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Equality and Diversity

Equality and Diversity in our Learning Community

Belfast Metropolitan College believes that everyone has a right to study in a harmonious welcoming environment. We are committed to creating and ensuring an atmosphere where learners, customers, staff, governors and other stakeholders celebrate equality and diversity in all activities.

We respect all our students, staff and service users, and we celebrate our similarities and value our differences. We seek to provide a supportive learning setting which demonstrates respect for and acceptance of difference.

To this end, we do not tolerate any form of discrimination, bullying or harassment. We will ensure, to the best of our ability, that learners, customers, staff, governors and stakeholders are not discriminated against either directly or indirectly. The College deals with bullying and harassment issues through our Student Harassment Policy. We emphasise our commitment to equality of opportunity through our Equal Opportunities Policy for Students and Equal Opportunities Policy for staff.

We value everyone as an individual and want to prepare our students for work in a diverse community. We therefore seek to promote a welcoming environment which accepts and understands difference in terms of our genetic make-up, culture and tradition. We have developed a Dress Code Policy for students to help reinforce the importance of a mutually supportive learning and working environment.

We also have legal obligations and to this end staff in our Corporate Development Department advise on such issues. One of our key pieces of legislation is Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 which places a duty on all of us to promote equality of opportunity and good relations. Nine categories of difference are specified in this legislation: age, gender, religious belief, ethnicity, sexual orientation, marital status, political opinion, between persons with or without dependents or with or without a disability. We have produced a suite of documents to meet these legal obligations. One of the key equality documents is the College’s Equality Scheme. This Scheme was approved by the Equality Commission in January 2012. For ease of reference we have developed an Equality Scheme Information Leaflet.

Each year, the College submits a renew of its process in relation to the relevant equality legislation to the Equality Commission by August 31 each year. To view the latest return please click here.

A person can make a complaint to the college on an equality related matter by way of Chapter 8 of our Equality Scheme if there is a belief that he or she may have been directly affected by our alleged failure to comply with our equality scheme. Should any concerns arise, contact the Corporate Compliance Officer – contact details below.

The College also has a legal obligation under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to provide a Disability Action Plan. Under the Special Education Needs and Disability (NI) Order 2005 we have established a Centre for Inclusive Learning who identify the support needs of students with a disability who require additional assistance.

We have put in place confidential disclosure procedures for students who are or who have been in care, students who are transgender and students who have a criminal conviction, to ensure that they can advise us of their specific circumstances and be assured that they can avail of additional support systems as required. Please click here for further information. 

Our information leaflet on Promoting Equality and Diversity in Belfast Metropolitan College is also a useful source of information.

Further advice on equality and diversity can be provided by contacting:

Corporate Compliance Officer
Belfast Metropolitan College
Titanic Quarter Campus
Level 4, Room 17
Belfast BT3 9DT
Tel: 028 9026 5455
Email: dataprotection[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk
Textphone: 028 9026 5126

Equality Screening

As part of our drive to promote equality of opportunity and good relations, we use a process known as equality screening. This helps us identify policy decisions which could adversely impact people in any of the nine categories of difference identified by s75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998: age, gender, religious belief, sexual orientation, ethnicity, marital status, political opinion, people with or without a disability and people with or without dependants. To access policy decisions which have been equality screened by the College and to see the outcome of that screening exercise, please see below:

Policy Name

Policy Description

Sector Policy (Yes/No)

Equality Screening Date

Equality Screening Outcome

Equal Opportunities (staff)

Overarching policy document that sets out how the College ensures equality of opportunity in relation to all aspects of employment.   

No

12 February 2015

Screened out of EQIA and no mitigation required.

Please Click here for policy screening document

Disciplinary Procedure (student) 

This document sets out the procedures relating to the application of sanctions as a result of unacceptable student behaviour.   

No

3 September 2014

Screened out of EQIA and no mitigation required.

Please click here for policy screening document

Bring Your Own Device (IT)

This document provides guidance to students who bring portable electronic equipment with them to College. 

No

3 September 2014

Screened out of EQIA and no mitigation required.

