Equality and Diversity Policy

Updated May 2016

The SOA achieved the Foundation Level of the Equality Standard in March 2013. As part of our commitment to the Equality Standard we were reassessed again in March 2016 at Foundation Level, an award valid until April 2019. A commitment to deliver against an equality policy is one of the principles of good governance for SGBs in Scotland set out by sportscotland.

26th Jan 16

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Sports Equality is about fairness in sport; equality of access; recognising inequalities and taking steps to address them. It involves reviewing the culture and structure of our sport to ensure it becomes equally accessible to all members of society and ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy their sport, use their talents, and realise their full potential.

As a Scottish Sport Governing Body the Scottish Orienteering Association has an obligation, both legal and moral, to ensure that it not only promotes an environment where all individuals can participate in and benefit from the sport of orienteering, but to ensure that all of its members, individual and club, do so too.

The Scottish Orienteering Association is fully committed to the principles laid down in this policy document and all Scottish Orienteering Association employees, members and volunteers will work together to embrace difference and diversity and respect the rights of all individuals wishing to orienteer in Scotland.

Read more about the Foundation Level at EqualityinSport.org

 

The Equality and Diversity Policy

Foreward

Sports Equality is about fairness in sport; equality of access; recognising inequalities and taking steps to address them. It involves reviewing the culture and structure of our sport to ensure it becomes equally accessible to all members of society and ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy their sport, use their talents, and realise their full potential.

As a Scottish Sport Governing Body the Scottish Orienteering Association  has an obligation, both legal and moral, to ensure that it not only promotes an environment where all individuals can participate in and benefit from the sport of orienteering, but to ensure that all of its members, individual and club, do so too.

The Scottish Orienteering Association is fully committed to the principles laid down in this policy document and all Scottish Orienteering Association employees, members and volunteers will work together to embrace difference and diversity and respect the rights of all individuals wishing to orienteer in Scotland.

Roger Scrutton

President, Scottish Orienteering Association

 

Policy Statement

The Scottish Orienteering Association (SOA) endorses the principle of sports equality and will strive to ensure that everyone who wishes to be involved in orienteering, whether as individual orienteers, professional staff, team members, volunteers, coaches or office-bearers in clubs or the SOA :

  • has a genuine and equal opportunity to participate to the full extent of their own ambitions and abilities, without regard to their age, sex, gender identity, disability, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, religion, race, ethnic origin, nationality, colour, socioeconomic status or sexual orientation; and
  • can be assured of an environment in which their rights, dignity and individual worth are respected, and in particular that they are able to enjoy their sport without the threat of intimidation, victimisation, harassment or abuse.

Legal obligations

The SOA is committed to avoid and eliminate unfair discrimination of any kind in orienteering, and will under no circumstances condone unlawful discriminatory practices. The organisation takes a zero tolerance approach to harassment. Examples of the relevant legislation and the behaviours in question are given in the Appendix.

Positive action

The principle of Sports Equality goes further than simply complying with legislation. It entails taking positive steps to counteract the effects of physical or cultural barriers – whether real or perceived – that restrict the opportunity for all sections of the community to participate equally and fully.

The SOA will therefore seek to institute, support or contribute to appropriate measures or initiatives that enable access to orienteering and participation in associated activities by people from any group that is under-represented in the sport or has difficulty accessing it.

Implementation

The following steps will be taken to publicise this policy and promote sports equality in orienteering:-

  • A copy of this document will be published on the SOA Website.
  • The SOA President will take overall responsibility for ensuring that the policy is observed.
  • The SOA Board will take full account of the policy in arriving at all decisions in relation to activities of the SOA.
  • The SOA will collaborate fully with any surveys or other initiatives designed to assess the level of participation of different sections of the community in orienteering and will take account of the findings in developing measures to promote and enhance sports equality in orienteering.
  • The SOA will provide guidance to all of its Board Members and Professional Staff to raise awareness of both collective and individual responsibilities. All SOA licensed coaches will be equality and diversity trained.
  • It will be a condition of SOA membership that member clubs:
    • formally adopt this policy, or produce their own equality and diversity policy in terms that are consistent with it; and
    • take steps to ensure that their Committees, members and volunteers behave in accordance with the policy, including where appropriate taking disciplinary action under the Club’s constitution; and
    • ensure that access to membership is open and inclusive with regard to protected characteristics
    • support such measures and initiatives that the SOA may institute or take part in to advance the aims of this policy.
  • It will be a condition of SOA membership that individual members
    • commit to act in accordance with this policy; and
    • support such measures and initiatives that the SOA may institute or take part in to advance the aims of this policy.

Responsibility, Monitoring and Evaluation

The Board will be responsible for ensuring the implementation of this policy.

