The Institute of Legal Finance & Management (ILFM) is committed to encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion in our workforce, our membership and beyond.
The ILFM recognises that creating a diverse and inclusive culture is essential to achieving our vision of a safer and healthier world of work. We celebrate the importance of diversity and want to draw on varied perspectives to enhance the way we operate.
We are committed to maintaining an inclusive environment in which ILFM employees, members, volunteers, clients and suppliers are treated fairly, and everyone feels able to participate and achieve their potential. We want to ensure that equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) continue to be embedded in all our activities, policies, and decisions, and that our workforce and membership reflect the communities in which we operate.
This EDI policy aims to ensure that we build a sustainable future and can continue to deliver on our objectives and strategic aims by eliminating discrimination and embracing the benefits of being a truly inclusive employer and institution. This policy also extends to recruitment, training and promotion of people within the organisation.
EDI is part of a human rights framework. The key law which informs our policy is the Equality Act 2010, which protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. Under the Equality Act 2010, there the protected characteristics are:
In addition to the protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act 2010, we are also committed to ensuring fair treatment regardless of differences including gender identity or expression, socio-economic or academic background, physical appearance or body type, location, worker type or contract type. The ILFM aims to ensure that nobody with whom it has dealings will suffer any substantial disadvantage through any of the protected characteristics. The ILFM is committed to making reasonable adjustments for those with a disability in relation to job opportunities, promotion and training within the organisation and the provision of services to members.
The purpose of this policy is to outline the ILFM’s commitment to EDI within our workforce, membership, the legal finance & management profession and wider society. In line with the Equality Act 2010, we aim to ensure that no employee, worker, job applicant, member, volunteer, student, client or supplier experiences any unlawful discrimination (direct or indirect), harassment and victimisation or any other prohibited conduct in their dealings with the ILFM.
The policy applies to directors, employees, workers, contractors, tutors, trainers, clients and job applicants. It also applies to members and volunteers who represent the ILFM. Any legal finance & management professionals, external contractors, third parties or sub-contractors providing services on behalf of the ILFM are also responsible for adhering to this policy.
Definitions of equality, diversity, and inclusion
At the ILFM, we believe that:
Equality aims to eradicate unjustified discrimination and promote human rights and social justice. When we talk about equality at the ILFM, we mean treating people fairly and without bias, creating conditions which promote dignity and a culturally sensitive approach.
Diversity means recognising that people, whilst similar in many ways, are also different. Differences include age, disability, ethnicity, religion and belief, sexual orientation (including gender reassignment, Section 7 of the Act), neurodiversity, educational background, economic status, personality, communication style and more. Understanding, valuing, and effectively managing diversity can result in greater participation, benefiting individuals, the ILFM and the wider legal finance & management profession.
Inclusion is an active process that aims to create conditions where everyone can thrive. An inclusive environment is one in which everyone feels safe, valued and like they belong, regardless of their background, identity, or circumstances.
The ILFM understands that equality, diversity and inclusion are not interchangeable but are interdependent. There can be no equality of opportunity if difference is not valued, harnessed and taken into consideration.
Roles and responsibilities
We hope every individual linked to the ILFM will share the responsibility of embracing and championing the principles of EDI. To ensure a culture of respect and dignity, all employees and Directors will be expected to challenge and report any breaches of the policy. Responsibilities vary depending upon an individual’s role and connection to the ILFM
Our Chief Executive, Senior Leadership Team and Council have expressed their strategic and leadership commitment to embedding, developing and progressing equality, diversity and inclusion at the ILFM.
As part of our leadership and decision making, the Senior Leadership Team must:
Take responsibility for the implementation of the policy.
Ensure this policy is promoted and understood by all stakeholders.
Consider EDI in all activities and decisions.
Support and promote EDI initiatives, internally and externally.
Role model inclusive behaviour.
Additionally, the Chief Executive and Directors must take overall accountability for the delivery of the equality, diversity and inclusion policy.
Ensure that this policy is communicated to all workers and provide advice, guidance and feedback to workers regarding their conduct.
Exercise leadership in this field by encouraging inclusion, discouraging prejudice and modelling appropriate behaviour.
Take appropriate action to deal with any breaches of the policy, or behaviour that could lead to a breach of the policy.
