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Equal Opportunities Policy

Artswork is committed to the belief that all people are of equal value and that diverse views, skills and attributes should be recognised, nurtured and celebrated within our work. We recognise that discrimination and marginalisation create barriers that limit opportunities and negatively impact disabled people, those with low-incomes and people who experience racism, homophobic and transgender discrimination. We are committed to a social justice approach that recognises the power, creativity and leadership of those that have been under-served and we work to understand and dismantle systemic inequities in our policies, procedures and practices.



Inclusive engagement in arts and cultural practice for all children and young people is central to our mission and values. We specifically remove barriers to arts engagement and to support participation in creative activities for those groups whose current level of participation is disproportionately low by:

• supporting partnerships across cultural organisations and education that will create lasting change

• devising and delivering inclusive programmes that empower the most underrepresented in society

• developing young people’s skills, for their own growth and as future cultural leaders

• enabling children and young people from any background to find their voice and encouraging others to listen and support them

• delivering creative training that nurtures innovation and progress

Our strategy, planning, promotion, delivery, monitoring and evaluation is shaped by and aims to go beyond the Equality Act 2010 and the Equality Duty 2011. We work to prevent discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the grounds of the legally protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation and because of social and economic background which is a barrier to creative engagement, particularly for children and young people. We value people’s intersectional identities and listen to the views, experience and influence of those who have been less represented and included in our work in the past.

We recognise that current legislation has not kept pace with social change and the needs of individuals are not fully recognised or supported by the law. We take responsibility to selfeducate and understand the challenges faced by people who experience discrimination, and for actions that will create inclusion.

Our Equalities Action Plan examines, considers and develops approaches for our:

1. Governance

2. Employment

3. Partners, Supporters, Audience, Participants, Public engagement, Programmes

4. Communications, Marketing and Publicity



This policy is supported and upheld by the following Artswork policies and action plans:

• Equalities Action Plan

• Adjustments Policy & Procedure

• Anti-Discrimination Charter

• Communications Policy

• Complaints Policy

• Dignity at Work Policy

• Finance & Procurement Policy

• Grievance Procedure

• Online and Social Media Guidelines

• Recruitment Policy

• Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy & Procedures

• Social and Ethical Policy

• Whistleblowing Policy



Artswork expects its employees and contractors to work together to create a safe environment and to ensure discrimination in our business and practices does not occur. We will investigate all complaints of discrimination without censure or judgement and take a zero tolerance approach to reported racism, homophobia, transphobia and other hate crimes such as those motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone’s disability or religion. Perpetrators will be investigated for misconduct with the suspension of duties or removal from a programme during this process. Repeat offences will be investigated as gross misconduct which may result in the immediate dismissal or permanent removal from a programme.

Direct Discrimination – where an individual is treated less favourably because of an actual or perceived protected characteristic. Direct Discrimination can also occur when an individual is treated less favourably because:

a) they are associated with someone who has a protected characteristic – this is known as Discrimination by association

for example, an individual is refused a nursery place because their younger sibling has a disability. Although the nursery automatically offers places to siblings, they are concerned that the younger sibling’s care would require too much time, so refuse the older sibling a place

b) they are perceived as having a protected characteristic or belonging to a certain group when they do not – this is known as Discrimination by perception

for example, a job applicant is not shortlisted because it is believed they are Muslim from the sound of their name, even though they are not

Indirect Discrimination – where a rule, policy or procedure limits an opportunity for everyone with a protected characteristic or means they are disadvantaged.

Harassment – unwanted conduct or behaviour that an individual finds offensive and has the purpose or effect of violating their dignity or creating a degrading, humiliating, hostile, intimidating or offensive environment. The conduct is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010 when it is connected with an actual or perceived protected characteristic. Other forms of harassment are also unlawful under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. 4

Victimisation – negative and unfair treatment directed towards an individual because they have made or are believed to have made or might make a legitimate complaint under the Equality Act 2010.



