Equality, diversity and inclusion

We know that societies and working environments grow and thrive when there is understanding, trust and respect between people. That’s the reason why we aim to ensure that issues of equality, diversity and inclusion are a part of all that we do, why we measure our progress through our own unique tool (known as the ‘Diversity Assessment Framework’) and why we invest in a global diversity network that spans all of the countries we work in.

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries, and builds trust between them worldwide. Working effectively with diversity is an essential part of our work.

Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy commits us to ensuring that there is no unjustified discrimination in the recruitment, retention, training and development of staff on the basis of age, disability, gender including transgender, HIV/AIDS status, marital status including civil partnerships, pregnancy and maternity, political opinion, race and ethnicity, religion and belief, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, spent convictions, trade union activity or membership, work pattern, having or not having dependents and any other irrelevant grounds.

We aim to promote and abide by equality legislation by following both the letter and the spirit of it. We try to avoid unjustified discrimination, recognising that it is a barrier to equality of opportunity, inclusion and human rights.

We are committed to:

  • understanding, valuing and working with diversity to enable fair and full participation in our work
  • ensuring that there is no unjustified discrimination in our recruitment, selection and other processes
  • ensuring action that promotes equality of opportunity, including conducting equality screening and impact assessments of policies and functions, and progressing diversity action plans
  • treating individuals with whom we work fairly and with dignity and respect
  • playing our part in removing barriers and redressing imbalances caused by inequality and discrimination.

All staff are required to ensure that their behaviour is consistent with policy. We also insist that clients, customers, partners and suppliers are aware of this policy and operate consistently within it.

We review the policy at least every three years to reflect new legal and regulatory developments and ensure good practice.

Please consult our Diversity Unit site for further information.

Measuring progress

By measuring and monitoring our actions, we can make progress in bringing equality and diversity into the mainstream. We have a number of ways of doing this, including monitoring equality, screening our policies and by applying a tool we have developed called the Diversity Assessment Framework which assesses our effectiveness in mainstreaming equality of opportunity and diversity in everything we do.

Diversity Assessment Framework

Our Diversity Assessment Framework is a tool that helps embed equality and diversity into our work. It encourages and guides our network of offices to develop good practice and report what they have achieved against a range of equal opportunities and diversity measures. It acts as an internal benchmarking tool, generating examples and evidence of good practice from which others can learn in the process. The approach has attracted considerable interest from the public and private sectors in the UK and around the world and we are always willing to discuss our experience of mainstreaming diversity with individuals and organisations that might want to hear from us.

The British Council China was awarded best practice under the Diversity Assessment Framework in 2013.

Employees with disabilities

We are committed to attracting people with disabilities to work with us and to ensuring that employees with disabilities are able to progress and develop their careers. We guarantee an interview to all people with disabilities who meet the required criteria and make reasonable adjustments to help support their full participation. Our internal Disability Working Group and external Disability Advisory Panel are a valuable resource in promoting understanding and awareness, supported by training and development materials and initiatives.