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Wesley Mission policies

Social inclusion and workplace diversity policy

Social inclusion and workplace diversity policy

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that social inclusion principles are integrated with and underpin all aspects of our work. They will affect the services that we deliver to all people who could benefit from them as well as the way we treat staff and volunteers and develop and manage an increasingly diverse workforce. The principles will also impact how we advocate for and work collaboratively with those who need our support, are vulnerable and marginalised, acknowledging their skills and expertise.

Scope

All Wesley Mission employees and volunteers.

Policy statement

Wesley Mission has always been committed to social inclusion and consistently attempted to address the main drivers of social exclusion: poverty; unemployment; poor educational outcomes; poor health and wellbeing; lack of access to social supports; exclusion from services and discrimination.

Our Vision, Values and Code of Ethics underpin all that we do as we minister to the needs of the community. Consistency with the Vision and Values is a requirement of all Wesley Mission employees and volunteers.

We will continue to deliver and grow services that seek to support the most disadvantaged in the community and to work in partnership with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) and Indigenous communities in a culturally appropriate manner. We will create strong and enduring community partnerships to ensure that “at risk” groups receive the broad range of services required to minimise disadvantage. We are committed to and value diversity in our workforce and will strive to treat all people with courtesy and dignity, recognising each person’s right to self-determination and privacy.

We are driven by a Christian worldview that seeks to create healthy relationships and are committed to approaches that build on the strengths of people and communities. We acknowledge that it is important to maximise local resources to meet community needs.

Wesley Mission will seek to find ways for people who are vulnerable and excluded to have a voice in the policy and processes of the services that provide support and to create a workplace which values and utilises the contributions of people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.

Principles
For Wesley Mission to continue to address the main drivers of social exclusion, to effectively develop and manage an increasingly diverse workforce and to uphold the principles of self- determination and participation in decision making we will embrace the following principles:

Implement practices that maximise a respect for all individuals which encourages the principle of * ‘dignity of risk’, reduces disadvantage and creates accessible services

  • to facilitate and support clients to make informed decisions while recognising that the choices made may not be the same as those the staff may have made in similar circumstances or the choice staff might have preferred the clients to have made. Clients should be informed of the consequences of decisions and decisions should be made voluntarily and without coercion. Duty of care must be considered with the right of informed individuals to take calculated risks.
  • managing a diverse workforce means managing people as individuals by recognising individual differences, contributions and needs in the workplace. It requires the implementation of practices that show respect for all individuals and recognises the value that diversity brings to Wesley Mission.
  • to provide services to clients irrespective of race, religion, politics, age, disability, gender and sexuality. Staff are encouraged to assess their own prejudices to ensure that all clients receive the highest standard of care.
  • to plan, design and deliver culturally responsive services that encourage responsible risk taking and demonstrate that we recognise the value of our multicultural society.
  • to create a “one point of entry” and “continuity of care” philosophy and practice. Regardless of where a person links with the organisation they will receive the care required to assist them back into a functional place in the community. Through the implementation of joined up thinking and practice all clients will have access to a wide variety of support.
  • to always strive to improve our service delivery, effectiveness and efficiency.
  • every Wesley Mission service, within operational constraints will strive to create accessible services that take into account geographical disadvantage, disability, financial hardship and understanding of English.      


Increase social participation by building community and encouraging a greater voice and greater responsibility

  • services will at all times support clients to build skills, networks and lifestyle choices that will enable them to participate more fully in their community and to have the life they want.
  • to regularly audit our programs to ensure that pathways into community exist.
  • to support strong and diverse communities that are free from discrimination, violence and abuse by confronting intolerance and promoting respect and a sense of belonging for everybody.
  • to respond to the needs and aspirations of communities through the effective and pragmatic use of available resources.
  • to build a healthy community in all residential services for the people who are  homeless, people that have a disability and those that are aged. We will ensure a person centred service approach that recognises the strengths, ability and aspirations of individuals in our care.
  • to encourage service users to access the complaints and feedback mechanisms that exist in all services. This will ensure that Wesley Mission is constantly assessing programmes so that improvements can be made.
  • to actively contribute to community reference groups, networks, events and celebrations. This will ensure that Wesley Mission can develop services based on community concerns and input.
  • to encourage client participation on advisory groups, evaluation panels and service development workshops.
  • every Wesley Mission service will conduct client feedback reviews. We are committed to a philosophy of continuous improvement. Wesley Mission services will develop evidence based service models so that service users benefit from the very best programs available.
  • Wesley Mission will share relevant information and data as appropriate to help Not for Profit organisations and government/s plan and evaluate. This will require the constant development of measurable outcomes and investment in accountability mechanisms.


