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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy

Adopted by members vote at the 2023 AGM on 11 November 2023

Target audience: MScot staff, directors, volunteers, MScot-affiliated clubs, MScot-member clubs, and individual MScot members. 

Purpose: To set out MScot’s policy, aims and commitments to equality, diversity and inclusion. 

Note: where possible, we are able to provide a copy of this policy in more accessible / different formats.  Contact: info@mountaineering.scot / 01738 493 942

MScot seeks to encourage people and members to enjoy the benefits of walking, climbing and ski touring in Scotland.  We believe that everyone has the right to be treated with dignity, fairness and respect.  Actively addressing the issues around equality, diversity and inclusion is vital to these objectives. We will ensure that we act inclusively and properly represent a diverse pool of members, volunteers, Directors and staff.

We want our membership to be truly inclusive and to advocate for, and champion, the expression and sharing of diverse perspectives and experiences. 

It is our policy to treat our employees, volunteers and members equally, recognising that participation in climbing and mountaineering activities has inherent risks.  Participants should be aware of and accept these risks and be prepared to be responsible for their own actions and involvement in those activities.

MScot endorses the principle of equality as set out in the Equality Act 2010 (the “Act”) [1]. We strive to ensure that everyone who wishes to be involved in activities in which we are the representative body, whether as participants, members, volunteers, coaches, office-bearers in clubs, or within MScot have the following:

  1. Genuine and equal opportunities to participate to the full extent of their own ambitions and abilities, without regard to their Protected Characteristics; [2]and
  2. An environment in which their rights, dignity and individual worth are respected so they are able to enjoy their sport without the threat of discrimination, intimidation, victimisation, harassment or abuse.

[1] Please see Appendix 1 for more detail on the Equality Act 2010.  This Act applies to MScot itself, and to all Member clubs with more than 25 members.

[2] The “Protected Characteristics” as defined in Chapter 1 of the Equality Act 2010 are: age, sex, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation. 

MScot is committed to avoiding and addressing discrimination of any kind in all activities, events, courses and other opportunities we deliver as the national representative body. Under no circumstances will we condone unlawful discriminatory practices. We do not tolerate bullying or harassment. Examples of those unlawful acts and practices are detailed in Appendix 1 of this policy.

Our policy commitment to equality goes further than simply complying with legislation. It means, MScot will take positive steps to try and counteract the effects of physical or cultural barriers that restrict the opportunities for people to participate in activities MScot is involved in delivering. These include, but are not limited to, the Protected Characteristics and individuals’ socio-economic status, or any other aspect of their diversity and intersectionality.  

MScot will seek to institute, support or contribute to appropriate measures or initiatives that enable access to and participation in activities in which we are the representative body by people from any group that is under-represented in these activities or who have difficulty accessing them.   

What do we do to support our commitment to equality?

MScot will take the following actions to implement this policy and promote equality, diversity, and inclusion.

  1. Publish this policy on our website.
  2. Ensure that the MScot President and CEO take overall responsibility for ensuring that this policy is embedded within the strategy and operations of MScot at all levels. They will provide an annual report on progress to members at our Annual General Meeting (“AGM”).
  3. Ensure that the MScot Board takes full account of this policy in arriving at all relevant decisions in relation to our activities.
  4. Participate, where appropriate, in surveys or other initiatives designed to assess the level of participation of different sections of the community in activities in which we are the representative body and take account of the findings in developing measures to promote and enhance equality in those activities.
  5. Provide access to appropriate equality, diversity, and anti-discrimination training for our Board and committee members, staff, accredited coaches and volunteers to raise awareness of both collective and individual responsibilities. 
  6. Actively discuss diversity issues with our staff, with our Boards and committees, in our publications and in our membership communications.
  7. Be inclusive with our recruitment, training, appraisal, promotion and volunteer experience processes and criteria including making proportionate reasonable adjustments as a part of all of these procedures, e.g. consider the accessibility of our online forms and website.
  8. Ensure experience and insights from our staff, members, and volunteers are considered and contribute to a diversity of views to inform our events, communications, strategy and activities e.g. through sharing member stories, magazine articles and social media projects.
  9. Ensure we provide a range of accessible training opportunities and targeted courses aimed at breaking down barriers to participation in mountaineering, climbing, skiing and hillwalking activities.
  10. Where practical, provide support and guidance to clubs including access to training for club volunteers and other resources as appropriate.


MScot recognises and celebrates the wide range of member clubs across Scotland of various sizes and a range of offerings which cater for all levels of experience and skill level. This policy should be applied sensibly and pragmatically to reflect the various activities undertaken by clubs and club members, and their own governance arrangements.  We recommend that:

  1. Clubs formally adopt this policy or a policy of their own in terms consistent with this policy;
  2. Club committees ensure that access to membership is open inclusive and consider updating their constitution to acknowledge the principles of the Equality Act 2010;
  3. Club committees have a complaints procedure to deal with complaints and disputes; and
  4. Club committees consider adopting a members’ Code of Conduct.

