Equal Opportunities Policy

The Trust recognises that there are groups in society that face disadvantage and discrimination and will strive to counteract this through a policy of equal opportunities for all in relation to all Trust activities.

The Trust’s equal opportunities policy seeks to ensure that, within the framework of the law, no potential fellow, fellow participant in a Trust project, Trustee, employee or member of the public visiting the Trust’s sites receives less favourable treatment on grounds such as gender, marital status, disability, race, religious beliefs, age, sexual orientation or is otherwise disadvantaged by conditions or requirements which cannot be justified.

The Trust has set the following objectives to achieve equality of opportunity:

1.   Access to Services
To ensure that all people have equal access to services provided by the Trust and are not treated less favourably on grounds that cannot be justified.

2.   Community Life
To ensure that all Stevenage, Welwyn Hatfield and Letchworth residents are aware of the existence of the Trust and that they are not prevented from participating fully in relevant activities on grounds that cannot be justified.

3.   Recruitment, Selection and Occupancy of Fellows
To ensure that all Fellow vacancies are advertised widely both nationally and locally and that no applicant or Fellow receives less favourable treatment on grounds that cannot be justified.
To ensure that individuals are selected for Fellowships on the basis of their abilities and potential. Reasons for shortlisting or rejecting candidates will be recorded. Wherever possible unsuccessful applicants will be given the reason for the rejection.
To ensure that all Fellows are given equal access to all the facilities and opportunities that the Trust has to offer.
To ensure that all Fellows are treated fairly by the Trust and that no Fellow receives less favourable treatment on grounds that cannot be justified.

4. Recruitment and Selection of Employees.
The Trust will seek:
to ensure genuine equality of opportunity in all aspects of its activities as an employer:
* before advertising any post a detailed job description will be drawn up or an existing one reviewed and updated.
* all job descriptions will state that prospective employees are expected to have regard to the Trust’s Equal Opportunities Policy.
* all vacancies will be advertised as widely as possible to ensure that as many sections of the community are reached as possible.
* all applicants will be judged solely on job related, relevant criteria.  Reasons for shortlisting or rejecting candidates will be recorded. Wherever possible unsuccessful applicants will be given the reason for the rejection.

5. Recruitment and Selection of Trustees
The Trust will advertise for and try to attract individuals to the Trust as observers or Trustees who reflect the communities in which the Trust has bases and the wider arts community as well as its management needs.
All Trustees will be issued with a copy of the Equal Opportunities Policy and will be expected to carry out their duties and responsibilities in accordance with it.

6. Recruitment and selection of participants in Trust Projects
The Trust will operate a policy of recruitment of participants to any of its projects that will encourage as wide as possible involvement in them taking account of the criteria on which the projects are funded e.g. where a project is established specifically for women returners then only women returners will be recruited for that project.  Otherwise recruitment will be in accordance with the general principle embodied in the general statement at the beginning of this policy.

7. Employment of Contractors and Freelance Staff
The Trust will operate a policy of employment of contractors and suppliers which will seek to ensure that all contractors and suppliers operate equal opportunities policies that support those of the Trust.  Freelance Staff will be appointed on the basis of their ability to carry out the tasks expected of them and on no other criteria that cannot be justified.

The Trust recognises that physical access to its studios is not yet fully suitable to wheelchair users and the provision of toilet facilities for people in wheelchairs is necessary at both its sites. Grants are being sought for the provision of disabled toilets and consideration is being given to obtaining funding for the provision of lifts at both premises. An accessibility audit has already been carried out at the Trust’s Stevenage premises.

Race, Gender, Disability and Other Grounds
The Trust will continue to strive to treat all persons who wish to be involved in the Trust’s activities in a fair manner and will counteract discrimination through positive action where possible in respect of health, safety, and general welfare, the environment at its studios and communications.