Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Paul Hughes
Paul Hughes
  • Updated

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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Policy Number:                           Version Number   1               Review Date October 2019

Date:   07/06/2022                       Status: Active                         Author/s HR

Contents

1. Glossary of Terms and Definitions

2. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

3. Aims

4. Principles

5. Scope of the Policy

6. Equality in the provision of education and related services

7. Equality in employment

8. Implementation

9. Roles and Responsibilities

10. Non-compliance with Policy

 

Version

Updated

Updated by

Updates made

Version 1

October 2019

Sarah Hawes

Creation

 

Relevant Information

Disability Act 2005

Employment Equality Act 1998-2015

Equal Status Act 2000-2015

Equality Act 2004

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Public Sector Duty

 

1. Glossary of Terms and Definitions

Equality: ensuring individuals or groups of individuals are not treated less favourably through discrimination (either direct or indirect) or bias. 

Equity: fairness on the basis that everyone starts from the same place of access. Equity considers the presence of privilege as well as the presence of restricted opportunity. This may include positive action measures (defined below) in order to pursue greater equality of outcome.

Diversity: understanding, appreciating and embracing differences and practicing mutual respect for qualities and experiences that are different from the majority.

Inclusion: is a sense of belonging; feeling respected and valued; feeling a level of support and commitment from others so that one can achieve their best at work and study.

Equality Grounds:

The following nine protected grounds are defined under the Employment Equality Acts 2015

  • Gender – a person’s identity as male or female (including transgender persons). A person may identify away from a binary gender identity.
  • Civil Status – single, married, separated, divorced, widowed, in a civil partnership or being a former civil partner.
  • Family Status – responsibility as a parent or as a person in loco parentis in relation to a person under 18, or as a parent or the resident primary carer of a person over 18 with a disability.
  • Sexual Orientation – including but not limited to Heterosexual, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Asexual.
  • Disability - temporary or permanent conditions impacting the physical, mental or emotional functioning of a person, including a range of medical conditions, learning, intellectual and cognitive disabilities.
  • Race– including Race, Colour, Nationality, or Ethnic or National Origins.
  • Religious Belief – including different religious affiliations as well as absence of religious beliefs.
  • Member of the Traveller Community – referring to the community of people who are commonly called Travellers and who are identified (both by themselves and others) as people with a shared history, culture and traditions including, historically, a nomadic way of life on the island of Ireland.
  • Age

Socio-economic-status: a combined economic and sociological measure economic and social position in relation to others, based on the income, education, and occupation of an individual and their family. *Discrimination based on class or socio-economic status is included in the Irish constitution.

EDI mainstreaming: ensures that the principle of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, along with the protection of all human rights are embedded and mainstreamed into every aspect of college life. This includes a requirement to assess the impact of policies, procedures, practices and communications in furthering the principles of equality, diversity, inclusion and fairness.

Universal Design: ensures the design and composition of an environment so that it may be accessed, understood and used to the greatest possible extent in the most independent and natural manner possible in the widest possible range of situations without the need for adaptation, modification, assistive devices or specialised solutions, by any persons of any age or size or having any particular physical, sensory, mental health or intellectual ability or disability. This definition incorporates the principles of Universal Design in Learning in designing educational opportunities throughout the College. 

EDI data monitoring: processes around collection, analysing, storing and reporting on equality grounds within the broad College community. 

Legislative compliance: ensuring that the College will apply this policy in compliance with and in the spirit of all relevant legislation.

Positive Action: defined by the Employment Equality Act as measures maintained or newly adopted with a view to ensuring full equality in practice to mitigate the impact or potential impact of disadvantage linked to any of the nine equality grounds.

Bias: refers to one’s background, personal experiences, societal stereotypes and cultural context which can have an impact on decisions and actions. This can be either conscious or unconscious. Unconscious or implicit bias happens by our brains making incredibly quick judgments and assessments of people and situations using these biases.

