Fighting Words Northern Ireland (hereafter Fighting Words NI or FWNI) is committed to the promotion of equality of opportunity for all staff, artists, freelancers and volunteers. Fighting Words NI will ensure the provision of equality of opportunity and fair participation of children and young people, their parents and carers.
Fighting Words NI will provide equality to all, irrespective of gender (including gender reassignment), marital or civil partnership status, having or not having dependents, religious belief or political opinion, race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, being an Irish Traveller), disability, sexual orientation, community background, or age.
Fighting Words NI:
Is opposed to all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination. All job applicants, employees and others who work or volunteer for the organisation will be treated fairly and will not be discriminated against on any of the above grounds. Decisions about recruitment and selection, promotion, training or any other benefit will be made objectively and without unlawful discrimination.
Recognises that the provision of equal opportunities in the workplace is not only good management practice, it also makes sound business sense. Its equality policy will help all those who work for us to develop their full potential and the talents and resources of the workforce will be utilised fully to maximise the efficiency of the organisation.
Is committed to inclusion and social justice. Education should provide equal opportunity for all young people, regardless of social background. For this reason we are committed to promoting our work particularly in schools and contexts that will contribute to more equitable outcomes.
The aim of Fighting Words NI’s Equality Policy & Procedures is to:
Support Fighting Words NI’s staff, artists, freelancers and volunteers in delivery of programmes for children and young people.
Inform and guide staff, artists, freelancers and volunteers involved in projects and programmes run by Fighting Words NI. It ensures that appropriate procedures are put in place to ensure equality of opportunity for all.
The policies of Fighting Words NI are established and overseen by the Board of Directors, which delegates responsibility for implementation to the executive staff and, through line management, to other staff, artists, freelancers and volunteers. No policy within the organisation operates in isolation and as such, other policies (e.g. Safeguarding Policy & Procedure, Health & Safety Policy, and Volunteer Handbook) will influence the procedures addressed through this policy. Fighting Words NI’s staff, artists and volunteers accept and recognise their responsibilities in relation to the appropriate regulations and legislation. Fighting Words NI will endeavour to carry out its responsibilities by:
Promoting equality of opportunity for all persons
Promoting a good and harmonious working environment in which all persons are treated with respect
Preventing occurrences of unlawful direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation
Ensuring full clarity and understanding amongst staff, volunteers and any representative of Fighting Words NI, regarding their responsibility to uphold this policy
Fulfilling all its legal obligations under the equality legislation and associated codes of practice
Complying with its own equality policy and associated policies
Taking lawful affirmative or positive action, where appropriate
Regarding all breaches of equality policy as misconduct which could lead to disciplinary proceedings.
Fighting Words NI is committed to a review of its policy and procedures by the staff and Board of Directors at regular intervals, with reference to changes in practice and legislation.
Fighting Words NI has agreed procedures for the implementation of all its policies. It has also established roles and responsibilities to ensure the policy is upheld.
The procedures are detailed in the following sections:
3. Communicating the Policy
4. Procedures & Complaints
5. Management, Monitoring, Review & Reporting
6. Appendix: Public Equality Policy Statement
Final responsibility rests with the Board of Trustees, which delegates authority to staff as follows:
The laws most relevant to this document are:
Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 1976, as amended
Disability Discrimination Act 1995, as amended
Race Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, as amended
Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003
Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998, as amended
Employment Equality (Age) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006
Equal Pay Act (Northern Ireland) 1970, as amended.
Fighting Words NI will offer clear instruction on responsibilities and practice, based on its policy and procedures. The General Manager has specific responsibility for the effective implementation of this policy. Fighting Words NI will expect all staff, freelancers, artists and volunteers to abide by the policy and help create the equality environment which is its objective.
In order to implement this policy Fighting Words NI will:
Communicate the policy to employees, job applicants, freelance staff, artists and volunteers
Require staff, artists and volunteers to agree to uphold its policy and procedures prior to work
Incorporate specific and appropriate duties in respect of implementing the equality policy into job descriptions and work objectives of all staff
Provide its staff, artists, freelancers and volunteers with guidance and training specific to the role they will undertake
Ensure that those who are involved in assessing candidates for recruitment or promotion are aware of non-discriminatory selection techniques and make evidence-based decisions on merit
Incorporate equal opportunities notices into general communications practices, as appropriate
Obtain commitments from other persons or organisations such as subcontractors or agencies that they too will comply with the policy in their dealings with the organisation, its workforce and volunteers
Ensure that adequate resources are made available to fulfill the objectives of the policy.
Discrimination is a barrier to equal opportunities and unjustified discrimination, whether covered by law or not, is unacceptable within Fighting Words NI.
Relevant legislation aims to address the barriers posed by discrimination and stipulates that it is unlawful to discriminate either directly or indirectly on the grounds of disability, gender including transgender, marital status, sexual orientation, religion or belief, community background or race. There must therefore be no discrimination on these grounds in the treatment of people within Fighting Words NI or in the course of Fighting Words NI’s work.
