BuddyHub Member Policies
Equal Opportunities Policy
BuddyHub Statement on Equal Opportunities
BuddyHub is committed to implementing and promoting equal opportunities in its activities, services and practice. It realises that discrimination exists in society (whether protected by law or not), and believes that this prevents potential and ability from being realised in people of all ages.
BuddyHub will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of :
- Sexual orientation or identity
- Gender or gender reassignment
- Ethnic or national origin
- Partnership status or home responsibility
- HIV or AIDS status
- Political or religious belief
- Trade union activity
- Socio-economic background
- Refugee or asylum seeker status
- Pregnancy and maternity.
As a provider of a service to the community, BuddyHub accepts the responsibility to promote equal opportunities and challenge discrimination wherever it occurs. This document sets out the main consequences of this commitment and the action to be taken in order to achieve equal opportunities.
BuddyHub recognises that some users of its services may, because of their past or present distress or illness, say or do things which would otherwise be unacceptable and incompatible with BuddyHub’s Equal Opportunities Policy. BuddyHub will do all it can to challenge such behaviour. In cases where intervention is possible, a gentle approach will be adopted which aims to alter attitudes and behaviour while maintaining support for the distressed individual.
BuddyHub reserves the right to open its membership to any organisation who supports our aims and objectives. However, it will exclude from membership those organisations that actively work against the development of an equal opportunities policy over time, despite encouragement from BuddyHub.
BuddyHub realises that a genuine commitment to equal opportunities must operate on all levels :
- BuddyHub will prevent unfavourable treatment, directly or indirectly, upon individuals from any group facing discrimination in its recruitment and deployment of human resources. Where discrimination does occur, it will be dealt with through the agreed procedures. This will be achieved by following the BuddyHub Equal Opportunities Policy.
- BuddyHub will seek to prevent discrimination and ensure equal representation in the services it provides, the structures that it facilitates and the practice through which it carries out its work. This involves the development of greater diversity in the management and advisory board, networks and membership, to ensure a genuinely wide representation.
- The Directors of BuddyHub have overall responsibility for the effective operation of this policy. However, all staff, temporary and volunteer workers and members have a duty as part of their involvement with BuddyHub to do everything they can to ensure that the policy works in practice. Those responsible for recruiting members to work with BuddyHub are responsible for ensuring that they are aware of BuddyHub’s Equal Opportunities Policy and adhere to it while working at BuddyHub.
- BuddyHub will bring to the attention of all staff and members the existence of this policy, and will provide such training as is necessary to ensure that the policy is effective and that everyone is aware of it.
- If any member of staff or member feels that they have been, or are being discriminated against, in any way, they are entitled to pursue the matter with the committee.
- All instances or complaints of discriminatory behaviour will be treated seriously.
- Complaints or allegations of an unfounded or malicious nature will also be treated as serious.
- To achieve a workforce that is truly representative of all sections of society, selection for employment or promotion or any other benefit will be on the basis of merit and ability only. Selection for training will be on the basis of job requirements only. Intimidation, harassment and bullying will not be tolerated and may lead to disciplinary action.
- If you perceive a problem in recruitment, selection, training, promotion or the application of terms and conditions of employment you should raise it in the first instance with a Community Host or line manager.
- All cases of such behaviour will be investigated and we will treat all complaints fairly, quickly and with confidentiality. Any grievance arising from the Equality Policy will be dealt with using our existing Grievance Procedure.
- Any employee who has taken action, in good faith, over allegations of discrimination or harassment, will not be victimised by being treated any less favourably than any other employee as a consequence of taking such action. BuddyHub will monitor the practical effects of the policy by regularly collecting and reviewing relevant information. You are expected to co-operate in work being undertaken to monitor, review and implement this policy.
- We will use the supervision and appraisal process to encourage staff to make suggestions and contribute to the ways in which we promote equality as an organisation and with the users of our services.
- We will bring this policy to the attention of our board members, staff, members and suppliers by making use of our communication channels.
- We will monitor the use of our services and make use of this monitoring information when planning future developments.
- BuddyHub will endeavour to ensure, as far as is practicable, that all the premises it uses have disabled access. When considering new premises, every effort will be made to ensure such premises are fully accessible.
Use of language
- Staff and members should avoid and challenge the use of language which, in any way, belittles anyone.
- Where the language used has a personal impact on others, and it has been made clear to the person concerned that their use of such language is unwelcome and/or offensive, disciplinary action may be taken if they persist with it.
- No staff or member should be subject to sexual harassment.
- This is interpreted as unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature including:
- verbal sexual abuse
- physical contact
- repeated remarks which an individual finds offensive.