1. Overall and final responsibility for the Equal Opportunities Policy and leading our equity work is that of Artswork’s Chief Executive and Board of Trustees

2. Day-to-day responsibility for ensuring this Policy is put into practice is delegated to the Chief Executive, Chief Finance Officer and Deputy Chief Executive

3. Proactively working towards equity is the responsibility of all employees and those working on behalf of Artswork. This means each individual team member should:

  • develop an understanding of Artswork’s Equalities Policy and Action Plan
  • take responsibility to embed the Equalities Action Plan in their own work
  • sign up to and live Artswork’s Anti-Discrimination Charter
  • be able to report on the progress of their own actions, those of their team and the wider organisation
  • report any training needs to their line manager

4. Artswork will monitor and review its Equal Opportunities Policy and Equalities Action Plan at least annually

5. Artswork will allocate financial resources to ensure all employees are given guidance and training to ensure they are able to embed a commitment to equity in their working practices

6. Artswork will enforce the Policy using the Disciplinary and Grievance procedures outlined in our Employee Handbook where necessary

Promoting and embedding the Policy in our work

All employees will:

• receive an introduction to the Policy and Action Plan as part of their induction

• attend 1 day Artswork Professional Development Diversity and Equality training

• undertake unconscious bias training

• participate in discussions during team meetings

• participate in annual action planning to update progress against / set new targets

• participate in discussions during their twice-yearly appraisals

• undertake further and extended training as a requirement of specific job roles


1. Governance

Equality of opportunity relates to all aspects and areas of Artswork’s programmes and activities including the governance of the organisation. Artswork is committed to achieving representation and participation by a diverse group of individuals in its Board of Trustees, Youth Board, advisory groups, committees or steering groups as well as within paid and voluntary appointments by:

• developing a dialogue and exchange with the arts community and other businesses, cultural and educational organisations

• consulting and listening to specialist organisations and community groups that represent people currently disenfranchised from arts and culture

• monitoring the membership of the Board of Trustees and advisory groups

• strengthening the diversity of the Board of Trustees and advisory groups by broadening our recruitment channels Artswork’s Trustees and Youth Board oversee a process of regular review to ensure that our Mission, Values, Aims and Objectives continue to be inclusive and relevant. They provide guidance on the development of our strategies and policies, participate in working groups for examining and responding to specific areas such as practices to support disabled employees, and our Race Equity programme, and assess and monitor our Equalities Action Plan annually.


2. Employment

No job applicant or employee shall receive less favourable or more favourable treatment on the grounds of age, care of dependants, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socioeconomic background & status, or because of the intersection of these. Artswork will recruit, build and maintain a skilled, diverse and dynamic workforce by:

• assessing the skills required for the job role rather than the level of qualification

• ensuring job descriptions and advertisements are written in clear, plain English

• enabling job applications to be submitted in a variety of formats

• advertising all roles through a broad range of networks and media including those that broaden the diversity of applicants

• using open tenders for commissions and contracts

• including the requirement in briefs for artists and contractors to deliver using inclusive practices

• guaranteeing interviews to disabled candidates that meet the essential criteria

• ensuring all candidates have an equitable opportunity at interview by meeting accessibility needs and providing adjustments as required

• selecting interview questions that do not discriminate directly or indirectly and include 1 question about Equal Opportunities knowledge and experience for all roles

• agreeing questions and scoring in advance of interviews

• providing the questions to interview candidates in advance of the interview

• reviewing selection criteria and procedures to ensure that individuals are selected and treated on the basis of their merits and abilities

• removing all personal information from applications before shortlisting for interview, including any demographic information and details such as the name of the school / college or university they attended

• monitoring applicants’ demographic information using Artswork’s Equal Opportunities Monitoring form which is separated from the application on receipt and stored and processed securely and confidentially

• using this demographic data to assess the effectiveness of job advertising in reaching diverse candidates

• providing equal opportunities to receive training and career development opportunities and apply for promotion

• having a zero tolerance approach to bullying, harassment and discrimination and communication channels that allow breaches and complaints to be investigated swiftly Artswork has an Adjustments Policy and Procedure and associated budget that enables all employees with a disability or health condition to request assessment or adjustments that will support them to undertake their job role.


