Four hands touching
Hands

Our work is based on building meaningful, enduring and respectful relationships across different cultures. We cannot do this without a strong commitment to equality, inclusion and diversity (EDI).

Our policy and strategy

Our equality policy (PDF 154kb) and our EDI strategy (PDF 142kb) explain our approach, which is to try to make sure that EDI is central to everything we do. 

How we work

EDI runs through much of our work around the world, whether in the arts, society, inclusive education, teaching English or offering exams. Our goal is to develop inclusive programmes and projects that bring together people with different experiences and backgrounds. We hope this will make everyone's experiences richer, and ultimately lead to more inclusive societies.

We focus on six areas of diversity, aligned to those protected by UK equality legislation:

  • age
  • disability
  • ethnicity or race
  • gender
  • religion or belief
  • sexual identity

We recognise that these areas intersect and form our identity, together with other characteristics, such as socio-economic status and geographical location. We help colleagues understand the business case, the moral/ethical case, and the legal case for our commitment to EDI.

We have developed a range of initiatives to help us embed EDI into our programmes, projects, events, and services. These also help hold us to account and track our progress.

Sharing experience

We are interested to learn of initiatives in other organisations, or to participate in networks where we can share experience and learn more about diversity issues and different approaches in France. If you have suggestions or ideas and would like to get in touch with us, please email diversity@britishcouncil.fr. We would be happy to hear from you!

For example:

Diversity assessment framework (DAF)

The DAF is our set of guidelines to encourage engagement and progress against the objectives in our EDI strategy. It contains a set number of indicators. All parts of our organisation submit evidence and provide assurance of how these indicators have been met. This is centrally reviewed, leading to a score and a detailed feedback report, which helps us track and monitor progress over time.

Equality monitoring

To build a detailed picture of who we work with, we have been collecting data from our UK-contracted staff since 2001. Many of our overseas offices also collect data about their staff. The data we collect in the UK includes age, disability, ethnicity/race, gender, religion/belief, sexual orientation and working pattern. We compare the results against national and local populations to see where under- or over-representation exists, and then take action to try to achieve a better balance.In some parts of the organisation, we also monitor the diversity of our customers. This helps us see whether we are reaching all sections of society. Find out more about our approach to equality monitoring in this animation .

 

Equality screening and impact assessment

Whenever we introduce a new policy or process, or develop a new programme, project or activity, we assess the potential impact on different groups of people. We consider if there is any potential for unjustified discrimination, or an opportunity to promote equality and greater inclusion, and if so, identify what could be done differently. This helps us to put EDI into our work from the start.

Learning and Development

All our staff take part in EDI learning and development, through e-learning courses, webinars, and face-to-face sessions. This helps raise awareness, deepen understanding, and develop new skills among our teams.

Networks

We have several internal and external networks and working groups. These encourage conversations and awareness about equality, diversity and inclusion, and take action plans forward. They also help us learn more, and to create an inclusive organisational culture.

Our work in France

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 that demonstrate our commitment across the three main areas of our work.

Arts

We develop sustainable relationships with French and European partners who together will create the future of art and culture. With these partners we build projects on the issues that bring us together, and the issues on which we differ.

We are particularly concerned by emerging artists and art forms, the way in which the arts reflect the diversity of our society, and how artistic projects can bring together different audiences, communities and sectors of society. We also look at ways in which the cultural sector promotes sustainable development and the role of art with regard to the major transformations taking place in our economy and our society.

We have worked with:

  • the Festival d’Aix supporting outreach music workshops with different communities in the Aix-Marseille region (2012)
  • the European Cultural Foundation organising an inter-generational encounter and knowledge-sharing between women working in the cultural sector in Europe
  • the Centre National des Arts Plastiques developing a competency-based recruitment process for cultural mediators at Monumenta (2011, Anish Kapoor) and creative workshops for different groups in Paris and Ile-de-France

Education and society

Our work in education and society has three main goals:

  • to provide opportunities for young people to have an international experience during their studies,
  • to promote positive role models in education and research, providing inspiration for young people regardless of their background,
  • to promote intercultural dialogue around themes which are changing young peoples’ lives.

Our current projects include:

  • Internationalising Higher Education: debates with French and European partners exchanging good practice and policy around equality of opportunity and access to higher education
  • Science in Schools workshops delivered by UK researchers in English explaining their research to students in French lycées and colleges, challenging stereotypes about a scientific career. Some workshops take place in a local university or grande école with college pupils from the Eclair network, with the aim of also promoting access to higher education.

English

English is at the heart of the British Council's cultural relations work. What we do in English creates opportunities for millions of people around the world through education, mobility and international engagement. In France we have teaching centres in Paris and its suburbs and we offer IELTS (International English Language Testing System), BULATS (Business Language Testing Service) and Cambridge English examinations.

We can provide specific arrangements for exams candidates with disabilities and we try to ensure our exams venues are fully accessible. In partnership with the Lycée Henri IV and HEC we offer two-week intensive language courses tailored to students in their widening access entry programmes. In our courses more generally, our approach of structured English language learning to support each learner in the process of reaching her or her full potential means we can often accommodate additional needs in the classroom.