Discrimination: treatment or potential treatment that is less favourable based on the nine equality grounds or socio-economic status. This includes direct and indirect discrimination.

Direct Discrimination: occurs when one person is treated less favourably than someone else due to one or more of the nine equality grounds.

Indirect Discrimination: occurs when an apparently neutral practice or policy puts someone belonging to one or more of the nine equality grounds at a disadvantage in comparison to someone else. This includes when there is a practice or policy that has a worse effect on certain groups or individuals.

Discrimination by Association: where a person is treated less favourably due to an association with someone belonging to one or more of the nine equality grounds.

Discrimination by Imputation: when a person is treated less favourably due to being labelled as belonging to one or more of the nine equality grounds.

2. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

The National College of Ireland is committed to changing lives through education and values inclusion in education, research which enriches our society and opportunities based on equity and fairness. 

The College values the enrichment that comes from a diverse community of students and staff and is committed to preventing opportunity for discrimination in the access, experience, progression and achievement of all students and staff through developing and implementing fair and transparent policies and practices.

This Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy has been developed to provide a framework for the College to meet its obligations as an equal opportunities employer and public service provider.

3. Aims

The promotion of equality and respect of all human rights is integral to the overall purpose of the National College of Ireland, where we commit to working together as educators, researchers, administrative, professional and technical staff along with students in a diverse scholarly community

The National College of Ireland Equality and Diversity Policy seeks to:

  • promote a culture of excellence through mainstreaming the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion into all College activities, policies and planning;
  • promote equality and ensure non-discrimination for all staff in relation to all aspects of employment;
  • take positive action where appropriate to assist in advancing equality in employment and College activities to address under-representation;
  • promote equality in education for all students across the education cycle, providing an excellent education for all, and enabling all students to maximise their potential; to take positive action in education to address widening participation and under-representation as appropriate;
  • protect the human rights of all staff, students, associated persons and visitors;
  • ensure compliance with legislation and adherence to standards of best practice and to eliminate unlawful discrimination; and
  • provide processes for complaints and investigation.

4. Principles

The National College of Ireland Equality and Diversity Policy is underpinned by the following key principles.

  • All members of the College Community are expected to treat others with dignity and respect, in line with the relevant College policies.
  • The College will fully comply with the Equal Status Acts 2000-2015, which prohibit discrimination in access to and provision of services, including education.
  • The College will fully comply with the Employment Equality Acts 1998 - 2015, which prohibit discrimination in all areas of employment, including access to employment.
  • The College will identify opportunities for positive action to ensure equality of participation for underrepresented groups in College activities.
  • The College will commit to support and promote diversity of languages and cultures with special regard to the preservation, promotion and use of the Irish language, and also recognising the status of the Irish language as the first official language and the English language as a second official language of the State;
  • The College will support the preservation and promotion of the distinctive cultures of Ireland.
  • The College will provide inclusive access to services and information to people with disabilities and promote the employment of people with disabilities in accordance with the Disability Act 2005.
  • National College of Ireland will further act to ensure due regard to equality and human rights in all our activities as outlined by Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014.

5. Scope of the Policy

This Policy applies to equality and diversity in all aspects of College life and extends to all students, employees, associates and service users. 

6. Equality in the provision of education and related services

The National College of Ireland will ensure equality of access, opportunity and experience for students by ensuring its procedures in relation to admission, delivery of education and related supports, assessment, progression and award, etc., do not discriminate directly or indirectly against any student on any of the nine equality grounds or on the basis of socio-economic disadvantage.

The College will encourage and seek applications from the widest pool of potential students, especially where representation is low and in order to widen participation. In doing so, the College will seek at all times to attract students of high quality and potential regardless of background. The College is committed to developing the learning potential of under-represented groups through institutional supports.

