Equality and Diversity and Inclusion Policy and Procedure

Policy Statement

Torbay and SW England Festival is committed to delivering Festivals which promote fairness, equality and diversity and effectively challenge discriminatory practice. Within the boundaries of the classes offered and the Festival rules, the Festival is open to anyone regardless of gender, race, colour, creed or sexuality. We welcome all competitors equally and offer specific opportunities for those with additional needs to facilitate participation. In some Festivals there are specific classes for those who would find it difficult to compete under regular circumstances, but competitors with additional needs are welcome to enter the open Festivals if they wish. Where this is the case, it is necessary for teachers and parents/carers to be aware of their responsibilities in entering any performer with limited physical capabilities or additional needs, bearing in mind the limitations imposed by the stage and surrounding environment. It is also necessary for the teacher, parent/carer to pass on to the Adjudicator, via the Entry Secretary at the time of entry, any such information that would impact on the Adjudicator’s work.

We will actively challenge and investigate any observed breach of the policy by competitors, parents/carers, committee members and volunteers and if this is found to be the case, may result in disqualification (competitors, parents/carers), refusal of entries (teachers), removal from role (committee and volunteers) and via the British and International Federation of Festivals (adjudicators)        

Please see our policy of the Rehabilitation of Ex-offenders when we are recruiting volunteers. This is appended to our Safeguarding policy.

Our policy and procedure applies not only to competitors, but their parents/carers, our committees and volunteers and the adjudicators we engage.    

We have developed this Equality. Diversity and Inclusion Policy and Procedure to demonstrate our commitment to providing a safe, happy and unbiased environment for all involved.

We will

  • Treat all involved with the Festivals fairly and with respect at all times
  • Publicise the existence of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion procedure so that people know about it and what they can do if they feel the policy content has not been met
  • Make sure all reported breaches of policy are investigated fairly and in a timely manner
  • Make sure that, wherever possible, issues are resolved and relationships repaired
  • Learn from feedback and use it to improve our services


We will handle all information sensitively, telling only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.

The Executive Committee will be made aware of all reports of breaches of policy received, with anonymity maintained unless it is deemed necessary under Safeguarding legislation to identify the complainant

If you feel that the Policy has been breached, it is the reporter’s responsibility to

  • Bring the matter to our attention within 8 weeks of the issue arising
  • Explain the problem as clearly and as fully as possible, including any action they have taken to date
  • Allow us reasonable time to deal with the matter
  • Recognise that some circumstances may be beyond the control of the Festival

Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation lies with the Executive Committee.

Reporting a breach of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion procedure

You can report a breach or provide feedback in the following ways 

  • By phone – call the chair of the relevant Committee

Speech and Drama – Linda Lear 07971 421043 

Music – Chris Blurton 07595 499188

Dance  – Karen Walker 07890 200960

  • By Email

Speech and Drama  LIndalear20@outlook.com

Music – Chrisblurton@yahoo.com

Dance  Karen@peninsulatraining.co.uk

  • By Post

Write to us c/o 23 Windmill Gardens, Paignton, TQ3 1BL

If the breach of policy relates to the chair of the Music or Dance Committees, please contact the Chair of the Executive Committee, Linda Lear. If the complaint is about the Chair of the Speech and Drama Committee, please contact the Vice Chair of the Executive Committee, Chris Blurton.

Procedure for dealing with a potential breach of policy 

Verbal Feedback

Verbal feedback will be considered by the Chair of the relevant committee, who will seek advice from fellow Chairs, if needed. A verbal or email response will be provided within one working week.

Written Feedback 

Written Feedback will be considered by the Chairs of all 3 committees and will be acknowledged within 48 hours and responded to in writing within three working weeks.

Where necessary, the feedback will be referred to the general manager at Festivals House for advice. Where the feedback relates to existing codes of Practice, these will be taken into account when the response to the complaint is provided.

If the investigation of the feedback requires a longer timescale, you will be informed of this and kept updated on progress.

Ensuring we learn from feedback

A log of all verbal and written complaints received will be kept by the Secretary of the Executive Committee and any complaint received will be discussed anonymously at the next Executive Committee meeting to ensure that any learning is shared and policies and documentation are updated as is necessary.

This policy and procedure will be updated every 2 years to ensure it is fit for purpose.

Person Responsible for the monitoring and review of this policy

Name:   Karen Walker   Signature: KWalker

Date of Issue: October 2023  Version: 1

Policy on Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders

It is to be appended to all Child Protection Policy documentation when recruiting volunteer helpers.

The Torbay and South West of England Festival undertakes to ensure that this policy is provided to all applicants for positions which involve contact with children and vulnerable adults and where an enhanced disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service is required. We will only request an enhanced disclosure where it is necessary and relevant to the position. Much of our work is with children and vulnerable adults and, when we draw up our job descriptions, we carry out a thorough risk assessment to ascertain whether a position requires an enhanced disclosure.

When you apply to join our festival team we ask you for details about yourself for our file (Form 1). Some positions require a further form (Form 2) as those positions may involve working closely with children or vulnerable adults. As you complete this form, we ask you to include details of any convictions, spent or unspent. To ensure confidentiality we ask you to return information about any criminal record you may have, spent or unspent, in a sealed envelope, marked private and confidential, for the attention of Kathryn Bestwick. We will ensure that all our voluntary staff involved in the recruitment process are aware of this policy and have received relevant training and support on all those procedures documented by the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (as amended in 2013), exoffenders have the right not to reveal certain spent convictions. However, the same Act makes it clear that, where the nature of the work involves contact with children or vulnerable adults, people may be asked to declare all criminal convictions, including those which are spent.

We must make it clear that, while it is necessary to ask for information on convictions, we will not necessarily exclude people from volunteering should they have convictions which are not relevant to the work carried out.

Should the festival receive disclosure information which shows a conviction, we will take into consideration:

  • Whether the conviction is relevant to the position being offered
  • The seriousness of the offence revealed.
  • The length of time since the offence took place
  • Whether the applicant has a pattern of offending behaviour
  • Whether the applicant’s circumstances have changed since offending took place

The Torbay and South West of England Festival is committed to the fair treatment of its volunteers, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, responsibilities for dependants, age, physical/mental disability or offending background. We actively promote equality of opportunity for all with the right mix of talent, skills and potential and welcome applications from a wide range of candidates, including those with criminal records. We select all candidates for voluntary positions based on their skills, qualifications and experience.

This document is annually reviewed and updated as required

Last reviewed: May 2024