SMA Support UK will ensure it complies with the Equality Act 2010 which prevents people from being treated less favourably because they have a protected characteristic. These protected characteristics are:
- Gender reassignment
- Pregnancy and maternity (which includes breastfeeding)
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
Additionally, where a disabled person is at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with people who are not disabled, SMA Support UK will ensure it fulfils its duty to take reasonable steps to remove the disadvantage by:
- Changing provisions, criteria or practice
- Altering, removing or providing a reasonable alternative means of avoiding physical features
- Providing auxiliary aids.
In view of our limited resources, it may not be possible to make all the desirable adjustments required but the organisation will have equality good practice as an aim and seek to make as many adjustments as possible.
All employees and volunteers have a responsibility to observe this policy by treating everyone they come across with dignity and respect. This is in both their everyday use of language and in all their actions.
1. Our Services
SMA Support UK’s information services are open to anyone who wants to find out about Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
To achieve this objective we will seek to reach all communities and raise awareness of our services. Our ability to be proactive will be affected by our limited resources:
- We will continue to work on improving access to our information website pages (see below)
- Our information publications will comply with the Information Standard. They will be jargon free and use as plain English as possible. They will be reviewed by our target audiences.
- We currently have insufficient resources and demand for the routine translation of our publications. We will respond to requests for these on a case by case basis in as positive a way as possible.
- We currently have insufficient resources and demand for audio or braille versions of our publications. We will respond to requests for these on a case by case basis in as positive a way as possible.
SMA Support UK’s support services are open to anyone affected directly or indirectly by SMA.
- When people seeking support do not use English as their first language, we will seek health and social services funding to enable us to work with interpreters.
- People may contact us via phone, email or text which widens accessibility to anyone with hearing or speech impairments.
- When required (English as a second language, hearing or speech impairment), we will accept calls through a third-party interpreter.
- If a need becomes apparent, we will investigate setting up textphone to accept calls.
- Though few people come to our office for support, interview facilities are accessible and there is a fully accessible toilet.
1.3 Monitoring Equality of Access
For the following reasons we do not keep fully comprehensive statistics re: people’s protected characteristics:
- Families tell us that one of the most positive things about asking for support from the organisation is that there is no paper work, form filling or waiting. People seeking information and support are responded to immediately.
- Often people seeking support are in distress. Asking for details of their protected characteristics would be intrusive and unnecessary.
- Our data protection and confidentiality policy follows the principles of the Data Protection Act which states that we should only collect necessary information. Only limited information about protected characteristics is necessary for the purpose of giving information and support. For example, we will ask someone to let us know how their religious, cultural or personal beliefs may affect their willingness to accept treatment or services or pregnancy advice.
- Often people seeking support don’t give their names – they just want to talk.
- We cannot discover the protected characteristics of the people who access our information directly from our website
From the beginning of 2015, however, we have sought to find out the ethnicity and age of people who have used our services via our survey of those who have had contact.
This should help us review if our information and support services are reaching people equally.
2. Fundraising Opportunities
SMA Support UK is mindful that a number of events it promotes are physically demanding and may not be easily accessible to some people with disabilities. It will continue to promote these for as long as they remain popular and successful in terms of their fundraising objective. It will make any reasonable adjustments to increase accessibility but is aware that all necessary adjustments will not be possible. In view of this it will endeavour to ensure that it continues to offer and further develop a wide range of fundraising opportunities.
3.1 Recruitment, Training and Promotion
SMA Support UK’s decisions regarding advertising, recruitment, selection, promotion, training and development may take into account the Equality Act’s positive action provisions which mean that it is not unlawful to recruit or promote a candidate who is of equal merit for the specific position to another candidate, if the organisation reasonably thinks the person:
- Has a protected characteristic that is under-represented in the workforce; or
- That people with that characteristic suffer a disadvantage connected to that characteristic
People with disabilities are currently under-represented in our workforce:
- If costs allow adverts will encourage applications from disabled people.
- People with disabilities will be shortlisted if they meet the key requirements.
- If there are two applicants of equal merit, the post will be offered to the person with the disability.
- Our ground floor offices are fully accessible. Office allocation will take into account a person’s access requirements.
Our success with this policy will be monitored via our Equal Opportunity Monitoring form which is completed by all applicants and is collected separately from the recruitment process. An overall summary of the gender, age, ethnicity and disabilities of applicants is recorded by the recruitment coordinator who will present this to the Managing Director.
3.2 Employment Conditions
These are detailed in individual employment contracts and the Staff handbook and comply with the Equality Act 2010.
Our website adheres to ‘AA’ compliance level of the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). We will continue to work on improving access for: people with visual impairments who use text to speech software; people with manual dexterity impairments who cannot use a mouse; people with dyslexia and learning difficulties
4.2 Written Publications
Our publications will use a minimum font of calibri or ariel 12. Every effort will be made to use plain English.
Our office is based in Stratford upon Avon which does not offer fully accessible office premises at affordable rents. Our building is therefore a compromise with the ground floor fully accessible. We will always seek to ensure that we meet the access requirements of any visitors and employees.
During induction all employees are given a copy of this equality policy and are directed to the following publications:
Employees are encouraged to discuss this policy and its implementation during induction and within team and supervision meetings. Other training may be organised.
6. Policy Breaches
Behaviour and / or actions by employees which contravene this policy constitute serious misconduct liable to disciplinary action which could result in dismissal.
Volunteers who contravene this policy will be required to review their future volunteering relationship with the Trust with their coordinator. Their volunteering role may be ended.
Trustees who contravene this policy will be required to review their future volunteering relationship with the Trust with the Chair of Trustees. Their trustee role may be ended.
Last reviewed and updated February 2016.