All workers (employees, directors, volunteers and contractors) must:
Familiarise themselves with and adhere to this policy.
Treat colleagues, members and other stakeholders with respect and dignity at all times.
Challenge any unfair, inappropriate or discriminatory behaviour, either directly, via their Line Manager
Remember that workers can be held personally liable as well as, or instead of, the organisation, for any act of unlawful discrimination. Workers who commit serious acts of harassment may be guilty of a criminal offence.
Employees, workers, volunteers, students and members will have access to a copy of this policy and will be notified of any changes to the policy.
Everyone should be aware that any breach of the policy is a potential major risk to the organisation. The ILFM does not carry insurance against the consequences of any such breach, and any claims in this regard are also likely to involve the ILFM in significant commitments of time and financial loss. Further, a breach may be a serious professional offence: liability may attach not only to the individual(s) concerned, but also to the Directors of the ILFM. For that reason, any breach is likely to be regarded as a serious disciplinary offence. If anyone is concerned about or feels they are a victim of a breach, they should immediately report this to the Chief Executive.
This policy forms part of the ILFM’s induction training programme. Further training will be arranged if and when appropriate.
Employees will be advised to contact the Chief Executive if they feel that they are being treated unfairly at work, or if they believe an act of unfair or unlawful discrimination has occurred, which is a breach of this policy. If the matter is not addressed to the employee’s satisfaction, they have the right to raise a formal grievance using the ILFM’s Grievance Procedure. The Chief Executive will ensure that all staff have regular one-to-one meetings and team meetings to ensure there are appropriate mechanisms in place for employees to give feedback on any concerns or areas of improvement they may have regarding EDI practices.
While the policy cannot be directly applied to third parties with whom we work (contractors and suppliers), if any issues come to light regarding equality and diversity in relation to any contractor of a third party, the matter will be taken seriously and raised with the third party immediately by the relevant manager.
The ILFM will regularly monitor and evaluate its decision-making and assess the impact of its policies, procedures and processes to ensure fairness and legal compliance to all individuals. We will benchmark against best practice and seek feedback, both internally and externally, to achieve our EDI aims.
Collecting EDI data is essential to enable the ILFM to continuously review our practices and inform appropriate action to ensure we are truly inclusive. We will continue to collect data from applicants to the organisation, workers and our membership. All information collated will remain confidential and be anonymised wherever possible. The ILFM will ensure it complies with its responsibilities under the Data Protection Act 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Retention and Archive Policy.
If monitoring highlights that the ILFM, or areas within the ILFM, are not representative, or that sections of the workforce or volunteers/members are not progressing appropriately, then appropriate action will be taken to address the issue.
Equality Impact Assessments may be completed to gain a better understanding of the impact of the ILFM’s policies and procedures and services/products.
Any developments of the ILFM’s strategic and business plans, or changes in any policy, will similarly be examined in order to ensure that no inadvertent breach of the policy occurs.
Terms, definitions, acronyms, and abbreviations
The following definitions are adapted from the Equality Act 2010 and guidance from ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service).
Specific groups that are protected by the Equality Act 2010. There are nine protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation.
When an individual is being treated unfairly because they have a recognised protected characteristic, are thought to have one, or because they associate with someone who has a protected characteristic.
Types of direct discrimination include discrimination by association, the unfair treatment of an individual because they associate with someone who has a protected characteristic and discrimination by perception, when someone is treated unfairly because it is thought that they possess a protected characteristic. This applies even if the individual does not possess that characteristic.
When a rule, policy or arrangement applies to a group is less fair to a certain protected characteristic.
The unfair treatment of someone who has made or supported a complaint related to a protected characteristic or being suspected of doing so.
Although there is no legal definition of bullying, it can be described as behaviour that is intimidating, malicious or insulting and/or an abuse or misuse of power that is meant to undermine, humiliate or injure another person or group.
When bullying or unwanted conduct is related to a protected characteristic and has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the individual.
Third party harassment
The harassment of an individual by people not directly employed by the organisation, e.g., students.
This policy will be reviewed annually by the Senior Leadership Team.
Reason for amendment
Elaine Pasini, Head of Communications
Karen Edwards, Head of Professional Development
Tim Kidd - CEO