Develop relationships of trust and cooperation with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) and Aboriginal communities
This will involve developing awareness and respect for the diversity of culture and lifestyles including:

  • basing all interactions on an understanding and respect for the importance that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people place on relationships between people
  • acknowledging, respecting and adhering to the cultural protocols practised by individual communities
  • developing communication strategies that are relevant to individual communities
  • providing feedback on the outcomes of all consultations in a timely and culturally relevant manner, demonstrating how the community members’ views have informed decisions and actions
  • ensuring the rights of CALD and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to maintain confidentiality concerning aspects of their personal and cultural affairs.


Promote equal employment opportunity and recognise the benefits of diversity

  • the concept of workplace diversity includes the principle of equal employment opportunity (EEO).  The EEO policies address continued disadvantage experienced by particular groups of people in the workplace, including women, indigenous Australians, people with disabilities and those who suffer disadvantage on the basis of race, gender identification or ethnicity
  • increased innovation—a diverse workforce with a range of different backgrounds and perspectives gives Wesley Mission a broader range of ideas and insights to draw on in decision making and policy development.
  • improved service to clients—a workplace that reflects the diverse needs of the community will understand its client better, which will lead to improved service. A diverse workplace will have good communication with its clients based on a deep understanding of the needs of the community.
  • competitive management practices—organisations that value employee diversity have productive and fulfilling workplaces which help them attract and retain employees. This leads to savings in recruitment and training costs as well as maintaining corporate knowledge and expertise.


Implement strategies for effective workplace diversity 

  • workplace diversity principles should be integrated with and underpin all aspects of our people, such as planning, selection and recruitment, personal review and development, learning and development, work health and safety and workplace relations. Workplace diversity strategies help to build the organisation’s relationship with the community, enhance the contribution of its employees and improve the quality of its programs and services.
  • reporting and networks—Wesley Mission regularly reports to the Employment of Women in the Workforce Agency (EOWA) on affirmative action and equal opportunity activities within the workplace. Wesley Mission is also an active member of the NSW Equal Opportunity Practitioners Association (NEEOPA) which enables us to work with other organisations with similar diversity and equal employment policies.
  • recruitment—all recruitment and selection documentation, procedures and practices will be in line with Wesley Mission’s EEO statement. Documentation including job descriptions, job advertisements, application forms, contracts etc will include no direct or inferred discrimination. 
  • training—all internal and external training opportunities will be based on the needs of Wesley Mission and our employees through personal review and development along with identified training needs through centre and industry group business plans.
  • harassment and bullying—we will ensure that all employees have access to an environment that is free from harassment. All employees shall ensure that the workplace is harassment free and that complainants or witnesses are not victimised. Any reports of sexual, racial or other harassment will be treated seriously, confidentially and sympathetically. Regular mandatory training is provided for all employees on anti-discrimination, bullying and harassment.    

Responsibilities and policy owner

The policy owner is General Manager Corporate.

All Wesley Mission employees shall:

  • assess their own prejudices to ensure that all clients receive the highest standard of care
  • actively participate in implementing processes that reduce client disadvantage, increase social, civic and economic participation for clients and give them a greater voice with greater responsibility


Managers shall:

  • ensure that social inclusion and workplace diversity principles are integrated with and underpin all aspects of their work.
  • ensure procedures are implemented that reduce client disadvantage, increase social, civic and economic participation for clients and give them a greater voice with greater responsibility
  • ensure the workplace is harassment free and that complainants or witnesses are not victimised in any way
  • ensure this policy is implemented in their workplace

Consultation & approval

The policy was developed in consultation with Executive Manager Human Resources, Executive Manager Service Development and Support, Executive Manager Home & Carer support, Business Manager Family & Carer support and members of the WIMS working group.

General Manager Corporate approved the policy.