Success as guided by this policy will result in:

  • enabling the College to recruit students of the highest standards from the widest talent pool;
  • affirming the diversity of the student population and enabling us to act where necessary to address disproportionate under-representation;
  • expanding on the reputation of National College of Ireland as an inclusive education provider;
  • helping us to reduce incidents of discrimination in education and research activity and providing a safe environment within which to bring forward concerns;

7. Equality in employment

The National College of Ireland is committed to equality and non-discrimination in all areas of employment, including recruitment and selection, promotions, learning and development and terms and conditions of employment.

Candidates will be selected on the basis of merit and ability, consistent with the operational requirements of the role, and having regard to the principles of this Policy. Selection recommendations will be made by gender balanced selection boards in so far as reasonably practicable. All selection board members will be trained in the principles of equality, non- discrimination and implementation of this Policy. 

Success as guided by this policy will result in:

  • preventing discrimination in employment, selection and promotion;
  • improving staff morale, satisfaction, engagement and productivity;
  • having a workforce that best represents the communities we serve at all levels;
  • attracting and retaining qualified and talented staff regardless of their background or circumstances;

8. Implementation

In delivering this Policy, the key operational priorities are:

  • integrating equality and diversity and respect for Human Rights in all areas of policy development, strategic planning and operational processes relating to education provision, employment and research;
  • transparent and compliant data collection to monitor success and progress within the College community;
  • making training available to all staff on equality and diversity issues;
  • promoting gender balance on all key decision-making boards and committees as well as awareness of the principles of equality and non-discrimination;
  • ensuring that the language used in College communications is inclusive and non- discriminatory;
  • providing designated peer staff contact points where advice can be sought and given on issues that arise in relation to equality and diversity providing effective and trusted complaints procedures for staff, students and the public who are concerned about people breaching this Policy and other relevant policies; and
  • working in partnership with the National College of Ireland Student Union to promote the principles of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

9. Roles and Responsibilities

At the National College of Ireland, each individual has a role under the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy:

  • Responsible for making themselves aware of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy.
  • Responsible for their behaviour and expected to treat others with dignity and respect and to challenge inappropriate behaviour or discrimination.
  • Responsible for ensuring that their programmes of work, teaching content and resources should demonstrate sensitivity to equality and diversity issues.

The Executive Group hold responsibility for the following:

  • To be a champion and to take a leadership role in promoting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion across all college activities
  • To understand and promote the principles of equity and human rights
  • Participation in and promote participation in training and broader activities across all Equality, Diversity and Inclusion matters
  • Ensure that members of their teams are aware of this policy and have access to training across Equality, Diversity and Inclusion matters
  • Respond to and actively seek to resolve equality and discrimination complaints
  • Incorporate the principles of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in all aspect of planning and policy development.

Managers and Department Heads across the college have a specific responsibility to:

  • To understand and promote the principles of equity and human rights
  • Demonstrate positive behaviour as set out by this policy and to manage unacceptable behaviour within their teams in accordance with relevant policies.
  • Actively participate in and promote participation in training and activities pertaining to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion matters
  • Ensure the principles of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and the protection of Human Rights are considered in all aspects of planning, decision making and policy development.
  • Respond to and actively seek to resolve equality and discrimination complaints

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager holds a responsibility to:

  • Review and update this Policy to reflect changes in legislation and best practice within the sector.
  • Follow up and review complaints of non-compliance
  • Facilitate regular training which reflects the core values of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion to meet the needs of the college.

10. Non-compliance with Policy

For all complaints or equality issues, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager can be contacted for further clarification on this Policy on equality@ncirl.ie

Matters pertaining to Bullying, Harassment, Victimisation and Sexual or Gender Based Harassment will be addressed through the relevant disciplinary policies for both Staff and Students. Grievances and/or Whistle Blowing matters will be addressed through applicable policies and resolved as identified through the appropriate channels. 

The College recognises our responsibilities under the Public Sector Duty as a Higher Education Provider to champion the principles of Equality and Human Rights.

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