3. Partners, Supporters, Audience, Participants, Public engagement, Programmes

Artswork’s external work includes its role working across the arts and education sectors, as a training and CPD provider for arts and cultural professionals and as a work-based learning provider for young people. It will determine the content and range of programmes it delivers based on:

• research, consultation, data collection and analysis of participation levels of children and young people in arts and culture

• listening to the views, experience and influence of those experiencing the barriers caused by discrimination, marginalisation or disadvantage and those that have been under-served by our past work

• data collection and analysis of programme participants against local area demographics

• actively developing a dialogue and forming relationships and critical friendships with an increasingly wide range of partners and organisations including Disabled and Black led groups and businesses

• developing training, CPD and activities that respond to identified need including SEND

• the views, experiences, influence and needs of local communities, children and young people, artists, practitioners and stakeholders

• approaches that nurture and reflect the talent and cultures of creative practitioners, cultural workers and communities from diverse backgrounds

• monitoring participation in Artswork’s programme and activities

• sharing case studies that illustrate diversity and/or increased inclusion and access within our programmes

• reviewing the accessibility, reach and inclusion levels of our programmes and in response to feedback from our audiences and customers

• embedding learning from previous programmes and participant feedback in future programme design

We implement this Policy when delivering work-based training for young people by:

• ensuring training delivery staff are trained and confident in discussing diversity and promoting equality of opportunity

• ensuring training delivery staff are aware of the needs and preferences of learners and can differentiate their training style, approach and resources accordingly

• encouraging dialogue between staff and with learners about current equality and diversity issues

• providing participants and apprentices with equality and diversity training including arranging guest speakers from diverse-led companies in our sector

• monitoring how training delivery staff engage learners in equality and diversity issues

• tracking and developing learners understanding of the legal, moral and social issues in this area

• reviewing training provision to ensure it is in line with best practice

• undertaking a regular audit of training and event environments to ensure ongoing suitability and accessibility

• briefing trainers and speakers as to the needs and requirements of participants

• anticipating and responding to specific needs and requirements including the provision of alternative training spaces, hand-outs and training materials in a variety of formats, enabling additional support for attendees where appropriate


4. Communications, Marketing and Publicity

Artswork has worked to improve the accessibility of its online and print marketing, publicity and communications and will continue to do this in line with best practice. We aim to ensure they are diverse in representation and responsive to feedback from our audiences and customers by:

• ensuring that text and images on all materials and online reflects our commitment to equal opportunities, does not contain negative or discriminatory images, and includes diverse representation and inclusive imagery

• ensuring all Artswork’s websites are accessible across platforms, commissioning accessibility audits and taking advice from specialist groups

• allocating additional resources to ensure that alternative formats of material and presentation can be provided e.g. translations, audio recordings, transcripts, signing, alternative print formats

• targeted communication with diverse and under-represented groups through establishing partnerships and networks with relevant communities and organisations

• sharing best equalities practice within case studies

• undertaking listening, consultations and surveys with existing and new groups that represent under-served communities

• working with other organisations concerned with the promotion of the arts to groups and individuals with specific access or participation needs

• monitoring the use of Artswork’s website and social media to assess reach

• regularly reviewing the accessibility and the reach of our communications and methodologies and in response to feedback from our audiences and customers

• providing different channels for audience, customer and participant feedback

• responding sensitively and swiftly to feedback when we have received a complaint

• reviewing provision in response to feedback from our audiences and customers


Legal Framework

Artswork’s Equal Opportunities Policy is informed by relevant and current legislation including the:

• Equality Act 2010

• Equality Duty 2011

• Asylum and Immigration Act 1996

• Immigration Act 2016

• Civil Partnership Act 2004

• Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013

• Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002

• Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000

• Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

• Protection of Freedoms Act 2012


Policy last reviewed: September 2022

Next review date: September 2023

Policy Owner: Louise Govier, Chief Executive



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