The Board will review all SOA activities and initiatives against the aims of the policy on an annual basis, and the President will report formally on this issue at the AGM.

The Board, or where appropriate a designated project leader, will review any measures or initiatives that the SOA may institute or take part in to promote and enhance sports equality in orienteering, and will report their findings formally to the AGM.

The Board will review the policy itself at intervals of no more than three years, (or when necessary due to changes in legislation) and will report with recommendations to the AGM.

Complaints and compliance

The SOA regards all of the forms of discriminatory behaviour, including (but not limited to) behaviour described in the Appendix as unacceptable, and is concerned to ensure that individuals feel able to raise any bona fide grievance or complaint related to such behaviour without fear of being penalised for doing so.

Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against any employee, member or volunteer who violates the SOA Equality and Diversity Policy.

Any person who believes that he or she has been treated in a way that they consider to be in breach of this policy by a member club, individual member or employees of the SOA , should first complain to that person or organisation. If this does not resolve the matter, or in the case of allegations of discriminatory behaviour against the SOA itself, the person may raise the matter by writing directly to the President or other Board member. Contact details are available through the website http://www.scottish-orienteering.org

The President will investigate the complaint personally or appoint a Board member to do so. The investigation will be conducted impartially, confidentially, and without avoidable delay. Any person or organisation against whom a complaint has been made will be informed of what is alleged and given the opportunity to present their side of the matter.

The outcome of the investigation will be notified to the parties in writing and reported to the SOA Board. If the investigation reveals unacceptable discriminatory behaviour on the part of an individual member, employee, or member club the Board may impose sanctions on that person or organisation in line with the SOA Constitution. Sanctions may range from a written reminder concerning future conduct up to and including temporary or permanent expulsion from SOA membership. In deciding what sanction is appropriate in a particular case the Board will consider the severity of the matter and take account of any mitigating circumstances.

Where the violation of the Equality Policy by way of harassment, victimisation or discrimination amounts to a criminal offence, the appropriate authority will be informed.

In the event that an individual or organisation associated with the SOA is subject to allegations of unlawful discrimination in a court or tribunal, the SOA Board will co-operate fully with any investigation carried out by the relevant lawful authorities and, subject to the outcome, may consider taking action as above in relation to the matter concerned.

Scottish Orienteering Association

25 January 2016

 

APPENDIX – Relevant legislation and forms of unacceptable discrimination

Legal rights

Discrimination has been legally defined through a series of legislative acts, including the Race Relations Act, the Sex Discrimination Act, the Disability Discrimination Act and the Equality Act 2006.

In April 2010, the Equality Act 2010 received Royal Assent. The Equality Act 2010 is a new law which harmonises where possible, and in some cases extends, protection from discrimination. It applies throughout the UK and came into force in October 2010.

Discrimination refers to unfavourable treatment on the basis of particular characteristics, which are known as the ‘protected characteristics’. Under the Equality Act 2010, the protected characteristics are defined as age (employment only until 2012), disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status (employment only), pregnancy and maternity, race (which includes ethnic or national origin, colour or nationality), religion or belief, sex (gender) and sexual orientation.

Under the Equality Act 2010, individuals are protected from discrimination ‘on grounds of’ a protected characteristic [1]. This means that individuals will be protected if they have a characteristic, are assumed to have it, associate with someone who has it or with someone who is assumed to have it.

Forms of discrimination and discriminatory behaviour include the following:

Direct discrimination

Direct discrimination can be described as less favourable treatment on the grounds of one of the protected characteristics.

Indirect discrimination

Indirect discrimination occurs when a provision, criterion or practice is applied to an individual or group that would put persons of a particular characteristic at a particular disadvantage compared with other persons.

Discrimination arising from disability

When a disabled person is treated unfavourably because of something connected with their disability and this unfavourable treatment cannot be justified, this is unlawful. This type of discrimination only relates to disability.

Harassment

Harassment is defined as unwanted conduct relating to a protected characteristic that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity, or which creates an intimidating or hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person.

Victimisation

It is unlawful to treat a person less favourably because he or she has made allegations or brought proceedings under the anti-discrimination legislation, or because they have helped another person to do so. To do so would constitute victimisation.

Bullying

Bullying is defined as a form of personal harassment involving the misuse of power, influence or position to persistently criticise, humiliate or undermine an individual.

 

[1] The exception to this is pregnancy and maternity, which does not include protection by association or assumption – a woman is only protected from discrimination on grounds of her own pregnancy.

 

You can also download a copy of the SOA Equality and Diversity Policy as a PDF.

Photo of authorPosted on 26th Jan 16
by Colin Matheson