The Act places legal obligations on all clubs with over 25 members. For those clubs, MScot notes that if this policy or a club policy in terms consistent with this policy is not in place, Civil Liability Insurance may not be available to that club where a breach of the Act is raised against that club.

Individual members

MScot strongly encourages our individual members to act in accordance with the principles set out in this policy and respectfully comply with our Members’ Code of Conduct which is set out in Appendix 2 of this policy.

What are we doing to ensure this policy remains current and valued?

The MScot Board will be responsible for ensuring this policy is followed and embedded at every level of the organisation.

With staff and Board support, the CEO will review relevant MScot activities and initiatives against the aims of the policy on an annual basis. The CEO will report formally on this issue at the AGM.

To better understand the diversity of our membership, we request demographic information from our employees, volunteers, members and prospective members. This information is collected and held anonymously and in accordance with data protection legislation. This information will help us to monitor our progress and  help us meet our aims set out in this policy. The aggregated, anonymised equality monitoring results will be made available in the CEO’s AGM report.

We accept that members are under no obligation to inform us of their Protected Characteristics, and we shall not check the accuracy of the information that our members give us for our diversity monitoring.

MScot regards all forms of discriminatory behaviour, including (but not limited to) behaviour described in Appendix 1 as unacceptable, and is concerned to ensure that people feel able to raise any bona fide concern or complaint related to such behaviour without fear of being penalised for doing so.

We encourage anyone with a concern as it relates to the aims of this policy to raise these with us as we recognise that many issues can be resolved informally. Any informal concerns raised with us will be treated in confidence.[3]  

Formal complaints may be made against individual members, clubs, members of MScot clubs, volunteers, and the staff, CEO, President and Board members of MScot.  Our Complaints Policy can be found here: www.mountaineering.scot/about-us/business-matters/complaints-policy

Where the violation of this policy by way of harassment, victimisation or discrimination amounts to a criminal offence, the appropriate authority(ies) will be informed.

In the event that an individual or organisation associated with MScot is subject to allegations of unlawful discrimination in a court or tribunal, the Board of MScot will co-operate fully with any investigation carried out by the relevant lawful authorities and, subject to the outcome, may consider taking action as above in relation to the matter concerned.  

MScot recognises that clubs are self-governing and ultimately responsible to their own membership. This policy is not intended to involve MScot in club matters. However, if clubs need support and / or for example are unable to resolve a complaint made against it under its own processes, where possible, MScot can offer to provide support and guidance.

[3] Please contact us on: info@mountaineering.scot /ph. 01738 493 942.

The Board will review the policy itself at intervals of no more than three years, (or more frequently as required) and will report with recommendations to the AGM.

Legal rights

The avoidance and penalisation of discrimination has been enshrined in legislation for a number of decades. From October 2010, the relevant Act which applies throughout the UK is the Equality Act 2010 (“the Act”).

“Discrimination” refers to unfavourable treatment on the basis of particular characteristics, which are known as ‘protected characteristics’. Under the Act, protected characteristics are defined as age, sex, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, marriage or civil partnership, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation.

Under the Act, people are protected from discrimination ‘on grounds of’ a protected characteristic[4]. This means that people will be protected if they have one or more of these characteristics, are assumed to have it, or associate with someone who has it or is assumed to have it.

Forms of discrimination and discriminatory behaviour include the following:

  1. Direct discrimination

    Direct discrimination can be described as less favourable treatment on the grounds of one or more protected characteristics.

  2. Indirect discrimination

    Indirect discrimination occurs when a provision, criterion or practice is applied to a person or group of people that would put persons of a particular characteristic at a particular disadvantage compared with other persons who do not share that particular characteristic.

  3. Discrimination arising from disability

    When a disabled person is treated unfavourably because of something connected with their disability and this unfavourable treatment cannot be justified, this is unlawful. This type of discrimination only relates to disability.

  4. Harassment

    Harassment is defined as unwanted conduct relating to a protected characteristic that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity, or which creates an intimidating or hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person. This includes sexual harassment.

  5. Victimisation

    It is unlawful to treat a person less favourably because they have made allegations or brought proceedings under the anti-discrimination legislation, or because they have helped another person to do so. To do so would constitute victimisation.

  6. Bullying

    Bullying is defined as a form of harassment involving the misuse of power, influence or position to persistently criticise, humiliate or undermine a person.

Where can I get more information?

Visit www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance

[4] The exception to this is pregnancy and maternity, which does not include protection by association or assumption – a woman is only protected from discrimination on grounds of her own pregnancy.