Equality, diversity and inclusion policy

The Society of Research Software Engineering is committed to encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion among our members and volunteers, and eliminating unlawful discrimination.

The aim is for our membership (including trustees) to be truly representative of all sections of society, and for each member to feel respected and able to give their best. The Society is not currently an employer but this policy aims to protect our members and volunteers including trustees.

The Society – in providing goods and/or services and/or facilities – is also committed against unlawful discrimination of members or the public including non members who may be attendees of any of our events.

The policy’s purpose is to:

  • provide equality, fairness and respect for all volunteers, trustees members and attendees of our events.
  • not unlawfully discriminate because of the Equality Act 2010 protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origin), religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
  • to cover the full breadth of society operations and activities in our EDI commitments, including conditions of trustee terms, dealing with grievances and discipline, dismissal and removal of trustees and or members, reasonable requests for accessibility, selection of trustee roles, or inclusion in events or initiatives undertaken by or on behalf of the Society.

The organisation commits to:

  •  Encourage equality, diversity and inclusion in the RSE community as they are good practice

Within the community we will create an environment free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, promoting dignity and respect for all, and where individual differences and the contributions of all are recognised and valued. The Society has a clear Code of Conduct for events organised by (and on behalf of) the Society. This includes a provision for making complaints. All members of the community (including trustees and volunteers) are expected to conduct themselves to help the organisation provide equal opportunities, and prevent bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination

All Society trustees (and other volunteers) undertake an induction where their rights and responsibilities under the equality, diversity and inclusion policy are introduced. E.g. all trustees and volunteers of the Society as well as the Society itself, can be held liable for acts of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, in the course of their trustee term, against fellow trustees, volunteers, members of the society or the public.

  • Take seriously complaints of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination by fellow trustees, volunteers, members of the society or the public and any others in the course of the organisation’s charitable aims. This includes breaches of the Society’s Code of Conduct for events and Code of Conduct for Trustees.

For complaints or grievances about the Society, one of its trustees or volunteers we have a Complaints and Grievances Policy which outlines how we will deal with complaints and the process for any disciplinary action. For complaints about a member of the Society please refer to the Incident Reporting Guidelines of our Code of Conduct.

Further, sexual harassment may amount to both an employment rights matter and a criminal matter, such as in sexual assault allegations. In addition, harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 – which is not limited to circumstances where harassment relates to a protected characteristic – is a criminal offence.

  • Make opportunities for training, development, and progress available to all volunteers, who will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential, so their talents and resources can be fully utilised to maximise the efficiency of the organisation.

Our induction to the board of trustees includes specific awareness raising around the importance of EDI as well as signposting to further training. The Society is committed to providing opportunities for further training around EDI for all volunteers.

  • Ensure accessibility of our events and online material. The Society can be classed as a service provider under Equality law (and not an association which would place conditions on membership). E.g. Volunteering and our events are considered a service regardless of if you are a member of the Society. As such we will comply with all legal requirements around making reasonable adjustments where there is a substantial disadvantage.

Anyone (trustee, volunteer, member or participant in one of our events) can make a request for reasonable adjustments by contacting a member of the EDI team (https://society-rse.org/about/governance/). In dealing with your request we will ask that you agree with the EDI team on a specific list of adjustment requests and explain why you need the adjustments you are asking for. The specific requests (and not the details of your disability) will then be proposed to the board of trustees for consideration and the EDI team will report back to you following the trustee meeting. 

Citizens Advice provides a good guide on what is expected with regards to requesting reasonable adjustments. Any information shared with the EDI group will not be recorded or stored (other than the agreed and specific requests which will be recorded in our non-public minutes). If preferred, your request for adjustments may be submitted by the EDI team to the rest of the trustee board anonymously. The details of any requested adjustment will be shared within the board of trustees for the sole purposes of providing accessibility adjustments.

  • Make decisions concerning trustees or members based on merit (apart from in any necessary and limited exemptions and exceptions allowed under the Equality Act).
  • Review Society policies and procedures when necessary to ensure fairness, and also update them and the policy to take account of changes in the law.
  • Monitor the make-up of the membership regarding information such as age, sex, ethnic background, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and disability in encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion, and in meeting the aims and commitments set out in the equality, diversity and inclusion policy.

Monitoring will also include assessing how the equality, diversity and inclusion policy, and any supporting action plan, are working in practice, reviewing them annually, and considering and taking action to address any issues. The Society has a dedicated EDI sub-group which reports at each trustee meeting.

The equality, diversity and inclusion policy is fully supported by the board of trustees and has been voted into policy on 16/04/2021.

Details of the Societies policies and procedures can be found at https://society-rse.org/about/policies/ as well as the Code of Conduct at https://society-rse.org/about/code-of-conduct/.