Equality and Diversity Policy

Ethics Code

Help Close By (HCB) is committed to making a fairer, more equitable world. We will not discriminate against people in the conduct of our work. We actively strive to work with people of all backgrounds, whether as colleagues, volunteers, trustees or people seeking our support.

The Ethics Code is a set of four core principles underpinning life at HCB. All members of the HCB community, including users of the app, staff, volunteers and trustees, are expected to behave in line with the Ethics Code principles.

The Code sets out how HCB upholds the commitments and details the policies which support this.  The purpose of the Code is also to explain what each of the principles mean and how they should be applied in practice by members of the HCB community. 

The whole HCB community are expected to act to the highest standards of ethical integrity in accordance with the ethical principles set out in this Code:  

Responsibility and Accountability IntegrityEquality of Respect and OpportunityCollegiality

The Trustees and the management of HCB are responsible for the promotion, implementation, and application of the Code. 


 Ethical Guidelines

It is impossible to devise a single set of rules to resolve every ethical dilemma which members of the HCB community may face. Instead, the principles in the Ethics Code should guide the exercise of judgement in individual cases. The following guidelines provide further information on how each principle should apply in practice.

The Principles

The principles set out in this Code should be taken into account when making decisions at all levels of the School. 

Principle 1: Responsibility and Accountability


In order to uphold our commitment to responsibility and accountability, we will:

1.1. Embed the principle of individual responsibility at every level of HCBs management and governance structures.

1.2. Raise concerns relating to ethical matters as they arise.

Principle 2: Integrity

In order to uphold our commitment to integrity, we will:

2.1. Be honest and truthful.

2.2. Act in accordance with all relevant legislation and statutory requirements.

2.3. Declare interests and appropriately manage possible conflicts.

2.4. Be transparent and consistent in our decision making.

2.5. Maintain our independence in engaging with outside parties.

2.6. Conduct fundraising activities in line with the principles set out in the Ethics Code.

Principle 3: Equality of Respect and Opportunity

In order to uphold our commitment to advancing equality of respect and opportunity, we will treat all people with (equal) dignity and respect and ensure that no person will be treated less favourably because of their role at HCB, age, disability, gender (including gender identity), ethnicity and race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity and social and economic background.

Principle 4: Collegiality 

In order to uphold our commitment to collegiality, we will promote within HCB an inclusive and participatory working and social environment in which we encourage, support and behave appropriately to one another.


The Equality Act 2010

HCB adheres to the Equality Act 2010, and does not tolerate any discrimination in any form. 

 Protected characteristics are defined by the Equality Act 2010 as:

AgeDisabilityGender reassignmentMarriage and civil partnershipPregnancy and maternityRaceReligion or beliefSexSexual orientation


The Equality Act 2010 brings together and replaces previous legislation such as the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.


The Equality Act 2010 covers the following types of discrimination:

  • Direct discrimination: Direct discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic that they have.

  • Discrimination by association: Discrimination by association is a form of direct discrimination, occurring when someone is treated less favourably than another person because they associate with someone who has a protected characteristic.

  • Discrimination by perception: Discrimination by perception is a form of direct discrimination, occurring when someone is treated less favourably than another person because they are thought to have a protected characteristic. It applies even if the person does not actually possess that characteristic.

  • Indirect discrimination: Indirect discrimination occurs when a provision, criterion or practice is neutral on the face of it, but its impact particularly disadvantages people with a protected characteristic, unless the person applying the provision can justify it as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

  • Harassment: The  Equality Act 2010 outlines three types of harassment (section 26): unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the complainant, or violating the complainant’s dignity (this applies to all the protected characteristics apart from pregnancy and maternity and marriage and civil partnership); unwanted conduct of a sexual nature where this has the same purpose or effect as the first type of harassment (sexual harassment); treating a person less favourably than another person because they have either submitted to, or did not submit to, sexual harassment or harassment related to sex or gender reassignment. People are also protected from harassment if they are perceived to have, or associate with someone with, a protected characteristic. The perceptions of the recipient of the harassment are very important and harassment can have been deemed to have occurred even if the intention was not present, but the recipient felt that they were being harassed. Courts and tribunals will continue to be required to balance competing rights on the facts of a particular case in determining the effect of the unwanted conduct. This could include balancing the rights of freedom of expression (as set out in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights) and academic freedom against the right not to be offended in deciding whether a person has been harassed.

  • Victimisation: Victimisation occurs when an employee is treated badly because they have made or supported a complaint under the Equality Act, or they are suspected of doing so. Victimisation (section 27) takes place where a person treats another less favourably because he or she has asserted their legal rights in line with the Act, has helped someone else to do so, or is suspected of doing so or intending to do so.

Adopted January 2024 by the board of trustees.

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Help Close By is a charity registered in England and Wales.

Registered Charity Number 1190642

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