Equality and diversity

RHS Qualifications is committed to ensuring that there is no direct, combined or indirect discrimination in any of its activities

RHS Qualifications is the regulated awarding organisation of the Royal Horticultural Society and delivers a range of horticultural qualifications through a network of approved centres. This policy relates to the activities of RHS Qualifications as an awarding organisation. The employment and recruitment of staff and professional associates (for example, examiners, assessors, auditors and external verifiers) is covered by the RHS Qualifications Equal Opportunities Policy.

RHS Qualifications is committed to policies that will promote equal opportunities in all its activities, regardless of age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation.

RHS Qualifications is committed to ensuring that there is no direct, combined or indirect discrimination in any of its activities, nor will it tolerate harassment or victimisation.

RHS Qualifications will take into account all current legislation in relation to the equality of opportunity.

RHS Qualifications will constantly monitor and review its policies and practices pertaining to Equalities Law to ensure that they remain consistent with its equality and diversity objectives and continue to comply with all relevant legislation.

RHS Qualifications will strive to make awareness of and respect for equality and diversity an integral part of the culture of the awarding organisation.

Responsibility

Responsibility for the promotion of equality of opportunity and the elimination of unlawful discrimination rests with all staff working for RHS Qualifications.

The principles set out in this policy apply equally to all Professional Associates
engaged by the Royal Horticultural Society for work relating to the design,
delivery, assessment and award of qualifications (e.g. qualification, unit and
component development, examining, assessing, question setting, moderating
and external verification).

Awarding Organisation Functions

As a regulated awarding organisation developing and delivering qualifications,
RHS Qualifications is committed to ensuring equality for all learners.

In the development of units, components and qualifications, RHS
Qualifications will take all reasonable steps to identify and address any
inequalities or barriers that may arise e.g. between peoples of different ages,
disabilities, gender, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnerships,
pregnancy and maternity, races, religions and beliefs, sexual orientation.

In developing its qualifications, units and components, RHS Qualifications will
take full account of the requirements of the General Conditions of Recognition
and the guidance provided by:

  • ‘Fair access by design: Guidance for awarding organisations on designing high-quality and inclusive qualifications’
  • Any other appropriate guidance which may supersede it.


RHS Qualifications is committed to offering qualifications that allow flexible
modes of delivery (e.g. part-time, evening class, distance learning) to suit
candidates with differing personal circumstances.

RHS Qualifications is committed to ensuring that the content and language of
its promotional and guidance material offers no barriers to access, and
language and images are inclusive and representative. It will make material
available in alternative formats on request and will monitor the need. RHS
Qualifications will actively promote its qualifications to a diverse audience.

As an awarding organisation responsible for developing assessment
arrangements for qualifications, RHS Qualifications will take all reasonable
steps to ensure access and equality of opportunity for all in the implementation
of assessment arrangements, whilst at all times safeguarding the integrity of the
qualifications.

RHS Qualifications is committed to ensuring that its qualifications are available
to all who can achieve the required standard, and that they present no
unnecessary barriers to access, achievement or progression. In developing
assessment arrangements, RHS Qualifications will take full account of the
requirements of the General Conditions of Recognition and the guidance
provided by:

  • ‘Fair access by design: Guidance for awarding organisations on designing high-quality and inclusive qualifications’
  • Any other appropriate guidance which may supersede it.

RHS Qualifications is committed to ensuring fair assessment for all candidates, and will facilitate access to its qualifications through reasonable adjustments to assessment arrangements for candidates with an identified specific need. Full guidance is provided in the document ‘Guidance to Centres for Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration’. The document is available on the RHS Qualifications Approved Centre web portal, or can be obtained from RHS Qualifications.

Approved Centres

Assessments for RHS Qualifications are only delivered by RHS Approved Centres, agreed locations carrying out Exceptional Supervision and at RHS Examination Centres.

Approved Centres, under a written agreement, are required to have processes and procedures in place which ensure consistency of standards and comply with Equalities Law. As part of the centre approval process, centres agree to undertake the delivery of the qualifications in accordance with Equalities Law. Centres must provide sight of their policies pertaining to Equalities Law, and provide evidence that these policies are communicated to all staff and all candidates.

The approval process also requires centres to use buildings for assessment purposes that provide access for all candidates, in accordance with relevant legislation.

Approved Centres are also required to select and apply on behalf of their candidates for reasonable adjustments and special considerations, and include appropriate evidence for that application. Approved Centres are then required to cooperate fully in the implementation of any agreed reasonable adjustments and to ensure candidates complete those assessment under the conditions specified.

To allow monitoring of RHS policies pertaining to Equalities Law, centres are required to supply information on candidate gender, date of birth, and ethnicity. Information on disability is captured through the application process for reasonable adjustments. Any personal information approved centres provide RHS Qualifications is used for the purposes of furthering our legal obligations as an awarding organisation of creating and awarding qualifications and issuing of certificates. Further information is contained in the RHS Privacy Policy.

Consultation

A customer satisfaction survey is available to all Approved Centres and providers of programmes which lead to RHS Qualifications annually. In addition to seeking feedback on factors such as the clarity of guidance material, the survey allows the opportunity to provide feedback on any issues related to RHS Qualifications identified by the Approved Centre or provider.

For each Approved Centre, contact details are held of the member of staff responsible for diversity and equality within the Approved Centre. This facilitates consultation generally on equality and diversity, and on any issues identified as a result of any equality impact assessments.

The RHS Qualifications web portal allows candidates registered for RHS Qualifications to access a password-controlled web page. This enables RHS Qualifications to communicate directly with candidates. A questionnaire is placed on the candidate web-page to seek feedback on all aspects of RHS Qualifications and to gain more information about candidates.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Independent Moderators are appointed to monitor the development and delivery of all qualifications. The Independent Moderators will ensure that due regard has been paid to the requirements of this policy and that there have been no unnecessary barriers to access, achievement and progression.

All qualifications are reviewed annually by the Qualifications Advisory Group. The Independent Moderator will report to the Qualifications Advisory Group on the delivery of the qualification. In preparing the report, the Independent Moderator will be given access to the following information:

  • Candidate performance
  • Statistics on candidate age, gender, ethnic origin, and reasonable adjustments
  • Any feedback available from candidates, Approved Centres, tutors, external verifiers, providers of programmes which lead to RHS Qualifications and employers
  • Any complaints received regarding RHS qualifications

The Qualifications Advisory Group will consider the information, and will advise on whether the qualifications continue to meet the requirements and objectives of this policy. The Group will recommend any changes it considers necessary.

RHS Membership

I enjoy a refreshing walk… my membership gives me free family days out as often as I like.

Mrs Giddings, RHS member

Join the RHS

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.