Equality and diversity

Highways England’s equality and diversity policies and how these are monitored.

Highways England equality objectives

We’re committed to:

  • improving our performance in the area of equality and diversity as a service provider, contractor and employer
  • meeting our statutory duty under the Equality Act 2010

The Highways England public sector equality duty objectives 2016 - 2020 and annual progress report for 2015-2016 has been compiled as a combined report showing how we give due regard to the duty and to communicate the progress made through our first transitional year as Highways England. Our refreshed objectives have been set after extensive consideration of relevant research and information gathered about our performance and through feedback from customers, the supply chain and our staff.

The duty applies to private sector companies when carrying out functions or services on behalf of Highways England.

Previous reports

Highways Agency: public sector equality duty objectives (PDF, 387KB, 7 pages) shows the objectives from April 2012 to March 2016.

Gathering momentum: progress in delivering the Highways Agency equality objectives (April 2012 - March 2013) (PDF, 256KB, 6 pages) summarises progress made during the first year of delivery and demonstrates how we are giving due regard to our equality duties.

Achievements and aspirations: progress report published January 2014 (PDF, 2.51MB, 15 pages) provides a summary of our progress to date against our public sector equality duty objectives.

Perspectives on Progress – Report - January 2015 (PDF, 745KB, 15 pages) provides an account of our progress over the last 12 months in relation to our public sector equality duty objectives.

Highways England as a service provider

Our road network provides links to communities and businesses and contributes to the UK’s national wellbeing and economic growth. We aim to ensure our services are fair and accessible to people.

We get information to help check our progress from:

Highways England as an employer

To monitor how successful we are at ensuring equality of opportunity in the workplace, we monitor:

  • who we’re attract­ing to apply
  • if we advertise in the right places
  • who is successful at the application, interview and offer stages
  • if particular groups are disadvantaged by the way we do things
  • if everyone has an equal opportunity to apply for and go on relevant training
  • if people are getting paid equally for work of equal value
  • if performance bonuses are allocated fairly

We hold this information on a database with restricted access for monitoring purposes only.

Based on this information we publish our findings each year in Equality Monitoring in the Highways Agency (PDF, 187KB, 46 pages)

Highways England suppliers

We have duties under equality legislation to develop action plans on race, disability and gender. Highways England wants to work with and through suppliers that:

  • are good employers
  • understand and are responsive to the needs of diverse customers and communities impacted by our work
  • are able to manage the supply chain to best effect

We encourage our supply chain to improve equality outcomes by:

  • providing clear criteria on inclusion in our pre-qualification, tender and performance monitoring processes
  • providing guidance on equality frameworks that are aligned to Highways England’s requirements
  • offering webinars and 1:1 sessions with our suppliers
  • supporting and developing a supplier diversity forum

We get information to gauge progress across our first tier suppliers from:

Equality frameworks

An equality framework is a tool designed to support systematic, structured improvement in equality outcomes. Some frameworks focus on specific aspects of organisational practice eg employment. Others take a broader approach covering all functions, policies and practices within an organisation.

Highways England:

  • commissioned independent research
  • gathered performance information through their Strategic Alignment Review Toolkit (StART) and via contracts
  • listened to a range of industry bodies as well as their own supplier diversity forum

We concluded that frameworks help organisations and their supply chains to systematically gather intelligence and take action to improve equality.

We do not mandate use of equality frameworks, but we do encourage our suppliers to consider their use. The following organisations have been identified as most closely aligned to our requirements, as set out in the Highways Agency requirements statement for approved list of equality framework suppliers (PDF, 56.5KB, 7 pages) :

These organisations also offer services that may be of interest and relevance to areas of our supply chain:

Supplier diversity forum

This is a voluntary group of representatives from first tier suppliers. The forum meets quarterly to discuss common issues and share good practice. Suppliers who don’t already have a representative on the group can nominate new members to represent them.

Email: Nicky.Ensert@highwaysengland.co.uk

Equality impact assessments

You can view previous impact assessments covering:

  • smart motorways (formerly managed motorways) and all lane running
  • accessibility of the strategic road network
  • holiday play scheme
  • roadside facilities policy
  • guidance for traffic officers
  • national vehicle recovery