Policies

Privacy Policy

At Walsh Solicitors we are committed to safeguarding the privacy of visitors to our website. This privacy notice explains how we use the data we collect through our website.

We will not compromise your privacy, nor will we ever sell your data. If you chose to input your data onto our website, we will store it securely and we will respect your marketing choices. Walsh Solicitors will be the data controller of all data uploaded by you to our website. Please see our contact us page for our contact details.

WHAT DATA WE COLLECT

If you choose to submit data to us on our website, for example by completing our contact us form, we will collect details such as your name, email address, telephone number and postal address.

We will always store your data securely and we will never ask you for any data that we don’t need. For example, we do not collect any special categories of personal data about you through our website, such as details about your race, ethnicity, religious beliefs or information about your health.

We also obtain data through the use of cookies and from your IP address, as further detailed in the ‘Cookies’ and ‘IP Addresses’ sections below. Amongst other things, this allows us to collect aggregate and statistical data, which does not identify you, for statistical analysis and strategic development purposes.

HOW WE USE YOUR DATA

By submitting your data we will use it to respond to your enquiries.
We only use your data for the purposes for which we collected it subject to limited exceptions, such as where we reasonably consider that we can use your data for another reason which is compatible with the original purpose for which it was collected.

ON WHAT BASIS DO WE PROCESS YOUR DATA

We will only use and process the data you provide to us where we have a lawful basis for doing so.
With regard to the data we collect via the website, this is done with your consent to contact you. The lawful bases for our processing of your data which include processing that (i) is necessary for the performance of a contract to which you are a party or in order to take steps at your request prior to entering a contract, (ii) is necessary for compliance with our legal, regulatory and/or professional obligations, (iii) is necessary for the purposes of pursuing our legitimate interests, or (iv) is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.

WHO WE SHARE YOUR DATA WITH

We will not disclose your data to any other third parties unless (i) we are required to do so by law, (ii) disclosure is necessary for the purpose of, or in connection with, legal proceedings, (iii) it is to exercise or defend legal rights or (iv) we have your consent.

Where we transfer your data as described above, we will always ensure that such transfer is safe and secure by ensuring that adequate safeguards are put in place to protect your data.

HOW LONG WE KEEP YOUR PERSONAL DATA

We keep data in accordance with our internal retention procedures, which are determined by our legal, regulatory and professional obligations and accord with good practice. The retention period is currently 6 years from the file being closed but is subject to change. Please rest assured that we only keep your data for as long as we need to. When your data is no longer required, we will delete it securely.

COOKIES

Like most websites, our website uses cookies to capture certain data about its use and its users to improve the functionality of our website and your experience when using it. Cookies may store preferences and other data about your use of our website and we use this data to improve your experience of our website by making it personalised to you.

By using our website, you consent to our use of cookies.

You can manage cookies by changing your browser settings to disable or delete cookies. To find out how, go to http://www.aboutcookies.org.uk/. Please note that if you disable cookies the functionality of our website on your device may be affected and you may not be able to access certain parts of our website.

IP ADDRESSES

When you visit our website our server will temporarily record your IP address (similar to a phone number, it is a unique number that allows your computer or device to communicate via the internet). It allows us to identify your country of origin whilst you are navigating our website, so we can direct you to the most suitable regional pages of our website. If you are accessing our website from a business IP address, we also capture details of which organisations have visited our website.

SECURITY

We are committed to ensuring that your data is secure. In order to protect the data you input to our website from unauthorised access, improper use or disclosure, unauthorised modification, unlawful destruction or accidental loss, we have put in place appropriate technical, physical and managerial procedures. All our employees and any third parties we engage to process your data are obliged to respect the confidentiality of your data.

However, the internet is not a secure environment and we cannot, therefore, guarantee total security of any data transmitted to our website. Whilst we utilise the latest virus protection software, we cannot guarantee our website is free of computer viruses or other harmful applications so such transmission is at your own risk.

LINKS TO OTHER WEBSITES

Our website contains links to other websites. Please note that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of other websites. When you leave our website please be sure to read the privacy notices and policies of those other websites. This privacy notice applies solely to data collected by our website. We do not endorse the content on any other websites that can be accessed via our website.

CHANGES TO YOUR PERSONAL DATA

If your personal data changes at any time, please keep us informed so we can ensure your data is accurate, complete and current. If you wish to update your personal data, you can do this at any time by contacting us.

ACCESS TO YOUR PERSONAL DATA AND YOUR RIGHTS

You are entitled to view the personal data we hold about you and request that we amend it or delete it, subject to some exceptions. You also have the right to request that we restrict our processing of your data or to object to that processing. Please email your request to our Haslingden office, as per the details below.

