Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Change history

Version numberDate of releasePolicy ownerAuthorised by
5.008 September 2023Naomi da Silva, Head of Business AssuranceBoard of Trustees

Policy statement

At Central YMCA we are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion (‘ED&I’) in everything we do. We believe creating an organisation where everyone feels valued is not only the right thing to do, but also helps drive success and create impact. In recognition of this commitment, we are driven by our core value of Equity, breaking down barriers to ensure everyone can thrive.

We are committed to creating environments in which our people and communities are treated fairly and with respect. This includes our staff, volunteers, members, learners, apprentices and other members of the public we engage with. We are committed to a culture that recognises, celebrates and values the differences between individuals. We firmly believe that a diverse and inclusive workforce is integral to both attracting and meeting the needs of our diverse communities and creating inclusive spaces. Our ED&I commitments also closely align with our wider charity ambitions to contribute to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Gender Equality and Reduced Inequalities.  

We seek to promote equality of opportunity in recruitment, employment, volunteering, governance and the provision of programmes and services. We will not tolerate any form of discrimination, harassment or victimisation on any grounds, including those set out in the Equalities Act 2010: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, including ethnicity and national origin, religion or belief, gender and sexual orientation.

We pro-actively tackle discrimination or disadvantage, aiming to ensure that no individual or group is directly or indirectly discriminated against for any reason with regard to employment or accessing our programmes and services.

Through the initiatives outlined in this policy and our ED&I strategic priorities we will ensure that we create equal opportunities for all, build a strong inclusive culture, address bias, and equip all our managers with the skills to be truly inclusive leaders.


This policy applies to all current and potential employees, workers, self-employed contractors, volunteers, Trustees, members, learners and apprentices, partners, suppliers, and visitors to Central YMCA.

Related Legislation 

Equality Act 2010

The Human Rights Act 1998

UN Sustainable Development Goals


Related Policies, Procedures, and Templates

  • Grievance Policy
  • Disciplinary Policy
  • Our Values
  • Our Strategy
  • Safeguarding Policy


Everyone who works or volunteers for the Charity is expected to champion our commitment to ED&I and work to achieve a more diverse and inclusive culture. However, some roles and departments will have specific responsibilities to support our ED&I ambitions. More detailed roles and responsibilities can be found in Appendix 1.

Board of Trustees
Overall responsibility for the policies and procedures that govern the work at Central YMCA. Hold ultimate accountability for setting an inclusive culture and establishing values and behaviours that align with this policy.

Chief Executive
Overall responsibility for ensuring Central YMCA’s resources are used effectively and appropriately. Supported by the Executive Team, ensures values and behaviours are embedded across the Charity and ED&I principles are core to strategy development, business planning and decision making.

Policy Owner
Responsible for ensuring guidelines are in place and that policies and procedures reflect our charitable ethos and commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Heads and Managers
Champion Inclusive Leadership traits and the principles and values outlined in this policy. Responsible for ensuring all employees, volunteers, subcontractors and partners are aware of and follow the principles of this policy.

People Team (including Learning and Development)
Ensure the principles of this policy are embedded in the People Strategy and all HR practices. Provide learning and development opportunities to drive continuous improvement and awareness.

All Employees and Volunteers
Follow policies and procedures, champion our values and promote best practice throughout the organisation.

Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed and updated annually or otherwise as required to reflect developments in equality legislation, data and best practice.

Confirmation of policy approval:

Andrew Beal, Chair of the Board of Trustees 


1. Principles

We believe all individuals are of equal value, irrespective of their background. We are committed to our legal obligations under the Equality Act to protect individuals in the workplace and wider society from discrimination. We are committed to going above and beyond our legal duties and embrace diversity in its widest sense. See Appendix 2 for further information.

We believe that representation of our wider communities within the Charity’s workforce is both ethically and morally important, but also helps improve performance and decision-making. A diverse workforce helps us to better understand our diverse communities and our ability to meet their needs.

Ensuring equal value and dignity for individual does not mean treating everybody in the same way. All individuals deserve to thrive, and we are driven by our core value of Equity to provide everyone the same opportunity to succeed. This means where inequalities are identified we will take positive action to address these.

We recognise, respect and value difference. We believe that diversity is a strength which should be respected and celebrated by all.

