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Equality Policy

Strategic Maintenance Planning Ltd. (SMP Ltd.) is a forward thinking organisation that prides itself on its ability to provide customers with solutions to engineering problems that fit with the specific issues encountered by those customers.

In line with this forward thinking ethos, SMP Ltd. recognises that business success depends on finding and keeping talented people with the right knowledge and skills and in ensuring the company's products and services are available to all potential customers.

The company is therefore committed to a policy of ensuring equality to all people involved with SMP Ltd. irrespective of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion or belief.

This policy includes the following core commitments:

  • All SMP Ltd. activities will be conducted to meet or exceed all applicable laws and regulations
  • SMP Ltd. will ensure that all employees are aware of its Equality Policy, and that they understand that they are responsible for observing the requirements of its text
  • SMP Ltd. employees, job applicants, visitors and customers will be treated in a way that is free from discrimination and harassment
  • Recruitment, training and promotion opportunities will be made as widely available as possible and decisions made on these issues will be based solely on merit
  • SMP Ltd. will ensure all business practices ensure equality through appropriate organisational procedures which will be monitored regularly and reviewed to make sure they are achieving the aims of this policy
  • SMP Ltd. will ensure that any employee who believes they are being discriminated against, victimised or harassed can raise the matter through a complaints procedure which will ensure the complaint is dealt with effectively and fairly
  • Disciplinary action, including dismissal, will be taken against any employee found to be responsible for either discrimination and harassment
  • This policy will be openly available to all employees and the public
  • Appropriate resources will be committed to supporting these commitments

The development and implementation of this policy is a commitment of SMP Ltd's. directors and is a shared responsibility with all of our employees.

SMP Ltd. Equality Policy Organisational Procedures

The Equality Policy of SMP Ltd. will be implemented through the operation of set procedures by all employees. These procedures cover the following:

  • Recruitment and Selection
  • Business Operating Practices
  • Monitoring and Review

Procedures for each of these are detailed below:

Recruitment and Selection

To ensure that SMP Ltd. finds talented people with the right knowledge and skills to fill job vacancies irrespective of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion or belief, procedures covering the following elements will be considered:

  • Recruitment Advertising
  • Selection Criteria and Short-Listing
  • Interview Process
  • Requesting References
  • Eligibility to Work
  • Appointment and Probation

Details of the appropriate procedures covering these elements are given below:

Recruitment Advertising

To ensure that SMP Ltd. recruitment advertising is non-discriminatory, is representative of the catchments from which the company recruits, ensures that potential candidates have the skills and experience that are being sought, and is placed where appropriate candidates are likely to look for a job, the following procedures will be followed for all direct recruitment advertisements. These advertisements will:

  • Be lawful, be written in clear, concise, plain English and will not be worded such that they can be taken by an ordinary member of the public to be discriminatory
  • Not stipulate requirements that might indirectly discriminate against groups in terms of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion or belief
  • Give a realistic picture of the job and what is required and detail the skills, qualifications and experience being sought (these will be defined by a job description as detailed below)
  • Refer to SMP Ltd's. Equality Policy and say that SMP Ltd. welcomes all applicants, by including the following wording within the text of the advert: Our aim is to be an equal opportunities employer. We welcome all applications ,regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sex, disability, sexual orientation, age, or religion or belief. All applications will be considered solely on merit. A copy of the company's Equality Policy is available on request.

To support direct advertising procedures the following actions will be taken by SMP Ltd.:

  • Opportunities will be advertised as widely as possible to encourage application from as many people with as wide a range of backgrounds as possible
  • Specialist agencies such as Job Centre Plus will be consulted for advice where necessary
  • Where agencies are being used for recruitment they will be given a copy of the Equality Policy, the job description and the person specification for the post, and made to understand that recruitment will be solely on the basis of merit

Selection Criteria and Short-Listing

Once the recruitment advertising process described above has elicited applications for the post(s), the following selection criteria process will be followed:

Each application will be rated against a Job Description that includes the following:

  • The title and main purpose of the job
  • The main duties and tasks of the job
  • Salary to be paid
  • Hours of work
  • Location of the work

Each application will be rated against a Person Specification with weighted criterion that includes the following:

  • Only the criteria needed to do the job and avoids any irrelevant requirements
  • The skills, knowledge, abilities, experience and qualifications needed to do the job satisfactorily
  • Criteria that can be objectively tested
  • Input from several personnel to avoid individuals listing personal qualities they feel comfortable with

