Equal Opportunities Policy

Hand on Heart Arts is founded on the belief that everyone should have access to opportunities to participate in the Arts. We believe that the Arts (and particularly music) is a tool for building bridges between different cultures and communities and that the self-expression that can be enjoyed through the Arts helps to reinforce a positive sense of individual identity. Our work seeks to nurture respect for the individual, for different cultures and different races in all collaborators.

This policy covers all aspects of the activities of the organisation, including those participating in and those carrying out work on behalf of the organisation.

STATEMENT OF POLICY

HAND ON HEART ARTS aims to be an equal opportunity organisation, and has a policy for this purpose.
This policy covers all aspects of the organisation’s activities including those concerning project participants and employment (from vacancy advertising, selection recruitment and training to conditions of service and reasons for termination of employment).

To ensure that this policy is operating effectively (and for no other purpose) Hand on Heart Arts maintains records of employees’ and applicants’ racial origins, gender and disability. Where required by funding bodies Hand on Heart Arts will obtain and record details of workshop participants’ racial origins, gender and disability.

Ongoing monitoring and regular analysis of such records provide the basis for appropriate action to eliminate unlawful direct and indirect discrimination and promote equality of opportunity.

Hand on Heart Arts’ long term aim is that the composition of our workforce and project participants should reflect that of the community. The composition of the workforce is reviewed on an annual basis. Timetabled targets will be set for groups in the community that are identified as being underrepresented in the workforce and participants. Where necessary, special steps, as permitted by the relevant Acts of Parliament, will be taken to help disadvantaged and/or underrepresented groups to compete for jobs on a genuine basis of equality.

We are committed to reviewing our policy, procedures and practice at regular intervals, at least every three years.

THE POLICY

PROJECT PARTICIPANTS

Wherever possible, all project opportunities will be equally available to all within the community, subject to the specific nature of the project.

Steps will be taken to ensure that knowledge of project opportunities reaches underrepresented groups.

Steps will be taken to ensure that no single group is excluded from participating in a project / activity.
Wherever possible, efforts will be made to identify and remove unnecessary/ unjustifiable barriers and provide appropriate facilities to meet the special needs of disadvantaged and/or underrepresented groups.

EMPLOYMENT PRACTICE

Vacancy advertising

Wherever possible, all vacancies will be advertised simultaneously internally and externally.

Steps will be taken to ensure that knowledge of vacancies reaches underrepresented groups internally and externally.

All vacancy advertisements will include an appropriate short statement on equal opportunity.

Selection and recruitment

Selection criteria (job description and employee specification) will be kept under constant review to ensure that they are justifiable on non-discriminatory grounds as being essential for the effective performance of the job.

Reasons for selection and rejection of applicants for vacancies must be recorded.
Positive action – training, promotion and conditions of service
Underrepresented groups will be encouraged to apply for training and employment opportunities with Hand on Heart Arts. Wherever possible, special training will be provided for such groups to prepare them to compete on genuinely equal terms for jobs and promotion. However, actual recruitment to all jobs will be strictly on merit.

Wherever necessary, use will be made of lawful exemptions to recruit suitably qualified people to cater for the special needs of particular groups.

Wherever possible, efforts will be made to identify and remove unnecessary/unjustifiable barriers and provide appropriate facilities and conditions of service to meet the special needs of disadvantaged and/or underrepresented groups.

Personnel records

In order to ensure the effective operation of the equal opportunity policy (and for no other purpose) a record will be kept of all employees’ and job applicants’ gender, racial origins and disability. This is kept as confidential information in line with the Data Protection Act. Where necessary, employees will be able to check/correct their own record of these details. Otherwise, access to this information will be strictly restricted.

General

The objectives of this Equal Opportunities Policy are to:

Ensure that Hand on Heart Arts has access to the widest labour market and secures the best employees for its needs.

Ensure that no applicant or employee receives less favourable treatment, and that, wherever possible, they are given the help they need to attain their full potential to the benefit of the organisation and themselves.

Achieve an ability-based workforce which is in line with the working population mix in the relevant labour market areas.

The cooperation of all employees is essential for the success of this policy. However, ultimate responsibility for achieving the policy’s objectives, and for ensuring compliance with the relevant Acts of Parliament as well as the various Codes of Practice, lies with Hand on Heart Arts. Behaviour or actions against the spirit and/or the letter of the laws on which this policy is based will be considered serious disciplinary matters, and may, in some cases, lead to dismissal.