Under relevant NI legislation victimisation is defined as occurring when one person is given less favourable treatment than others in the same circumstances because it is suspected or known that the person has:
Made a complaint under the relevant legislation
Given evidence or information relating to any complaint investigation, legal proceedings or appeal under the relevant legislation
Done anything else under or by reference to the relevant legislation
Alleged contravention of the relevant legislation with regards to less favourable treatment does not amount to victimisation if the person concerned made a complaint that was false and was not made in good faith.
2.3 Positive Action
Relevant legislation within NI provides for, among other things, positive action measures. This holds where individuals with a particular protected characteristic have been under-represented in the Organisation. Where appropriate, Fighting Words NI may look to take lawful positive action measures to increase representation.
3. COMMUNICATING THE POLICY
Fighting Words NI will communicate its policy practically, publicly and in the promotion of good practice.
3.1 Practical & Public Communication
Fighting Words NI will draw attention to its policy on its webpages. It will make the public aware of its principles and procedures. Where appropriate, it will provide supplementary information for distribution to parents and carers who attend Fighting Words NI events. The contact details of the General Manager (the Equality Officer) will be supplied to relevant external companies, staff, artists, etc. Information will further be made aware to the public as relevant, with contact information for the Equality Officer.
3.2 Promotion of Good Practice
Fighting Words NI will stipulate that other organisations it is affiliated with have Equality policies in place and are implementing those policies. Through induction, training and the provision of written information on issues relating to Equality, Fighting Words NI will instill good practice in its permanent and freelance staff, artists and volunteers.
4. PROCEDURES & COMPLAINTS
Should any member of staff, volunteer or artist feel they have suffered any form of discrimination, harassment or victimisation the following Grievance procedures must be followed.
In all cases:
Notify Fighting Words NI’s General Manager (Equality Officer), or a more senior member of management where they are unable to notify the General Manager.
All complaints will be recorded accurately and confidentially. This will include what happened, when and where it occurred, and who was present
An appropriate senior manager or impartial person will conduct an investigation to establish matters of fact and report on findings to the Director and / or a relevant Board Member as appropriate. They will report on findings as appropriate to the individual.
Confidential records of the grievance will be kept in a secure place by the designated officer.
Records will be supplied for any further investigation to relevant authorities.
In addition to its internal procedures, staff, volunteers and users have the right to pursue complaints of discrimination to an industrial tribunal or the Fair Employment Tribunal. Any person submitting to the tribunals must not be victimised, any complaint of victimisation will be dealt with seriously, promptly and confidentially. Victimisation, if proven, will result in disciplinary action.
5. MANAGEMENT, MONITORING, REVIEW & REPORTING
Fighting Words NI is committed to managing the implementation of this policy and procedure in full and ensuring that it is reviewed regularly and amended as necessary. The Board and management undertake this to ensure unlawful and unfair discrimination does not occur within the organisation and that the rights of staff, employees and volunteers to be protected is upheld.
5.1 Responsibility for Management
Final responsibility for the policy will rest with the Board of Directors of Fighting Words NI. The daily and ongoing management of the policy will be undertaken by the Fighting Words NI General Manager. Staff involved in recording and reporting procedures will take on the responsibility for the 'on-the-ground' implementation of the policy in the absence of the senior management. All other employees and volunteers regardless of their length of contract or duties will have a responsibility to adhere to the organisation's Equal Opportunities policy and follow all procedures as required.
Fighting Words NI will:
Monitor its recruitment, selection and vetting procedures to ensure potential candidates are compliant with the requirements of this policy.
Record induction and training for all staff and with each new intake of project-based staff.
Keep detailed and accurate records of any reported incidents, allegations or concerns and comply with all requirements to supply information as appropriate.
Keep a record of comments and suggestions for improvements that can be made to its procedures and its communication of policy, from employees, individuals and host schools/organisations.
Be proactive in gathering information on changes in law and practice and disseminate these/review procedures as appropriate.
5.3 Review & Reporting
Fighting Words NI will review its policy regularly alongside other company policies. This will be undertaken at Board level with a report compiled and delivered by the General Manager. The review will take into consideration:
Any issues that have arisen in the implementation of the policy
Any incidents reported and their implications for changes to be made
Comments and suggestions from any source
Changes in legal responsibility or recommended practice
Any amendments required to policy and procedures will be discussed and approved at a Board meeting.
6. APPENDIX: PUBLIC EQUALITY POLICY STATEMENT
Fighting Words NI is committed to the promotion of equality of opportunity in Fighting Words NI for all staff, freelancers, artists and volunteers. Fighting Words NI will ensure the provision of equality of opportunity and fair participation of children and young people, their parents and carers.
It will provide equality to all, irrespective of gender (including gender reassignment), marital or civil partnership status, having or not having dependents, religious belief or political opinion, race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, community background, being an Irish Traveller), disability, sexual orientation or age.
Fighting Words NI has a written policy and procedure that is regularly reviewed and legally compliant. If you require further information about Fighting Words NI’s Equality Policy and Procedures or have a concern to report, please contact the Equality Officer, on 020 4559 8887 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Created October 2018.
Reviewed December 2022, by Hilary Copeland, Director
Policy revised and adopted by the Fighting Words NI Board in October 2023.
To be reviewed next before October 2026