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A framework for a disability equality scheme

The Single Equality Scheme
Table of Contents
1. Introduction ……………………………………………………………….3
2. Solihull College’s Equality Vision, Values and Principles……….5
3. Student and staff profile…………………………………………………7
4. The specific duties……………………………………………………….9
5. Consulting our Staff and Students……………………………………10
6. Information Gathering and Monitoring Arrangements…………….10
7. Division of Responsibilities…………………………………………….12
8. Carrying Out Equality Impact Assessments…………………………14
9. Publicising Our Scheme and Progress……………………………….15
10. Complaints……………………………………………………………….16
11. Review and Consultation………………………………………………17
12. Putting the Scheme into Practice…………………………………….17
13. Appendices……………………………………………………………….17

Section 1 – Introduction
This scheme describes in a single document how Solihull College will fulfil its statutory duties
to promote equality of opportunity and avoid discrimination. It demonstrates how it is placing
the promotion of equality and diversity at the centre of all aspects of the college’s work. It is
intended to meet the requirements of the duties to promote race, disability and gender
equality and to implement what is already contained in each of these existing schemes,
focusing on what is common to each but also including the fundamental differences. The
Single Equality Scheme will also take account of legislation in respect of religion and/or belief,
sexual orientation and age.
The scheme will apply to all students and staff at Solihull College and they will have an
important role in contributing to its success. It will also be of interest to our partner
organisations and our stakeholders.
Legislative context

Three pieces of legislation are central to the Single Equality Scheme. These are:
 Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000  Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 2005  Equality Act 2006. We have used the work we have done on the three main duties to inform this scheme. The three legal duties are as follows:  Duty to promote race equality, effective from May 02  Duty to promote disability equality, effective from December 06  Duty to promote gender equality, effective from April 07 The following general duties are common to each:  the need to eliminate discrimination that is unlawful  the need to eliminate harassment that is unlawful  the need to promote equality of opportunity They differ in the following aspects: For Race –  The need to promote good relations between people from different racial groups.  The need to take steps to take account of a disabled person’s disabilities, even where that involves treating disabled persons more favourably than other persons.  The need to encourage participation by disabled persons in public life  Consider the need to include objectives to address the causes of any gender pay gap  The need to eliminate discrimination and harassment on grounds of gender In addition Solihull College acknowledges that the promotion of equal opportunities and diversity extends beyond race, disability and gender equality. Consequently we include the following legislation as relevant to the Single Equality Scheme:  Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006  Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003  Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003  The Gender Recognition Act 2004  The Work and Families Act 2006 These laws do not have positive duties to promote but they do apply to employment, the
provision of education and training and to the creation of an inclusive culture.
We, therefore, take account of these also in all aspects of the college’s work.
Section 2 – Solihull College’s Equality Vision, Values and Principles
Solihull College
is very strong in the area of equality of opportunity. The College has a
culture where difference is respected and diversity celebrated.
The College celebrates and values the diversity brought to its workforce by individuals, and
believes that the College benefits from engaging staff from a variety of backgrounds and
abilities thus allowing it to meet the needs of a diverse student population. The College will
continue to treat all employees and students with respect and dignity, and seek to provide a
positive working and learning environment free from discrimination, harassment or
The College will seek not only to eliminate discrimination, but also to create a working and
learning environment based on positive relations. To this end, the College undertakes to
provide training and support for staff, to consult with all staff about their experience of the
working environment, and to provide diverse images in any materials that it produces for
learners and staff. The aim is to create a positive inclusive ethos where any issues of
stereotyping and discrimination can be discussed openly, with a shared commitment to
challenging and preventing discrimination, to respecting diversity and difference, and to
encouraging good relations between people.
The College will work towards the elimination of discrimination whether overt or covert, and
will seek to ensure that individuals and communities have equal access to learning
programmes and facilities.
Our mission statement, ‘Solihull College aims to provide high quality learning opportunities to meet the needs of individuals, employers and the community’ is central to our approach to equality. Our vision states clearly that the College will be outstanding in its work to promote equality, diversity and inclusion. Students, parents, employers and stakeholders will recognise our deep commitment to diversity and inclusion. Positive attitudes will be evident in all aspects of the College’s work. The moral, ethical and the business case for diversity will be championed by the leadership of the College. The College’s commitment to promoting equality of opportunity for all will continue to be reflected in our strategic plan, our strategic objectives and key priorities, in particular objectives 7 and 8:  To continue to invest in staff and their professional development.  To promote equality, celebrate diversity and widen participation. The scheme links clearly with our stated aims in our Equal Opportunities Policy and the strong focus on equality of opportunity and our support for learners forms a key part of our self assessment reporting, our quality improvement and our development planning. Improving equality brings with it benefits to the organisation as it:
 Helps to create a positive atmosphere where there is a shared commitment to value  mainstreams equality by focusing on the different needs of employees and students  strengthens our work with our partners and stakeholders  improves quality by meeting the needs of all our customers, internal and external Section 3 – Student and staff profile in relation to ethnicity, gender, disability and age.
3.1 Student Profile – College Figures 07/08
Funding FT
Widening Participation
Age Group
Learning Difficulty/ Disability
Ethnic Group
Area of Residence
3.2 Staff profile

