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Inclusion Strategy

Our vision is for West Sussex to be a place where every child and young person can explore the life-changing benefits of music: on their education, their well-being, and their future.

1.0 Commitment 

1.1 West Sussex Music is committed to achieving equality of opportunity, access, and outcomes for all, through: 

  • recognising and redressing the needs of under-represented, vulnerable, and excluded groups in West Sussex 
  • countering deprivation and supporting independence 
  • combatting discrimination in all its forms, and working actively to ensure fair access to services, employment, and active citizenship. 

1.2 This policy sets out our commitment to promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion through fair access to services and employment. 

2.0 Policy Statement 

2.1 West Sussex Music’s policy is that: 

‘No service user, employee, job applicant, partner, contractor, supplier or member of the public will be discriminated against, harassed or receive less favourable treatment on the grounds of race; ethnicity; nationality; ethnic or national origin; colour; disability; gender (including gender identity or presentation); marital status; family commitments; caring responsibilities; sexual orientation; age; HIV status; religious or political beliefs; social class; trades union activity; or irrelevant spent convictions.’ 

3.0 Introduction 

3.1 As a service provider, commissioner of services and employer within West Sussex, we have a key role to play in: 

  • promoting fairness, dignity, and respect 
  • promoting positive relations between people of all groups, communities, and social identities 
  • promoting equality of opportunity and access, and active participation in society 
  • redressing disadvantage; and 
  • tackling discrimination and harassment. 

3.2 We do this through the provision of flexible and accessible services; through the promotion of a diverse workforce that is representative of the communities we serve; and by using our influence to promote and share best practice in equality and diversity at local, regional, national, and international levels. 

3.3 The general duties include promoting equality of opportunity between persons of different ethnic groups, and between men and women; promoting good race relations; and ensuring disabled people can access services and employment opportunities effectively.

3.4 West Sussex Music aims to achieve fair access to services and employment for all by ensuring that our services are tailored to meet individual needs, rather than simply using a non-discriminatory approach. We recognise that equality cannot be achieved merely by treating everyone the same. 

3.5 We value diversity and believe that it strengthens our organisation, bringing us closer to the communities we serve and making West Sussex Music more competitive. People should be valued as individuals in their difference. People from different backgrounds and with different experiences can bring fresh ideas and perspectives. When used to inform policy and decision making, diversity enables improvements to efficiency and performance, and the provision of excellent services. 

4.0 Equality, diversity & inclusion in our services 

4.1 West Sussex Music is committed to delivering and commissioning high-quality services that are accessible and fair, and to mainstreaming equality and diversity across all service delivery activities. This is reflected in the company’s core values. 

4.2 We recognise that certain groups may be discriminated against directly or indirectly, intentionally, or unintentionally. Direct and indirect discrimination can occur when services are inappropriate, insensitive, or inaccessible. Direct discrimination exists when a person is treated less favourably because of a demographic characteristic, for example, their race or disability. Indirect discrimination occurs when a requirement or condition is applied that disadvantages one group of people more than another. West Sussex Music aims to eliminate such discrimination and ensure equality of opportunity, access, and outcomes for all. 

4.3 West Sussex Music will keep under review its standards, targets, service performance and procurement and contracting arrangements to ensure that the corporate commitment to fair access is being delivered in practice. Treating everyone the same works against equality. People’s needs differ and are diverse and may be influenced by a wide range of factors, such as age, disability, family commitments, race/ethnicity, gender, or income. Not everyone has the same access to services, nor the opportunity to take part in the process of planning services. This will directly affect how appropriate those services are to their needs. 

4.4 Equality in the provision and commissioning of services is cost effective because it helps the company to plan and target those services appropriately, avoiding waste and over- or under-provision. Genuine equality cannot be achieved without taking full account of the views and expectations of those who, traditionally, have been under-represented, excluded, overlooked, or less involved in policy- and decision-making processes. It is expected that organisations and businesses providing services on behalf of the organisation will promote equality, diversity, and inclusion in line with this policy. 


