Treating everyone we deal with fairly and equally is central to the work we do. This is why it is so important that people can find us – and use our services when they need us.
It is also why we do everything we can to make sure that background or ability should not act as a barrier to someone having their complaint considered fairly and impartially.
Similarly, it is important that the people who work for us should reflect the diversity of our customers and stakeholders.
We aim to meet the needs of our customers and stakeholders by:
We work towards an "equality standard" in the way we provide our services – to help us identify and overcome any barriers that could:
This included an action plan to ensure our approach to diversity and equality remains relevant to the changing needs of our customers and stakeholders. Having completed this action plan a year early, we had our work independently monitored and our progress assessed. This is part of our commitment to regular reviews of our initiatives and actions in relation to diversity and equality.
In October 2013 we were awarded “Leaders in Diversity” status by National Centre for Diversity – for demonstrating excellence as an ambassador and role model for other organisations to follow.
And in December 2013 we were awarded the "Gold Standard" for the third year running by Committed2Equality - in recognition of our positive work culture and our commitment to the fair and equal treatment of everyone we deal with.
We also continue to work with a range of external partners specialising in diversity and inclusion. These include:
We are fully committed to treating everyone fairly and equally.
As an equal opportunities employer, we recognise that equality and diversity are positive attributes, and we understand and welcome the difference that an open and diverse culture brings.
... as a free, independent service for consumers, we help people from all backgrounds – and all parts of the community – to settle complaints they might have with their bank, insurance company or finance firm.
We want the people we employ – and our work culture – to reflect and value the diversity of our customers. We’re also fully committed to helping all our people fulfil their potential – with first-class training and outstanding opportunities for career development.
By doing the right thing by everyone we deal with, by being committed to fairness, and by respecting difference – we believe we can offer a service we can be proud of.
Caroline Wayman, our chief ombudsman
Our equality and diversity policy covers all areas of our responsibilities as an employer – including recruitment, promotion, training, performance management, pay and benefits.
We will provide equality and diversity training to all employees to help them:
We expect each of our employees to help us meet our commitment to creating a positive, diverse culture, by upholding this policy.
51% of people working at the ombudsman service are aged between 25 and 35 – with employees ranging from 17 to 70 years old. Across our workforce as a whole, 45% are male and 55% female. Women account for 50% of our non-executive board, 57% of our executive team and 48% of our panel of ombudsmen.
37% of our employees are from non-white ethnic minority backgrounds. 2% have a disability, and 4% have indicated as part of our equal opportunities monitoring that they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).
As part of our outreach work with communities and consumers who use our service less, we promote not only our work as a leading dispute-resolution body but also our role as an employer committed to diversity and equality. This work has included, for example:
We run diversity and equality training for all our employees in partnership with a range of disability, mental health and wellbeing charities, the Institute of Equality and Diversity Practitioners and the Employers' Network for Equality and Inclusion.
We publish information in our annual review about the kinds of consumers who use the ombudsman service – including demographic and socio-economic details, as well as information about customer diversity.
Our annual review each year also contains an overview of the work we have done to champion equality and diversity – and to make this an essential part of how we provide our service to all our customers.