• Equality & Diversity Policy



Mainstream recognises the potential negative impact that some sectors may have and the positive benefits that we can make as a community through the active promotion of all courses to all individuals irrespective of status or ability. Mainstream’s aim is to eradicate all forms of discrimination within the work and/or training environment. Although various sectors may prove naturally selective in the form of sex, age, disabilities or gender (list inclusive not exhaustive) Mainstream will counteract this through encouraging access for all to every course(ANNEX A).

Mainstream also aims to provide a service that does not discriminate against its clients, sub contractors, delivery partners and customers in the means by which they can access or deliver the services and goods supplied by the Company. Mainstream believes that all employees, sub-contractors, delivery partners and clients are entitled to be treated with respect and dignity.

In all its activities Mainstream will;

  • Foster the principles of the Equality Act 2010
  • Foster the principles of the PSED as a body carrying out a public function
  • Fostering good relations (tackling prejudice and promoting understanding between people who share a protected characteristic and others)
  • Ensure individuals and groups protected characteristics are respected
  • Make society fairer through talking discrimination and providing equality of opportunity for all
  • Remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by people due to the protected characteristics
  • Meet the needs of people with protected characteristics
  • Encourage people with protected characteristics to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is low
  • Take proportionate actions when applying and complying with the our Equality Duty


It is the responsibility of all employees to understand, adhere to, promote and foster the ethos outlined within this policy to enhance the beneficial effects of operation. Although all departments have their own responsibilities, commitment of everyone to work as part of a team is one of the strengths on which Mainstream Group is founded.

All new employees will be inducted in the content contained within this policy. It is the responsibility of all departmental Managers to ensure employees, contractors and delivery partners for whom they are responsible, understand any new or amended policies and the contents are communicated by them and adhered to.

The Directors, Department Heads and the Equality Champion will monitor the effectiveness of the Policies which may be changed from time to time to

  1. Ensure they are effective and
  1. Comply with current Legislation


Sub-contractors and external providers delivering services and goods on behalf of Mainstream will be issued a copy of this Equality & Diversity policy for which a signed record will be held by the Training Director. When sub-contractors or external providers are delivering ESF and/or Enabling Progression in Entry Level Jobs in South East funded programmes they will be subject to review and/or monitoring of delivery. Mainstream expects that all Sub-contractors and external providers adhere to the guidance outlined within this policy and any legislative requirements at all times and report any issues immediately to their contract lead and/or Equality champion.

Should a Sub-contractor and/or external provider fail to adhere to the guidance outlined within this policy then the right to work for or on behalf of Mainstream may be revoked, in the worst case. Each case will be investigated and judged on its own merit with the following remedial action/s or sanctions imposed:

  • Suspension (removal of work for defined period)
  • Curtailment (restrictions or conditions imposed on continued work)
  • Revocation (removal of right to contract to Mainstream)

Mark Smith,

Managing Director

Implementation, Review and Monitoring

All staff receive training on Equality at induction, this is reviewed annually and training days are embedded within team standardisation meetings focussing on new legislation and updates.  All staff have equality objectives within their development plans.   

Performance objectives for leaders and managers cover their responsibilities to support fairness for staff.

Everyone is given the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and develop their potential.  All staff participate in the appraisal process, this focusses on performance only and guards against discrimination, staff performance is considered honestly and impartially on the basis of evidence.

Standards in which all employees are assessed and reviewed are communicated with employees.  Development stages are identified and put in place to enable employees to achieve short, medium and long term goals to upskill and progress with their employment.

All delivery personnel either internal or external will be monitored periodically or at least twice per annum whilst delivering ESF and/or Enabling Progression in Entry Level Jobs in South East funded programmes. This will be recorded on the same paperwork outlined in QMS202 Internal Quality Assurance Procedures although plans and feedback paperwork may not be required. Where an under-performance is identified the expectations of Mainstream will be reiterated and confirmed with the individual concerned and/or the disciplinary process will be enacted should it be deemed applicable by the Training Director.

Objectives of this Policy

To prevent, reduce and stop all forms of unlawful discrimination in line with the Equality Act 2010.

To ensure that recruitment, promotion, training, development, assessment, benefits, pay, terms and conditions of employment, redundancy and dismissals are determined on the basis of capability, qualifications, experience, skills and productivity.

Duties under the Equality Act 2010

Mainstream is fully committed to its Public Sector Equality Duty under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.  It continues to be ambitious when advancing and embedding Equality and diversity for all learners, staff, stakeholders, contractors and visitors and to challenging all forms of discrimination based on the promotion of fundamental British values.