4.5 To ensure that services are provided fairly to all sections of the community, West Sussex Music will tailor delivery arrangements; monitor and review performance; and develop new services as appropriate within available resources. 

4.6 In implementing equality and fairness in service delivery, the company will: 

  • review services, in terms of accessibility, availability and appropriateness, on a regular basis 
  • consult appropriate groups about service provision 
  • seek greater involvement of customers and local people in West Sussex Music planning processes 
  • ensure that financial support and grant aid provided by West Sussex Music are allocated fairly and to organisations that embrace the principles of equality, diversity & equality of access to provision 
  • review procurement and contract monitoring arrangements to ensure that contractors, suppliers, and providers of commissioned services promote equality, diversity & inclusion; and 
  • develop clear methods of monitoring the effective development of equality, diversity & equality. 

4.7 Information about our services will be: 

  • clear and understandable 
  • free from discriminatory or offensive language and images 
  • available in a range of alternative formats 

We will work with individuals to address any language formats, including those who are visually impaired, on request. 

4.8 It is the responsibility of the Senior Leadership Team to have in place arrangements for training their employees in the delivery of excellent services. This includes ensuring that all managers and employees, regardless of their role or grade, are fully aware of their responsibilities for enabling equality of access and for promoting positive relations between different groups. Managers and employees must be properly equipped to take account of the different or specific needs of individuals and particular groups when delivering services. 

4.9 It is the responsibility of the Senior Leadership Team to have in place arrangements for ensuring that organisations and businesses delivering services on behalf of West Sussex Music comply with the commitments, principles and responsibilities outlined in this policy. 

5.0 Equality, diversity & inclusion in employment 

5.1 West Sussex Music’s commitment to fair employment and equal pay means: 

  • considering only those personal characteristics of potential or current employees that are necessary for the job 
  • basing all employment-related decisions solely upon an objective assessment of the capability and suitability of the candidate and not on any stereotyped or pre-conceived views 
  • encouraging and supporting disadvantaged, under-represented and excluded groups in society to access the organisation’s employment and development opportunities 
  • mainstreaming equality and diversity across all workforce and organisational development activities; and 
  • using recognised pay grade schemes for grading new and existing posts. 

5.2 West Sussex Music’s recruitment and selection criteria and procedures will be regularly reviewed to ensure that people are selected, promoted, and treated fairly on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities.

5.3 It is expected that equality, diversity & inclusion will form part of discussions between line manager and employee around setting targets, identifying support needs, reviewing progress and performance. 

5.4 Nothing in this policy should be understood as preventing the application of genuine occupational qualifications or any of the provisions in equality legislation (see Appendix 1), or of any other relevant legislation. 


5.5 We will work with government departments, partner organisations, the third sector, local communities, and other stakeholders to deliver the best outcomes for local people. West Sussex Music will use its influence to ensure that equality of opportunity, fair access, valuing diversity and best practice underpin the development of policies and initiatives involving West Sussex people. 

5.6 Recruitment and selection procedures and practices will be regularly reviewed to ensure that all candidates have fair access to employment opportunities and are not discriminated against, either directly or indirectly. 

5.7 As a minimum, the race/ethnicity, gender, disability, and age of all those applying, shortlisted, and appointed to a job with West Sussex Music will be monitored, to identify any adverse trends or patterns. All personal data held will be stored, managed, and analysed in accordance with data protection legislation. West Sussex Music will review its equality monitoring arrangements regularly, in line with statutory requirements, to ensure that they continue to be appropriate. 

5.8 Training will be given to managers in recruitment and selection. Successful completion of such training will be a prerequisite for participation in recruitment. 

5.9 Learning and development are crucial in shaping both opportunities at work and attitudes to equality and diversity. The principles of fairness, dignity and inclusion will be an integral part of training and development programmes, including induction, people management and customer care. 

5.10 Where appropriate, measures will be taken to encourage applications for employment, career development and promotion from groups that are underrepresented in West Sussex Music’s workforce. 

