National Theatre Wales (NTW) seeks to ensure that equality and diversity principles – accessibility, inclusivity, respect and difference – underpin all areas of the organisation’s work and aims to promote them within its employment practices, across its creative platforms and in fulfilling its role as a National company by demonstrating leadership and imagination. This Equality and Diversity Policy is fully supported by the Board and Executive Team and underpinned by our core values to:
Be daring, curious, generous, responsible, and adaptable,
To be a catalyst and encourage others to develop and grow
Diversity, ironically, means different things to different people. To National Theatre Wales, it simply means this: we’re having a party, and everyone’s invited.
This policy isn’t as selfless as it sounds. The work this company makes and the impact it has are truly at their best when those who make and experience that work – artists, audiences, communities and staff – come from all walks of life. This isn’t about tolerance, or outreach, or engagement. There is no ‘them and us’, no exceptions nor dress codes. It just means everyone’s invited. It’s a pretty colourless party, otherwise.
The Cultural Imperative
We know that the arts in Wales will be stronger, more exciting and relevant to more people if we embrace diversity. And if we are to produce and present exciting and compelling work, appropriate to our times, we cannot ignore the wide range of people and communities who comprise twenty-first century civic society in Wales.
The arts are a powerful tool for examining and exploring these issues. The arts help us to understand difference. But they also help us to investigate and express the things we have in common and our place in the world. A fair-minded and tolerant society that’s impatient of disadvantage, which embraces equality and celebrates difference. We want the arts in Wales to be wholly and genuinely inclusive.
We want everyone who reads or uses this policy to understand what we mean by “Equality” and “Diversity”
Equality is about ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents, and believing that no one should have poorer life chances because of where, what or whom they were born, what they believe, or whether they have a disability. Equality recognises that historically, certain groups of people with particular characteristics e.g. race, disability, sex and sexuality, have experienced discrimination and that it may be necessary to take positive action to address this.
Diversity literally means difference. It is about recognising individual as well as group differences, treating people as individuals, and placing positive value on diversity in the community and in our organisation. For NTW, this means embracing and celebrating the richness of society and ensuring under-represented communities have a stake in it – and in us. It is also about valuing the unique skills, experiences and perspectives of every individual and finding ways to bring the best out of them. Diversity brings richness to our culture, society and economy and society. It teaches us how to relate and co-exist with people who are different from ourselves.
The Ethical Rationale
A commitment to equality and diversity embodies sensitive and ethical appreciation and recognition of cultural differences. It:
- Values and celebrates the diversity of contemporary society in Wales
- Expresses a commitment to access and equity
- Demonstrates ethical beliefs, conduct and behaviour
- Respects human dignity through the recognition of each person’s/group’s cultural rights
- Appreciates the importance of cross-cultural knowledge
- Demonstrates acceptance of cultural diversity, and
- Aims to ensure that the diverse nature of Welsh society is reflected in all aspects of our work
NTW is committed to:
- Identifying and eliminating unlawful and unfair discrimination
- Encouraging and championing diversity both within our organisation and in the activities we undertake
- Promoting a positive and harmonious working and creative environment in which all individuals are treated with respect, are able to give of their best, are not subject to harassment or bullying and where all decisions regarding their employment or opportunities to participate are based on merit
- Attaining diversity across our staff, board, TEAM Panel, artistic colleagues and collaborators that is representative of the communities across Wales with whom we work and reflects the rich diversity of Welsh society. This may include taking lawful affirmative or positive action, where appropriate and practicable, to promote equality of opportunity and encourage diversity
- Fulfilling all our legal obligations under the equality legislation and associated codes of practice, complying with our own Equality and Diversity Policy and associated policies and regarding all breaches of our Equality and Diversity Policy as misconduct which could lead to disciplinary proceedings.
The Legal Framework
The Equality Act 2010 brings together a number of existing laws into one place so that it is easier to use. It sets out the personal characteristics that are protected by the law and the behaviour that is unlawful. Everyone in Britain is protected by the Act. The “protected characteristics” under the Act are:
- Age, Disability, Gender reassignment, Marriage and civil partnership, Pregnancy and maternity, Race, Religion and belief, Sex, Sexual orientation
Under the Act people are not allowed to discriminate, harass or victimise another person because they have any of the protected characteristics. There is also protection against discrimination where someone is perceived to have one of the protected characteristics or where they are associated with someone who has a protected characteristic.
- treating one person worse than another because of a protected characteristic (known as direct discrimination) or
- putting in place a rule or policy or way of doing things that has a worse impact on someone with a protected characteristic than someone without one, when this cannot be objectively justified (known as indirect discrimination).
Harassment includes unwanted conduct related to a protected characteristic which has the purpose or effect or violating someone’s dignity or which creates a hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for someone with a protected characteristic.