The applicants will be rated using a simple marking system for scoring each requirement in the person specification based solely on the requirements of the job and on a basis of the merit of the applicant. This system will include the following measures:

  • Marks will be given for each of the criteria listed in the person specification, according to the weight it carries
  • Marks will be based on evidence provided in the application not on personal or second-hand knowledge about the candidate, not on assumptions about the applicant and the type of work they would be capable of, or willing to do, not based on negative stereotypes of different groups, not on new criteria and not on personal knowledge of previous work
  • Only evidence that is directly concerning the criteria listed in the person specification will be considered
  • Criteria will not be changed during short-listing in order to include someone who would otherwise not be short-listed
  • Marks for all applicants will be reviewed at the end of the process to ensure there is consistency and fairness
  • A short-list will be drawn of the applicants with the best total scores. These applicants will be the ones invited for interview
  • Where possible more than one person will be involved in short-listing candidates to ensure more than one viewpoint
  • All applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application within one week of application receipt
  • Unsuccessful applicants will be provided with contact details of an appropriate member of SMP Ltd. staff they can discuss the decision with
  • Selection records (including any short-listing notes) will be retained for a minimum of twelve months in case of complaint or request under the terms of the Data Protection Act
  • Records will be kept of the ethnic backgrounds of all applicants, and this information will be used to improve opportunities at all levels in the company

Interview Process

To ensure fairness in the interview process the following procedures will be followed by SMP Ltd.:

  • Staff serving in interviews will have received guidance or training (depending on their skills) on the Equality Policy, and on the recruitment and selection procedures
  • Where possible the same staff will complete the short-listing and interviewing processes
  • Where there is more than one member of staff on an interview, these personnel will have agreed the relative importance they will place on each requirement
  • Interview questions will be based on the job description and person specification, and on the information supplied in the application form
  • The same topics will be covered with each of the applicants
  • Applicants will be encouraged to draw on their experience outside the workplace when giving examples of how they meet the requirements
  • As much as possible, applicants will be allowed equal time for the interview
  • Applicants will not be asked questions about their personal circumstances
  • Decisions will be made based solely on information provided and solely according to the applicant's ability to do the job
  • All applicants will be informed of the outcome of their interview within one week of completion
  • Unsuccessful applicants will be provided with contact details of an appropriate member of SMP Ltd. staff they can discuss the decision with
  • All notes of the interview questions and answers will be retained for a minimum of twelve months in case of complaint or request under the terms of the Data Protection Act

Requesting References

To ensure fairness in the process of asking a candidate for references, referees will not merely be asked for a general character reference but will be sent copy of the job description and person specification, and be asked for evidence of the applicants ability to meet the specific requirements.

Eligibility to work

SMP Ltd. recognises that The Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 gives the company responsibility for making sure an appointed person is eligible to work in the UK. This will be addressed through:

  • Inclusion of a requirement for applicant eligibility on all job advertisements
  • Inclusion of an appropriate interview question asked of all interviewees to ascertain eligibility
  • Copying and confidentially keeping copies of appropriate documents as defined by The Code of Practice for Preventing Illegal Employment published by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (a section of the UK Home Office).

Appointment and Probation

To ensure that there is fairness at the appointment of new staff and during the defined probationary period, SMP Ltd. will operate the following procedures with regard to these issues:

  • The general terms and conditions of work offered to successful applicants will comply with all applicable laws and will be fair
  • Remuneration awarded to the successful applicant will relate only to the ability of the new employee's ability to meet all job description and person specification requirements. Where there is a differential with existing employees, this will be explained at the time of appointment and a plan to correct any differential (for instance through training) as soon as is practicable will be agreed, put into place and followed
  • All new employees will have equal access to all benefits, facilities or services enjoyed by existing personnel
  • All new staff will be sent written statements of contractual terms within eight weeks of starting work
  • To ensure the probation period is productive, the induction process will be adequate to help the new employee to become familiar with the work environment and with company policies and procedures (including the Equality Policy)
  • Employees on probation will have the same protection against unlawful racial discrimination as other staff and will be treated equally with other staff
  • Any complaints that new recruits aren't getting on with existing staff, or that they don't fit in will be investigated properly and it will be ensured that these are not reactions to the recruits background

The probation period will comply with the following:

  • It will have a clear statement of the length of the probation period, and possible extensions
  • It will define what is to be achieved in the probation period
  • It will include details of the specific training for the job to be completed
  • It will have performance standards that can be objectively assessed
  • It will include guidance for supervisors on avoiding subjective judgements, based on negative stereotypes about particular racial groups
  • There will be monthly meetings to assess performance
  • A probationer's right to be represented, if she or he is facing dismissal

