Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion are at the heart of our work. As an organisation, our aim is to put the learner at the centre of what we do.

PET is strongly committed to eliminating discrimination and promoting equality and diversity amongst our learners, workforce, trustees, and stakeholders. This is one of our core values.

We will therefore develop our own practice on equality and diversity, with a particular focus on our services, employment practices and governance.

Equality recognises that some groups have experienced discrimination and means ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents.

Diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognising our individual differences and different perspectives.

Inclusion means ensuring that everybody has a voice and a means to participate, which may involve making reasonable adjustments to our usual processes.

We understand, and our experience has shown us that in our society some groups of people may experience additional disadvantage and discrimination. This includes (list not exhaustive):

Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities including Gypsies, Romanies and Travellers, people with disabilities including people with neurodiversity, people with criminal convictions, LGBTQI+ people, migrants, older people, religious minorities, women, working class people and young people.

We are aware that structural racism within the criminal justice system and in wider society leads to the overrepresentation of Black, Asian, minority ethnic and Muslim people in prison, and we are committed to challenging racism and other forms of discrimination in the prison system, including within prison education.

We will create a culture in which people respect and value each other’s differences; that promotes dignity, equality and diversity, and that encourages individuals to develop and maximise their true potential.

We will also promote our EDI policy by embracing all cultures and celebrating work colleagues’ events.

As an organisation working with prisoner learners, we are wholeheartedly committed to supporting opportunities for prisoners and former prisoners, within the criminal justice system, in the wider education system and in our community.

We will:

  • Ensure that everybody can equally access our services and are treated fairly and supported when doing so.
  • actively monitor use of our service to ensure that no groups experience systematic disadvantage or discrimination in accessing our service
  • Work hard to identify and tackle any barriers people may experience trying to access our service. We are aware that our necessary criteria for funding distance learning courses will exclude some groups and we aim to mitigate this though policy work promoting access to alternative support and services. The advice team will also offer guidance and sign post to people unable to take up our courses.
  • Consult with service users before making any substantial changes to our service provision. We will develop our services in collaboration with our learners.
  • Ensure that our complaints process is transparent and accessible and investigate all complaints promptly and fairly

We are committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for work and participation in which all individuals have the opportunity to contribute to their full potential, including those with lived experience of discrimination and of the criminal justice system. We actively promote EDI values in our workplace.

We will:

  • Actively promote work and volunteering opportunities to as wide a cross section of the community as possible
  • Implement fair and transparent recruitment processes and monitor these effectively
  • Have fair terms and conditions and ensure we are compliant with legislation
  • Make reasonable adaptations and provide staff and volunteers with appropriate support
  • Provide staff with induction training and support on safeguarding and boundaries
  • Identify risks of discrimination or work practices that could indirectly disadvantage different groups
  • Take concerns, complaints and grievances seriously, investigating any issues and providing appropriate support
  • Ensure work practices and meetings are accessible and work towards encouraging engagement and participation.
  • Appoint an EDI champion to support our EDI practice.

Many of our employment policies and practices have an EDI component. Our staff handbook contains policies on the following (list not exhaustive):

Induction/ Sickness/Maternity and Paternity/ Adoption/ Shared Parental and parental Leave/ Dependants/ Compassionate Leave/Flexible Working/ Volunteering leave/Time off for Public Duties/ Probation/ Performance Improvement Procedure/Disciplinary/ Grievance/Harassment and Bullying/Whistleblowing

Access to learning

We will work towards supporting the right conditions for learners to have successful learning experiences. We aim to support and reflect the different cultures and perspectives of our learners and the staff who support them by valuing and celebrating our differences and supporting those people with specific needs. We will work towards removing the barriers to successful distance learning in prisons through building strong relationships with prison staff which in turn will give learners a better chance to make full use of the services we provide at PET.

Policy networks and alliances

Working in collaboration is part of our key values. We believe that working together makes our voice stronger and more representative. We will embed our EDI practices in our work with partners and organisations, aiming towards practices that mean all have the opportunity to participate. We work with our partners to identify areas of inequality and support them to develop policy and practice.

Policy work

We will aim to engage with our learners and represent learner voice in all our consultations and reports. We will use our policy work to raise awareness of disadvantage and of the experience of different groups within the prison system.

Our Alumni network and Advisory Group work

We will work to ensure that people with lived experience are a core part of the work PET does. We publicise our alumni work in prison newspapers, through prison visits, our website and through the wider criminal justice community. We will ensure the Alumni Network is truly inclusive of everyone, and as representative as possible of the prison population. We will be inclusive of, and sensitive towards, all needs, situations and backgrounds in our work with the network and the Advisory Group.

Our Communications work

We will aim to deliver events, communications and publications that are relevant and accessible to all. We will encourage a diverse range of people to communicate with, and through, us, will represent our learners, and will embody diversity and inclusivity in all our public and internal-facing work.

Our Finance work

We will embed EDI policy in our day-to-day practice when we work with co staff, deal with suppliers, customers and other stakeholders.  We will contribute to EDI monitoring for both internal and external reporting. We will also be mindful of the accessibility needs within our various target audiences when we produce management information for consideration within the charity and financial reports available to the public.

Our Fundraising work

We will aim to deliver events and fundraising activities which are relevant and accessible to all. We will identify groups that we don’t currently receive funding for and aim to identify appropriate sources of income which will enable PET to support them.

Our Project work

We will build EDI considerations into the design and planning for all project work. We will develop systems to evaluate and monitor access and participation in our projects and take action if we identify any differential outcomes.

Our Governance

We will work towards a more diverse Board to ensure richer diversity of experience and views. We will develop a Board that is fully appraised of EDI issues and recognises its full responsibility for EDI. Our governance structure will take account of and reflects our learner engagement strategy. Our Board will ensure that actions relating to EDI are implemented and support an explicit and pro-active commitment to EDI.

We aim to continuously improve and develop in this area. We use data and evidence to monitor our service and practices.

Implementing and monitoring our action plan

Our EDI objectives will be implemented, monitored and developed via an annually agreed action plan. This sets out specific, practical steps that we will take. Ownership of actions will be agreed with individuals across the organisation. Delivery of the action plan will be coordinated by the Head of Policy and overseen by the Chief Executive.

Monitoring our service

The Head of Service Delivery and Head of Policy will regularly assess whether any groups with protected characteristic are disadvantaged by our systems or have poorer access to our service. SMT will review this data twice yearly and where needed, revise our practices, advocate for prison learners and support prison staff to make changes.

The trustee EDI committee and Board

The trustee EDI committee and Board will review the policy, ensure it is implemented, hold the organisation to account and ensure that EDI principles are followed, going beyond the legal minimum where appropriate.

Prisoners’ Education Trust Equality Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Revised: July 2020

Review date: July 2021

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