Approved as a current charity policy by board of trustees on 11/06/2023
This charter states ExVac’s principles surrounding equality, inclusion and diversity, and the expectations we have for everyone involved in our work.
ExVac is a charity providing holidays to disadvantaged children from Oxfordshire. The charity is run on an entirely voluntary basis, including the holiday leaders and the members of the executive committee. As a student-run charity, the recruitment is restricted to students of Exeter College, Oxford, however we endeavour to maintain equality and diversity whilst working within this group. The children selected to go on the holidays are selected following referral from their support workers on a basis of need and behavioural history. ExVac is committed to providing holidays to the children who will most benefit from them, and addressing inequality lies at the heart of our organisation.
Aims of the policy:
- To further our identity as a fair and diverse organisation.
- To educate our existing volunteers and executive committee members of their rights and responsibilities in terms of maintaining equal opportunities.
- To ensure that our recruitment of holiday leaders and executive committee is purely on the basis of the relevant qualifications, skills, attitudes and abilities they hold.
- To reinforce the fair selection of children for the holiday scheme.
What can be expected of us
We are working to give disadvantaged children in Oxford the opportunity to go on holiday. We aim to treat everyone equally, fairly, without bias and with respect in everything we do.
The responsibility for the upholding of the policy lies with the executive committee. The Vice-Presidents have specific responsibility for the selection of holiday leaders and children. The President and Chairperson must oversee the practise of the policy and pursue any allegations of discrimination or institutional problems.
The Equality Act 2010 replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single act. It covers nine protected characteristics, which cannot be used as a reason to treat people unfairly. Every person has one or more of the protected characteristics, so the act protects everyone against unfair treatment. The protected characteristics are:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
The Equality Act sets out the different ways in which it is unlawful to treat someone, such as direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, victimisation and failing to make a reasonable adjustment for a disabled person. These are detailed below:
- Direct discrimination is treating one person less favourably than another in the same or similar circumstances or segregating them from others solely because they are, for example, a lesbian, a gay man, or because they have a disability or illness. Refusing to employ someone who has the required skills because they are deaf or pregnant would constitute such discrimination.
- Indirect discrimination occurs where there is a requirement or condition which applies equally to everyone but which, in practice, has an adverse impact on a particular group, and cannot be justified. For example an unnecessary physical or age requirement can discriminate against women or disabled people. Another example would be the setting of language tests, where language skills or fluency are not really needed for a job.
- Disability discrimination occurs where an individual is unjustifiably disadvantaged for a reason connected with his or her disability, unless discrimination cannot be avoided by making reasonable adjustment. A person is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. An example of discrimination would be failure to recruit a wheelchair user without first considering whether the working arrangements or premises can be easily adapted to suit his or her needs.
- Discrimination by association occurs when there is direct discrimination against someone because they associate with another person who possesses a protected characteristic.
- Perception discrimination occurs when there is direct discrimination against an individual because others think they possess a particular protected characteristic. It applies even if the person does not actually possess that characteristic.
- Abuse and/or harassment. Discrimination also covers actions which amount to abuse and/or harassment of people or groups of people because for example they are a member of a national, racial or ethnic minority group, a woman, a lesbian, a gay man, or have a disability or illness.
- Victimisation occurs when a person is treated less favourably or is discriminated against because for example he/she has pursued or intends to pursue their rights in respect of alleged discrimination.
- Institutional racism (Macpherson Report 1999) is the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin. It can be seen in the processes or attitudes and behaviour, which amount to discrimination, to unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping that disadvantages minority ethnic people. A racist incident is any incident, which is perceived to be racist by the victim, or any other person.
Discrimination in any of the forms stated above is unacceptable, regardless of whether there was any intention to discriminate or not.
Our volunteers, committee members and clients have the right to a working and social environment free from harassment. Harassment occurs when someone’s actions or words are unwelcome and violate another person’s dignity or create an environment that is intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive. Harassment is unacceptable and, where proven, will be treated as a disciplinary offence.
Recruitment of holiday leaders:
- Positions will be well advertised to the student body, and an application form will be completed to include relevant qualifications and experience.
- Everyone has the opportunity to apply to be a leader on an ExVac holiday, especially individuals with lived experiences that intersect with our work. We want to ensure we have a diverse and inclusive set of volunteers, where a variety of ideas and views can be shared, to ensure the children have the best time on the holiday.
- Potential volunteers will be interviewed by both Vice Presidents, and any disagreements between the two interviewers will be brought to the Senior Committee.
- Specific needs of leaders will be identified and understood, with adjustments made where possible to suit them.
- Applicants will not be discriminated against on the grounds of the listed protected characteristics.
- A space will be created where discrimination is challenged and learning is encouraged, to improve our understanding of leaders and the children we work with.
Selection of children for the holiday:
- The holiday will be well advertised to social workers in Oxfordshire and various schools in Oxford
- All applications made in the deadline will be considered. If only a support worker or parental form is returned the Vice President will pursue the missing form as best they can.
- If a child’s parent cannot complete a form or speak on the phone due to illness or language difficulties, measures will be taken to establish another form of contact.
- Applications will be considered with respect to our constitution which states that children on the holidays should be:
- in real need due to a stressful home situation
- in families so deprived that the children would not otherwise get a holiday.
- Children may be rejected on the grounds of a history of aggressive or excessively disruptive behaviour.
- All efforts will be made to ensure that children selected for the holidays will be those that will most benefit from the scheme.
We aim to be inclusive by:
- Ensuring all leaders have sufficient training before the trip to ensure they can understand what is required of them and the children’s needs. This will create a space where all children are listened to and treated fairly and respectfully.
- Making sure there are leaders of multiple genders on the trip, for both safeguarding reasons and ensuring the children have different people they can talk to.
- Adjustments will be made to the holiday to meet all children’s and leaders’ needs. This includes ensuring the children are comfortable with their rooms, dinner time and showering arrangements.
Concerns and Complaints
We will resolve concerns quickly by:
- Listening to all concerns and taking them seriously
- Dealing with these incidents quickly
- Providing support to all involved and affected
- Ensuring there are complaints procedures and processes for everyone to access
What we expect of everyone involved in ExVac
We welcome all ideas, views and contributions to the way that we work, and encourage a space for continued learning. We want everyone to feel included and accepted. We will however challenge behaviour that makes others uncomfortable, as listed above.
We are committed to ensuring those whose voices have historically been heard less often, for example on the basis of age, class, ethnicity, gender, disability, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, feel listened to, understood and accepted. ExVac is a space of kind, considerate and empathetic views.