Victimisation is treating someone unfavourably because they have taken (or might be taking) action under the Equality Act or supporting somebody who is doing so.
Policy into Practice
All of the five over-arching commitments are underpinned by specific principles relating to key areas of the Company’s work:
- The way we operate as a National Organisation
- The Work We Do
- The way we operate as an Employer
(see below) which, in turn, are supported by a comprehensive suite of policies and procedures. In addition, in order to ensure that our commitment to equality and diversity is clearly evident in our work, Action Plans relating to those key areas will be produced, shared publicly, monitored regularly and reviewed / revised annually.
Our Commitments as a National Organisation
Overview: NTW acknowledges that it has particular responsibilities, as a National Company, to advocate and lead by example but also recognises that it has much to learn from the practices of other organisations. It will therefore seek opportunities to exchange ideas, working methods and solutions and to share learning widely across the sector. It is expected that when staff or Board members represent NTW on the committees of other agencies or organisations, they will endeavour to ensure that equality and diversity principles and practices are adopted by those agencies.
Board: NTW seeks a broad and representative Board and will seek to attract Board members from diverse backgrounds
Team Panel: Every year, twelve individuals who have been involved in TEAM – a network of individuals from all walks of life who are engaged with NTW – form a Panel which has an impact across the full range of NTW activities – from discussions about strategic and artistic plans, to joining recruitment panels for every post, and one individual joins the Board for the full year. In this way we ensure that a wide range of views, from people with very different backgrounds, is heard and informs our decision-making processes
Awareness Training: NTW will ensure that our Board, staff and volunteers, understand the Equality Act and what it means for NTW and that they are given opportunities to explore how practices could be improved.
Policy development: NTW will ensure that when policies are introduced or amended, an Equality Impact Assessment is conducted to ensure that policies and procedures are fair and that they do not inadvertently disadvantage a protected group.
Welsh Language: The Welsh Language is not a “protected characteristic” under the Act, but NTW has a duty to comply with the Welsh Language Standards issued by the Welsh Language Commissioner.
The Work We Do: Our Commitments
Overview: NTW is committed to encouraging as many people as possible in Wales to enjoy and take part in the arts – as practitioners, participants and audience members – by reaching out to people who may have experienced barriers to taking part or attending and by offering a culturally diverse programme of activities which will appeal and respond to people from different backgrounds. NTW is committed to offering work for a diverse community and will seek to reflect this in the activities it undertakes, the performers and other artists engaged those activities and the audiences it seeks to attract through its marketing, publicity and on-line presence.
Casting and Artist Development: NTW is committed to ensuring that the work it produces reflects the diversity of contemporary Wales. NTW will pursue a strategy of integrated casting and seek to ensure that it attracts performers from all sections of our society. We will consider, audition and cast actors without regard to race or colour unless the race of the character is considered to be essential to the reading of the work and/or where casting actors of a particular ethnic origin and/or cultural background may give an extra depth or dimension to the production. NTW will ensure that access to any area of audition, rehearsal or performance is available to an artist with a disability in order to further the casting of performers with disabilities, whether or not the part calls for a disability.
Marketing: NTW will select tactical marketing tools designed to reach out to a wider cross section of the population of Wales – in new ways and in new places.
Pricing: NTW will ensure that a suite of concessions will be available for all its productions and activities for children and young people, those who are not employed and for senior citizens and will take steps to ensure that, where the ticket pricing structure is governed by a venue’s own policies, the capacity of local people to pay to attend a performance will influence the pricing decision.
Access: NTW will strive to find ways of making our work accessible to everyone (practitioners, participants and audience members), including people with mobility difficulties, people for whom English is not a first language, people with visual or hearing impairments and people who live in remote rural areas and/or who cannot easily travel. In addition to choosing venues with access considerations in mind (including NTW’s presence across Wales in each season), practical interventions may include (but are not limited to) static, seated alternatives for promenade productions, audio described, signed and relaxed performances, sur/subtitles, bilingual/multi-lingual productions, special coaches etc
Cultural diversity: NTW will take positive action to increase the cultural diversity within NTW, throughout the range of activities we deliver, and amongst the audiences and participants we reach
Our Commitments as an Employer
Overview: NTW aims to promote equality and diversity as an employer and to ensure that no job applicant or employee receives less favourable treatment or is disadvantaged by conditions or requirements that cannot be shown to be justifiable within the context of this policy.
Discrimination: NTW regards discrimination, harassment, abuse, victimisation or bullying of staff, volunteers or of others in the course of work as disciplinary offences that could be regarded as gross misconduct. Condoning such behaviour could also be treated as a disciplinary offence. As well as disciplining the perpetrator(s), we will give appropriate support to people who complain of harassment of themselves or others.
