Portrait of people ©

Mat Wright, British Council Photos

Our work is based on building meaningful, enduring and respectful relationships across different cultures. We cannot do this without a strong commitment to equality, inclusion and diversity (EDI).

Our policy and strategy

Our equality policy and our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy explain our approach, which is to try to make sure that EDI is central to everything we do. 

How we work

EDI runs through much of our work around the world, whether in the arts, society, inclusive education, teaching English or offering exams. Our goal is to develop inclusive programmes and projects that bring together people with different experiences and backgrounds. We hope this will make everyone's experiences richer, and ultimately lead to more inclusive societies.

We focus on six areas of diversity, aligned to those protected by UK equality legislation:

  • age
  • disability
  • ethnicity or race
  • gender
  • religion or belief
  • sexual identity

We recognise that these areas intersect and form our identity, together with other characteristics, such as socio-economic status and geographical location. We help colleagues understand the business case, the moral/ethical case, and the legal case for our commitment to EDI. We have developed a range of initiatives to help us embed EDI into our programmes, projects, events, and services. These also help hold us to account and track our progress.

EDI mainstreaming Tools

Diversity assessment framework (DAF)

The DAF is our set of guidelines to encourage engagement and progress against the objectives in our EDI strategy. It contains a set number of indicators. All parts of our organisation submit evidence and provide assurance of how these indicators have been met. This is centrally reviewed, leading to a score and a detailed feedback report, which helps us track and monitor progress over time.

Equality screening and impact assessment (ESIA)

Whenever we introduce a new policy or process, or develop a new programme, project or activity, we assess the potential impact on different groups of people. We consider if there is any potential for unjustified discrimination, or an opportunity to promote equality and greater inclusion, and if so, identify what could be done differently. This helps us to put EDI into our work from the start.

Equality monitoring

To build a detailed picture of who we work with, we have been collecting data from our UK-contracted staff since 2001/02. Many of our overseas offices also collect data about their staff. The data we collect in the UK includes age, disability, ethnicity/race, gender, religion/belief, sexual orientation and working pattern. We compare the results against national and local populations to see where under- or over-representation exists, and then take action to try to achieve a better balance. This helps us see whether we are reaching all sections of society. Find out more about our approach to equality monitoring in this animation. 

Current Projects with an equality, diversity and inclusion element

British Council organises and offers a wide variety of initiatives promoting equality, diversity and inclusion:

An arts and disability programme arising from a common-sense idea that there are no limits for those who dream big, regardless of background or physical ability. Since its inception in 2015 as a British Council programme, it has had a significant effect on the arts and theatre scene and on the lives of the disabled people living in Georgia.

English Club is an initiative that will develop young people’s skills so that they have access to stronger employment opportunities in the future. It also aims to increase understanding and acceptance of tolerance, mutuality, dialogue and equality among the wider community which will support broadening of horizons of young people and being open diverse views and opinions. 

Examinations for candidates with special needs

The British Council ensures equal opportunities to all candidates, including people with special needs. We can make arrangements to accommodate special circumstances or requirements to enable test takers to attend a test centre, to understand questions and to give their exam answers. You can find more information, and how to get support, here

Our people

We want the British Council to be an inclusive place to work. We aim to create opportunities and reduce barriers for everyone, particularly under-represented groups. We are committed to making sure there is no unjustified discrimination in our processes for recruitment and selection, performance management and pay, and that promotion and retention is fairly granted across all our operations.

We are a Disability Confident employer. his means we welcome and want to attract, recruit and retain disabled people within our workforce, so we can benefit from their skills and talents.

Diversity Week in the British Council

Every year British Council organises Diversity Week for its employees and customers in order to raise awareness of diversion, equality and inclusion.