All human beings are equal and different

Merlin Supply Chain Solutions embraces the belief that all human beings are equal and different and its culture of promoting equality and valuing diversity is firmly rooted in that conviction.

Merlin Supply Chain Solutions takes its responsibilities seriously in promoting increased awareness of its beliefs, values and accompanying behaviours amongst its staff, associates, learners, partners and organisations and individuals with whom it comes into contact by ensuring fair, respectful and un-biased treatment of all, encompassing their personal skills, individual needs, limitations, beliefs, culture and values.

Merlin Supply Chain Solutions aims to promote access to learning and vocational achievement to all groups of people in modern society, wherever it is most appropriate to deliver.

Merlin Supply Chain Solutions values the unique skills, experience and perspectives of every individual, finding ways to bring out the best in every employee and learner and recognises the business benefits these differences bring.

For both learners, employers, partners and employees alike, Merlin Supply Chain Solutions promotes a culture and provides a service of equality and fairness in recruitment, assessment of capabilities and skills, assessment and feedback on performance and matters of discipline and conduct.

Merlin Supply Chain Solutions also respects the privacy of individuals and does not believe that any one person should be treated as a token representative of a group of people or their beliefs and values.

Merlin Supply Chain Solutions is committed to providing training and development to all of its staff and learners on an ongoing basis.

As a member of Merlin’s l staff, I sign below to my agreement that I accept and will work by the Equality and Diversity Policy within Merlin and that I will respect the rights, dignity and diversity of all individuals.

Signed: …………………………………………….. Date: ……………………………………..

Name: ………………………………………………

Protected Characteristics:

Age (Equality Act 2010)
Merlin Supply Chain Solutions actively recognises the business benefits of an age-diverse workforce, welcoming the skills and experience of people of all ages. All members of staff are treated fairly in their cycle of employment from recruitment, selection, promotion, training and development, redundancy and retirement.

Sex (Equality Act 2010)
Merlin Supply Chain Solutions actively promotes a culture of equality and fairness in recruitment, selection, promotion, training and development, recruitment and retirement regardless of the sex or sexual orientation of the member of staff.

Sexual Orientation (Equality Act 2010)
Merlin Supply Chain Solutions promotes fair treatment of heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual employees whilst in employment and ensures that they are not subject to post-termination harassment.

Race (Equality Act 2010)
Merlin Supply Chain Solutions is committed to ensuring that no individual or group to whom it offers or provides a service or employment should be subject to discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, national or ethnic origin. Merlin Supply Chain Solutions is working to ensure that all racial and ethnic groups within its business location are exposed to opportunities for employment, learning and development and achievement of vocational qualifications.

Disability (Equality Act 2010)
Merlin Supply Chain Solutions is committed to offering equal employment opportunities to job applicants with physical limitations and supporting them to work alongside more fully able team members. Merlin Supply Chain Solutions offers support, guidance and access to assessment towards the provision of specialist aids and equipment.

Staff are encouraged to be aware of the needs of physically limited or disabled colleagues and learners to understand their special needs and arrangements for training events, meetings, audio and visual materials and physical environment.

Gender Re-Assignment (Equality Act 2010)

Discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment was made unlawful as a result of the Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999. The provisions are now part of the Equality Act.

Merlin is committed to protecting individuals who have undergone, or are about to undergo gender reassignment. Individuals do not need to be under medical supervision to be protected by the law.

Maternity and Paternity (Equality Act 2010)
Maternity and Parental leave rights are actively maintained and operated within the organisation ensuring that the life/work balance is maintained.

Religion and Belief (Equality Act 2010)
Merlin Supply Chain Solutions is actively working to ensure that no employees are discriminated directly upon. That is, to treat them less favourably than other because of their religion or belief. Merlin is also committed to ensure that employees are not discriminated indirectly upon, meaning to apply a criterion, provision or practice which disadvantages people of a particular religion or belief without a good reason.

Equal Pay (Equality Act 2010)
Merlin Supply Chain Solutions is actively working to ensure that all employees are paid fairly and according to formalised pay scales encompassing qualifications and experience, seniority, range of duties and performance.

Marriage/Civil Partnership (Equality Act 2010)
Merlin aims to ensure that all employees who are in a marriage or civil partnership are treated fairly and with dignity and respect. Civil partnership is recognised and reflected in Merlin policies in accordance with the law.

Merlin is also committed to:
Rehabilitation of Offenders (The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974)
Merlin Supply Chain Solutions acknowledges two key responsibilities in this area:

To those people who may have ‘spent’ criminal convictions
To people who may be considered to be members of ‘vulnerable’ groups

There will be no discrimination in the recruitment of personnel who may have spent criminal convictions, however Merlin Supply Chain Solutions will consider the safety of vulnerable groups who receives its services and will seek to protect young people under the age of 18, the elderly and mentally impaired, certain professions such as the care industry, self-regulatory organisations including finance services and also Government bodies.