In order to fulfil its commitment to promoting EDI across the organisation, as well as meeting its requirements under the Public Sector Equality Duty, Mainstream will:

  • Implement necessary actions and training to ensure that equality is advanced and embedded for all, in line with a broad spectrum of policies, which guide the delivery of the training and wider corporate business.
  • Engage and communicate, both internally and externally, with learners, staff, visitors and the wider community where appropriate, in relation to the above.
  • Ensure an organisation wide commitment to advancing and embedding EDI and that it is understood by all.
  • Ensure that the EDI Policy is linked to Mainstream’s strategic plan.
  • Ensure the principle of equal opportunities is embedded in service delivery and that gender equality is promoted
  • Ensure that activities are fully accessible to people with disabilities in line with our public duty under the 2010 Equality Act.
  • Ensure the monitoring of impact of equal opportunities policies across the provision is in line with the wider ESF programme targets detailed in the Operational Programme.
  • Monitor the effectiveness of policies and procedures through the self-assessment process.
  • Ensure that the policy is informed by current legislation, the current Ofsted Framework for Inspection and is supplemented by other organisational policy documents

Compliance with Legal Responsibilities

The Equality Act 2010 gives the key legislative requirements relating to EDI.  The Act identifies nine protected characteristics which are: age, disability, gender, gender identify, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and philosophical beliefs, sexual orientation and marriage and civil partnerships.  All nine characteristics are covered in the employment duties of the Act.  The protected characteristic of marriage and civil partnership is not included in the educational duties of the Act.

The Act outlaws unfair discrimination against an individual because of a protected characteristic and this includes the following types of discrimination:

  • Direct discrimination
  • Indirect discrimination
  • Harassment
  • Victimisation
  • Discrimination arising from disability
  • Failure to make reasonable adjustments (for disabled people)
  • The Act requires due regard to the three aims of the general duty:
  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimization and other conduct prohibited by the Act;
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not;
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

The first part of this duty to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation applies to all nine protected characteristics while the rest of the duty applies to eight of the protected characteristics and excludes marriage and civil partnerships.

The Equality Act states that meeting different needs includes taking steps to take account of disabled people’s disabilities.

The Act describes fostering good relations as tackling prejudice and promoting understanding between people of different groups.

Mainstream actively wishes to encourage participation in training both internally and externally by staff/learners from all backgrounds and groups including those generally under-represented.

Examples of under-represented groups include the following

  • People who are unemployed or who have been out of the labour market because of domestic, childcare or other caring responsibilities;
  • Learners who are or have been ‘Looked After’ especially those in the care of the local authority;
  • People who speak English as an additional language;
  • People that have undergone or are undergoing gender reassignment;
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual people;
  • People in low income groups;
  • Black and minority ethnic groups (BME) including Gypsies, Romas, Travellers;
  • People with learning difficulties and/or disabilities including those with mental illness and those with sensory and/or mobility impairment;
  • People without formal qualifications;
  • People with emotional and behavioural difficulties;
  • Ex-offenders;
  • Part-time and temporary workers;
  • Unskilled manual workers;
  • Males or females in an environment predominantly consisting of the opposite sex.

Definition of Discrimination

Discrimination is unequal or differential treatment which leads to one person being treated more orless favourably than others are, or would be, treated in the same or similar circumstances on the grounds of race, sex, pregnancy and maternity, marital or civil partnership status, gender reassignment, disability, religion or beliefs, age or sexual orientation. Discrimination may be direct or indirect, and includes discrimination by perception and association.

Types of Discrimination

Direct Discrimination

This occurs when a person or a policy intentionally treats a person less favourably than another on the grounds of race, sex, pregnancy and maternity, marital or civil partnership status, gender reassignment, disability, religion or beliefs, age or sexual orientation.

Indirect Discrimination

This is the application of a policy, criterion or practice which Mainstream applies to all but which is such that:

  • If is it detrimental to a proportion of people or person that the people or person is applying it to or represents;
  • Mainstream cannot justify the need for the application of the policy on a neutral basis; and
  • The person to whom Mainstream is applying it to suffers detriment from the application of the policy.

Example: A requirement that all employees must be 6ft tall if that requirement is not justified by the position would indirectly discriminate against employees with an oriental ethnic origin, as they are less likely to be able to fulfil this requirement.


This occurs when a person is subjected to unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating their dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.


Although there is no legal definition of bullying it is usually defined as:

  • Repeated
  • Intend to hurt someone either physically or emotionally
  • Often aimed at certain groups, for example because of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation

It takes many forms and can include

  • Physical assault
  • Teasing
  • Making threats
  • Name Calling
  • Cyberbullying – bullying via mobile phone or online (for example email, social networks and instant messenger)


This occurs when a person is treated less favourably because they have bought or intend to bring proceedings or they have given or intend to give evidence.