We strive to remove barriers and disadvantages which people may face and focus on improving outcomes that enhance individuals and help them reach their potential.

We foster positive attitudes and relationships, promoting positive connections and mutual respect between colleagues, groups, and communities who differ from each other.

We aim to nurture a shared sense of inclusion and belonging. We want everyone who is connected to Central YMCA to feel a sense of belonging, that they are respected and are able to participate fully.

We take positive steps to tackle all forms of discrimination, harassment, victimisation, inequality, and unfairness.

We ensure that our facilities, programmes, and services are, as far as reasonably possible, welcoming and accessible to all.

We make sure reasonable adjustments are made to support individuals and take particular account of people with disabilities to overcome barriers in the working, volunteering and governance environment, and whilst using our service.

2. Our Workforce

Central YMCA is an equal opportunities employer. Equal treatment applies to all aspects of employment including recruitment, selection and onboarding, terms and conditions of work, promotions and career development, reward and recognition, learning and development, and redundancy and redeployment.

We believe that everyone, regardless of their differences, should have access to the same chances and we therefore actively promote equality of opportunity.

We value diversity and believe it takes all types of individuals to make a creative and innovative organisation. We look to attract, recruit, develop and retain talented people from all backgrounds at every level of the organisation, to draw on different perspectives and experiences that add value to the way we operate.

We are an Opening Doors employer which demonstrates our commitment to reach the most diverse and untapped talent by making changes to the way we recruit. We are also pursuing other best practice through the Disability Confident Scheme, to make the most of the opportunities provided by employing disabled people, removing barriers to disabled people and those with long-term health conditions and ensuring that disabled people have the opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations.

We promote inclusion and encourage different ways of thinking to challenge the status quo. We believe that our organisation is richer when everyone is treated with dignity and valued for their contribution and the unique skills and life experiences they bring.

We look to create a safe environment for employees to disclose disabilities (visible and non-visible) so that implementation of appropriate workplace adjustments can be tailored to individual needs.

We have a zero-tolerance approach to instances of bullying or harassment and are committed to promoting a working environment based on dignity, trust, and respect, and one that is free from discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation. We provide clear mechanisms for employees to raise concerns and take any accusations extremely seriously.

We are committed to ensuring our workforce is aware of equality, diversity and inclusion and   provide training as part of the induction process, alongside an annual programme of training and awareness building. This includes training to managers to support inclusive, safer and trauma informed recruitment, new to manager training, and wider employee training and discussion on relevant topics.

As part of our employee induction programme, we ensure individuals are aware of the Charity’s values and expected behaviours, including Equity, and the policies and procedures that support our EDI principles.

We create opportunities to explore issues in more detail and support continuous improvement via forums and networks.  

We acknowledge that employees have commitments outside work (e.g. families and caring responsibilities) and we are committed to helping employees fulfil their potential at work whilst finding the right work/life balance and supporting their general wellbeing.

We monitor the composition of the workforce regarding information such as age, gender identity and gender reassignment, race, sexual orientation, and disability. We prioritise these areas in the first instance and act accordingly in terms of positive action and reporting.

We provide regular communication regarding our approach EDI, outline our priorities and identify our actions.

We are committed to consistently reviewing our policies and practices to ensure they uphold our EDI principles and take account of changes in law.

3. Our Customers, Programmes and Services

Supporting diverse communities is core to our charitable objectives, mission, vision and values.  Since our formation, we have helped to break down barriers to increase participation and success in the Charity’s services and programmes. Core to this, we are committed to:  

