The mission of Hastings Commons is to create spaces and environments in which people can enhance their lives, shape their neighbourhood and look out for each other. We create and manage high-quality, long-term affordable homes and workspace, alongside a wide range of social and leisure spaces. We curate three interconnected programmes – heritage, young people, creative technology.
We believe that people working together as a community should have control over the spaces we live and work in. Our aims include bringing spaces into community ownership, and helping people organise themselves to enable them to shape and look after the spaces themselves.
The work we do is guided by our “objects” and “principles”.
Our objects are written into the rules of the Community Land Trust (CLT) and the charitable constitution of Leisure & Learning. The Shareholders’ Agreement that governs Hastings Commons Neighbourhood Ventures aligns its activity with the charitable objects of the CLT. Across the Commons these objects include: providing affordable housing and workspace, supporting local heritage and culture, advancing education, citizenship and community development.
Our principles include treating people fairly and making sure our projects and activities are accessible to people with different and/or additional needs.
Our written policies help make sure that we act fairly and within the law, and they also help people know how to hold us to our aims, objects and principles. We review our policies regularly, and publish as many as we can.
Purpose and Scope
This policy is designed to explain Hastings Commons commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. It should let staff and volunteers understand what we expect of them, and it should help members, partner organisations, stakeholders, tenants and the public understand what they can expect of us. This policy is for staff, volunteers, trustees, members, partner organisations, stakeholders, tenants and the public.
The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion policy applies to:
- all staff employed by and all volunteers contributing their time
- all aspects of promotional, educational, campaigning and service delivery functions
- members and affiliate organisations. We expect members, tenants, and partner organisations to concur with and actively promote these objectives.
Hastings Commons remains committed to not discriminating unfairly on the grounds of age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origin), religion or belief, marriage and civil partnership (all of which are ‘protected characteristics’ under the law); nor will we discriminate unfairly on the grounds of class, financial status, or any other unjustifiable cause. We seek to recognise and overcome involuntary bias so that nobody with a protected characteristic is discriminated against directly or indirectly, or is victimised or harassed in relation to a relevant protected characteristic. Where appropriate we adopt expert definitions of particular types of discrimination to support our decision-making (eg in our Event Bookings and Venue Hires Policy). These are kept as appendices to the DEI Policy.
We will work together to create and sustain a community where diversity is recognised, valued and celebrated. We will proactively advance equality and inclusive practice in our staff recruitment and their working environment, in our interactions with stakeholders, and with participants in our public programmes. We will endeavour through effective and collaborative action to create a culture which values diversity, and in which all employees, trustees, and other volunteers and participants in our activities give due respect to other people and their work or ideas. We will endeavour to reach and respond to the full diversity of our Area of Benefit and the wider local area in its offer of services and facilities across the Hastings Commons properties.
We believe that Diversity, Equity and Inclusive (DEI) practice enhances our culture and effectiveness practically and socially. We will:
- Ensure everyone who works or volunteers for Hastings Commons understands their personal responsibility to promote equality and inclusive practice and remove any unfair barriers, through appropriate training on induction and periodic refresher courses.
- Engage and involve our own employees, volunteers, partner organisations and other stakeholders, to develop our DEI initiatives.
- Ensure that our objectives and actions are led by our own ambition to play a leading role in supporting a more diverse and inclusive Hastings.
What we mean by:
|Diversity||Recognising that everyone is different in a variety of visible and non-visible ways, and that those differences are to be recognised, respected and valued.|
|Equity||A fundamental part of a fair society in which everyone can have the best possible chance to succeed in life.|
|Inclusion||The active creation of a working and social environment that is welcoming, which recognises and celebrates difference, and that this is reflected in its structures, practices and attitudes.|
Positive action is an action designed to minimise the negative effect of a protected characteristic on a person or group of people. An example would be encouraging women to apply for a construction role by circulating a job advert in a women’s group instead of just advertising the job in the local newspaper. If Hastings Commons is concerned that a group with a protected characteristic are at a disadvantage, we will consider taking positive action to redress that imbalance. If a decision is made to take positive action, we will make sure that the decision, and the reason for it is documented and justified.
