Equality, diversity and inclusion

Highways England’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policies and how these are delivered and monitored.

Equality, diversity and inclusion
Our objectives

Through our Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) objectives we’re committed to:

  • improving our performance in equality, diversity and inclusion as a service provider, contractor and employer
  • meeting our statutory duty under the Equality Act 2010 to promote equality of opportunity; eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation; and to foster good relations between those with protected characteristics and others
  • delivering and monitoring progress against our objectives through dedicated working groups reporting regularly to our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Executive Sub-group

The duty also applies to private sector companies when delivering services on our behalf or carrying out activities relating to our PSED objectives.

We’ve engaged with our people and stakeholders to set our new EDI ambitions, goals and objectives which run from April 2020 to March 2025. These will be published shortly.   

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 try to achieve this by:

  • using better data and insight into customer needs through research and engagement
  • targeting messages about how to use our roads safely to specific groups such as disabled or deaf people
  • improved customer contact channels such as SMS text messages
  • more accessible infrastructure such as changing places at motorway service areas
  • providing information about the accessibility of the network
  • making sure vulnerable road users have the right support if they break down on the network
  • listening to and engaging with our customers and key stakeholders

We get information to help check our progress from:

  • customer and community insight gathered when we consult about the equality implications of our schemes or services
  • monitored telephone and email correspondence

To achieve equality of opportunity in the workplace, we monitor the following and act where necessary:

  • Where we advertise jobs and who is applying for them
  • 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 access relevant training and development
  • If people are getting paid equally for work of equal value
  • If performance-related pay is allocated fairly

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

We ask our supply chain to support our EDI ambitions by focusing on three priority performance areas:

  • Creating inclusive working culture, practices and environments that enable everyone to perform to their full potential
  • Considering and valuing the diverse needs of customers and neighbouring communities at all stages of their work
  • Developing wider supply chain capability around EDI

We encourage them to achieve these goals by:

  • providing clear criteria in our pre-qualification, tender and performance monitoring processes
  • offering masterclasses, webinars and one-to-one sessions with our suppliers
  • gathering EDI performance information through its Collaborative Performance Framework
  • supporting and developing our supplier diversity forum
  • collecting and benchmarking supplier workforce diversity data
  • listening to and learning from a range of industry bodies as well as the supplier diversity forum

Supplier diversity forum

This is a voluntary group of supply chain representatives which has been running since 2007.

The forum’s vision is: ‘To work together to create a more inclusive and diverse industry, benefiting the highways customer and communities in which we operate’.

It focuses on:

  • improving inclusive behaviours – helping us to think about how our behaviour and interactions can impact on others
  • sharing and adopting best practice – learning from peers
  • creating catalysts – helping others on their inclusion journey

The forum is part of the Highways England Collaboration Board and influences the wider supply chain EDI practice.

Equality and diversity are key components of our decision-making processes. We undertake equality impact screening and assessments when we change or introduce new policies, practices, guidance or organise events.

Our internal decision-making processes ensure diversity considerations, potential impacts and opportunities to advance equality, diversity and inclusion are intrinsic to how we deliver schemes and services.

All recent equality impact screening and assessments are held with overseeing directorates so that they can be reviewed and updated during their lifecycle. This ensures EDI is considered on an ongoing basis by our projects and as such, are ‘living’ documents.

Reporting on our progress

Our aim is to embed equality, diversity and inclusion into our decision making procedures so that it’s a key business consideration across all our work. As a result, our ongoing achievements will be captured within our Annual Report.

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