Equality Opportunites Policy

Equal Opportunities Policy of Petersfield Shakespeare Festival

I. Introduction:
Petersfield Shakespeare Festival (‘PSF’) is committed to a policy of equal opportunities employment and integrated casting in which individuals are selected and treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities without regard to age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race,religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation (referred to as ‘protected characteristics’) and are given equal opportunities within the company.

The aim of this policy is to ensure that no job applicant, employee, volunteer, freelance worker, audience member or project participant receives less favourable treatment on grounds related to any protected characteristic. PSF monitors all recruitment processes and this policy is reviewed by the Board of PSF at least every three years.

II. Policy Statement
i. PSF’s policy and practice is that entry into employment with the company and progression within employment will be determined only by personal merit and the application of criteria which are related to the duties of each particular position. In all cases, ability to perform the job will be the primary consideration.

ii. Code of Practice: The company welcomes diversity amongst its employees and seeks to ensure that all candidates for employment are treated fairly, and that selection is based solely on the individual’s abilities and qualifications. The company will use the following procedure for recruiting and selecting individuals for all positions:

a. Selection Criteria: The selection process will be carried out consistently for all jobs at all levels. Selection criteria for all positions will be clearly defined and reflected in the further particulars sent to applicants which will also include details of the company’s commitment to equality of opportunity. Job qualifications or requirements which would have the effect of inhibiting applications from members of particular groups, such as those of one sex, persons of a particular religion, marital status or sexual orientation, persons of a particular racial group, persons within a certain age bracket or those with a disability, will not be demanded or imposed except where they are justifiable in terms of the job to be done.

b. Advertising: Job vacancies and castings will be advertised widely to enable and encourage applications from all suitably qualified and experienced candidates. PSF will endeavour to ensure that advertisements are not restricted to areas or publications that would exclude or disproportionately reduce applications from a particular gender, religion, age group or racial group and should avoid prescribing requirements as to marital status or age. All job advertisements placed on behalf of the company will state the company’s commitment to equality of opportunity.

c. Selection Methods: The selection process will be carried out consistently for all jobs at all levels. All those handling applications and conducting interviews must be aware of the principles of the Equality Act 2010. The selection of new employees will be based on job requirements and the individual’s suitability and ability to do the job and information sought from candidates will relate only to the qualifications for or requirements of the job.

d. Interviews and auditions: The staff responsible for shortlisting, interviewing or auditioning and making or recommending an appointment will be clearly informed of the selection criteria and the need for consistency. Wherever possible, at least two people will interview applicants and all questions will relate to the selection criteria. No questions will be based on age, health (except where permitted by the Equality Act 2010), assumptions about roles in the home and the family or the assumed suitability of different ethnic groups for the post in question. Where it is necessary to assess whether personal circumstances will affect the performance of the job (for example, if the job involves irregular hours or extensive travel) this will be discussed objectively and will be asked equally of all candidates. In the case of disabled applicants who identify themselves at the application stage, appropriate interview arrangements (such as accessible interview rooms or the assistance of a sign interpreter) should be offered to enable candidates to compete on an equal basis.

III. Grievance Procedures:
All allegations of discrimination against a person because of a protected characteristic will be dealt with seriously and confidentially.

IV. Record Keeping:
Details of candidates and of selection decisions (including the rationale for selection or rejection) will be kept for at least six months after an appointment has been made in case they are required as evidence by an employment tribunal or for other proceedings. The company will keep anonymous records of the sex, ethnic group, age and any disability of its employees and of all candidates and of those shortlisted and appointed.

Records may be used to determine whether members of one sex or persons of a certain racial group, religion or age bracket or those with a disability do not apply for employment or apply in smaller numbers than might be expected or are shortlisted or appointed in a lower proportion than their application rate or are concentrated in certain jobs.

V. Review of Recruitment Practice
Recruitment procedures and practices will be kept under review so as to ensure that this policy is being adhered to and to ensure that they do not include requirements or conditions which constitute, or may lead to, unlawful discrimination.

VI. Integrated Casting
ITC’s policy of ‘Casting irrespective of skin colour ordisability’ was agreed in 1983 (and expanded in 1986) when it was seen as part of ITC’s continuing work to develop equal opportunities and to translate them into action. It is intended to provide a practical and helpful framework for action that enriches and broadens the scope of the work produced by ITC companies.

Theatre is a powerful and very visual means of communication. The images of theatre reflect, and in turn affect, our society and our culture. The power of theatre brings with it responsibility. As theatre practitioners we have a responsibility to reflect the multiracial and many faceted nature of our society and to break down traditional barriers and restrictive attitudes based on sex, marital status, age, creed, colour, race, national origin, class, sexuality and disability.

A prime objective when casting for a season or year should be for the company to reflect the composition of society as a whole in terms of race, sexuality, sex and disability.

The principal criteria for selecting an individual should be the person’s ability to fulfil the role/task(s) irrespective of his/her sex, sexuality, race or disability.