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

Our policy and strategy

Our equality, diversity and inclusion policy (PDF 225kb) and our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy (PDF 165kb) explain our approach, which is to try to make sure that EDI is central to everything we do. 

Our employees

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. This means we welcome and want to attract, recruit and retain disabled people within our workforce, so we can benefit from their skills and talents. The Disability Confident scheme is owned by UK Government and replaces the previous Two Ticks scheme.

Carrying out our work

Equality, diversity and inclusion 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
  • sex and gender
  • race/ethnicity and culture
  • religion and belief
  • sexual orientation.

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 equality.

The following initiatives help us to embed equality, diversity and inclusion into our programmes, projects, events and services. They also help hold us to account and track our progress.

Diversity assessment framework

The diversity assessment framework is a set of guidelines to encourage engagement with, and progress against, the objectives in our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy. 

All parts of our organisation submit evidence and provide assurance of how set indicators have been met. Results are centrally reviewed and compiled into a score and a detailed feedback report, which helps us track and monitor progress over time.

Equality monitoring

To build a detailed picture of who we work with, we have been collecting data from our UK-contracted staff since 2001. 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 detect under- or over-representation, and take action to try to achieve a better balance.

In some parts of the organisation, we also monitor the diversity of our customers, to see whether we are reaching all sections of society. 

We set out our approach to equality monitoring in this animation.


Equality screening and impact assessment

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 whether there is any potential for unjustified discrimination or missed opportunities to promote equality and greater inclusion, and if so, identify what could be done differently. This helps us to build equality, diversity and inclusion into our work from the start.

Learning and development

All our staff take part in equality, diversity and inclusion learning and development, through e-learning courses, webinars and face-to-face sessions. This helps raise awareness, deepen understanding and develop new skills among our teams.


We have several internal and external networks and working groups. These encourage conversations and awareness about equality, diversity and inclusion, and take action plans forward. They also help us learn more, and to create an inclusive organisational culture.

See also