Please click here for policy screening document

Higher Education Assessment

This document sets out the framework including standards for the assessment of submitted student work as part of an HE learning programme. 

No

4 September 2014

Screened out of EQIA and no mitigation required.

Please click here for policy screening document

Estates Strategy 2012

To ensure that the College has an appropriate estate for meeting current and future business needs.

No

January 2013

Screened out of EQIA and no mitigation required. No negative impacts on s75 Categories.

Click here for policy screening document

Restructuring Process for Belfast Met support staff

This was a framework document which outlined the methodology and processes for restructuring the support function in Belfast Met.

No

30 January 2012

Some mitigation measures introduced. An equality impact assessment was not required.

Click here for policy screening document

Staff ID Policy

This policy makes it mandatory for staff to wear identification at all times whilst on college premises

No

15 March 2013

Screened out of EQIA and no mitigation required. No negative impacts on s75 categories.

Click here for policy screening document

Dignity At Work Policy (Sector Policy)

This policy aims to create a working environment within Colleges which respects the dignity and rights of all employees and where individuals have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Yes

20 June 2013

This policy was screened out as it has no negative impact in respect of section 75 categories.

Career  Break Scheme (Sector Policy)

The aim of this scheme is to support work life balance by permitting an unpaid period of time away from work.

No

20 June 2013

This policy was screened out as it has no negative impact in respect of section 75 categories.

Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy

This policy puts in place rules defining the acceptable use of college IT resources to ensure proper use and minimise misuse.

No

27 January 2014

Screened out of EQIA and no mitigation required. No negative impacts on s75 categories.

Click here for policy screening document

Pay policy (Lecturing and Non-teaching staff pay remits)

This policy governs the pay arrangements for staff employed in FE colleges in Northern Ireland.

Yes

17th February 2014

This policy decision was screened out as it has no negative impact in respect of section 75 categories.

Health and Safety

To comply with the statutory duty requirements under the Health & Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 and all subsequent and subordinate legislation to manage the health, safety and welfare of all employees, learners and visitors. 

       No

27th November 2013

Screened out of EQIA and no mitigation required. 

Screening Form FE Sector Customer Complaints and Compliments June 16

This policy advises customers (defined as students, staff members, members of the public or third party stakeholders) of the Colleges’ commitment to ensuring that any issues or problems are resolved quickly and as close to the source as possible, to the satisfaction of all concerned.

 Yes

 June 2016

Screened out of EQIA and no mitigation required. No negative impacts on s75 categories.

Click here for policy screening form

Conflict of Interest Policy

This policy takes every possible step to identify and effectively manage conflicts of interest which arise or may arise in the course of providing a service.

 Yes

 April 15

Screened out of EQIA and no mitigation required. No negative impacts on s75 categories.

Staff Code of Conduct Policy

This policy advises staff members on the code of conduct to abide by when working in the College.

Yes

February 17

Screened out of EQIA and no mitigation required. No negative impacts on s75 categories.


Equality Impact Assessment

Certain policies may require further analysis. This process is known as an equality impact assessment. This is a thorough and systematic analysis of a policy decision, whether that policy is formal or informal, to determine the extent of any impact of a policy upon the Section 75 categories (stated above) and to determine if the impact is an adverse one. It is also an opportunity to demonstrate the likely positive outcomes of a policy and to seek ways to more effectively promote equality of opportunity and good relations. 

Consultation

We recognise the importance of consultation in all aspects of the implementation of our statutory equality duties. We have already consulted on our Equality Scheme and will continue to seek views on equality impact assessments and other matters determined by the College to be relevant to the Section 75 statutory duties. We also advise consultees on a quarterly basis of all policies which have been equality screened. We make all relevant information available to consultees in appropriate formats to ensure meaningful consultation. If you require information in an alternative format, please contact Corporate Compliance Officer on 028 9026 5455, by textphone on 028 9026 5126 or by e-mail on dataprotection[AT]belfastmet[DOT]ac[DOT]uk.

To view detailed accessibility information to Belfast Metropolitan College, click here to go to DisabledGo.com