Report criticises ineffective diversity and inclusion practices

  • Discrimination
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

The independent Inclusion at Work Panel has published a report on the state of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) business practices in the UK which suggests that too many organisations are implementing EDI initiatives without an evidence base.

While many employers want to “do the right thing”, the report notes, they are often unaware of the impact their initiatives are having or whether they represent value for money.

A 2022 survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that only 25% of employers consult data before new inclusion and diversity activity is planned, and 25% said most of their EDI work is reactive — citing social and political events.

Appointed by the Business Secretary, Kemi Badenoch, and composed of leaders in the private and public sector, the panel has reviewed the latest evidence of how employers are making decisions about diversity and inclusion policies and practices.

The report highlights that, in a growing number of cases, particularly relating to positive discrimination and protected beliefs, EDI interventions are proving to be counterproductive or even unlawful.

Ms Badenoch said: “Discussions around diversity and inclusion at work are often bogged down by performative gestures. This Government wants to ensure employers are doing EDI in a way that doesn’t undermine meritocracy and aligns with our equality laws.”

Employers are urged to make better use of evidence and data when making EDI decisions in order to increase fairness and opportunity and avoid initiatives which alienate certain groups, cause division and have no impact.

The Government is considering introducing a presumption against external EDI spending and increasing ministerial scrutiny of EDI spending, whilst streamlining EDI training and HR processes, with a view to getting value for the taxpayer.

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