Hastings Commons will take action to provide genuine equality of opportunity to counter past discrimination and to monitor the outcome. To promote equality of access we will aim to ensure:
- Our actions and decisions are based on consultation with local people and positive steps are taken to include excluded groups in decision making.
- Spaces and programmes are flexible and responsive to the changing needs in the community.
- Information on spaces and programmes is widely available and where necessary targeted to ensure maximum awareness of provision.
- Systems are developed to monitor inputs, outputs, outcomes, impacts and participant satisfaction.
- An accessible complaints procedure is in place to tackle any discrimination.
- Positive action programmes are developed to target the needs of usually excluded groups.
- Hastings Commons is presented publicly as an organisation committed to promoting equality of access to employment, spaces and programmes.
In our own buildings and in any event we are associated with we will consider access issues including:
- Access to toilets and changing spaces
- Parking and public transport links
- Step free access/ lifts/ ramps
- Hearing loops
If it is not possible to use a completely accessible space we will consider how we can best minimise any barriers to access. Where we can, we take advice from users and stakeholders about accessibility and minimising barriers to access.
Monitoring & Review
We will regularly collect, evaluate and publish data relevant to our diversity, equity and inclusion policies. This will be reported annually to the Commons Board and the Membership at the AGM.
We regularly develop and review our policies and practices to ensure equality of opportunity and treatment of those who are, or seek to be, its employees, volunteers or participants. Where suitable, we will initiate new policies and practices.
All trustees and directors Hastings Commons are responsible for the overall implementation of the DEI policy. All staff have a duty to implement these policies. The Senior Leadership Team will manage and oversee the development and implementation of DEI work. The Commons Board will monitor and review the effectiveness of this DEI policy on an annual basis.
Failure to adhere to the policy
Hastings Commons aims to ensure that every individual is treated with respect and dignity and that no member of staff or stakeholder is subjected to unfair discrimination. We will do our utmost to protect staff, volunteers and participants from all forms of discriminatory and unacceptable behaviour, including micro-aggressions by any individual or groups, whether in person, online, or in any other way. Allegations of discriminatory behaviour are always treated with the utmost seriousness and will be dealt with promptly, under the organisation’s Grievance and Disciplinary Procedure if relating to employees, or appropriate complaints procedure for others.
Appendix 1: IHRA Definition of antisemitism
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.
Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.
Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:
- Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
- Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
- Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
- Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
- Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
- Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
- Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.
- Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
- Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
- Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
- Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.
Antisemitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (for example, denial of the Holocaust or distribution of antisemitic materials in some countries).
Criminal acts are antisemitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property – such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries – are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.
Antisemitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.
Appendix 2: APPG on British Muslims definition of Islamophobia
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims was established on 18 July 2017 to build on the work of the APPG on Islamophobia, of which many Members were active in, but with a wider remit to examine a broad range of issues that British Muslims care about, and are affected by. In 2018 it published Islamophobia Defined: A Report on the inquiry into a working definition of Islamophobia / anti-Muslim hatred.
The report was the result of a six month long inquiry which heard from academics, lawyers, activists, victim groups and British Muslim organisations, as well as first-hand accounts from communities in Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham and London.
The APPG on British Muslims received countless submissions detailing the racialised manner in which the Muslimness of an individual was used to attack Muslims or those perceived to be Muslims. The racialisation of Muslims proceeds on the basis of their racial and religious identity, or perceived identity, from white converts receiving racialised sobriquets such as “paki”, Muslim women attacked due to their perceived dress, bearded men attacked for the personification of a Muslim identity or even turban wearing Sikhs attacked due to the perception of Muslimness.
“Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness”.
 Note the preferred spelling of antisemitism. “The IHRA’s concern is that the hyphenated spelling allows for the possibility of something called ‘Semitism’, which not only legitimizes a form of pseudo-scientific racial classification that was thoroughly discredited by association with Nazi ideology, but also divides the term, stripping it from its meaning of opposition and hatred toward Jews.”