Please note we may require further data from you in order to verify your identity before disclosing, amending or deleting any of your data.

In most cases, we will deal with your requests free of charge and within one month of receipt of your request. However, there are exceptions that may allow us to charge a reasonable fee to cover our administration costs and/or extended the time period for dealing with your request to two months from receipt of your request, such as where your request is complex or repetitive. If an exception applies, we will keep you informed.

OUR DETAILS

Controller: WALSH SOLICITORS
Address: 22 Manchester Road, Haslingden, Rossendale, Lancashire BB4 5ST
Telephone: 01706 230300
Email: HASLINGDEN@WALSHSOLICITORS.COM Please mark the subject heading of your email “Data Protection”

CONTACT US

If you have questions regarding this privacy notice, if you require access to your personal data or if you have a complaint in connection with this privacy notice, please contact our Haslingden Office, whose details appear above.

If we have been unable to resolve a complaint you have made to us, you can contact the ICO at www.ico.org.uk or call 0303 123 1113.

CHANGES TO THIS PRIVACY NOTICE

This privacy notice was last updated on the date stated below and we may vary it from time to time. We encourage you to check our privacy notice regularly. We will include a notification on our website’s homepage if we make any significant changes to this privacy notice.

25th May 2018

Equality and Diversity Policy

1. Our commitment to Equality and Diversity

(a) Commitment

We, Walsh Solicitors Limited, are committed to eliminating unlawful discrimination and to promoting equality and diversity within our policies, practices and procedures. We are also committed to promoting equality and diversity in the Firm. This applies to our professional dealings with clients, staff and directors, other solicitors, barristers, and third parties.

We shall treat everyone equally and with the same attention, courtesy and respect regardless of:
(i) age;
(ii) disability;
(iii) gender reassignment;
(iv) race;
(v) religion or belief;
(vi) sex;
(vii) sexual orientation;
(viii) marriage or civil partnership status;
(ix) pregnancy and maternity; or
(x) caring responsibility.

(b) Legislation

We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that we and our staff do not unlawfully discriminate under the
terms of the Contracts and any legislation in force from time to time relating to discrimination in employment and the provision of goods, facilities or services.

2. Meeting Clients’ Needs

(a) General statement

As a provider of legal aid services, the Firm will treat all clients equally and fairly and not unlawfully discriminate against them. The Firm will also, wherever possible, take steps to promote equal opportunity in relation to access to the legal services that we provide.

(b) Identifying clients’ needs

The Firm is committed to meeting the diverse needs of clients. We will take steps to identify the needs of clients and develop policies and procedures setting out how we will meet clients’ needs. We will consider the needs of clients with a disability and clients who are unable to communicate effectively in English. We will consider whether particular groups are predominant within our client base and devise appropriate policies to meet their needs, including: men and women; carers; children; the elderly; members of religious groups; ethnic groups or nationalities; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

(c) Communications Plan

The Firm will devise ways and methods to promote and raise awareness of policies and procedures for ensuring that our services are accessible for a diverse range of clients. Our communications plan sets out what steps we have taken and/ or will take to put in place customer service policies and procedures to make our services accessible to clients. It contains a list of policies and procedures; information about what steps we will take to put them in place; who is responsible for them; and how we will make our policies and procedures openly available for the public.

Employees and directors will be informed of the Communications Plan and training provided where appropriate to ensure that it is effectively implemented.

3. Dealings with Third Parties

(a) General statement

The Firm will not unlawfully discriminate in dealings with third parties. This applies to dealings with other legal service providers and general procurement.

(b) Dealings with barristers

The Firm will instruct barristers on the basis of their skill, experience and ability and not unlawfully discriminate, or encourage barristers’ clerks to unlawfully discriminate, on the grounds of their age; gender; marital status; race; religion or belief; sexual orientation; transgender or on the grounds of disability.

4. Employment

(a) General statement

As an employer, the Firm will treat all employees and job applicants equally and fairly and not unlawfully discriminate against them. This applies equally to voluntary positions and anyone undertaking work experience with us. This will, for example, include arrangements for recruitment and selection, terms and conditions of employment, access to training opportunities, access to promotion and transfers, grievance and disciplinary processes, demotions, selection for redundancies, dress code, references, bonus schemes, work allocation and any other employment related activities.