EQUALITY & DIVERSITY: Staff Profile (May 2008)
Section 4 – The Specific Duties
Specific duties have been set out to help public authorities meet the general
duties outlined in race, disability and gender legislation. The specific duties
common to race, disability & gender are outlined below.
In publishing our scheme, and to comply with the specific duties Solihull College has:
 consulted stakeholders (i.e. employees, service users and others, including trade unions) from the beginning and taken account of relevant information in order to determine our equality objectives.  Identified how we will gather and analyse evidence to inform our actions and track  Monitored the admission and progress of students and the recruitment and career  Set out how we will assess the impact of our existing policies, practices and proposed activities to identify where action needs to be taken to make improvements  Produced an action plan for the next three years  Agreed how we will monitor and report progress each year and how we will review and make appropriate revisions to this scheme at least every three years.  Set out the College’s arrangements for publishing the results of assessments and  Conducted an extensive pay review and considered any action necessary to address
Section 5 – Consulting our Staff and Students
This Single Equality Scheme builds on the work already done in informing the three separate
schemes on race, disability and gender. These were developed with the involvement of
students and staff of the College. Consultation took a number of forms including individual
and group meetings and the use of confidential on-line questionnaires. We have committed to
further developing our consultation and review activities as part of our Single Equality
Scheme action plan ensuring annual involvement of staff, students and other relevant

In addition, students are asked twice yearly through surveys to provide feedback on equality
and our Learner Engagement Strategy allows students to raise issues as and when they
occur through Student council. Any emerging issues or concerns are followed through in
focus groups with students.
Staff are surveyed yearly with the last survey indicating a high level of engagement and
positive feedback on equal opportunities.
Section 6 – Information Gathering and Monitoring Arrangements
The College monitors the progress of all students and already produces comparative
reports on how well our BME, LD & D, male and female students are progressing. This
information is collected annually and is used to inform review and target setting and action
planning at faculty/directorate, school, and course level. Managers in each Directorate/faculty work with the Deputy Principal and the Director of Student Services & Equality to monitor the progress of their action plans. Learner surveys form part of our annual review cycle as do focus groups with students.
Feedback from students on equality is already included as part of this process and will be
enhanced by focus groups specifically related to the actions identified through the life of the
scheme and action plan. All staff are asked to contribute to an annual survey and we will add
to this process by extending our categories and questions. We will also hold staff focus
groups to review implementation. This information will be reported to the Equality & Diversity
Group. It will form part of our reporting to Governors and be included in our Equal
Opportunities Annual Report. The monitoring process will be used to ensure that staff are
treated equally in terms of promotion, staff development, grading and that relevant policies
eg. Flexible Working, are well publicised and their use recorded.
Data collection on students is done by Student Information Systems led by the Information
Systems Manager. Information on staff is collected by staff services. All data collected is
subject to Data Protection but used generically and aggregated to support improvements and
target setting. Use of specific information is tightly controlled, is circulated only on a need to
know basis, with the permission of the person and with strict guidelines for its storage and
We will review the action plan for this scheme at each meeting of the Equality & Diversity
Group. We review staff development needs each term and this is informed by feedback from
our quality review processes and from individual appraisals.
6.2 Monitoring Our Progress

To inform the setting of goals and the measurement of our progress in achieving them, we will
collect and analyse the following information by race, disability, gender:
6.2.1 For Learners:
 Applications, success and failure rates for admission to programmes  Work placements including success rates, satisfaction levels and job offers  Complaints by learners or their sponsors  Profiles of employees by grade/salary scales and type of work  Type of contract (permanent, temporary)  Promotion application and success rates  Take up of flexible working arrangements
Section 7 – Division of Responsibilities
Leadership and management