  • Ensuring our services are relevant and accessible to all. This includes measuring current participation where possible and creating targets to improve participation of unrepresented groups.  
  • Creating environments based on the principles of openness, acceptance and participation, where individuals can feel free to be themselves                                                                                                        
  • Treating all individuals who use our services and take part in our programmes equally, with courtesy and respect.
  • Valuing each individual for who they are and recognising differences, so individuals feel understood and accepted whatever their ability or background.
  • Increasing feedback and input from existing and potential customers, learners, and service-users to improve our understanding of how we can better support those we work with and reach those who we do not.
  • Supporting underrepresented groups and building effective relationships within the wider communities where we operate through networks and partnerships.
  • Developing enrichment curriculum and learning opportunities to support and drive EDI across our education and training provision. External agencies and resources complement internal modules to provide a rich learning environment. All resources are developed with the intent to accurately reflect society and provide role models for all areas of society.
  • Collecting information on learner satisfaction, safety and comfort within our settings. Such data help us ensure all learners feel able to participate fully in learning, and progress towards their goals. Emphasis is placed on citizenship and developing learners beyond their qualifications.
  • Assessing the impact on ED&I during our product development process and continuously looking to improve our products to ensure learners are not disadvantaged, no matter their background, and provide the support needed to overcome barriers to success.
  • Undertaking equality impact assessments to review and improve accessibility of our products, systems and physical sites wherever possible with an aim to create inclusive environments for those with both visible and invisible disabilities (see Accessibility Policy for further details).


4. Implementation, Monitoring and Review

This policy will be supported by annual EDI priorities and performance against these will be monitored by the Board of Trustees against agreed performance indicators. See Appendix 3 for our latest priorities.

We collect and analyse staff monitoring data and report on this annually to the Charity’s Resources Committee and wider Board of Trustees to review our workforce and address any improvements that need to be made. As a result of this data, we will identify any requirements to undertake positive action.

We collect and analyse candidate data to ensure the Charity is attracting and recruiting a diverse pool of candidates for employment, governance and volunteering opportunities, and make improvements where required.

We establish effective monitoring systems on the collection of data for our learners and service users that show where progress is being made, and where improvement is needed. This will contribute to the Charity’s annual priorities.

We undertake annual pay gap reviews for gender, race, disability and sexual orientation. Whilst a statutory requirement for gender, expanding across the four areas referenced helps the Charity to identify other areas for improvement and may result in the development of specific targets and initiatives to reduce any gaps identified. The results of this review are reported to the Charity’s Resources Committee and wider Board of Trustees and contributes to strategic priorities for the next financial year. This information is also reported publicly through the Charity’s annual report.    

5. Feedback and complaints

As an organisation, we are recognise that we do not always get everything right and we welcome feedback and suggested improvements from our internal people, service users and communities. We hope to create an environment where we can be open and honest and consider feedback carefully when it is given.

We take a zero-tolerance approach to discriminatory treatment. We aim to create an environment where individuals can:

  • make a complaint of discrimination, or harassment without victimisation;
  • feel confident and able to challenge discriminatory attitudes and behaviours.

All complaints relating to discrimination, harassment, victimisation or bullying will be taken seriously, dealt with promptly and investigated as appropriate. High-level data on such complaints will be monitored and reviewed by the Board and the overall effectiveness of the complaints process will be periodically evaluated.

Employees wishing to make a complaint regarding discrimination, harassment, victimisation or bullying can refer to the Charity’s Grievance Policy and Anti-Bullying and Anti-Harassment Policy in conjunction with advice from our Human Resources team.

Service users, learners, volunteers, Trustees, partners or visitors who have witnessed or experienced unfair treatment or behaviour and wish to raise a complaint can do so by following the procedures within our operational complaints policies and procedures. Complaints can be escalated following the procedure laid out in the Charity’s Feedback and Complaints Policy.

6. Non-Compliance

Any breach of this policy by an employee will be investigated and dealt with through the Charity’s Disciplinary Policy or the Anti-Bullying and Anti-Harassment Policy, as appropriate. Where an employee is found to have unfairly discriminated, harassed or victimised another individual they may be dismissed.

Breaches by self-employed contractors or volunteers will be investigated and may result in the use of services being terminated.

Breaches by a partner organisation will result in the third party’s employer being contacted and a formal complaint being made using that employer’s procedures.

Breaches by a service user or learner will be investigated and may result in participation on the service or programme being terminated.


7. Appendices

Appendix 1 – Detailed Roles and Responsibilities

Board of Trustees and Executive Team

Encourage, nurture and promote a culture that supports our EDI values and principles, championing inclusive leadership in everything they do and adopting a learning mindset to improve understanding and address own biases.

Integrate EDI considerations into business planning including strategy, operational plans and objectives throughout the organisation, supporting continuous improvement.

Adopt transparent practices and reporting frameworks which recognise, support and protect individuals who might be at risk of discrimination or disadvantage.

