As an ombuds service equality and fairness are at the heart of what we do. Our values include equality and diversity and we are committed to promoting this through our work and as an employer.

Our Diversity Steering Group, which includes Board members with a particular interest and expertise in diversity issues and the Senior Leadership Team, oversees our work in this area.

We include information about our equality, diversity and inclusion work each year in our Annual Reports.

Students and casework

Reviewing student complaints independently, fairly and effectively is a key organisational priority. Fairness includes recognising difference and ensuring that processes are genuinely inclusive, taking into account students’ individual needs. We are committed to making our service as welcoming and accessible as possible for all who need to use it. We continually look for ways to strengthen inclusivity in the service we provide, for example through considering the feedback students give us on their experience of our service and learning from our casework data.

We have a positive and proactive approach to making reasonable adjustments to our casework processes, and we are flexible in the adjustments we offer to meet individual students’ needs.

We have a Disability Experts Panel made up of disability practitioners and experts in disability matters to enable us to access specialist advice on disability issues.

We listen to students to try to better understand their different experiences. We do this through our casework and through discussion groups. We hold discussion groups with students with a range of lived experiences, for example students of different ethnicities and disabled students.

We collect diversity information on a voluntary basis from students who complain to us. This supports our ongoing programme of work to look at our casework data from this perspective, focusing on what we can learn to help us improve our own practice and to share additional good practice guidance with providers.

Our organisation

We also take steps to promote equality, diversity and inclusion within our organisation. We have a strong focus on having an open, inclusive and supportive organisational culture and we value everyone for who they are. We take steps to promote awareness and understanding of different equality issues, for example through inviting relevant external speakers and through encouraging open conversations between staff. We have a job evaluation framework and grading structure to set the appropriate pay grade for each role to ensure that people doing the same or equivalent roles are paid equally. We offer flexible working arrangements, including part-time positions at all levels, and a blend of office-based/remote working where appropriate.

Our workforce is diverse in many ways and we have made progress in recent years with strengthening inclusion of some under-represented groups. Further diversifying our workforce is a key focus for us, and we monitor and continue to develop our recruitment practices to reach out more effectively to under-represented groups.

Find out more about working for us

Our Board has a strong focus on equality, diversity and inclusion. We are committed to having a diverse Board and this is carefully considered when recruiting Board members. The Board takes an active approach to oversight of the organisation’s equality, diversity and inclusion work, including through the Diversity Steering Group which regularly reports to the full Board, culminating in an annual discussion and review.

Diversity Steering Group

Student and Board Director Adesewa Adebisi talks about our Diversity Steering Group.

Video Transcription - Diversity Steering Group
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