7.1 Governors are responsible for ensuring that:
 The membership of the Corporation reflects, as far as possible, the diversity of the  The College’s strategic plan includes a commitment to equality of opportunity  Equalities training features as part of the College’s strategic plan  They are aware of the Corporation’s statutory responsibilities in relation to equality legislation as an employer and service provider as set out in section 2.  They receive and monitor information on learners and staff. The College Principal and Senior Management Team are responsible for taking the lead in creating a positive, inclusive ethos that challenges discriminatory or inappropriate behaviour on the part of managers, staff or learners. All managers are responsible for ensuring that:  They are aware of the College’s statutory duties in relation to equality legislation  All aspects of College policy and activity are sensitive to equality issues  Monitoring information is collected and analysed  Targets are set for the recruitment, retention and achievement of learners based upon the analysis of monitoring information  Teaching observation reports include criteria on equal opportunities  Internal verification procedures include scrutiny of equality issues  Curriculum areas are required to assess performance in relation to equality and  The procedures for the recruitment and promotion of staff enshrine best practice in  Targets are set on the recruitment of staff based upon the analysis of monitoring  The College’s publicity materials present appropriate and positive messages  Learner induction programmes and tutorial programmes reflect the College’s commitment to promote equality of opportunity  Appropriate training and development are provided to support the appreciation and 7.3 Staff are responsible for ensuring that:  They are aware of the College’s statutory duties in relation to equality legislation  Their schemes of work, lesson content and teaching resources demonstrate  They challenge inappropriate behaviour by learners, work placement providers, outside contractors or other members of staff  The College and each of its individual staff confront discrimination, whether witting
Section 8 – Carrying out Equality Impact Assessments

Equality Impact Assessments Equality impact assessment (EIA) is a
process of systematically finding out whether a proposed policy or policy change
or practice affects different groups differently. It takes place in two parts: an initial assessment
or screening of a policy and followed by a full assessment if the initial assessment indicates
that this is required.
We have a schedule for reviewing the impact of all our policies. This process is ongoing and
the initial policy review will be completed by July 2008. A list of policies and their relevance
and grading in relation to equality of opportunity is attached as appendix 2.
Responsibility for the process lies with the Director of Student Services & Equality who
reports to the Deputy Principal. Processes have been embedded across the organisation and
will continue to be through a series of mandatory briefings. This also includes the review/self-
assessment process with each area conducting an impact assessment leading to agreed
actions and then to business planning.

Section 9 - Publicising Our Scheme and Progress

9.1 To the public (including learners, work placement providers and staff):
 Our commitment to equality will be highlighted in our prospectus, our Equal Opportunities Annual Report and will be published on our website: . A summary of the results of our monitoring information will be included in our equal opportunities report, where this does not breach individual confidentiality.  All learners receive summary information on equal opportunities during induction. Copies of the scheme will be on display in the College libraries and available through the College intranet and in different formats  The induction programme for learners highlight the College’s commitment to equality of opportunity, the action to be taken by learners who suffer discrimination and the action to be taken against such perpetrators of discrimination  Personal and subject tutors will reinforce this information during tutorials, in class or  All work placement providers will receive a summary of their responsibilities under the scheme and will be asked to signify their understanding of, and agreement to, these responsibilities  The College will publish the requirement to offer appropriate training covering  The College will promote the requirement of students from under-represented  A summary of the results of monitoring will be included in the appropriate College publication (e.g. newsletter) sent to relevant employers.  All staff will receive a full copy of the scheme  The staff induction programme highlights the College’s commitment to equality, action to be taken by staff who suffer discrimination and the action to be taken against any perpetrators of such discrimination  A summary of the results of our monitoring information will be included in the appropriate College publication (e.g. newsletter)  All governors will receive a full copy of the scheme  The governors’ induction programme highlights the College’s commitment to equality, action to be taken by staff who suffer discrimination and the action to be taken against any perpetrators of such discrimination  A summary of the results of our monitoring information will be included in reports to Any published information will have due regard for individual confidentiality.
Section 10 - Complaints

10.1 The College seeks to provide a supportive environment for those who make claims of
discrimination or harassment on the grounds of race, disability, gender, age, sexuality or religious belief. 10.2 Acts of discrimination (direct or indirect), harassment, victimisation or abuse will be treated as a serious disciplinary offence. 10.3 Staff or learners, who feel they are being discriminated against by other members of staff or by other learners, should raise the matter under the Grievance/Harassment Procedure, which will, if the accusation is upheld, be treated as a serious disciplinary offence. 10.4 If, in the course of their work, members of College staff suffer discrimination from members of the public, the College will take appropriate action and provide appropriate support. 10.5 Any discriminatory behaviour directed against staff by learners, or by learners against other learners, will be dealt with under the student disciplinary procedure.
Section 11 - Review and Consultation
11.1 This scheme will be reviewed on a regular basis in accordance with legislative
developments and the need for good practice, by the College’s Equality and Diversity Group. 11.2 As part of the review the Equality and Diversity Group will seek and take into account the views of stakeholders including staff, learners, work placement providers, the local consultation/negotiating arrangements within the College, and appropriate equality bodies.
Section 12 – Putting the scheme into practice

Our Single Equality Scheme is accompanied by an action plan (Appendix 1), covering the
three-year life span of the scheme, which articulates the steps we intend to take to implement
the scheme.


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