- If it has been made clear to the person concerned that their behaviour is unwelcome and they persist with it, then the staff member, temporary or volunteer worker or member who is the recipient of the behaviour will be entitled to make a formal complaint.
Recruitment of Ex-offenders
- As an organisation which may use the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) service to assess applicants’ suitability for positions of trust, BuddyHub complies fully with the Code of Practice and undertakes to treat all applicants for positions fairly. It undertakes not to discriminate unfairly against any subject of a DBS check on the basis of a conviction or other information revealed.
- BuddyHub can only ask an individual to provide details of convictions and cautions that BuddyHub are legally entitled to know about. Where a DBS certificate at either standard or enhanced level can legally be requested (where the position is one that is included in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 as amended) and where appropriate Police Act Regulations (as amended), BuddyHub can only ask an individual about convictions and cautions that are not protected*.
- BuddyHub is committed to the fair treatment of its staff, potential staff or users of its services, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, responsibilities for dependants, age, physical/mental disability or offending background.
- BuddyHub has a written policy on the recruitment of ex-offenders, which is made available to all DBS applicants on their Buddy Dashboard at the outset of the recruitment process.
- BuddyHub actively promotes equality of opportunity for all with the right mix of talent, skills and potential and welcomes applications from a wide range of candidates, including those with criminal records. BuddyHub selects all candidates for an interview based on their skills, qualifications and experience.
- An application for a criminal record check is only submitted to DBS after a thorough risk assessment has indicated that one is both proportionate and relevant to the position concerned. For those positions where a criminal record check is identified as necessary, all application forms, job adverts and recruitment briefs will contain a statement that an application for a DBS certificate will be submitted in the event of the individual being offered the position.
- BuddyHub ensures that all those in BuddyHub who are involved in the recruitment process have been suitably trained to identify and assess the relevance and circumstances of offences. BuddyHub also ensures that they have received appropriate guidance and training in the relevant legislation relating to the employment of ex-offenders, e.g. the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
- Unless the nature of the position allows BuddyHub to ask questions about your entire criminal record, except for certain spent convictions and cautions which are ‘protected’ so not subject to disclosure to employers and that cannot be taken into account, we only ask about ‘unspent’ convictions as defined in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
- BuddyHub makes every subject of a criminal record check submitted to DBS aware of the existence of the Code of Practice and makes a copy available on request.
- BuddyHub undertakes to discuss any matter revealed on a DBS certificate with the individual seeking the position before withdrawing a conditional offer of employment.
Monitoring and Review
The Policy will be constantly reviewed by the Directors to ensure that no member of the group is put to a disadvantage either, directly or indirectly. This monitoring will apply to the practices of staff, temporary and volunteer workers and members, the composition of any committees and the provision of services. It is the responsibility of every individual to eliminate discrimination and to ensure the practical application of this Policy. The Directors of BuddyHub will review this policy every 2 years.
Next review date: September 2024
* There were some changes made to this Act in 2020. The details are given below
- We should use the following questions as a template for our recruitment processes:
- Do you have any unspent conditional cautions or convictions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974? (Y/N)?
- Do you have any adult cautions (simple or conditional) or spent convictions that are not protected as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2020? (Y/N)?”
- We should include the paragraphs below in our standard application forms:
- The amendments to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (2013 and 2020) provides that when applying for certain jobs and activities, certain convictions and cautions are considered ‘protected’. This means that they do not need to be disclosed to employers, and if they are disclosed, employers cannot take them into account.
Guidance about whether a conviction or caution should be disclosed can be found on the Ministry of Justice website.
Health and Safety Policy
Everyone is entitled to live their lives and undertake their work free from the threat of harm or injury. The type of work that BuddyHub is involved in requires a significant level of one-to-one contact with others (some of whom may be vulnerable or experiencing difficulties in their lives). This makes it extremely important that staff and members of BuddyHub are thoroughly aware of BuddyHub’s safety precautions and guidelines.
It is the policy of BuddyHub to comply with the terms of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and subsequent legislation to provide and maintain a healthy and safe environment. BuddyHub’s health and safety objective is to minimise the number of instances of occupational accidents and illnesses and ultimately to achieve an accident-free workplace. Training will be updated every three years or more frequently as required.
All employees and members will be provided with such equipment, information, training and supervision as is necessary to implement the policy and achieve the stated objective.
BuddyHub recognises and accepts their duty to protect the health and safety of all users of BuddyHub, including employees, temporary and volunteer workers and members, as well as any members of the public who might be affected by its operations.
