sense
• create a working environment free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, promoting dignity and respect for all, and where individual differences and the contributions of all volunteers are recognised and valued
Responsibilities include volunteers conducting themselves to help the organisation provide equal opportunities for all volunteers, and prevent bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination
All volunteers should understand they, as well as the Trustees, can be held liable for acts of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, in the course of their volunteering, against fellow volunteers, clients, referral agencies and the public
• take seriously complaints of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination by fellow volunteers, clients, referral agencies, visitors, the public and any others in the course of the organisation’s work activities

Such acts will be dealt with as misconduct under the organisation’s grievance and/or disciplinary procedures, and any appropriate action will be taken. Particularly serious complaints could amount to gross misconduct and lead to dismissal without notice

Further, sexual harassment may amount to both an employment rights matter and a criminal matter, such as in sexual assault allegations. In addition, harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 – which is not limited to circumstances where harassment relates to a protected characteristic – is a criminal offence

• decisions concerning volunteers being based on merit (apart from in any necessary and limited exemptions and exceptions allowed under the Equality Act)
• review volunteer practices and procedures when necessary to ensure fairness, and also update them and the policy to take account of changes in the law

The equality policy is fully supported by the Trustees
Details of the organisation’s grievance policy can be found at Section 2.10 of the Guidelines for Trustees, Members and Volunteers. This includes with whom a volunteer should raise a grievance – usually a Trustee.

Use of the organisation’s grievance and/or disciplinary procedures does not affect a volunteer’s right to make a claim to an employment tribunal within three months of the alleged discrimination.
Approved and adopted by the Trustees of New Forest Basics Bank on: 23rd March 2018