Systems and processes within supported living and residential Care aim to promote equality and inclusion and ensure discrimination and exclusion is dealt with, within a fair process. The policies currently in place are easily accessible to all staff and give clear guidance on acceptable standards of behaviour within the work place. The policy in question need to be clear so there can be no misinterpretation of what is intended. It must address the issue concerned directly and reflect current legal requirements as outlined above.
A well-designed policy is important in addressing discrimination and promoting a positive culture that celebrates diversity. Where possible, new policies should be agreed or designed in consultation with employee and service user representatives.
? Give examples of what constitutes discrimination, harassment, bullying and intimidating behaviour, including cyberbullying, work related events and harassment by third parties:
? Explain the damaging effects of discrimination and why it will not be tolerated;
? State that any examples that demonstrate that discriminatory behaviour has occurred will be treated as a disciplinary offence;
? Clarify the legal implications and outline the costs associated with personal liability.
? Describe how individuals can get help, raise a concern, make a complaint, formally (complaints and grievance procedures) and informally (advice and counselling);
? Promise that allegations will be treated speedily (include expected time frames), seriously and confidentially and prevent victimisation;
? Clearly identify steps in the process (who will investigate, how this will be escalated if necessary, identify what other actions could result, e.g. no action as no case to answer, implementation of action plans rather than escalation);
? Clarify the accountability of investigators (who, where possible, should be independent of the issue and staff involved), managers and the role and responsibilities of union or employee representatives
? Identify requirements for documentation and record keeping;
? Require supervisors/managers to implement the policy and ensure it is understood;
? Emphasise that every employee carries responsibility for their behaviour.
Along with the above points the policy also requires continued monitoring and to be regularly reviewed for effectiveness, including:
• Records of complaints, why and how they occurred, who was involved and where an analysis of trends will help you to identify if the policy is working or if there are any systemic problems;
• Reviews of individual complaints to ensure that action plans were implemented as intended, to identify resolution and to identify if there was any evidence of victimisation for those involved.
When designing or when reviewing and updating a policy, a useful next step is to communicate and consult with those who might be affected by the policy. Outline your plans and seek their views. Completing the initial analysis of equality, diversity and inclusion impact will demonstrate that you have already given some thought to how the policy might affect people. The policy will also have to include how changes are to be communicated. Within supported living and residential Care this is initially carried out during an induction process, staff hand book, training and development plans and as changes made via team meetings, staff supervisions and use of computer systems. Polices should be communicated so that all employees:
• Have been made aware about their rights and personal responsibilities under the policy and understand the organisation’s commitment to deal with harassment.
• Are aware of who to contact if they want to discuss their experiences to decide what step to take;
• Know how to take a complaint forward and the timescales foe any formal procedures.
Completing random and informal checks can look at the effectiveness of your communication to see if staffs are aware of the policy.