Employment Practices: Selection, recruitment, training, promotion and employment practices generally will be subject to regular review to ensure that they comply with the Equality and Diversity Policy. In particular, selection and recruitment procedures will be reviewed annually in order to improve equality and diversity practices. These practices include ensuring that job opportunities are communicated to all sections of the community and that, where appropriate and possible, the advertising of job opportunities includes media directly aimed at ethnic minority and disabled communities. They also include providing training in equality and diversity issues, particularly for anyone involved in recruitment and selection.
Flexible working: NTW will attempt to accommodate staff requests to work flexibly, whether part-time or some other working arrangement, for whatever reason, so long as agreement is consistent with the needs of the organisation. NTW will also encourage initiatives designed to help staff who wish to return to work after a career break. (See Flexible Working Policy, Maternity and Paternity Policy and NTW Special Leave Policy for more details.)
Reasonable Adjustments: We recognise that organisations are obliged under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate disabled people and to enable them to do their job without unnecessary difficulty. We will make adjustments which are reasonable, whether or not we are obliged to do so by law, and whether or not a disabled applicant or employee is covered by the definition of disabled under the Equality Act.
Religion and Belief: We accept our obligation not to discriminate against applicants and employees on the basis of their religion or belief. We will try to accommodate employees’ religious beliefs in any way which is compatible with the work of the organisation by, for example, allowing for prayers during the working day and at the workplace; considering employees’ dietary requirements in providing facilities for staff to eat and store food; allowing staff to take their holidays for religious festivals; trying to arrange job interviews or other important work meetings at times when they do not clash with important religious festivals; and not imposing a dress code with which people of a particular religion cannot comply.
Age: NTW will not discriminate on grounds of age in recruitment, promotion, training or the availability of benefits such as pension contributions. NTW will consider seriously any application to work beyond the retirement age of 65, whether flexibly or otherwise.
Positive Action: NTW will take whatever positive action is required where it can be shown that under-representation of any particular group has occurred in recruitment. Where appropriate and where legally permissible, employees from under-represented groups will be given training and encouragement in order to promote equality and diversity within NTW.
NTW Board: The NTW Board has ultimate responsibility for the Equality and Diversity Policy.
Artistic Director and Executive Team: It is the responsibility of the Artistic Director/CEO, supported by the Managing Director and Executive Producer, to implement, monitor and evaluate the Equality and Diversity Policy. The Artistic Director is also under a duty to ensure that the Board is regularly kept informed of the policy’s implementation and the implications of the Board’s decisions and policies for equality and diversity issues.
Line Managers: All line managers have responsibility for promoting equality of opportunity, and should ensure that their own procedures and practices comply with the provisions of NTW’s Equality and Diversity Policy. The performance and example of managers is crucial to improving opportunities for all.
Individuals: All individuals working for and with NTW are responsible for upholding this policy and for reporting any discrimination, intentional or otherwise, of which they become aware. All forms of discrimination are unacceptable, regardless of whether there was any intention to discriminate or not. All individuals working with or on behalf of NTW have a duty to co-operate with NTW to ensure that this policy is effective in ensuring equal opportunities and in preventing discrimination. Employees should be aware that whilst an employer can be held liable in law for acts of discrimination committed by employees, employees too can be held personally liable in law for acts of discrimination which they commit, authorise, contribute to, or condone in relation to other employees, workers and members of the public.
Publicising the Policy
All employees, volunteers, free-lancers and Board members will be informed that an Equality and Diversity Policy is in operation and that they are bound to comply with its requirements.
Copies of the whole policy will be provided on appointment or election, on signature of a contract or at induction. The policy will also be drawn to the attention of NTW’s creative collaborators, funding agencies, job applicants and those using the services of NTW.
NTW’s grievance and disciplinary procedures will be used to deal with any complaints about discrimination, harassment or bullying involving staff.
Complaints from members of the public or people using NTW’s services will be addressed through the company’s complaints procedure.
NTW Equality and Diversity Policy
Appendix A: Sources of advice
Publications offering guidance for employers about their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 are available as free downloads at http://www.acas.org.uk/ under “Equality” in the A-Z advice section
Equality and Human Rights Commission
Publications offering guidance for employers about their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 are available as free downloads at http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/private-and-public-sector-guidance/employing-people/guidance-employers
Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE)
Provide information and training on the accessibility of the built environment for disabled people
Telephone/Textphone: 020 7840 0125
Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES)
Provide a wide range of information for Trans people, their families and professionals who care for them
Telephone: 01372 801 554
The Gender Trust
The UK’s largest charity working to support transsexual, gender dysphoric and transgender people or those who are affected by gender identity issues.
Telephone: 0845 231 0505
|The UK’s leading lesbian, gay and bisexual charity
Telephone: 0800 050 2020