Business Operating Practices

To ensure there is no harassment, discrimination (direct or indirect) or victimisation in the operating practices of SMP Ltd. procedures covering the following elements will be followed by all staff:

  • Ensuring Staff Equality Policy Awareness
  • Company Marketing and Customer Relations
  • Ensuring Internal Company Equality

Details of the appropriate procedures covering these elements are given below:

Equality Policy Awareness

To ensure that all those directly or indirectly involved with SMP Ltd. are aware of the company Equality Policy, the following procedures will be followed:

  • The Equality Policy will be openly available to all employees and the public
  • Employee awareness and knowledge will be promoted with appropriate training as required
  • Supervisors will be provided with guidance on the policy, and on their responsibilities under the law

It will be ensured that all employees know and understand the policy by:

  • Circulating the policy and procedures to all employees
  • Displaying policy and procedures on company notice boards
  • Making the policy part of any induction given to new staff
  • Referring to the policy in job advertisements (as detailed above)
  • Including the policy in the job application pack
  • Holding staff meetings to explain and discuss the policy as required

Marketing and Customer Relations

It is the aim of SMP Ltd. to serve all members of the communities we supply. This will be achieved through the following procedures:

  • SMP Ltd. dealings with potential and existing customers will comply with applicable law
  • SMP Ltd. products and services will be available as widely as possible and practicable
  • SMP Ltd. publicity material will present a business that is diverse, both in its workforce and customers
  • SMP Ltd. dealings with potential and existing customers will be fair and will conducted regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion or belief
  • SMP Ltd. will ensure that employees who have contact with customers understand the Equality Policy and what this means for the way services are provided
  • The SMP Ltd. Equality Policy will be distributed as required to potential and existing customers to show the company commitment to this issue
  • If people from some groups are under-represented among our customers, SMP Ltd. will develop marketing and other strategies to reach them where reasonably practical
  • If it is determined that discrimination or harassment is being suffered by a SMP Ltd. employee from a customer, client or contractor, they will be warned that such behaviour will not be tolerated, and that further incidents could lead to suspension of the service or termination of the contract

Ensuring Internal Company Equality

To ensure that all SMP Ltd. internal operating practices are fair to all employees, SMP Ltd. will operate the following procedures:

Generally:

All organisational activities will be conducted to meet or exceed all applicable laws and regulations

SMP Ltd. will identify any business practices that don't provide equality and rectify these situations if found

Within the terms of the SMP Ltd. employment contract, all applicable law and as far as is reasonably practicable, the company will be sensitive to the individual needs of its employees and strive to ensure that individual choices, preferences and cultures can be accommodated by the company's working practices

Performance Assessment:

  • Assessment of staff performance will be impartial, objective and will always be based on actual performance against clearly stated standards which are objective and measurable
  • Assessment will include discussion of training opportunities and career development
  • Performance assessments will take place regularly against an agreed job plan, based on an employee's job description and will take account of specific tasks and achievements
  • Employees will be given the opportunity to comment on the results of an assessment and will be able to discuss any concerns

Promotion Opportunities:

  • Vacancies will be open to existing employees as well as outside applicants
  • All employees (including those on leave) will be able to apply for any promotion opportunities
  • No one will be excluded from promotion opportunities
  • Promotion opportunities will be advertised widely, so all employees know about them
  • A job description and a person specification will be available for each opportunity
  • Promotion will be by written application and each application will be assessed against the job description and person specification and interviews will be held before making an appointment
  • As far as is practicable the selection panel will not include the applicant's supervisor
  • The same topics in interview will be covered regardless of whether the applicant is an internal or external candidate

Preventing Harassment:

As part of its equality policy, SMP Ltd. is committed to promoting a good and harmonious working environment where every employee is treated with respect and dignity. No one should feel threatened, intimidated or degraded on grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, sex, married status, sexual orientation, disability, physical characteristics, age, health, or religion or belief

Harassment at work is unacceptable behaviour and will not be permitted or condoned

Harassment includes unacceptable actions, verbal insults or ridicule, graffiti, slogans, racial comments, shunning of individuals, applying different or unreasonable standards that, intentionally or not, have the effect of violating a person's dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading or offensive environment

All SMP Ltd. employees have a right to work in an environment that:

  • Is free from abuse or insults
  • Is safe
  • Promotes dignity at work
  • Encourages individuals to treat each other with respect
  • Values politeness
  • Is open and fair
  • Encourages individuals to support each other
  • Does not include pressure from others to harass or discriminate

All SMP Ltd. employees have a responsibility to:

  • Support anyone who says they have been bullied or harassed, and to be sensitive to their feelings and perceptions of the situation
  • Encourage them to seek help
  • Refrain from taking part in, encouraging or condoning gossip about cases of alleged or actual harassment or bullying

This policy applies to all employees of SMP Ltd.