Members of staff are encouraged to take advantage of training opportunities helpful in providing bespoke training opportunities. By liaising with external bodies and government agencies Merlin is formulating a strategy to encourage participation from ethnic and racial minority group members.

Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
Should a member of staff need to disclose any of the following:

A crime
A failure to comply with legal obligations
A miscarriage of justice
A health and safety threat
Damage to the environment

Merlin Supply Chain Solutions will take no adverse action. Merlin will ensure that the employee feels it safe to make the disclosure and that they will suffer no detrimental treatment by doing so or that any evidence will be destroyed.

Dignity at Work – Freedom from Harassment and Bullying
Merlin Supply Chain Solutions believes that everyone has a basic Human Right to be treated with dignity and respect at work. Bullying and harassment of any kind are in no interest and will not be tolerated.

What is Bullying and Harassment?
A list of examples and definitions of what may be considered bullying and harassment are listed below for guidance and practical purposes. Anyone who claims bullying or harassment at work will define their own meanings and that the behaviour is unwelcome, unwarranted and causes them distress. Merlin will immediately investigate any claims of unfair treatment reported by staff members, associates or learners.

Recognising Bullying and Harassment
Bullying may be characterised by offensive, intimidating, malicious or offensive behaviour, or abuse or misuse of power through means intended to humiliate, undermine, degrade or injure the recipient.

Harassment in general terms is unwanted conduct, affecting the dignity of men and women in the workplace in relation to any personal characteristics of the individual, a persistent or isolated incident.

The key is that the actions or comments are viewed as demeaning or unacceptable to the recipient.

Behaviour that is considered bullying may be seen as firm management by another.

Merlin Supply Chain Solutions condemns the following behaviours as unacceptable:
Spreading malicious rumours or insulting a staff member/associate/learner
Ridiculing or demeaning someone, picking on them or setting them up to fail
Exclusion or victimisation
Unfair treatment
Overbearing supervision or other misuse of power or position
Unwelcome sexual advances – touching, standing too close, display of offensive materials
Deliberately undermining a competent worker by overloading and constant criticism
Preventing individuals progressing by blocking promotion or training opportunities

Bullying and harassment may not necessarily be face to face, they may be by written communications, electronic mail (so called flame-mail), phone and automatic supervision methods such as recording of telephone conversations if this does not apply to all team members.

Reporting Bullying and Harassment
Any incident of bullying or harassment reported by a Merlin Supply Chain Solutions member of staff, associate or learner will be treated respectfully, with empathy and respect and investigative action will be taken. Merlin Supply Chain Solutions will take all measures possible to ensure the safety of the victim and ensure strictest confidentiality. No Merlin Supply Chain Solutions employee, associate or learner, need fear retribution if they make a report of unwanted, unwelcome or unfair treatment. Witnesses will also be treated fairly and with equal concern and consideration.

Anyone wishing to report an incident of bullying or harassment can do so to their line manager or the HR Manager.

Action on reported Harassment Incidents
Merlin Supply Chain Solutions is committed to ensuring that staff, associates and learners can work in a fair, safe, healthy and respectful environment and will consider any incidence of bullying and harassment with empathy and consideration.

On receiving an official complaint:

Action on receiving a report of harassment or bullying will be taken at the soonest opportunity.
An investigation into allegations will be started within 5 days
The complainant will receive written acknowledgement of the report
The responding person will be notified in writing of the complaint against them and will be invited to an investigative meeting
They will be informed that the complaint may result in disciplinary action
The respondent may be accompanied at all times, if so requested
The meeting will be chaired by the operations manager or a member of the senior management team
Records of investigations, disciplinary actions taken will be recorded on personnel files for up to 6 months

On receiving an unofficial complaint:
An unofficial complaint may take the form of comments to colleagues, line managers or specialists and which the victim does not wish to make official.

In this case the HR Manager or a member of the management team will discuss with the complainant the actions to be taken which may result in a series of informal 3-way meetings between complainant, respondent and a facilitator. The purpose of the meetings will be to resolve the harassment or bullying issues.

People being bullied or harassed may appear to overreact to something that seems relatively trivial which may be the “last straw” following a series of incidents. There is often a feeling of retribution if they do make a complaint and colleagues may be reluctant to come forward as witnesses, as they may fear the consequences themselves. They may also be so relieved not to be the subject of bullying that they collude with the bully to avoid attention.

Reducing the threat of Bullying and Harassment
Merlin Supply Chain Solutions has an appointed E&D Review Group made up of managers who liaise with outside bodies including the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to maintain a high level of awareness, and ensure that learners receive fair representation and treatment and reflect modern society.

