Equality and Diversity policy

1. Policy Statement

The National Portrait Gallery (the Gallery) is dedicated to encouraging a supportive and inclusive culture to support our aim to bring history to life in a way that is accessible to a wide audience. It is therefore within our best interest to promote diversity and eliminate discrimination in the workplace.

Our aim is to ensure that all employees, job applicants and visitors are given equal opportunity and that our organisation is representative of all sections of society. Each employee will be respected and valued and able to give their best as a result. All visitors will be treated with respect and dignity to support the aim that all who come into contact with the Gallery find it a positive experience.

This policy reinforces our commitment to providing equality and fairness to all in our employment and not provide less favourable facilities or opportunities on the grounds of gender, gender identity, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, religious or philosophical beliefs, health status, HIV status, age, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, political beliefs or trade union membership, class, responsibility for dependents, physical attributes, ex-offender status as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, lack of formal qualifications where such qualifications are not formally required, or any other grounds which cannot be shown to be justifiable within the context of this policy. We are opposed to all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination.

The Gallery recognises that we live in a society where discrimination still operates to the disadvantage of many groups. We believe that all persons should have equal rights to recognition of their human dignity, and to have equal opportunities to be educated, to work, receive services and to participate in society.

We are committed to the promotion of equal opportunities within the Gallery and partner organisations, through the way we manage the organisation and provide access to our collection and archives. In order to express this commitment, we develop, promote and maintain policies that will be conducive to the principles of fairness and equality in the way in which we operate.

This policy will influence and affect every aspect of activities carried out across the Gallery. In the provision of services and the employment of staff, we are committed to promoting equal opportunities for everyone. Throughout its activities we will treat all people fairly whether they are:

  • visiting the Gallery or using our services
  • applying for a job or already employed by us
  • trainee workers and students on work experience or placements
  • volunteer workers.

2. Implementation of the Policy

Each senior management team member has specific responsibility for the effective implementation of this policy and we expect all our employees to abide by the policy and help create the equality environment which is its objective.

In order to implement this policy we shall:

  • Communicate the policy to employees, job applicants, volunteers and relevant others.
  • Incorporate specific and appropriate duties in respect of implementing the equal opportunities policy into job descriptions and work objectives of staff.
  • Ensure that those who are involved in assessing candidates for recruitment or promotion will be trained in equality.
  • Develop an Equality and Diversity Action Plan which will be reviewed at least every three years, and which will reflect the work of the Gallery.
  • Support the Equality Steering Group, chaired by a senior manager and representative of all aspects of the work of the Gallery, to play a key role in developing, monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the Equality and Diversity Action Plan.
  • Incorporate equal opportunity notices into general communications practices.
  • Ensure that adequate resources are made available to fulfil the objectives of the policy.

3. Conduct and General Standards of Behaviour

All staff and volunteers are expected to conduct themselves in a professional and considerate manner at all times. The Gallery will not tolerate behaviour such as:

  • making threats
  • physical violence
  • shouting
  • swearing at others
  • persistent rudeness
  • isolating, ignoring or refusing to work with certain people
  • telling offensive jokes or name calling
  • displaying offensive material such as pornography or sexist / racist cartoons, or the distribution of such material via email / text message or any other format.
  • any other forms of harassment or victimisation.

The items on the above list of unacceptable behaviours are considered to be disciplinary offences within the Gallery and can lead to disciplinary action being taken. We do, however, encourage staff to resolve misunderstandings and problems informally wherever possible, depending on the circumstances. However, whether dealt with informally or formally, it is important for staff who may have caused offence to understand that it is no defence to say that they did not intend to do so, or to blame individuals for being over sensitive. It is the impact of the behaviour, rather than the intent, that counts, and that should shape the solution found both to the immediate problem and to preventing further similar problems in the future.

4. Complaints of Discrimination including Bullying, Harassment or Victimisation

The Gallery will treat seriously all complaints of unlawful discrimination on any forbidden grounds made by employees, trustees, clients or other third parties and will take action where appropriate.

All complaints will be investigated in accordance with the Gallery’s grievance, complaints or disciplinary procedure, as appropriate and the complainant will be informed of the outcome in line with these procedures.

5. Legal Obligations

Equal Opportunities and Discrimination (Equality Act 2010)

The Equality Act came into force in October 2010 and replaces all previous equality legislation in England, Scotland and Wales – namely the Race Relations Act 1976, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Sex Discrimination Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, The Civil Partnership Act 2004, the Employment Equality Regulations 2003 (religions and belief and sexual orientation).

The Equality Act 2010 protected characteristics are:

Age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief sex and sexual orientation.

In valuing diversity the Gallery is committed to go beyond the legal minimum regarding equality.

The Equality Act 2010 harmonises and strengthens and replaces most previous equality legislation. The following legislation is still relevant:

  • The Human Rights Act 1998.
  • The Work and Families Act 2006.
  • Employment Equal Treatment Framework Directive 2000 (as amended).

6. Recruitment and Selection

The recruitment and selection process is crucially important to any equal opportunities policy. We will endeavour through appropriate training to ensure that employees making selection and recruitment decisions will not discriminate, whether consciously or unconsciously, in making these decisions.

Promotion and advancement will be made on merit and all decisions relating to this will be made within the overall framework and principles of this policy.

Job descriptions will be developed in line with our equal opportunities policy. Job requirements will be reflected accurately in any person specifications.

We will adopt a consistent, non-discriminatory approach to the advertising of vacancies.

All applicants who apply for jobs with us will receive fair treatment and will be considered solely on their ability to do the job.

Short-listing and interviewing will be carried out by more than one person.

Interview questions will be related to the requirements of the job and will not be of a discriminatory nature.

Selection decisions will not be influenced by any perceived prejudices of other staff.

7. Monitoring and Review

We will maintain and review the employment records of all employees in order to monitor the progress of this policy.

Monitoring may involve:

  • collecting and classifying information about race in terms of ethnic/national origin, age, disability status and sex of job applicants and current employees;
  • examining ethnic/national origin, age, disability status and sex of employees and the success rate of the applicants
  • recording recruitment, training and promotional records of employees, the decisions reached and the reason for those decisions and the number and outcomes of complaints of discrimination made by staff, volunteers, clients and other third parties.

The outcomes of monitoring will be reported to the Equality Steering Group, the Directors’ Group and the Board of Trustees at least annually.

This policy is effective from 1st July 2017 and will be reviewed every two years unless a change in legislation or issues identified in the practical application of the policy occur within this timeframe.

July 2017