- Introduction – Purpose of this Plan
- Equality & Diversity Policy
- Identifying the Diverse Needs of our Clients and the Local Communities we serve
- How we plan to meet the Diverse Needs of our Clients and the Local Communities we serve and improve access to our services
- Person Responsible
- Making the Public Aware
1. Introduction – Purpose of this Plan
To promote and raise awareness of our policies and procedures for ensuring, as far as is reasonably possible, that our services are accessible to all.
2. Equality & Diversity Policy
The current version of the firm’s Equality & Diversity Policy is set out in our Office Manual. That policy confirms our commitment to the principle of Equality & Diversity and to observing legislative requirements including those of the Equality Act 2010.
3. Identifying the Diverse Needs of our Clients and the Local Communities we serve
Our Services plan contains details of the Communities we seek to serve.
We have identified within those communities the following needs:
- Language Needs
- Special Needs
4. How we plan to meet the Diverse Needs of our Clients and the Local Communities we serve and improve access to our services
We have accessible offices where there are lift facilities to bypass all steps including access to the building and to the lifts themselves. There are then lifts up to the third floor which is all on one level. This is designed to assist those with mobility difficulties.
The lifts themselves are designed to assist those with hearing problems as they automatically state audibly the floors in the building at which the lifts open. The lifts themselves are sensory assisted for those with visual impairments.
We also can arrange home visits when necessary and where safe
We offer translation services where appropriate.
5. Person Responsible
The senior person who is responsible for our Equality & Diversity policies and procedures and ensuring that this plan is effectively implemented is Sally Chesse, HR Manager.
6. Making the Public Aware
We will make our policies and procedures openly available to the public in the following ways:
- We will publish our avoidance of discrimination and the promotion of Equality & Diversity policy on our website together with the statement of our desire to make our services accessible to all. We will invite potential clients to let us know if they have any special requirements, prior to their initial appointment, if possible, or if not, at the initial interview.
- We will train our receptionists and staff to advise clients/potential clients appropriately and sensitively about car parking facilities, disabled access etc.
- We will place a poster in our reception areas advertising our Equality & Diversity policy and inviting clients/potential clients to ask for help if they need any reasonable adjustments to access our services. This poster will also show the name of a person, they can ask to speak with to discuss their needs so we can tailor our services appropriately. The poster will also display the name of the person to whom they can complain if they are unhappy with the arrangements that have been made or if they wish to make a complaint about discrimination.
- Our Equality & Diversity policy will also be mentioned in our client care/terms of business letter, in the usual way.
- Any instruction letter to our external agents and counsel will remind them of the existence and importance of our Equality & Diversity policy.
- We will regularly train our reception and other staff to treat people courteously and fairly regardless of background and to assess people’s needs without making assumptions based on ethnic origin, age or disability.
- Our Equality & Diversity and ease of access policies will also be highlighted to new staff as part of our induction process.
- When we are dealing with a client remotely by phone or email we will check whether the client needs reasonable adjustments to be made eg larger font in letter, text-phone, audio message rather than written material etc.
- We will include in our client feedback questionnaire a question about ease of access to our service and whether the client thinks more could have been done to assist them.
We will review this plan at least annually to check if, in the light of our experience and client feedback, we need to make further adjustments to our service delivery, change our procedures or provide additional training to our staff.