Equality and diversity

The Department for Work and Pensions is committed to providing services which embrace diversity and that promote equality of opportunity.

As an employer, DWP is committed to the Civil Service ambition to become the UK’s most inclusive employer and we will continue to:

  • increase the representation of currently under-represented groups to make DWP more diverse
  • build an inclusive environment, where colleagues are able to be themselves at work and feel supported, empowered, valued, respected, fairly treated and able to achieve their full potential

Our goal is to ensure that these commitments, reinforced by our values, are embedded in our day-to-day working practices with all our customers, colleagues and partners.

As an inclusive employer we will not tolerate discrimination. Our HR policies are fully inclusive of all staff regardless of:

  • age
  • working-pattern
  • disability or long term health conditions
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • ethnicity
  • nationality
  • religion or belief
  • gender identity expression or reassignment
  • relationship status
  • marital status (including equal/same sex marriage) and civil partnership
  • caring responsibilities
  • trade union activity or political beliefs
  • any other grounds.

We will demonstrate our commitment by:

  • promoting equality of opportunity and diversity within the communities in which we work and with all our partners and workforce
  • treating our customers, colleagues and partners fairly and with respect
  • ensuring our customers have access to reasonable adjustments or additional support to enable them to access benefits, use our services and meet their individual responsibilities
  • aiming to build a workforce which reflects our customer base, within the diverse communities in which we work, with the aim of having equal representation across the workforce
  • embedding equality analysis into all our service delivery and decision making processes
  • promoting an environment free from discrimination, bullying and harassment, and taking action where such unacceptable behaviour exists
  • utilising equality data to monitor the impact of our policies and procedures and inform future changes
  • building in legislative requirements and best practice to all our service delivery and employee policies and procedures, and supporting these with appropriate training and guidance
  • setting departmental equality objectives to increase the diversity of our workforce and foster an inclusive environment where different perspectives and colleague experiences are valued

Every person working for the department has a personal responsibility for implementing and promoting these commitments in their day-to-day dealings with everyone – including members of the public, other colleagues and employers and partners. Inappropriate behaviour is not acceptable.

We will measure and report on the effectiveness of our service delivery and employee policies and processes, in relation to these commitments through performance and management information monitoring. This information will be used to inform future policy and to enhance business processes.

Learning and development for colleagues

We think it is important that all our colleagues understand the importance of diversity, equality and inclusion and can contribute to the achievement of the department’s objectives. All colleagues have access to a range of learning and development products to help build their knowledge and understanding.

There are a number of employee led diversity and inclusion staff networks that include a focus on age, carers, disability, faith and belief, gender, gender identity, race, transgender, sexual orientation and social mobility. These networks contribute directly to departmental diversity and inclusion priorities by acting as a consultation forum, and by providing safe spaces for colleagues to share their experiences and promotion of best practice.

Disability and Carer Confident

DWP is recognised as being both a Disability Confident Leader and also Carer Confident (Ambassador). Both of these assessments demonstrate the departmental commitment to attracting, recruiting and retaining disabled people and those with caring responsibilities, and supporting them in the workplace to achieve their full potential.

Thriving at Work

The framework outlined in the Thriving at Work review supports employers to voluntarily report on disability, mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. DWP publishes a voluntary report on disability, mental health and wellbeing, updated annually, and has also signed the Mental Health at Work Commitment.

Business in the Community

DWP is committed to taking practical steps to tackle recruitment and progression barriers and increasing the diversity of our workforce. DWP was an early signatory of the Business in the Community’s Race at Work Charter.

Age Friendly Employer

DWP is the first Government Department to sign the Centre for Ageing Better Age-friendly Employer Pledge. DWP is committed to exemplary practice in the recruitment, retention and support of workers to ensure all age groups have equitable access to opportunities within our organisation.

Social Mobility

We externally measure our progress on improving our socio-economic diversity through participation in the Social Mobility Employer Index to ensure all colleagues irrespective of their background have the support needed to progress their careers.

Public Sector Equality Duty

The Equality Act 2010 applied a Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) to public bodies. The Equality Duty requires public authorities to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations. In addition, many public bodies, including the DWP, have specific duties under the act.

The specific duties require us to publish:

  • equality information
  • equality objectives

Equality information

As a public authority, we must publish, at least annually, relevant, proportionate information demonstrating our compliance with the Equality Duty. This replaces the previous requirement to publish equality schemes.

We’ve published separate reports about employee and customer data since 2014.

Equality objectives 2023 to 2025

As part of our commitment to embedding and meeting our public sector equalities duties, we have set the following objectives:

  • Tackling employment gap inequalities for ethnic minority jobseekers in areas where there is a high ethnic minority population and a high employment gap. We will do this through outreach activity with the voluntary sector and other organisations supporting ethnic minority young people to create job and skills opportunities, mentoring circles and collaborating with employers to increase the diversity of their workforces.

  • Improving employment outcomes for underrepresented groups such as women and those from ethnic minority backgrounds, and supporting those on low incomes back into, and to progress in work.

  • Work through JCP alongside local areas, and wider government to minimise additional barriers disabled people may face when in and out of work, with a focus on better aligning the work and health systems.

  • Work to ensure that employers have the support, guidance and confidence in order that they can promote healthy and inclusive workplaces and to continually reduce the disability employment gap.

  • Assist those aged fifty and over through early and targeted employment, skills and employer-led support, to stay in, progress or return to work and build their future financial resilience.

  • Maximising Jobcentre support and opportunities for people with caring responsibilities and those with disabilities and health conditions to actively prepare for, start and succeed in work, ensuring as best as possible that claimant commitments and support are tailored to peoples’ individual circumstances.

  • Strengthening implementation of the Family Test assessment in all our domestic policy areas. Inclusion of Family Test outcomes in all relevant policy advice submitted to our ministers and promoting cross-government implementation.

  • For Public Appointments to DWP’s Arm’s-length bodies, we continue to encourage applications from talented individuals from all backgrounds and across the whole of the United Kingdom, with the aim of increasing the number of appointments to those based outside London and the South East.