Ensure appropriate action is taken in any cases of unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation.

Monitor and review workforce, learner and service user data on a regular basis, suggest actions and publish the findings as appropriate.

Ensure appropriate resource and professional advice is available to achieve our EDI ambitions. 

Human Resources (including Learning and Development)

Provide relevant training for all employees, workers, self-employed contractors, Trustees and volunteers on EDI matters.

Regularly review training to ensure this meets the particular needs of each stakeholder.

Encourage, nurture and promote a culture that supports EDI principles.

Devise employment and volunteering policies, procedures and practices to ensure that all legislative requirements are met, and best practice adopted.

Ensure that recruitment, advertising, selection and appointment procedures, performance management processes, disciplinary and grievance processes are fair, transparent and consistently applied.

Treat all applications for flexible practices on a fair and equitable basis and provide reasonable and objective reasons when such requests must be refused.

Advise staff on legal compliance in relation to HR practices and ensure best practice in all matters relating to EDI.

Investigate all matters of alleged discrimination, harassment, victimisation and inappropriate behaviour promptly and thoroughly, recording all incidents and ensuring that the appropriate action is taken.

Monitor employment data on a regular basis, suggest actions and publish the findings as appropriate.

Provide opportunities to seek employee feedback and input to our EDI priorities through surveys, focus groups and networks. 

Marketing, Communications and Business Development

Ensure our marketing and internal and external communications reflect the spirit of this policy and champion our values and principles. This includes reflecting the principles of this policy through equal representation in marketing collateral, tone of voice, brand and PR.

Support the development of new partnerships with organisations that uphold similar values and promote similar EDI principles.

Provide mechanisms to seek input and feedback from our service users and broader communities in the development of new products and services

Communicate the impact of our work to reduce inequalities, in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Heads and Managers

Support day-to-day implementation of the EDI Policy.

Encourage, nurture and promote a culture that supports equality, diversity and inclusion.

Seek to ensure that partner organisations we work with share similar values and promote similar EDI principles.

Ensure all employment decisions are implemented on a fair and equitable basis.

Ensure EDI is considered as part of all departmental planning processes.

Ensure diversity in recruitment at all times, seeking the broadest platform to attract a diverse candidate base.

All Employees, Workers, Self-Employed Contractors and Volunteers

Ensure the principles of this policy and our values are demonstrated through actions, written and verbal communication, and in any decisions taken.

Treat colleagues, service users, partners and visitors with the same dignity and respect with which everybody should be treated.

Champion EDI principles and provide constructive challenge when behaviours do not promote or demonstrate them.

Complete any mandatory EDI training provided and seek opportunities to improve understanding and own biases.

Service Users, Learners, Partners and Visitors

Ensure the principles of EDI contained within this Policy are upheld.

Champion EDI principles and provide constructive challenge when behaviours do not promote or them.

Appendix 2 – Defining diversity

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination because of certain protected characteristics (disability, sex, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age, pregnancy and maternity). However, at Central YMCA we believe that diversity extends beyond the protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act.

When applying the principles of this policy we also take into consideration the following types of diversity:

Social category difference : Race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, physical abilities, socioeconomic class

Differences in knowledge and skills: Education, functional knowledge, information or expertise, training, experience, abilities

Differences in values and beliefs: Cultural background, ideological beliefs

Personality differences: Cognitive style, personality type, motivational factors

Organisational / community status differences: Tenure, length of service, Title (work function, seniority, discipline etc), work related ties, friendship ties, community ties, in-group membership


Appendix 3 – Development of annual EDI Priorities

Each year the Board of Trustees will approve the priority areas for EDI focus. An inclusive approach will be undertaken to develop these priorities which will include consideration of:

  • Relevant data (workforce data, pay gap reporting, recruitment data, service user data, national data sets)
  • Broader charitable objectives and priority areas
  • A review of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the following three areas of EDI focus:
    • Diversity of customers (including how our diverse communities are represented in our marketing, communication, and in the development of products and services)
    • Diversity of talent (from the period of recruitment through the entire employee journey, including pathways into senior roles)

    • Diversity of ideas (how we ensure diverse views are represented in strategy development and new projects/ initiatives)

  • Staff views, including the views of any networks, forums and employee voice surveys