Fair Treatment at Work – Our Commitment to Learners
We want all our learners and employees and associates to feel good about going to work or attending one of our learning centres and that they are treated respectfully, equally and fairly by colleagues, team members and managers. It is also crucial that meetings with learning & development coaches/tutors are conducted fairly and constructively and that each meeting has a positive outcome.

Merlin Supply Chain Solutions is committed to a programme of monitoring and evaluating to ensure all aspects of the work we undertake with learners at their place of work are of value to both learner and employer, and give equal and fair opportunity for the learner to develop and progress in their chosen qualification/Apprenticeship programme framework.

How we will do this – Initial Assessment

Providing learners and employers with the highest standards of support and guidance we can give by:
Treating everyone individually and considering their personal circumstances and needs, recognising the diverse backgrounds and experiences of the people with whom they work

Before starting a learning programme each new learner will be given guidance on choosing the most appropriate qualification and level of study. At this meeting learners will also find out about English, Maths, ICT and functional skills, and any other relevant qualifications which when combined with the Vocational qualification, form the individual learning framework. To ensure that everyone can complete their programme of learning, information is gathered on the learner’s literacy and numerical abilities to establish any additional support, which may be required.

We are also aware that home and personal circumstances can have a significant influence upon progress and all relevant factors which the learner wishes to highlight are considered in terms of impact on the learner’s progress and any special individual support which can be offered.

At Merlin Supply Chain Solutions we understand the levels of commitment and enthusiasm needed by learners when embarking on vocational/personal development and also involve line managers, specialists and other team members where possible, to act as work place mentors who can offer guidance and support to learners, the accent is on openness, honesty and co-operation to support the learner in their successful completion and achievement.

Learning Development Coach/Tutor Support
All Merlin Supply Chain Solutions learning & development coaches/tutors are suitably experienced and qualified to deliver the required programmes. Learning & development coaches/tutors who work in our different vocational programmes will be experienced in their own right, will have formal qualifications and/or are working towards an occupationally specific trainer/tutor/teaching qualification. This means that all learners will receive honest and fair assessment and feedback along with high quality teaching and learning and appropriate and fair treatment at all times.

The role of the learning & development coaches/tutor is to help learners understand the requirements of their chosen learning programme and how these can be met by providing personal statements and a variety of evidence. Meetings between trainer/tutor and candidate are held regularly, usually every four weeks, at an appropriate time and place.

Every step of the process is carefully planned with the learner, in consultation with the employer, highlighting evidence which is to be gathered and also any additional support or information which the learner may need in order to achieve success. Suitable and realistic time scales for achievement are set and regularly reviewed to ensure that learners are clear about their progress and can personally measure their achievements.

Learning and Development Opportunities
All learners have access to and are informed of relevant training events which they may attend to build their underpinning knowledge. Development events are offered by Merlin Supply Chain Solutions, or learners are sign-posted to colleges where suitable or appropriate for the learner, in their locality or place of work. All learners have a Portfolio/Learning File which also contains support material and is used by the trainer/tutor and candidate in 1:1 learning sessions or as a personal resource.

Additional Learning Needs
Merlin Supply Chain Solutions will provide additional support to learners whose literacy and numeracy skills may make it difficult for them to maintain progress. Individual diagnostic assessments will be made to ensure that relevant and meaningful support is received.

Learning and Development Materials
Merlin Supply Chain Solutions is aware of the variety of learning styles, locations, intelligences and cultures which influence their presentation of the Learner Induction Pack.

A variety formats will be made available as needed. Learners are advised of other support materials available in the public domain and for those who do not have exclusive access to a computer, advice is given on public facilities available, such as libraries and internet cafes, as appropriate to the learners learning.

Candidates Requiring Special Support
Merlin Supply Chain Solutions is equipped to offer group and individual support to people who require special coaching and guidance to update numeracy and literacy skills. However, we also acknowledge that there are diverse needs amongst learners and will adapt services to meet the needs of candidates, for example, by providing readers or audio material for visually impaired or blind candidates.

Merlin Supply Chain Solutions is aware of the racial and ethnic diversity within which it works. We are striving to make access to our services more readily available to people for whom English is a second language, by improving the quality of marketing materials in a number of languages which will invite interest from all sectors of the community.

Merlin is committed to equality monitoring of learner admissions, progression and achievement. Comparisons are currently made by ethnicity, age, gender, under-represented groups and disability. The results of such monitoring will be reviewed; any action will be based on the result of this monitoring.

Version 1.2 / Control date 13 Aug 2021 / Policy Author Stuart McDonagh / Review date Aug 2022