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Policy Statement On Equal Opportunities

The Ashton group is striving to be an equal opportunities employer in all aspects of our work and employment practice.

The Ashton Group will ensure, when employment decisions are made, that the only personal characteristics taken into account are those which (as well as being consistent with relevant legislation) are necessary for the requirements and proper performance of the work involved. There will be no discrimination in respect of marital status, gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, race, nationality, religious belief, age or class. Employment decisions will be based solely on an assessment of the capability and suitability of the individual concerned and not on any generalized concepts about the characteristics of groups of persons.

The only basis for selection or promotion is the management’s considered opinion of the applicant’s suitability for the job. The Ashton Group will endeavour to assist any disadvantaged groups to achieve a position from which equality of opportunity can operate in the field of theatre production.

In our artistic work the company will undertake to be aware of the cultural diversity, which exists in society, and ensure that the content of our artistic work reflects, celebrates and promotes this.

All workers have legal and moral obligation not to discriminate and to report incidents of discrimination against any individual or group of individuals. Any worker found to be practicing discrimination would face disciplinary proceedings. Workers will be offered awareness training with a recognized agency where appropriate.

The company will also undertake to review this policy annually to reflect the evolving thinking about issues of equality in society.

Revised November 2004


The purpose of this policy is to ensure equal opportunities for all workers, job applicants, clients and customers, irrespective of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin. We value a diverse customer base and the individuality and creativity that every worker potentially brings to the workforce.

Operating Principles

  • Workers, job applicants, visitors, clients and customers will be treated fairly, openly and honestly, and with dignity and respect.
  • No job applicant or worker will receive less favourable treatment on grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin.
  • Steps will be taken to make sure all business practices ensure equal opportunities.
  • Recruitment, training and promotion opportunities will be made as widely available as possible.
  • Selection criteria for employment, training and promotion opportunities will be entirely related to the job.
  • Employment decisions on recruitment, promotion and training will be made solely on the basis of merit.
  • Everyone has the right to work and do business in an environment free of unlawful discrimination and harassment. We will not tolerate such behaviour under any circumstances.
  • Disciplinary action, including dismissal, may be taken against any worker found responsible for harassment or discrimination.
  • Any employee who believes he or she is being discriminated against, victimised or harassed should raise the matter through the company's complaints procedure.

This policy is fully supported by the Board of Trustees. We will ensure that all our employess are aware of the policy, and that they understand that they are responsible for observing it.

Our racial equality action plan outlines the steps we will take to give effect to this policy. We will monitor the action plan and review the progress we have made each year, to make sure the policy is achieving its aims.

JUNE 2005

Ashton Group Contemporary Theatre Child Protection Guidelines

The Ashton Group Contemporary Theatre has developed this set of guidelines for all employees to ensure clear procedures are in place when dealing with issues of child protection.

The term “child” in this policy refers to children and young people up to the age of 16 and also includes vulnerable adults.
The company is registered as an organisation mandated to run disclosure checks with the CRB. All employees are required to produce an Enhanced Disclosure document as a contractual requirement.
In addition, wherever possible, a minimum of two staff work together.
This policy is also to protect employees from false accusations and unwitnessed interpretations of incidents and events and to ensure a level of support in case of emergency.

All employees are expected to ensure the safety of the children, young people and vulnerable adults they are working with by:
Risk Assessment and Health and Safety requirements for each session/workshop/rehearsal
Adhering to the Ashton Group’s Equal Opportunities Policy ( issued and agreed to when signing contract of employment)
Following the Child Protection Guidelines( issued and agreed to when signing contract of employment)


The Ashton Group recognises that the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults is paramount. Employees must always take suspicions and allegations seriously and report any incident immediately.
When working in schools/organisations the company will report any relevant information or incident to the designated teacher or worker responsible for child protection.
When working in the community, the company will seek advice from appropriate professional/statutory organisations when any situation arises that they believe may be a child protection issue.
The company will give all employees a set of basic guidelines/procedures to assist them when dealing with child protection issues. These guidelines are based on Cumbria County Council Child Protection Information.

If you suspect a child/young person is being abused because of marks /bruising /behaviour/ hearsay from others then:
Report this to Rachel Ashton who will tell the designated teacher/worker/appropriate agency.
Maintain confidentiality.
Do not ask the child/young person about the situation yourself.
If a child/young person tells you he/she has been subject to physical or sexual abuse or neglect then:
Never agree to keep “secrets” even if the child is upset or persuasive.
Listen carefully and allow the child to say what they need to say.
Avoid using closed or leading questions.
Never interrogate the child/young person. The designated teacher/worker only needs to know abuse has taken place/is likely to take place.
Reassure the child/young person that they have done the right thing. If age appropriate tell the child that the designated teacher/worker/social services may need to be involved in the case.
Do not tell anyone else about the incident and report it immediately.
Write down the facts of the situation as you have experienced them. Give a copy to Rachel Ashton and keep a copy yourself.
Remember that, even if a person is 16 or 17 and has left home, there may be other siblings/minors who are still being abused.


For more information about child protection issues ask Sarah Miller or Rachel Ashton or look in the child protection file in the office for general information.

The Ashton Group Theatre Ltd, The Old Fire Station, Abbey Road, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria LA14 1XH
Telephone 01229 430636

Updated November 2005