The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. Our work involves developing relationships with people from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures. Working effectively with diversity and promoting equality of opportunity is therefore an essential part of our work.
Equality of opportunity is about treating people fairly and without bias, and creating conditions in the workplace and wider society that encourage and value diversity and promote dignity. It is also about trying to redress past imbalances and ensuring that dealings with clients, customers and suppliers are conducted in a constructive way that does not give rise to unjustified discrimination and supports appropriate inclusion.
Diversity is concerned with creating an inclusive environment and practices which benefit the organisation and those who work in and with it, taking account of the fact that people differ from one another in many different ways. Understanding, valuing and effectively managing these differences can result in greater participation than can be leveraged for success at individual, team and organisational level.
When we talk about equal opportunity and diversity at the British Council, we focus on 7 main areas: age, disability, ethnicity/race, gender, religion/belief, sexual orientation, work-life balance.
Tools and initiatives
Globally, we’ve developed a number of tools and initiatives to help us promote equality, manage diversity successfully and measure our progress.
These include our Diversity assessment framework, an evidence-based evaluation completed bi-annually by all countries in which we have offices. This enables us to track our progress in mainstreaming diversity through everything we do: from managing recruitment and performance to delivering our programmes and services; from how we work with partners, suppliers and customers, to managing our staff and our working environment and culture.
In the UK, we have completed Equality monitoring of all our UK-contracted staff since 2001, helping us to build up a picture of who we employ and the impact of our Equal opportunity policy and diversity strategy. We also undertake some limited equality monitoring in our overseas offices, of both our staff and customers, where local legislations allow. This information can help us take action to address under-representation of certain groups in our workforce or our partners and customers, ensuring that we are inclusive in our programmes and services, that our staff possess a diversity of skills, backgrounds and perspectives and that we are properly representative of the societies in which we work.
Programmes and services
We try to ensure that our commitment to equal opportunity and diversity is reflected in our activities, events and services. Here are some examples of projects or initiatives in Italy that demonstrate our commitment across the three main areas of our work.