As the UK’s international cultural relations organisation, we are strongly committed to equal opportunity and diversity. Find out about the work we are doing to eliminate discrimination and promote equality and respect for diversity, and how we build equal opportunity and diversity into our activities.
Equal opportunity and diversity
What are equality and diversity?
We are committed to supporting equality of opportunity, to valuing and managing diversity, and to taking positive action to promote these. Our work involves developing relationships with people from a wide range of backgrounds. Engaging positively with the richness of this diversity is central to our cultural relations role and objectives and is in line with our core values.
There is no equality of opportunity if diversity is not recognised and valued. Find out about the difference between equal opportunity and diversity, and the seven areas we focus on.
Equality of opportunity is about treating people fairly and without bias and about creating conditions in the workplace and wider society that encourage and value diversity and promote dignity. It is also about trying to redress past imbalances and ensuring that dealings with clients, customers and suppliers are conducted in a constructive way that supports appropriate inclusion and does not give rise to unjustified discrimination.
Diversity is concerned with creating an inclusive environment and practices which benefit the organisation and those who work in and with it. It takes account of the fact that people differ from one another in many ways. Understanding, valuing and effectively managing these differences can result in greater participation that can be leveraged for success at an individual, team and organisational level.
Our seven areas of equality and diversity
When we talk about equal opportunity and diversity, we focus on seven main areas:
- Gender (which includes transgender)
- Religion/Belief and culture
- Sexual orientation
- Work-life balance
Our approach to equal opportunity and diversity
We have developed a number of policies to promote equality and diversity and we use a range of tools to monitor and evaluate our progress in mainstreaming these. We believe the best way to manage equal opportunity and diversity is to ensure that they are built into all processes and functions, considered part of all policy decisions, and present in the planning of all programmes from start to finish. This is what we mean by mainstreaming equality and diversity principles and practices.
The policies and tools we have developed to help us reach our goals include:
Equal Opportunity Policy
Our Equal Opportunity Policy commits us to ensuring that there is no unjustified discrimination in the recruitment, retention, training and development of staff on the basis of gender, marital status, sexual identity, religion and belief, political opinion, ethnicity/race, work pattern, age, disability or HIV/AIDS status, socio-economic background, spent convictions, trade union activity or membership, or on the basis of having or not having dependants. Our Equal Opportunity Policy benefits employees and potential employees and helps achieve dignity at work and contributes to providing the best possible services to partners and clients.
Our Diversity Strategy is underpinned by the belief that external relationships with clients, customers and partners throughout the world should reflect the standards and behaviours by which we manage diversity internally. The strategy corresponds with the UK Government’s own vision of inclusion and diversity where every individual is able to fulfil their potential and make their contribution to society, with an emphasis on promoting equality in an integrated way, taking account of the needs of all groups and providing protection for everyone.
Diversity assessment framework
The British Council’s Diversity Assessment Framework (DAF) is a tool which 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 sector in the UK and around the world.
Our equal opportunity and diversity initiative
We are committed to attracting disabled people to work with us and to ensuring disabled employees are able to progress and develop their careers. The Positive About Disabled People, double tick symbol, is displayed on our recruitment advertisements and our web pages; this aims to encourage disabled people to consider applying to work with us and reflects our commitment to existing employees. We guarantee an interview to all disabled people who meet the required criteria and make reasonable adjustments to help support the full participation of disabled people.