While BuddyHub will do all that is within its powers to ensure the health and safety of its employees, temporary and volunteer workers and members, it is recognised that health and safety at work is the responsibility of each and every individual associated with the organisation.
It is the duty of each to take reasonable care of their own and other people’s welfare and to report any situation that may pose a threat of harm to the well-being of any other person.
BuddyHub will provide every member and employee with the training necessary to carry out his or her tasks safely. However, if anyone is unsure how to perform a certain task or feels it would be dangerous to perform a specific job then it is their duty to report this. Members should report this to a Community Host and employees should report this to their line managers. An effective health and safety programme requires continuous communication between workers/members at all levels. It is therefore every employee’s/member’s responsibility to immediately report any situation, which could jeopardise the well-being of themselves or any other person.
All injuries, accidents, incidents or near misses, however small, sustained by a person at work or during visits or activities with other members must be reported to BuddyHub staff. Reporting arrangements should fulfil the requirements of the RIDDOR Regulations of 2013.
BuddyHub must ensure that all members and staff know how to report an incident. If an incident occurs the following should be recorded:
- Details of the individuals involved.
- The cause of the incident.
- When and where it happened.
- Any injuries suffered.
- The action taken by BuddyHub to prevent the incident from occurring again.
Members and staff will be given an opportunity to ‘debrief’ with a Community Host/ manager, appointed person and colleagues.
BuddyHub staff are required to adopt safe working practices and to report all accidents, incidents and ‘near misses’ (including those reported by members) immediately in the Accidents and Incidents Log. Responsibility for ensuring accident-recording documentation is available to all employees and will rest with the CEO. All practical action will be taken to prevent repeat incidents from occurring, including formal investigation of the causes.
Accident records are crucial to the effective monitoring and revision of the safety procedure and must therefore be accurate and comprehensive.
The employer, BuddyHub and people in control of work premises will also submit reports under RIDDOR.
BuddyHub’s health and safety procedures will be continually monitored and updated, particularly when changes in the scale and nature of our operations occur. The procedures will be revisited and updated at least every 12 months.
Appropriate referral and activity risk assessment will be set in place and members will be made aware of them in regard to their meetings with other members in order to ensure the Health and Safety of both parties.
If a staff member or member is aware that he/she has an infectious disease, it should be reported in confidence to BuddyHub. BuddyHub will consider whether any extra special measures are necessary to ensure the health and safety of all parties involved. The disclosure of an infectious disease will not of itself preclude a member from joining a Friendship Wheel.
If a member or a family member who lives with them or visits them has an infectious disease this information will only be disclosed to another member if it is felt that the other member needs to know.
This will only be to ensure the health and safety of the member if it cannot be reasonably achieved without disclosure. Any disclosure will be discussed and agreed with the Member.
All members and staff members must be familiar with and adopt good hygiene practices set out below to minimise the risk of spreading infection:
- Wash hands thoroughly before handling food and after using the toilet.
- Always wash hands before handling different foods.
- Always cover cuts, burns or abrasions with waterproof dressings.
- Do not spit, smoke, eat or chew gum when handling food.
- Do not cough or sneeze over food.
- Do not lick fingers when handling food or wrapping materials.
Please see Appendix 1 below for additional information about ‘Living safely with respiratory infections, including COVID-19’
BuddyHub believes that the risk of anyone contracting or transmitting blood-borne viruses during the course of their involvement with BuddyHub is negligible as long as they follow reasonable hygiene precautions in relation to handling bodily fluids.
If you become aware that you are pregnant please consider your own health and safety in relation to your role as a member and consider if it is safe for you to continue in this role.
Being friends with another member can be very rewarding. It can also be stressful. You may not initially recognise the various symptoms of stress, which could have an impact on your health. If you are distressed or upset following a visit with another member please contact BuddyHub to discuss your feelings with us as we are there to support you and help you.
Staff members are also encouraged to discuss feelings of distress with their line manager. As a well-being organisation and your employer, we are there to help and support you as well.
Basic First Aid training is not currently offered to members and staff. If you do not have a current First Aid Training Qualification from another means and someone needs assistance, you should contact the individual’s doctor or NHS Direct for advice at 111 and notify the individual’s emergency contact. In an emergency the member or staff would contact emergency services. With regard to HIV, basic first aid precautions of wearing surgical gloves will have to be adhered to, in order to protect all parties.
The St John Ambulance offer First Aid Training to the public should you wish to have it http://www.sja.org.uk/. Any accident or incident, however minor, should be reported to BuddyHub.
If any staff member or member is under medical supervision for a condition that might require emergency specialist treatment e.g. epilepsy/diabetes, it is their responsibility to let BuddyHub know as soon as possible. If any member requires emergency medication for a specific condition, the member must provide this information in their Welcome Form.
