Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy


Intent and Scope

Professional HE Services Ltd (PHES) is committed to promoting and implementing equity of opportunity for our staff and wider community.

PHES aims to create a working environment free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, promoting dignity and respect for all, and where individual differences and the contributions of all staff are recognised and valued.

The Equality Act (2010) helps by providing a legal framework to protect people from discrimination, harassment and victimisation in the workplace and wider society.

This Policy applies to all members of the PHES community, including:

  • All members of staff holding a contract of employment, and staff from other organisations on placement at, or visiting PHES.
  • Visitors, including external persons or agencies using PHES's premises, facilities or services.
  • Individuals working or acting on PHES's behalf, including contractors, suppliers of goods and services.

This policy is non-contractual and may be updated at any time.

This policy has been developed in consultation with our staff, based on good practice and examples from within and beyond HE.



Workplaces that welcome employees of all ages, genders, races and cultural backgrounds benefit from a vast array of skills and ideas. Different people can bring different perspectives, ideas and abilities to the table — this can help us to progress, solve problems and innovate.

People from different backgrounds will have knowledge of different organisations, people and markets. A diverse workforce can help our organisation develop.

Many partners also want to engage with organisations that are committed to equity and diversity. By embracing diversity and treating people justly according to their individual circumstances, we can appeal to more people.


Roles and Responsibilities

The PHES Board has ultimate accountability for compliance with our equity obligations, with one Director acting as the EDI lead. The Managing Director has overall formal responsibility for this Policy, working alongside SIO Executive Directors.

All staff have a responsibility to:

  • read and understand this policy and the related Dignity at Work and Study policy;
  • be responsible for their behaviour and treat others with dignity and respect. This includes cases where alleged or proven discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation has occurred;
  • participate in training which supports the implementation of this policy, as appropriate; and
  • challenge and report unacceptable behaviour in a safe manner (by contacting the PHES Board EDI Lead).

All managers have a responsibility to:

  • set a good example by treating all those associated with PHES with dignity and respect and challenging unacceptable behaviour;
  • ensure all staff are aware of this Policy and know how to report discrimination, harassment or bullying, and that reporting incidents does not result in victimisation;
  • present their staff with information (or knowledge about where to find such information) about employee rights as defined within the scope of PHES policies’ including maternity and paternity rights etc.;
  • deal with complaints fairly, thoroughly, quickly and confidentially; and
  • ensure external contractors are made aware of their responsibility in relation to equity and diversity.



PHES aims to ensure that all members of its community are treated with fairness, dignity and respect.

PHES will apply this policy in compliance with and in the spirit of the relevant legislation.

PHES will work to ensure that no-one is subjected to unlawful discrimination by PHES on the basis of (their protected characteristic):

  • age
  • disability (a disability is an impairment that has a substantial, adverse, and long-term effect on your ability to carry out day-to-day activities. This includes learning disabilities as well as mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression)
  • gender identity (a personal sense of one's own gender. This can correspond to or differ from the sex we are assigned at birth)
  • marriage or civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race - (includes: race, colour, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origins)
  • religion or belief including philosophical belief and a lack of belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

PHES will not discriminate on grounds of protected characteristics concerning:

  • terms and conditions of employment
  • dealing with grievances and discipline
  • dismissal
  • redundancy
  • leave for parents or those with parental or caring responsibility
  • requests for flexible working
  • staff recruitment and selection
  • promotion
  • staff development opportunities
  • pay and remuneration
  • the provision of facilities or services, including the delivery of member services and events.

PHES will carry out monitoring by protected characteristics to ensure that all staff and job applicants are being fairly treated.


Concerns and Complaints

Where staff perceive that they have been unfairly treated in respect of a protected characteristic, they should speak to their Line Manager in the first instance or if this is not appropriate, the Managing Director. Whilst it is the intention that staff issues be addressed locally, there may occasionally be disagreement, and therefore we would bring in some external HR advice to help support us.

Staff or other parties who make a complaint of discrimination have the right to do so without fear of victimisation, and PHES will make every effort to ensure that any complaints are dealt with promptly and fairly.



Any cases of discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation will be taken very seriously by PHES. Any member of staff found to have unlawfully discriminated or harassed will be subject to disciplinary action. Appropriate action will be taken where possible if any member of the public, visitor or service provider is involved in discrimination or harassment.


Monitoring and Review

This policy was written in October 2023. It will be reviewed every 2 years and if there are any changes to the relevant statutory legislation.