  • The policy also covers harassment that falls outside the above categories and that can be classed as bullying

Dealing with Harassment and Discrimination

Racial harassment and discrimination are contrary to the company's Equality Policy and complaints of such, if not resolved informally, will be dealt with through the SMP Ltd. Disciplinary, Grievance and Complaints Procedure for Harassment and Discrimination (detailed below)

  • Informal processes do not have to be attempted by those involved and disciplinary action will only be taken following formal consideration of a complaint
  • Employees are encouraged to report incidents of harassment or discrimination and are assured that complaints will be dealt with sensitively and promptly
  • No complainant will suffer any form of victimisation as a result of a complaint
  • Disciplinary action, including dismissal, may be taken against any employee found responsible for harassment or discrimination
  • Operation of SMP Ltd's. internal Disciplinary, Grievance and Complaints Procedure does not affect a complainant's statutory right to take the complaint to an employment tribunal

SMP Ltd's Formal Disciplinary, Grievance and Complaints Procedure for Harassment and Discrimination

  • Any complaint should be made as soon as possible following the act of alleged harassment or discrimination
  • The complainant is advised to write down, preferably in diary form, what happened, when and who was involved
  • Complaints should be made in writing, to the Managing Director (unless the subject of the complaint)
  • The written complaint should be marked 'Confidential' and will be treated as such
  • The complaint will be acknowledged in writing within three working days
  • The alleged harasser will be given written notification of the complaint, with full details of the allegation
  • A member of staff who is experienced in handling complaints of harassment or discrimination will be nominated as an Investigator
  • The Investigator will interview the complainant and the alleged harasser separately within ten working days of the date the complaint was received
  • The Investigator will also interview any relevant witnesses
  • All interviewees have the right to be accompanied by a friend, or a trade union or other representative (not acting in a legal capacity), and an interpreter (if requested)
  • The evidence will be considered as quickly as possible by an independent person (usually within ten working days)

The complainant and alleged harasser will receive a decision in writing from the company as soon as the investigation is complete. Possible outcomes include:

  • Take no further action, because the complaint is not founded, or there is insufficient evidence
  • Uphold the complaint and invoke the company's formal disciplinary procedure. In this case it will be ensured that the harasser fully understands the company's Equality Policy and the laws on discrimination
  • Following the decision, both parties will be informed of any decision to separate them
  • Appeals against the decision will be dealt with through the company's disciplinary procedure (if the appeal is from the person against whom the complaint was made) or the company's grievance procedure (if the appeal is from the complainant)
  • After the decision the Investigator will meet the complainant on a regular basis, to offer support, and to make sure no harassment or victimisation has occurred, even if the complaint has not been upheld

Monitoring and Review

It is the aim of SMP Ltd. to have a dedicated, professional, experienced, qualified team that is diverse. In addition the company wishes to attract customers from all sections of the communities it serves. In order to achieve these aims the company operates this Equality Policy. However, it is important that operation of the policy is monitored and reviewed to ensure that the aims are being reached. Therefore SMP Ltd. will operate the following monitoring and review procedures:

  • The company policies, practices, and procedures will be regularly reviewed and revised to make sure they are fair and not potentially discriminatory
  • A review will always be completed after an instance of formal complaint of harassment or discrimination
  • Employees will be involved in the review and revision process and will be asked for their views on the policy and whether it is effective
  • Records of the backgrounds of all employees and job applicants will be kept and analysed with this information being confidential and used solely to improve opportunities at all levels in the company and to check whether the workforce (and the applicants to the workforce) reflects the mix of people in the job markets used by the company
  • Where evidence of a disproportionate mix is found, positive action may be considered. Section 38(1)(b) of the Race Relations Act 1976 will apply in this case
  • Records of the backgrounds of customers utilising SMP Ltd. products and services will likewise be kept and analysed to ensure the company is attracting customers from all sections of the communities served
  • Staff will be given feedback and information on the results of all review activities and will be kept updated of any changes to policy

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