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Our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Strategy

Last updated March 2014

“We live in an increasingly diverse society and need to be able to respond appropriately and sensitively to this diversity.  Everyone involved with the Foundation will reflect this diversity around sex, race and ethnicity, disability, religion, sexuality, class and age.

“The Foundation believes that successful implementation of equality, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the organisation ensures that staff and stakeholders are valued, motivated and treated fairly.”


Section 1: Statement of Commitment

  • The Foundation of Light is committed to equality and respect for diversity.
  • As an equal opportunities employer, we recognise that equality and diversity are positive attributes and understand and welcome the difference that an open and diverse culture brings.
  • We are committed to continually reviewing and improving how we provide our processes to ensure that we provide a service that meets the needs of our service users and is accessible to all.
  • We are also fully committed to helping our staff to fulfil their potential by providing a comprehensive learning and development programme and opportunities for career development.
  • We have set some key equality and diversity objectives that underpin this strategy and our activity will be measured against these.

This strategy sets out our commitment to equality and diversity, together with the approach we propose to adopt; finally, it identifies some actions that we will be carrying out over the next 12 months.

Principles at the heart of the Equality Strategy:

Fair treatment of our staff, including the creation of equal opportunities for all.

This includes ensuring that our employment policies are fair and free from bias, but more importantly that they are implemented fairly.  This means, amongst other things, that there is consistency and fairness in decision making and performance management and it means that we treat each other fairly and appropriately.

Fair treatment of those that we work with or otherwise come into contact with

All people we deal with are entitled to fair and equal treatment.  We should, at all times, be mindful of bias and ensure that our decisions are based on the evidence we see.  This means taking the perceptions of others into account, when we are dealing with people from different groups.

Section 2:  The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 brings together all aspects of equality legislation under the umbrella of one Act. The Act highlights the ‘protected characteristics’ that should be taken into account when promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. The protected characteristics are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

More information on the Equality Act 2010 can be found on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website: www.equalityhumanrights.com

Section 3:  Foundation of Light Aims, Values and Behaviours

Our business strategy sets the vision, mission and aims of the organisation.

Our Vision: A Community where everyone has choice and the opportunity to improve their lives

Our Mission: To Involve, Educate and Inspire through the power of football

Our Personality: Vibrant; Committed; Respectful

Our Aims:

  • Raise educational attainment; inspire a love and commitment to lifelong learning.
  • Increase skills and access to employment opportunities by connecting people to the world of work.
  • Enable individuals and families to develop healthier and happier lives; support the development of vibrant and respectful communities.
  • Provide more opportunities for inclusive sport and play, inspiring participation and achievement.
  • Deliver high standards through a committed, highly skilled workforce and excellent leadership and governance.

To help deliver the Foundation’s vision a set of Core Values have been developed and embedded across the organisation.

Our Core Values:

  • We work as a team
  • We are professional
  • We are proud of what we do and dedicated to achieving our goals
  • We are progressive and forward thinking
  • We are fully committed to achieving the best for our customers and communities
  • We are passionate and enthusiastic

The Foundation understands that diversity is central to achieving the organisational culture that we are committed to.  We recognise the diversity of our workforce, whether on the basis of sex, age, culture, religion, language or circumstances and are committed to developing the workforce.  The Foundation recognises a diverse workforce can complement skills, share experience and build a shared perspective in delivering the organisation’s vision.

The Foundation understands the relevance of working with a diverse network of local, regional, national and international partners in a joint approach to help ensure a holistic approach is undertaken to maximise the service to the customers and communities we serve.

Section 4:  Our Commitment as an Employer

We take our responsibility as an employer seriously and recognise the value, skills and diversity that our staff bring to the organisation.

Our staff are an asset and we are committed to devoting time and resource to ensure we maintain a vibrant working environment and opportunities for all.

Furthermore, we recognise the importance of having strong leadership to nurture a positive culture throughout the organisation.

In 2015 the Foundation launched the Employee Engagement Strategy after recognising there was a need to invest in the future of our employees. We will work with our staff and listen to their views. Our staff were involved in the development of the Foundation of Light’s Core Values via working groups.

We will continue to undertake staff surveys and respond in a timely and positive manner to the feedback that it provides. As part of our staff engagement, we have also introduced a Business Forum, an essential mechanism for feedback and communication.

We will endeavour to have a workforce that is both a reflection of the local community within which we work and of the people who use our service.

We have policies in place that recognise the changing nature of the modern work place, such as Dignity at Work, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Flexible Working and Religious Diversity. These and other policies are designed to meet the needs of our staff, help to foster a positive working environment and make Foundation of Light an employer of choice.

All human resources policies are reviewed annually or as necessary due to legislative changes, to ensure they are up to date, relevant and meet the needs of our employees.

4.1 Recruitment

We are committed to attracting and recruiting high calibre applicants at all levels from a wide pool and a broad range of backgrounds.

We take pride in our corporate social responsibility and support local unemployed people back to work.  We are a member of Equality North East.  We run courses to support and encourage those not in education, employment or training (NEET) and run a full apprenticeship programme, scholarships and traineeships.

We will always make reasonable adjustments to ensure that applicants with a disability are not disadvantaged in any way.

