Equality Policy Statement – if everyone gets a fair chance in life, we all thrive.
The Parishes of The Meon Bridge Benefice (Corhampton and St Andrew, Meonstoke, St Mary and All Saints, Droxford, and St Peter and St Paul, Exton) (‘the Benefice’) are committed to implementing and promoting the principles and practices of equality – treating each person as an individual, according to their needs, with an awareness of our diverse society and appreciating the value of difference. The Benefice recognises Access (including, without limitation, physical, spiritual and intellectual access) as an important part of its work and a key element in its Equality Policy (hereafter ‘Policy’). The Benefice is committed to providing Access in accordance with the Policy using all reasonable means at its disposal.
The Benefice and its constituent parishes and groups fully recognise and accept their collective and individual responsibilities to ensure that there is no discrimination on the grounds of age, race, sex, gender reassignment, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity (the “protected characteristics”.
All individuals will be treated fairly and equally, and all relevant legislation will be complied with in the undertakings of the Parishes of The Benefice, and in arrangements for access to facilities and information.
In pursuance of this policy, the Benefice will monitor the effectiveness of the policy as part of its regular evaluation of its policies. Where needs are identified, appropriate action will be taken.
The process for ensuring the Benefice maintains effective deployment of its Policy lies with individual Parochial Church Councils (PCCs), the processes of each will be reviewed annually or more frequently as appropriate.
If you feel that you have been treated unfairly or suffered harassment because of the protected characteristics, you should report this without fail to the Designated Equality representative for the Meon Bridge Benefice
Any such complaints will be fully investigated as speedily as possible, and you will be kept advised of action taken.
The Parishes of the Benefice will ensure that:
- All members of each PCC are made aware of the necessity of the effective deployment of an Equality Policy;
- Recruitment and selection methods for staff and volunteers are free from bias and applied fairly;
- Any complaints of discrimination are dealt with speedily and fairly; and,
- Confidentiality of information is maintained at all times.
The Parishes of the Benefice will also:
- Seek to meet the needs of all individuals as far as practically possible.
- Provide suitable interpretation services where appropriate.
- Ensure that buildings are accessible to all wherever and as far as possible.
Day-to-day responsibility for seeing that this policy is put into practice is delegated to [include name]
for the whole Benefice.
Overall and final responsibility for Equality for All is that of the Rector, when in post, and the Parochial Church Councils of the Parishes of The Meon Bridge Benefice.
Policy Document Introduction
Every person has been made in the image of God and is loved unconditionally by God. Everyone is equal and we treat each other with dignity and respect. Our churches are places where everyone should be able to flourish in a loving and hospitable community. Each person, uniquely different, should be able to thrive, irrespective of physical appearance, gender, race, religion, ethnicity,
socio-economic background, academic ability, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. The Bridge Benefice is committed to promoting the understanding of the principles and practices of equality – treating each person as an individual, according to their needs, with an awareness of
our diverse society and appreciating the value of difference. We actively seek to challenge
discrimination and we promote an anti-bullying stance which makes clear the unacceptability of ageist, racist, disablist and homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and language.
1. Legal framework
We welcome our duties under the Equality Act 2010 to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good and appropriate relations in relation to the protected characteristics.
2. Guiding principles
Our approach to equality is based on Gospel values and the teaching that everyone is uniquely known and loved by God, who created everyone in his image.
St Paul also informs us that we are uniquely and differently gifted and yet each one of us has an integral and equally valuable part to play.
Various national and international milestones have shaped the concept of human rights in Britain for over the 800 years and he Equality Act 2010 brought together more than 116 separate pieces of legislation into one single act – a new, streamlined legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. (https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/equality-act/equality-act-2010).
Our approach also follows the Diocesan guidance on disability and accessibility (https://www.portsmouth.anglican.org/social-justice)
3. Links to other polices and documentation
We shall ensure that the principles listed above apply to all of our policies and practices including those that are concerned with:
- Nurturing and Discipleship
- The spiritual and personal development, and wellbeing of congregations and visitors, and, as far as we can, our communities
- Preaching and teaching styles and strategies
- Volunteer and staff recruitment, retention and development
- Pastoral care, guidance and support
- Working in partnership with schools and other partners
- Working with the wider community
We also ensure that information about our responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 are included in our mission plans, our web site and all other forms of communication.
4. Our actions
To eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation
We meet our legal duty and live out our guiding principles listed above by opposing prejudice and bullying, taking account of equality with regards to the way the churches provide facilities and services, actively promoting equality and creating an environment of dignity and respect.
To advance equality of opportunity between different groups
We meet our legal duty and live out our guiding principles listed above by being alert to the potential impact of any negative, prejudicial language or behaviour on particular individuals and groups.
To foster good relations
We meet our legal duty and live out our guiding principles listed above by teaching and modelling how to live well together, and to respect diversity and equality, challenge discrimination and prejudice and listen to and treat others with dignity and respect.
Other ways we address equality issues
We will maintain records of training relating to equality and inclusion. Each time a policy is reviewed it will be done so in relation to inclusive mission, equality, safeguarding and Health & Safety.
5. Disseminating the policy
We ensure that this policy is known to all those connected with our churches in whatever way. This policy is available in full on the Benefice website and to any person who requests it. The Policy Statement will be displayed at each church of the Benefice.
6. Roles and responsibilities
The roles and responsibilities of each member of the church community, including ministers, wardens and members of the PCCs and of visitors to uphold the principles and actions of this policy are under development in consultation with our many stakeholders.
7. Breaches of the policy
Breaches of this policy will be dealt with in accordance with Church of England procedures and regulations or as a pastoral or teaching issue, as determined by the Incumbent in consultation with the PCC and, if the matter is potentially more serious, with the Archdeacon.
SIGNED AND AGREED:
|Angela Peagram Churchwarden – Corhampton & Meonstoke for PCC||Colin Matthissen Churchwarden – Droxford for PCC||Richard Pepys Churchwarden – Exton for PCC|