Equality and diversity

We publish regular information about what our equality objectives are and how we're meeting them.

Equality and diversity

The IPO is committed to promoting equality and valuing diversity in the way we deliver our services and the way we manage our employees. We strive to be inclusive through respecting one another, promoting and achieving equality of opportunity, valuing diversity, and providing an accessible, responsive service to our customers.

Joint statement in support of women in IP

The IPO is committed to improving gender equality in IP, including among our customers and our staff. We are working with other national intellectual property offices on this collective objective and are pleased to publish the following joint statement on International Women’s Day:

This year, the theme for International Women’s Day 2022 is “Gender Equality for a Sustainable Tomorrow.” We commit to work together to support an increased contribution by women in developing, commercializing, and distributing their innovations and creative works in order to achieve a more sustainable and hope-driven future.

Women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change - UN figures indicate that 80% of people displaced by climate change are women. Yet their contributions are crucial in creating new technologies, products, and processes for mitigating its impact. Their entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity foster economic growth and enrich cultures.

In many countries, women are underrepresented in the intellectual property (IP) system. Around the globe, patent, trademark and copyright offices provide resources and support for innovators and creators of all genders, helping them to navigate and access the IP system. Through these and other programs, we are committed to working together to reach gender equality throughout our economies.

Equality can only be achieved when the gender mix of the innovators and creators engaged in innovation and creativity and using our IP systems reflects the gender mix of our society. This will lead to a more sustainable, healthy and balanced society, enriching life for everyone.

International Women’s Day joint message from:

  • Business and Intellectual Property Authority of Namibia
  • Canadian Intellectual Property Office
  • European Patent Office
  • Intellectual Property Office of Australia
  • Latin American Network on Intellectual Property and Gender
  • National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) - Republic of Argentina
  • National Institute of Industrial Property (INAPI) - Republic of Chile
  • Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) - Republic of Colombia
  • National Registry of the Republic of Costa Rica
  • National Service of Intellectual Rights (SENADI) - Republic of Ecuador
  • National Institute for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI) - Republic of Peru
  • National Office of Industrial Property - of the Republic of the Dominican Republic (ONAPI)
  • National Directorate of Industrial Property - of the Republic of Uruguay (DNPI)
  • South African Companies and Intellectual Property Commission
  • United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office
  • United States Copyright Office
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office
  • World Intellectual Property Organization

How we deliver on our strategic commitments

Chief Executive Tim Moss has overall responsibility and accountability for these arrangements. Ben Buchanan (Deputy Director) is Diversity Champion at the IPO. He is supported by our Inclusion and Diversity Steering group which is made up of representatives from our business areas, network chairs, union representatives and the Inclusion and Diversity team The group exists to promote good practice and to ensure that dignity, fairness and respect for one another is at the heart of all that we do. The IPO has a dedicated Inclusion and Diversity team to support diversity actions. The work being carried out reinforces our aim to have the right culture, making the IPO a brilliant place to work, and helping us be the best we can be, focussing on what we can all do to build a truly inclusive workplace.

IPO is committed to making this a great place to work, where staff are offered flexibility and development, where everyone’s contribution is recognised, and diversity is genuinely valued.

Our people

As an employer it is IPO policy to:

  • promote a working environment free from discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  • ensure that all decisions relating to employment practices are objective, free from bias, and based solely on work criteria and individual merit, with due account taken of an individual’s personal circumstances and the needs of the business
  • ensure that employees or job applicants are not placed at a substantial disadvantage by a working practice or policy and to make reasonable adjustments when needed

Gender pay gap at the IPO

  • the gender pay gap is measured to demonstrate due regard to equality and that the IPO’s pay system complies with the Equality Act 2010 and Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) by being fair and transparent
  • the tables below show that we have calculated the pay gaps using both mean averages and median averages. The dataset has been based on basic pay as at 31 March 2021, which includes the 2015/16 pay award Allowances and other payments such as overtime have been excluded
  • percentage differences shown as less than 0 indicate that the pay gap favours women and where it is greater than 0, men have the lead. Zero percentages indicate no difference. Women made up 48% of the workforce in March 2021

Please see more information about the work we are doing to address our gender pay gap.

Mean gender pay gap by grade (excluding market driven pay enhancements for specialists).

Mean gender pay gap
(hourly rate)
A1 A2 A3 B1 B2 B2 Exr B3 C1 C1 Exr C2 C2 Exr D1 SCS
Male £9.63 £10.08 £11.16 £12.31 £14.52 £14.27 £16.30 £21.10 £21.02 £29.87 £30.54 £34.44 £39.59
Female £9.63 £10.08 £11.16 £12.31 £14.49 £14.30 £16.22 £20.93 £21.05 £29.71 £30.45 £34.27 £38.08
Mean gap 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.21% -0.21% 0.49% 0.81% -0.14% 0.54% 0.29% 0.49% 3.81%

Median gender pay gap by grade (excluding market driven pay enhancements for specialists).

