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 equality and valuing diversity within its workforce.

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.

We will provide equality of opportunity and will not tolerate discrimination on grounds of gender, gender identity, marital status, sexual orientation, race, colour, nationality, religion, age, disability, HIV positivity, working pattern, caring responsibilities, trade union activity or political beliefs – or 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
  • aiming to build a workforce which reflects our customer base, within the diverse communities in which we work, with the aim of having parity of representation across the workforce
  • encouraging recruitment from groups currently under-represented in the department and their career progression once employed
  • treating our customers, colleagues and partners fairly and with respect
  • promoting an environment free from discrimination, bullying and harassment, and tackling behaviour which breaches this
  • recognising and valuing the differences and individual contribution that people make
  • providing support and encouragement to staff to develop their careers and increase their contributions to the organisation through the enhancement of their skills and abilities
  • 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

Every person working for the department has a personal responsibility for implementing and promoting these principles in their day-to-day dealings with everyone – including members of the public, other staff 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 principles, by building performance monitoring and management information requirements into policy and product development. This information will be used to inform future policy and to enhance business processes.

Staff learning and development

We think it is important that all our people can contribute to the achievement of the department’s objectives. Staff have access to learning and development products covering all equality areas.

There is also a staff Equality Group with representation for age, disability, gender, race, transgender, sexual orientation and work-life balance. The Equality Group contributes directly to departmental goals for claimants, customers and staff by acting as a consultation forum for policy and operational colleagues, by raising concerns and promoting best practice.

Stonewall Top 100 Employers

DWP has been recognised as a gay-friendly employer and is ranked in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers in Britain for lesbian, gay and bisexual people in 2013. We have shown equality in the workplace for our lesbian, gay and bisexual staff and for our claimants and customers.

MINDFUL EMPLOYER® initiative

The MINDFUL EMPLOYER® initiative is aimed at increasing awareness of mental health at work and providing support for businesses in recruiting and retaining staff. DWP has signed its Charter for Employers who are Positive About Mental Health.

Public Sector Equality Duty

The Equality Act 2010 applied a Public Sector Equality Duty 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 are required to publish, at least annually, relevant, proportionate information demonstrating its compliance with the Equality Duty under the Equality Act 2010. This replaces the previous requirement to publish equality schemes.

Equality objectives

DWP is required to set specific, measurable equality objectives at intervals of not less than 4 years from April 2012. The DWP equality objectives cover the equality issues that affect its customers and employees.

Customer Equality Reference Group

The Customer Equality Reference Group aims to help us involve customers in diversity issues and to act as a consultative group for our proposals when implementing equality legislation.

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