We have put in place initiatives help us ensure our policies and procedures are fair and do not discriminate against any group of employees.
As of December 2011 the Environment Agency employed 11,404 people. We take the diversity of our workforce seriously and the best way we can properly check whether our diversity policy is being implemented effectively is by asking our employees.
Employee Self Disclosure
In 2011 we introduced confidential self disclosure reporting to help us get a clear picture of the nature of our workforce, from this we can provide the right support for a healthy, productive and successful work environment.
The information is gathered on a completely voluntary and confidential basis and we ensure that reporting of information is undertaken at a levels which prevents individuals being identified.
The questions we ask: your date of birth, if you consider yourself to have a disability, your ethnicity, your gender, your gender identity, your religion/belief/faith and your sexual orientation. Already half of our workforce (5,705) has completed the questions.
Our employee survey is conducted every two years and is an opportunity for employees to influence the decisions made about how we run our organisation.
We introduced diversity and equality questions which will enable us to understand more about our employees and ensure we address any concerns of disadvantage.
2009 Employee Survey
Overall we performed well on equality and diversity in the workplace in comparison to the public sector norm. The 2009 equality monitoring data was the best to date, with less than 5% of respondents preferring not to answer the monitoring questions.
In the 2007 Employee Survey, 67% of our workforce responded that the Environment Agency was committed to Diversity and Equality at work, and this increased to 79% in the 2009 Employee Survey.
Overall we scored well in 2009 with few employees feeling disadvantaged at work. We continue to use our employee diversity networks and forums to gain a better understanding of the issues that impact on diversity and equality. The above results are only representative of the 8,664 employees that completed the survey.
2011 Employee Survey
The full results of our 2011 survey are not yet available, however we have some headlines we wish to share at this time.
Our Directors took time out to thank everyone who took part in the employee survey in 2011. We achieved an incredible 83 per cent response rate.
In the 2011 Employee Survey, 80% of our workforce responded that the Environment Agency was committed to Diversity and Equality at work, and 76% responded that the Environment Agency respects individual differences.
Our Directors are committed to acting on the results of the survey, and will be monitoring progress against action plans so we can hold them accountable. This includes our diversity action plans and our statutory equality objectives in April 2012 will reflect our action plans. We are already exploring options for further research to help us understand specific issues including feeling disadvantaged at work.
We need to understand some of the results better before we can be clear what we need to do about them. We will be talking to groups of employees to do this through focus groups and team discussions.
In October 2011 we introduced our equality analysis process. The aim of the process is to identify any unintended consequences and differential impacts on all diverse groups protected by law and apply appropriate measures to mitigate those impacts. It involves using quantitative and qualitative equality data and the results of consultative engagement with protected groups and others, to understand the potential or actual effects of our policies, process changes and decisions.
We are encouraging the use of this process across the business and we have introduced them for all change programmes, processes and HR policies.
Examples of our equality analysis can be downloaded below.