At Gentoo, our vision is about inspired people and strong communities, and we believe that the strongest workplaces and communities are inclusive. We are committed to supporting and empowering our colleagues and realise that it's our differences that make us unique.
Public Sector Equality Duty (the Equality Duty) came into force on 5 April 2011 to extend the protection of the new "protected characteristics" which covers age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation. The Duty applies in England, Scotland and in Wales, and ensures that everyone is treated with equal respect and that discrimination in the workplace is eliminated.
At our core, we believe in promoting equality of opportunity and playing our part to prevent discrimination so that our colleagues feel completely comfortable to be themselves.
Protected characteristics are age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion & belief, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy & maternity, marriage & civil partnership.
Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are integrated into the decision-making processes of Board, being one of the several cross-cutting factors that we require to be considered and reported in all Board reports. Information sessions and guidance example issued for relevant staff/lead officers who have responsibility for signing off reports is structured around the PSED General Duty.
Gentoo’s policy review process also includes a requirement to complete an equality assessment as part of the process of reviewing or developing a policy. Our Equality Assessment format is structured around PSED General Duty requirements.
We communicate a zero tolerance approach to discrimination and harassment both in respect of our staff and our customers. EDI is embedded in our Community Safety procedures, with harassment/bullying and hate incidents related to a protected characteristic being graded as category 1 and receiving high priority.
We collect and record staff and customer monitoring data in relation to the protected characteristics. It enables analysis and identification of impacts, for example in relation to employment or promotion opportunities within the organisation. It furthermore facilitates our tailoring of service delivery to meet an individual’s needs (e.g. alternative formats, interpretation services, “Knock louder/wait longer” etc).
All staff attend mandatory diversity training. The core session includes reference to the PSED requirements, and the content of the session supports our compliance by promoting awareness and understanding of barriers faced by different protected groups, challenging assumptions and stereotypes, and discussing the ways in which we can tailor services to ensure that they are responsive and sensitive to different individual needs. We use innovative and creative training tools to maximise staff engagement.
In addition to formal training, we make a wide range of information and resources available to equip staff and increase their awareness and understanding, e.g. intranet articles, staff newsletter articles, Diversity Matters staff handbooks, so that staff working in the community are equipped to recognise and challenge discrimination, inappropriate attitudes or behaviour etc, and can communicate positive messages.
Our choice based engagement model provides a wide range of ways for customers to engage with us, helping to maximise the opportunities for members of protected groups to get involved. Our Community Partnership Co-ordinators also get actively involved with groups in their areas, giving bespoke support to develop capacity and encourage members of protected groups where their participation has been low.
We use our influence as a purchaser of goods and services, a major employer, and an organisation with a high profile in the city, to promote our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We communicate positive messages that promote awareness and understanding around equality, via sponsorship and participation in key high profile events (e.g. Pride), via our social media and newsletters to customers and staff. We place a formal requirement on those contracting or partnering with us or receiving any funding from us, to commit to complying with our equality commitments.