5.11 As a minimum, pay analyses by gender, race/ethnicity and disability will be undertaken annually and appropriate action taken, based on the findings. 

5.12 Reference to related policies of West Sussex Music should be made, as appropriate. 

6.0 Monitoring, review, and reporting arrangements 

6.1 The implementation of this policy across West Sussex Music will be monitored by the Senior Leadership Team, Board of Trustees and Hub Board. The Senior Leadership Team will present an annual report for the Boards and report any issues of concern. The policy will be reviewed at least every three years.

7.0 Dealing with complaints of discrimination 

7.1 Legislation recognises different types of discrimination: direct; indirect; harassment/victimisation and bullying. Discrimination can occur as the result of people’s demographic characteristics or personal circumstances; or due to the perception that they belong to a particular group or community; or because of association with a particular group or community. 

7.2 West Sussex Music believes that discrimination in any form is unacceptable and action will be taken to address complaints. 


7.3 If employees believe they have been discriminated against, they may use the grievance procedure to raise a complaint. For further guidance, please refer to West Sussex Music grievance policy. Details are available in the Employee Handbook. 

Bullying and Harassment 

7.4 If employees are, or know of a colleague who is, a victim of bullying/harassment; or they witness such behaviour; or they believe another employee is bullying/harassing others, they should report it immediately. Employees can raise their concern with their line manager or Head of Operations. For further guidance, please refer to the Employee Handbook. 

Disciplinary Action 

7.5 West Sussex Music will investigate all complaints of discrimination and, bullying/harassment. Any member of staff found to have caused or encouraged such acts will be dealt with through West Sussex Music’s disciplinary procedure. Serious cases may be deemed to constitute gross misconduct and could result in dismissal. 

Complaints against West Sussex Music 

7.6 Should any job applicant, service user or employee feel that they have not been treated fairly in their dealings with West Sussex Music, they are entitled to complain using West Sussex Music’s complaints procedure. For further guidance, please refer to the Employee Handbook. 

8.0 Respecting and acting in accordance with the policy 

8.1 This policy requires all employees, managers, and employees of the company, and all contractors and others who deliver services and/or undertake functions on its behalf, to ensure that no one, in their dealings with West Sussex Music, experiences inequality, discrimination or disadvantage in any form. It is expected that everyone will be treated with dignity, respect, and fairness. 

8.2 The policy covers all West Sussex Music’s work and the Senior Leadership Team is accountable to the West Sussex Music Board of Trustees and Hub Board for its implementation. The Senior Leadership Team will present an annual report for the Boards and report any issues of concern. 

8.3 Managers must ensure that employees are informed about the policy and their responsibilities under it. While management has specific accountability, equality, diversity & inclusion are the responsibility of each employee.

APPENDIX ONE: Equality legislation 

It should be noted that statutory requirements for equality, diversity & inclusion are ever-changing. For an overview of the current legislative position, go to the IDeA website: 

A Guide to the Law for School Governors is a useful source of information about equality legislation that relates specifically to schools. The latest version of this document is published at: 

Human Rights Act 1998 

This gives legal effect in the UK to the fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the European Convention on Human Rights. It includes the right not to be discriminated against in respect of the rights and freedoms specified by the act. 

Civil Partnerships Act 2004 

This provides legal recognition and parity of treatment for same-sex couples and married couples, including employment benefits and pension rights. 

Gender Recognition Act 2004 (under amendment) 

The purpose of the act is to provide transsexual people with legal recognition in their acquired gender. Legal recognition follows from the issue of a full gender recognition certificate by a gender recognition panel. 

Equality Act 2010 

The Equality Act 2010 has replaced the Equal Pay Act 1970, Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976, Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003, Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 and the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. This establishes a single Commission for Equality and Human Rights from 2007 that replaces the previous commissions for race, equal opportunities (gender) and disability. It introduces a positive duty on public sector bodies to promote equality of opportunity between women and men and to eliminate sex discrimination. 

Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 

The act seeks to stop people from intentionally using threatening words or behaviour to stir up hatred against somebody because of what they believe. 

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