Members and staff, on a case-by-case situation, will be given appropriate training on the administration of emergency medication.
Smoking and illegal substances
Staff members should not become intoxicated or use illegal substances when carrying out BuddyHub activities.
1. Living safely with respiratory infections, including COVID-19
As we learn to live safely with COVID-19, there are actions we can all take to help reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 and passing it on to others. These actions will also help to reduce the spread of other respiratory infections. COVID-19, along with many other respiratory infections such as influenza (flu), can spread easily and cause serious illness in some people. You may be infected with a respiratory virus such as COVID-19 and not have any symptoms but still pass infection onto others.
The risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 is greatest when someone who is infected is physically close to, or sharing an enclosed and/or poorly ventilated space with, other people. When someone with a respiratory viral infection such as COVID-19 breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release small particles that contain the virus which causes the infection. These particles can be breathed in or can come into contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth. The particles can also land on surfaces and be passed from person to person via touch.
There are simple things you can do in your daily life that will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections and protect those at highest risk. Things you can choose to do are:
- Get vaccinated.
- Let fresh air in if meeting others indoors.
- Practise good hygiene:
- wash your hands
- cover your coughs and sneezes
- clean your surroundings frequently.
- Wear a face covering or a face mask.
This means that when meeting within our community:
- If meeting indoors let fresh air into homes or other enclosed spaces.
- Face coverings and face masks can help reduce the chance of you spreading infection to others, especially in crowded and enclosed spaces, and may protect you from becoming infected by some respiratory viruses.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day.
- Avoid contact with other people and stay at home if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and either, you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities. Take extra care to avoid close contact with anyone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
- People who are at high risk from COVID-19 (clinically extremely vulnerable) should follow the same guidance as everyone else. However, you may want to take extra steps to protect yourself if you fall into this category.
Please read this guide for more detailed information on Living safely with respiratory infections, including COVID-19
If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, and you have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to carry out normal activities, you are advised to try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people. This link will give you guidance on steps you can take to protect other people if you are unwell with symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19.
2. Get vaccinated
All adults in England have now been offered at least two doses and a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines are safe and effective. They give you the best protection against COVID-19.
If you have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine, you should get vaccinated. You can also find out more information about the vaccine here. It usually takes around two to three weeks for an antibody response to develop. The 1st dose should give you some protection from 3 or 4 weeks after you’ve had it. But you need 2 doses for stronger and longer-lasting protection. Some people, including those aged 50 years or over, those at higher risk or who are pregnant, and frontline health and social care workers, will be offered a seasonal booster (autumn booster), to help improve the protection from the first 2 doses of the vaccine.
There is a chance you might still get or spread COVID-19 even if you have a vaccine, so it’s important to follow advice about how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19.
3. Anxiety post-lockdown
It’s completely normal to still have worries about settling into a more ‘normal’ life post lockdown. There is information from the NHS on how to cope with anxiety about lockdown lifting. Everyone has had to adjust to this new way of life, and it’s okay to feel worried at times.
If you have any further concerns or questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
BuddyHub aims to provide its members with the best possible service. However, we recognise that from time to time there may be occasions when members of our services feel that the quality or level of service provided falls short of what they could reasonably expect.
Your continued goodwill is greatly valued by us and we would expect to resolve any day-to-day difficulties or complaints informally and as quickly as possible. In the first instance we would expect you to raise any complaint directly with the member of staff concerned.
The more formal procedure outlined below is intended for use by members and other users of our services, where informal communication has not resolved the problem.
This is what you should do
The complaint should be made either in person, or by telephone, letter or email to a Community Host who will acknowledge the receipt of any complaint, in writing, within ten working days. If the complaint is about the Community Host the complaint should be addressed to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and marked ‘confidential’. At this, and any subsequent stage, the complainant may be accompanied or supported by a friend, but not a legal representative.
This is what BuddyHub C.I.C. will do
The CEO will investigate the circumstances leading to the complaint and will communicate the results of the investigation to the complainant within a reasonable time – normally within 20 working days of the complaint being received. If the complaint is found to be justified, the CEO will agree any necessary further action with the complainant.
The complainant will have the right – if dissatisfied with the results of the enquiry – to put their case, in writing, to an appeal panel of two Board members, which will include at least one Director.
If the appeal is found to be justified, the appeal panel will agree any necessary further action with the complainant. The decision of the appeal panel is final and no further appeal is possible.
The CEO will keep the Management Board informed of the number and nature of complaints, and the outcomes. S/he will report to the Board on this at least annually.