(b) Recruitment and selection

This Firm recognises the benefits of having a diverse workforce and will take steps to ensure that:
(i) we endeavor to recruit from the widest pool of qualified candidates practicable;
(ii) employment opportunities are open and accessible to all on the basis of their individual qualities and personal merit;
(iii) where appropriate, positive action measures are taken to attract applications from all sections of society and especially from those groups which are underrepresented in the workforce; (iv) selection criteria and processes do not unlawfully discriminate on the grounds of sex (including marital status, gender reassignment, pregnancy, maternity and paternity), sexual orientation (including civil partnership status), religion or belief, age or disability; other than in those instances where the Firm is exercising permitted positive action or a permitted exemption;
(v) wherever appropriate and necessary, lawful exemptions (genuine occupational requirements) will be used to recruit suitable staff to meet the special needs of particular groups;
(vi) all recruitment agencies acting for the Firm are aware of requirements not to discriminate and to act accordingly.

(c) Conditions of service

The Firm will treat all employees equally and create a working environment which is free from unlawful discrimination and which respects the diverse backgrounds and beliefs of employees. Terms and conditions of service for employees will comply with anti-discrimination legislation. The provision of benefits such as flexible working hours, maternity and other leave arrangements, performance appraisal systems, dress code, bonus schemes and any other conditions of employment will not unlawfully discriminate against any employee on the grounds of their age; gender and gender reassignment; marital status; race; religion or belief; sexual orientation or on the grounds of disability.

Where appropriate and necessary, the firm will endeavour to provide appropriate facilities and conditions of service which take into account the specific needs of employees which arise from their ethnic or cultural background; gender and gender reassignment; responsibilities as carers; disability; religion or belief or sexual orientation.

(d) Promotion and career development

Promotion within the Firm (including to directors) will be made without reference to any of the protected characteristics and will be based solely on merit. The selection criteria and processes for recruitment and promotion will be kept under review to ensure that there is no unjustifiably discriminatory impact on any particular group.

While positive action measures may be taken in accordance with relevant anti-discrimination legislation to encourage applications from under-represented groups, appointments to all jobs will be based solely on merit. All employees will have equal access to training and other career development opportunities appropriate to their experience and abilities. However, the Firm will take appropriate positive action measures (as permitted by the anti-discrimination legislation) to provide special training and support for groups which are under-represented in the workforce and encourage them to take up training and career development opportunities.

(e) Working with other organisations

All those who act on the Firm’s behalf will be informed of this equality and diversity policy and will be expected to pay due regard to it when conducting business on the Firm’s behalf. In all its dealings, the Firm will seek to promote the principles of equality and diversity.

5. Implementing the policy

(a) Responsibility

Ultimate responsibility for implementing the policy rests with the Firm. The Firm has appointed a Equality and Diversity Manager, Mr Terence Walsh who is responsible for the operation of the policy. All employees and directors of the Firm are expected to pay due regard to the provisions of this policy and are responsible for ensuring compliance with it when undertaking their jobs or representing the Firm.

Acts of unlawful discrimination on any of the protected characteristics by employees or directors of the Firm will result in disciplinary action. Failure to comply with this policy will be treated in a similar fashion. The policy applies to all who are employed in the Firm and to all directors.

Acts of unlawful discrimination on any of the forbidden grounds by those acting on behalf of the Firm will lead to appropriate action by the Legal Aid Agency.

(b) Complaints of discrimination

The Firm will treat seriously all complaints of unlawful discrimination on any of the forbidden grounds made by employees, directors, clients, barristers or other third parties and will take action where appropriate. All complaints will be investigated in accordance with the Firm’s grievance or complaints procedure and the complainant will be informed of the outcome.

We will also monitor the number and outcome of complaints of discrimination made by staff, clients, directors, barristers, and other third parties.

(c) Monitoring

(1) The Firm will monitor and record equal opportunities information about staff, directors on the basis of age, gender, ethnicity, and disability.

(2) Where it is possible to do so, and where doing so will not cause offence or discomfort to those whom it is intended to protect, we will monitor the sexual orientation and religion or belief of staff, directors so as to ensure that they are not being discriminated against in terms of the opportunities or benefits available to them. We are aware that individuals may choose not to disclose their sexual orientation or religion or belief and that care will be taken to avoid inadvertent discrimination in such cases.

We will store equal opportunities data as confidential personal data and restrict access to this information. Equal opportunities information will be used for exclusively for the purposes of equal opportunities monitoring and have no bearing on opportunities or benefits.

The Firm will monitor all elements of:
(i) recruitment and selection process (applicants and existing staff and directors);
(ii) promotion and transfer;
(iii) training (all training opportunities not restricted to equality and diversity training);
(iv) terms and conditions of employment;
(v) take up of benefits (work life balance policies eg flexible working requests)
(vi) grievance and disciplinary procedures;
(vii) resignations, redundancies, and dismissals.

