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 is also an employee led diversity and inclusion group with representation for age, disability, gender, race, transgender, sexual orientation, social mobility and cross-cutting issues. The group contributes directly to departmental diversity and inclusion priorities by acting as a consultation forum for policy and operational colleagues, by raising concerns and promoting best practice.

Disability Confident

DWP is recognised as a Disability Confident Leader demonstrating the departmental commitment to attracting, recruiting and retaining disabled people, and supporting them in achieving their full potential.

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.

Business in the Community Race at Work Charter

DWP is committed to taking practical steps to tackle recruitment and progression barriers faced by ethnic minority colleagues, and for increasing the diversity of our workforce. DWP was an early signatory of the Race at Work Charter.

Stonewall

Stonewall acknowledges DWP as a Diversity Champion in recognition of our work to promote supportive work environments for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) colleagues. We measure our progress on LGBT inclusion through regular participation in and feedback from the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.

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

DWP is required to set specific, measurable equality objectives at intervals of not less than 4 years.

DWP’s equality objectives are embedded within the department’s single departmental plan.