4.2 Learning and Development

We ensure that staff have the right skills and knowledge they require to undertake their role, as we recognise that the development of our staff and the nurturing of talent are vital to the success of the Foundation.

We provide our staff with opportunities for training and development, enabling them to further develop their skills and obtain promotion within the organisation.  In addition, there is a dedicated Future Leaders programme.

We provide training to staff to enable them to understand equality, diversity and inclusion issues that may arise during their working day and provide them with knowledge on the relevant rights and responsibilities in law. The Foundation actively signposts our participants to other agencies.  The Making Moves (disability) team, via the SSCB, receive additional safeguarding for children with disabilities.  We set a target of minimum 20 hours per employee, per year for CPD; many of whom exceed this.

All members of staff go through an appraisal process on an ongoing basis with a personal development review taking place annually. This provides managers and staff the opportunity to discuss options for training, along with development opportunities.

We regularly review our training provision to ensure that it is appropriate and up to date with new legislation and utilises new techniques and technologies, such as e-learning and remote learning.

4.3 Governance

Foundation of Light, a registered charity, is governed by a Board of Trustees.  The Board is supported by the following committees providing a broad range of diverse individuals:

  • Education and Skills Advisory Committee
  • Audit Committee
  • Remuneration and Nominations Committee
  • Capital Fundraising Board
  • Foundation Operational Directors’ Board
  • An independent Governance Review was conducted in 2016.

4.4 Challenge

Staff actively challenge the views of stakeholders where conflicts of opinion arise.  The Foundation has a dedicated Safeguarding/IAG Manager who takes the lead on all safeguarding matters including policy and decision-making.

Section 5:  Our Commitment as a Service Provider

We are committed to providing a service that is accessible to all.

Our service delivers fair outcomes for all irrespective of their age, disability, race, religion or belief, gender or sexual orientation and we do not knowingly unfairly disadvantage or discriminate any group or individual.  We actively promote equality, diversity and inclusion across all programmes, both explicitly and implicitly.

We regularly review how we provide our service to help us identify any barriers that could prevent any potential customers from accessing our services or disadvantage anyone who already uses our service.  Courses are run at varying times of the day.  We provide same-sex staff to participant where required.  Most of our courses are free to participants via funding from organisations.  Where costs are charged, we ensure they are non-prohibitive.

Through a needs-analysis of projects, the services accessed required physical and human resources to ensure employees and stakeholders have the same opportunity for success.  We constantly seek the views of our workforce and service users via a robust monitoring and evaluation process.

Foundation staff undergo regular training to develop knowledge linked directly to equality, diversity and inclusion and Prevent.

We will ensure that any external providers or consultants that provide a service on our behalf understand their responsibility to equality, diversity and inclusion, adhering to our strategy.

Section 6:  Making it happen

We have developed an action plan that sets out key activity that we will undertake over the next two years. The action plan is appended to this strategy.

This is not the full extent of the actions that we will be delivering, as other supporting documents contain additional activity, but this provides an indication of our key activity.

Progress against the action plan will be reported to the Board on a regular basis and a full review of the action plan will be undertaken on an annual basis.

Section 7:  Promoting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The Foundation of Light promotes equality, diversity and inclusion both internally and externally, through participating in a combination of internal initiatives and external campaigns.

The Senior Management Team (SMT) identifies suitable international, national and regional campaigns which the Foundation of Light participates in and the Communications Team showcases this through suitable channels.

SMT identifies awards linked to EDI outcomes that the Foundation of Light can work towards (in line with the Better Health at Work Awards) to improve knowledge of EDI issues.

Literature, the website and promotional material aims to highlight the Foundation’s EDI ethos through an appropriate range of photography, infographics, text and more. Internally and externally use of left aligned text and a sans serif font to ensure readability. The Foundation offers large print options on literature.

The Foundation, through a dedicated Digital Content Manager, ensures the website is disability compliant. Appropriate tags and meta data are utilised to ensure that users with accessibility issues can use the site to its full capability.

Section 8:  Responsibility

The Chief Executive and Operational Board of Directors are responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy and action plan.

It is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees to ensure the Foundation of Light meets its statutory obligations with regards to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

The Foundation will seek to appoint Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champions.

We expect all members of staff and anyone who works on behalf of Foundation of Light to help us in upholding the commitment to the principles of this strategy.

Section 9:  How to complain

If you are an employee

Any employee who has a concern regarding the application of this strategy should raise this through the Foundation of Light’s Grievance policy. If the concern is about harassment, employees should also refer to the Dignity at Work policy.

If you are a service user

Any service user who is unhappy with the application of this strategy or with the level of service provided by Foundation of Light should make a complaint through the complaints procedure. This can be done by calling 0191 551 5293.

Associated Documents:

  • Foundation of Light DNA
  • Core Values
  • Codes of Conduct (Staff, SMT, Trustees, Fundraising)
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy
  • Recruitment Policy
  • Safeguarding Policy
  • Dignity at Work Policy
  • Religious Diversity Policy
  • Disability Policy
  • Whistle Blowing Policy

Key Contacts:

  • Lesley Spuhler OBE, Chief Executive
  • Jamie Wright, Director of Programmes
  • Keith Brazier, Safeguarding Officer