The Firm will provide equal opportunities information to the Legal Aid Agency as required in relation to personnel and clients under the terms of legal aid contracts.

6. Equality and Diversity Training Plan

All employees are informed of this policy as part of their induction. The Firm identifies additional equality and diversity training needs as and when appropriate and address them as part of employees’ training plans. All employees and directors responsible for recruitment and selection will undertake equality and diversity training. This includes the provision of regular update training on compliance with equality and diversity requirements. The Firm has apponted a staff training manager who is responsible for ensuring that training is provided, who will be trained and when training will be take place.

7. Review

The Firm will review the operation of this policy not less than once a year (or more regularly if we identify any non-compliance or problem concerning equality and diversity issues with clients or personnel). We will take remedial action if we discover non-compliance under this policy or barriers to equal opportunities. When reviewing the policy we will consider the outcome of monitoring and review actions under our communications and training plans.

Communications Plan

1. Our Commitment to Public Awareness

The purpose of our Communications Plan is to promote awareness of our policies and procedures for ensuring that our services are accessible to all, including those with disabilities and to meet the language needs of the clients that we serve.

2. Policies and Procedures

Our Equality and Diversity Policy as well as the Communications Plan is contained within our Office Manual. Ultimate responsibility for implementing the policy rests with the Firm. The Firm has appointed a Equality and Diversity Manager, Mr Terence Walsh who is responsible for the operation of the Equality Diversity policy as well as the Communications Plan.

3. Identifying Diverse Needs

We seek to serve all Communities and treat everyone equally and with the same attention, courtesy and respect regardless.

We have identified several communities with the following needs:
(i) Language needs
(ii) Disability (including physical disabilities, sensory or learning difficulties)
(iii) Age
(iv) Special Needs (including long-term mental or physical health condition)

This list is not exhaustive and the Firm is committed to continue to review and update this for the betterment of the communities that we serve.

4. Ensuring Accessibility

Our client base includes those with differing cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds. Due to the legal services we provide to our clients there is therefore often a need for interpreters to be involved from the inception of a case. We have an approved register of interpreters who we can engage with from the outset to ensure that we have a full understanding of the issues that a client is presented with.

For those clients with disabilities, the majority of our offices are on ground level and wheelchair accessible, the exception being the Blackpool office which is on the first floor. However, to ensure and combat any accessibility issues for any clients that are unable to visit our offices, we also offer appointments to clients at their home or at an alternative location wherever possible to do so.

For those with poor vision, any correspondence will utilise larger text fonts that are designed to be easier to read. All of the text on our website is black against a white background and is in a print ready format. Most browsers now have the ability to zoom in/zoom out.

For those with language needs, several of our employees are multilingual and where required translators can be acquired. In conjunction with the support from the Legal Aid Agency interpreters can also be instructed to communicate in relation to Legal Aid funded cases.

There are public car parks available at all office locations. The parking available at our Haslingden office is free and paid parking is available at our other offices, all offices have disabled parking bays nearby. Any further information is available upon request.

We will continue to review the situation throughout and any concerns or queries raised by clients or potential clients in this regard will be directed to the Firm’s appointed Equality and Diversity Manager.

5. Availability to the Public

We will ensure that our Equality and Diversity procedures are available to the public in the following ways:

(i) We will publish our Communications Plan on our website so that clients and prospective clients are aware of our policies and procedures and how to request further information in this regard. At first point of contact our fee-earners and receptionists will invite clients/potential clients to let us know whether they have any special requirements that need to be catered for or accommodated.

(ii) Our Client Care letters/Terms of Business will reference our Equality and Diversity policy.

(iii) We will ensure that all personnel, employees and directors, are sufficiently trained to deal with people with courtesy, politeness and consideration regardless of their background.

(iv) We will ensure that all personnel, employees and directors, take care to assess what clients can understand, and ask the client how they need to communicate rather than making assumptions about this based on their ethnic origin, age or disability.

(v) We will ensure that our premises and services are accessible to people with disabilities, as far as possible and attend clients at their home or at an alternative venue if required.

(vi) We will ask clients if there are any adjustments that need to be made to help them better access our services.

(vii) We will inform our LAA Contract Manager about any reasonable adjustments if our client requires correspondence in an alternative format from the LAA.

6. Review

We will carry out an annual review of this plan in conjunction with our Equality and Diversity Policy to check its effectiveness in action and whether any further training or adjustments need to be made to ensure that we are continuing to provide a quality service to our clients.