Home Care Agency, Cumbria: Equality & Diversity Policy
Eden Country Care is a domiciliary care agency in Cumbria. We are committed to providing a care service that acknowledges that we live in a society that is enriched by the ethnic diversity, culture and faith of its citizens. The company will strive to ensure that the culture and ethos of its in-home care service are such that, regardless of the heritage and origins of clients, staff or applicants, everyone is equally valued and treats one another with respect.
What is Equality and Diversity?
Equality means ensuring everyone in our organisation has equal opportunities, regardless of their abilities, their background or their lifestyle.
Diversity means appreciating the differences between people and treating people’s values, beliefs, cultures and lifestyles with respect.
In a health and social care environment, equality and diversity must be at the heart of what we do. Our service users are individual people and we should always strive to ensure that their diverse needs are met and ensure that they have equal access to the services we provide. This is particularly important for adults in need who, because of a disability, illness or age, are unable to take adequate care of themselves and keep themselves from harm.
Promoting equality and diversity in the workplace is primarily concerned with preventing discrimination – whether this is active or passive.
Adults in need, also known as vulnerable adults are people who are unable to take adequate care of themselves or protect themselves from harm as a result of disability, age or illness. As you will be working in a health and social care setting with our clients then equality and diversity practices must be upheld.
The nine protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act 2010 apply to all vulnerable adults although some of the characteristics have more of a direct link which you need to be aware of. Understanding these protected characteristics and how you can prevent discrimination against them is essential
Religion and Belief
This characteristic refers to a person who follows any religion (including atheism) or who holds any philosophical belief. Depending on their religion or belief, the care you provide to the patient will vary, as certain religions disallow certain healthcare practices. You cannot simply use the same care approach for all religions as you’ll be at risk of indirect discrimination. People of all religions and beliefs are entitled to equal care.
This characteristic refers to a person with a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial adverse impact on their day-to-day life. In order to promote equality for disabled people, you should consider whether any changes to your method of care are required. For example, are all areas of your setting accessible? Does information need to be provided in alternative formats, such as audio or Braille? Do people need personal care plans? People of all disabilities are entitled to equal care.
Particular attention should be paid to adults who lack the capacity to make decisions for themselves. The Liberty Protection Safeguards protect people who lack capacity by enabling them to have the best outcomes possible. All health and social care workers must comply with the guidance contained within the Liberty Protection Safeguards.
This characteristic refers to a person of a particular age or age group. A person’s age will affect their care needs, although be careful not to make assumptions. For example, never assume that an older adult has a poor memory or poor hearing, and never assume that a younger adult is too immature to make a decision. People of all ages are entitled to equal care.
This characteristic refers to a person’s colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origins. As a health or social care worker, promoting equality in regards to race means being aware of (and responsive to) people’s cultural needs and sensitivities and adapting your methods as required. People of all races are entitled to equal care.
Scope of Policy
The policy covers applicants for employment, employees, former employees and service users and those that associate with them who may be discriminated against due to race, ethnic origin, religious belief, class, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, disability or age, marriage or civil partnership and pregnancy or maternity. The policy applies to all provision of services regardless of whether those are free or paid for and regardless of the legal structure of the organisation.
- Eden Country Care is committed to equal opportunities, both as an employer and service provider and will actively encourage respect for diversity.
- It is committed to challenging harassment and discrimination in relation to protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 which include: Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion and Belief, Sex and Sexual Orientation.
- Eden Country Care acknowledges its responsibility to put its policy into practice through awareness, training, education and support.
- All staff will need to complete a three-yearly training update on Equality and Diversity to ensure all staff are aware of legal requirements and their responsibilities.
- Eden Country Care will review and monitor the effectiveness of its equal opportunities policy in practice.
- It is a requirement of employees that they do not discriminate against any of the above individuals or groups during their employment.
- Employees will be encouraged to report to the management any evidence or suspicions of such discrimination that they may come across in their role as carers.
- Eden Country Care will not tolerate racial harassment of any kind and is committed to combating discrimination.
- We will regularly review all employment practices and procedures so that fairness is maintained at all times.
Eden Country Care will inform employees that an equality and diversity policy is in operation and that they are obliged to comply with its requirements and promote fairness in the workplace. The policy will also be drawn to the attention of funding agencies, stakeholders, customers, learners and job applicants.
Our policy will be monitored and reviewed annually to ensure that equality and diversity is continually promoted in the workplace.
There are four key laws relating to equality and diversity which you should be familiar with if you work in a health or social care setting. These are:
- The Equality Act 2010 – this legislation provides protection against discrimination for people who possess one or more of the nine specific protected characteristics. These are age, disability, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex, gender reassignment and sexual orientation.
- The Human Rights Act 1998 – this legislation outlines the basic human rights and principles of equality. The ‘FREDA’ acronym helps you to remember what is covered by the Act: Fairness, Respect, Equality, Dignity and Autonomy.
- The Mental Capacity Act 2005 – notably the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) which aim to help people who lack the capacity to maintain their independence, dignity and the right to freedom. The DoLS aid vulnerable individuals to maintain their right to dignity and equality.
- The Care Act 2014 – this legislation provides six key principles which should underpin all work with vulnerable adults. This includes ensuring that adults receive support that’s personal to them, chosen by them and has their consent