Unlawful Reasons for Discrimination


It is not permissible to treat a person less favourably on the grounds of sex, marital status, civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, gender reassignment or transgender status. This applies to men, women and those undergoing or intending to undergo gender reassignment. Sexual harassment of men and women can be found to constitute sex discrimination.

Example: Asking a woman during an interview if she is planning to have any (more) children constitutes discrimination on the ground of gender.


It is not permissible to treat a person less favourably because of their age. This applies to people of all ages.  This does not currently apply to the calculation of redundancy payments.


It is not permissible to treat a disabled person less favourably than a non-disabled person.  Reasonable adjustments must be made to give the disabled person as much access to any services and ability to be employed, trained, or promoted as a non-disabled person.


It is not permissible to treat a person less favourably because of their race, the colour of their skin, their nationality or their ethnic origin.

Sexual Orientation

It is not permissible to treat a person less favourably because of their sexual orientation. For example, an employer cannot refuse to employ a person because s/he is homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual.

Religion or Belief

It is not permissible to treat a person less favourably because of their religious beliefs or their religion or their lack of any religion or belief.

Positive Action

Positive action is a range of measures allowed under the Equality Act 2010 which can be lawfully taken to encourage and train people from under-represented groups to help them overcome disadvantages in competing with other applicants. If Mainstream chooses to utilise positive action this will not be used to treat people with a protected characteristic more favourably.

Reasonable Adjustments

Mainstream has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to facilitate the engagement of a disabled person.

These may include:

Making adjustments to premises;

Re-allocating some or all of a disabled client, Sub Contractor, delivery partner and customer duties;

Transferring a disabled client, Sub Contractor, delivery partner and/or customer to a role or course better suited to their disability;

Relocating a disabled client, Sub Contractor, delivery partner and/or customer to a more suitable office or training environment;

Giving a disabled client, Sub Contractor, delivery partner and/or customer time away for medical treatment or rehabilitation;

Providing training or mentoring for a disabled employee;

Supplying or modifying equipment, instruction, training and/or manuals for disabled clients, Sub Contractors, delivery partners and customers; or

Any other adjustments that the Mainstream considers reasonable and necessary provided such adjustments are within the financial means of the organisation.

If a client, Sub Contractor, delivery partner and/or customer has a disability and feels that any such adjustments could be made by the Mainstream, they should contact the Training Director and/or the Equality Champion.


Responsibility for the Implementation of this Policy

All clients, sub-contractors, delivery partners and/or customersof Mainstream are required to act in a way that does not subject any other client, sub-contractor, delivery partner and/or customerto direct or indirect discrimination, harassment or victimisation on the grounds of their race, sex, pregnancy or maternity, marital or civil partnership status, gender reassignment, disability, religion or beliefs, age or sexual orientation.

The co-operation of all is essential for the success of this Policy.

Senior employees are expected to follow this Policy and to try to ensure that all employees, subcontractors and agents do the same.

Employees may be held independently and individually liable for their discriminatory acts by the Company and in some circumstances an Employment Tribunal may order them to pay compensation to the person who has suffered as a result of discriminatory acts.

The Company takes responsibility for achieving the objectives of this Policy, and endeavours to ensure compliance with relevant Legislation and Codes of Practice.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Corporate monitoring of the policy will be the responsibility of the Managing Director and Training Director.  This will include:

  • Annual review of the policy
  • An Annual EDI Report
  • Learner and staff surveys
  • Data analysis
  • Monitoring of formal complaints
  • Collecting and disseminating examples of good practice
  • Quality Improvement Plan

Acting on Discriminatory Behaviour

In the event that a client, sub-contractor, delivery partner and/or customer is the subject or perpetrator of, or witness to, discriminatory behaviour, please report to your contract lead and/or Equality Champion.

Advice and Support on Discrimination

Clients, sub-contractors, delivery partners and/or customers may contact their contract lead and/or Equality Champion or trade union representative if access to such an individual is possible.

Other contacts include:

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Arndale House
The Arndale Centre
M4 3AQ

Telephone: 0161 829 8100

Fleetbank House
2 – 6 Salisbury Sq

Telephone: 0207 832 7800

Block 1, Spur D
Government Buildings
St Agnes Rd

Telephone: 02920 447710

151 West George St
G2 2JJ
Telephone: 0141 228 5910

Website: www.equalityhumanrights.com

Citizens Advice Bureau

Myddleton House
115-123 Pentonville Road
N1 9LZ

Telephone: 0300 023 1231
Website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Community Legal Services Direct

Telephone: 0845 345 4 345
Website: www.clsdirect.uk

Community Legal Services Direct

Telephone: 0845 345 4 345
Website: www.clsdirect.org.uk

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