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 (PDF 154kb) and our EDI strategy (PDF 142kb) explain our approach, which is to try to make sure that EDI is central to everything we do. 

Working with us

We want the British Council to be an inclusive place in which 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.

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.

For example:

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 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 see where under- or over-representation exists, and then take action to try to achieve a better balance.

In some parts of the organisation, we also monitor the diversity of our customers. This helps us see whether we are reaching all sections of society. Find out more about 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 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.

Learning and development

All our staff take part in EDI 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.

Networks

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.

Resources and further reading