Median gender pay gap
(hourly rate)
A1 A2 A3 B1 B2 B2 Exr B3 C1 C1 Exr C2 C2 Exr D1 SCS
Male £9.63 £10.08 £11.16 £12.31 £14.49 £14.23 £16.34 £21.00 £20.90 £29.58 £30.68 £34.49 £38.18
Female £9.63 £10.08 £11.16 £12.31 £14.40 £14.29 £16.17 £20.80 £20.90 £29.50 £30.68 £34.17 £38.42
Median gap 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.62% -0.42% 1.04% 0.95% 0.00% 0.27% 0.00% 0.93% -0.63%

Our customers

The IPO is committed to providing services to our customers which promote equality of opportunity. We do this by making sure our customers have access to reasonable adjustments and by considering all individuals when shaping policy, delivering services and in relation to our own employees. We carry out Equality Impact Assessments on all business change that exceeds £15,000, and on all recruitment campaigns and policies.

Our web pages are designed to be as easy as possible to use and understand.

Online forms are regularly reviewed to make them easier to use, benefitting all customers including those with a disability. Paper-based methods will continue for those who need them.

Our private applicants unit is a dedicated service for applicants who want to file patent applications without professional representation. The unit recognises the varied needs of customers and offers personal support.

We aim to be accessible by default, ensuring that new documents, IT systems etc. are fully accessible.

Please see our accessible documents policy and accessibility statement.

Outreach activities

IPO works with ethnic business clubs, universities, Business Links, chambers of commerce and female innovators to increase awareness of the wealth-creating potential of intellectual property rights. Firms can attend IPO seminars or subscribe to the IPO E-newsletter. To date our IP Health Check online tool has been accessed over 22,000 times. IPO works in partnership with Aardman Animations to reach aspiring young innovators and entrepreneurs. The Wallace and Grommit Cracking Ideas online game about intellectual property has been played more than 4.5 million times. We are proud to work in partnership with IP inclusive and support their EDI Charter commitments.

Access to copyrighted material

The UN Convention on disability rights states that its parties must: ‘ensure that laws protecting intellectual property rights do not constitute an unreasonable or discriminatory barrier to access by persons with disabilities to cultural materials’.

UK copyright law allows accessible copies of copyright material to be made by, and on behalf of, people with visual impairment and for designated bodies to sub-title broadcasts. This means that it is possible to make a Braille book from a print book, for example, without infringing copyright.

The government is currently consulting on whether these existing laws need to be simplified and extended to cover a wider range of media and disabilities to ensure wider access.

The UK is also actively engaged in World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) negotiations to improve access to copyright works by visually impaired people around the world.

Access to the information we publish can be requested in alternative formats, including large print, audio cassette or Braille.

Equality information

As a public authority, we must publish, at least annually, relevant, proportionate information demonstrating our compliance with the Equality Duty.

Our equality information helps us identify and understand potential key equality issues across our functions including employment and service delivery areas. Where appropriate we will use the findings to develop our equality objectives.

We gather information covering all the protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

Our published equality information covers all our functions and demonstrates how we have used this information to have due regard to all three aims of the general duty.

In publishing our equality information we ensure that it is accessible and follows the Public Sector Transparency Board’s Public Data Principles(https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/public-sector-transparency-board).

We have also sought to ensure that the equality information we publish complies with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Other memberships

Accreditations and memberships

  • Cycle friendly (Gold award)
  • Carer Confidence Accomplished
  • Working Families Top 10 employer 2020
  • Healthy Working Wales (Silver award)
  • Investors In People Health and Wellbeing Good practice award
  • Investors In People (Gold)
  • Business Disability Forum Disability Standard (Bronze award)
  • Mind (Gold Workplace Wellbeing Index 2020 - 2021)
  • Chwarae Teg Fairplay Employer (Silver award)
  • Disability Confident Leader
  • Stonewall Diversity Champion
  • Business in the Community Race at Work Charter Signatory
  • Committed to being a Menopause Friendly Employer

Diversity objectives 2021/2022

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. Under the PSED, IPO must consider all individuals when shaping policy, delivering services and in relation to their own employees.

Any changes should be assessed against their impact on the following protected characteristic groups:

  • age
  • sex
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation
  • marriage and civil partnership

Although not covered by the Equality Act 2010, the IPO also considers people with caring responsibilities, different working patterns (for example part time) and those from different socio-economic backgrounds. In addition, we have specific duties under the act. These duties require us to publish equality information and objectives.

The IPO is required to set specific, measurable equality objectives at intervals of not less than 4 years. Progress towards the IPO equality objectives will be published annually.

More information about the Public Sector Equality Duty can be found below:

Find out more information about the Public Sector Equality Duty.

As an employer, we aim to build a culture where colleagues can bring their whole selves to work and feel supported, empowered, valued, respected, fairly treated and able to achieve their full potential.

We have set objectives for 2021/2022 to help us achieve our commitments and ambition. These are to:

  1. Strive for an inclusive and diverse workforce.
  2. Promote IPO as an inclusive employer.
  3. Improve our data and statistics so we can effectively target under representation.
  4. Develop our thinking around Social Mobility and improve access for people from all backgrounds.
  5. Diversify and develop our talent pipelines.
  6. Continue to work on developing a respectful workplace where our people are comfortable bringing their whole selves to work.
  7. Continually improve our decision making, policies and procedures so they are free of unintended bias and are inclusive for all.