Our policy on diversity and inclusion

1. Introduction

 At the Forward Institute we fundamentally believe that all people should be treated with dignity and respect. We are fully committed to equal opportunities, maximising diversity of thought an inclusivity at work, and to ensuring we have non- discriminatory procedures and practices. We aim to have an inclusive working environment that is free from discrimination and harassment, and that is seen as a safe space for all staff, contractors, fellows and anyone else with whom we work.

2.  Equal opportunities

At the Forward Institute, equal opportunities means everyone has an equal opportunity to apply and be selected for roles, to be trained, to be promoted and to have their employment ended fairly.

In particular, we will never discriminate on the basis of age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief or sexual orientation.  

We want to ensure that all our working practices are applied fairly and consistently and, if necessary, we will take reasonable steps to avoid or overcome any particular disadvantage these may cause.

2.1.  Recruitment and selection

Recruitment and selection procedures will be free from bias or discrimination. Decisions regarding an individual’s suitability for a role will be based on ability, skills, aptitude and interest in responsible leadership.

Wherever possible, vacancies will be advertised as being suitable for flexible working, to encourage applications from individuals seeking work on a part time basis.

2.2.  Career development and training

All team members will be encouraged to develop their full potential and we will look to actively support all reasonable requests for training or career development opportunities. Where a request has to be denied, the reasons will be discussed with the employee and alternative options will be developed in conjunction with the employee.

Selection for promotion will be based on objective criteria, and decisions will be made on the basis of merit and business need.

2.3. Employment policies and practices

 We aim to ensure that our employment policies and practices do not directly or indirectly discriminate and are applied in a non-discriminatory manner. In particular, we will ensure that all disciplinary decisions are fair and consistent.

As far as is reasonably practicable, we will aim to accommodate the requirements of different religions and cultures, and requests from employees to vary or change their working hours to enable them to care for a dependant.

3. Valuing Diversity

One of our key principles of responsible leadership is diversity and we therefore recognise the value of diversity in a team. Members of the team should respect the nature of each person’s individual diversity and endeavour to learn from exposure to this richness of knowledge, opinion and debate.

We will, at times, consider taking appropriate positive action to enable or encourage applications from persons with a protected characteristic that is under represented in the organisation.

 3.1.  Being a champion for diversity

We recognise that we may have the opportunity to impact the diversity policies of organisations that we work with. We will use our relationships with organisations to champion and encourage a more proactive approach to diversity and inclusion.

3.2.  Supplier Diversity

 Where possible, we will actively use local, diverse, responsible suppliers who share our ethos, and enhance positive impacts on the environment and society. If suppliers are known to have discriminatory policies, we will cease to use them.

 4.  In the event of discrimination

4.1. Discriminatory behaviour, harassment and victimisation by any employee against another team member, contractor, fellow, supplier or any other person with whom we work is completely unacceptable and will be subject to action under our disciplinary procedure, up to dismissal.

4.1.1. Discrimination: occurs when an individual is treated less favourably because of a protected characteristic that they either have or are thought to have. It can also occur when a policy that is applied to everyone has a disproportionately adverse effect on people who have a particular protected characteristic.

4.1.2. Harassment: unwanted conduct that violates an individual’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. Harassment can take many different forms and may involve inappropriate action, behaviour, comments, emails or physical contact. Harassment is always unacceptable; where it relates to a protected characteristic, it will amount to an unlawful act of discrimination.

4.1.3. Victimisation: occurs when someone is treated unfavourably after raising a complaint under this policy.

4.2. Raising a complaint of discrimination

If you believe that you, or another team member, has been discriminated against, or has been subject to harassment or victimisation, you should raise the matter in accordance with the organisation’s grievance procedure.

4.3.  Being an ally

Ideally, we hope that we have a culture where there is no discrimination or harassment, where all team members are treated fairly and with respect. In the event that you do witness behaviour you believe to be discriminatory or harassment against another team member, we hope that our culture enables you to be an ally and speak up for the person being discriminated against.