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Government's Inclusion at Work Panel (The Panel) publishes its first report

The recommendations for improving diversity and inclusion (D&I) practices in the workplace include:

Framework

The Government endorses a new framework that sets out criteria employers might apply to their D&I practice, embedding effectiveness and value for money.  The framework should act as a set of conditions and expectations employers should strive to meet to embed good D&I practice, putting evidence at the heart of their activities. The government should promote these in future engagement work and any guidance and tools it produces for public and private organisations.  Advice on how employers can meet these criteria should also feature in a new, government-backed D&I evidence tool for businesses.

Funding

The Government should fund and work with a research partner to develop a digital tool. This tool would allow all leaders and managers in every sector to assess the rigour, efficacy, and value for money of various D&I practices.  It would also ‘nudge’ commercial or activist intervention providers to evaluate and prove impact.

The digital tool should synthesise and summarise evidence on various D&I practices and interventions in a plain English, business-friendly format.  At a minimum, the tool should include the strength of evidence behind different interventions and the effect those measures have been shown to have in previous research.  The research partner should establish how best to reflect other useful metrics (for example, cost) that could support organisations in making informed decisions about different D&I interventions to implement.  The tool should also feature case studies of effective practice.

Legal status

The Equality and Human Rights Commission should explain and clarify employers' legal status in relation to D&I practice, focusing on the implications of recent rulings for HR policies and staff networks. The guidance should clarify organisations’ legal duties and responsibilities relating to the protected characteristic of ‘belief’ and the risks and implications of failing to carry out these duties. It should highlight recent legal cases and set out guiding principles to help employers manage situations where conflicts of belief arise in the workplace.

Five criteria for D&I success

The Panel's proposed framework has five criteria for organisations to consider when designing, implementing and evaluating good D&I policies and practices:

  1. Gathering evidence systematically and comprehensively: organisations should collect robust data and insights on D&I metrics to identify context-specific problems and proportionately target interventions.

  2. Putting evidence into practice: D&I approaches should be driven by empirical evidence rather than pre-existing notions or assumptions.  Employers should consult data before planning new inclusion and diversity activities and use interventions that have been shown to yield intended outcomes.

  3. Reviewing interventions and processes regularly: organisations should evaluate the impact of D&I policies and procedures to assess their effectiveness and make necessary adaptations.  This includes reviewing workforce data regularly and evaluating value for money in D&I spending.

  4. Widening diversity of thought and experience: D&I efforts should focus on expanding representation beyond gender and race to include disability, sexuality, socio-economic status, and neurodiversity.  Homogeneity in an organisation stifles creativity and progression, so diverse teams are important for business success.

  5. Restoring the importance of clear performance standards, high-quality vocational training, and excellent management: while pursuing diversity and inclusion, organisations should not neglect the basics of good recruitment, clear standards, training, and reward.  Equality of opportunity may result in unequal outcomes, and disparities between individuals are not always a product of discrimination.  Transparent progression and high-quality vocational training improve an organisation's diversity and belonging.

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