Strategy

NERC diversity and inclusion living action plan 2022-2025

From:
NERC
Published:
Last updated:
23 May 2022

Introduction: our ambition

UKRI data relating to the characteristics of funding award recipients tells us that there is less diversity in UK environmental sciences than we would wish to see. For example, between 2019 and 2020, of the 935 grants awarded to principal investigators by NERC only 75 (8%) were awarded to individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds. The representation of ethnic minority groups in the UK population overall is 14% (‘Ethnic diversity in politics and public life’ House of Commons research briefing).

This plan for action has been developed to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in under-represented groups across the broad range of roles in the environmental science research community. The plan sets out our ambition and the steps we will take as NERC, with higher education institutions (HEIs) and wider partners across the sector to ‘move the dial’ and increase diversity, equity, and inclusion over the next four years.

Action we are taking

We recognise there are low levels of diversity and inclusion in the environmental sciences. We are addressing the need for equity across our policies, practices, and actions. A lack of diversity means we are missing opportunities for a wide range of people to contribute their talent and skills, furthering the excellence of environmental science and helping us understand, predict, and tackle many of society’s pressing challenges.

This plan identifies the steps we are taking to fund, attract, and retain a talented and diverse team within NERC and across UK environmental science. It also reaffirms our commitment creating and sustaining a positive, fair, and inclusive environment for our employees. The plan complements and directly contributes to the emerging UKRI equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) strategy.

This plan sets out strategic priorities for the next four years, with detailed initial actions and associated milestones to support delivery of these priorities (annex one). Actions are primarily focused on the first and second year of delivery, and we will add to these over time. Indicators to measure success have been identified and these will mature along with our approach.

We will work with the environmental science community and partner organisations through the period of this plan to:

  • have open conversations
  • adapt
  • ensure we continue to take effective action, based on evidence and good practice.

This means we will change our stated commitments and actions over the course of the plan and will publish updates, keeping our changes transparent.

The plan has been informed by valuable contributions from:

  • the NERC collaborative inclusivity roundtable series
  • our staff
  • stakeholders.

It brings into alignment the ambitions for diversity, equity and inclusion of:

  • NERC head office
  • the British Antarctic Survey (BAS)
  • the British Geological Survey (BGS).

Our strategic priorities

NERC has identified four strategic priorities to deliver change over the next four years (2022 to 2025):

  • openness and accountability
  • ensuring equity in, and improving diversity through, funding and grants
  • active leadership and community engagement
  • improving our own diversity.

Each of these priority areas has actions to focus delivery. The detail which supports each priority area can be found in annex one and includes:

  • desired outcomes
  • actions
  • milestones
  • responsibilities
  • target dates for completion.

Priority area one: openness and accountability

We will share our plans and our data, maintaining openness about the basis for our actions and how well we are delivering our priorities. We want our stakeholders and community to understand our approach and have opportunities to interrogate, challenge and question our data, and present ideas that support our work in this area.

Oversight of delivery against this plan is the responsibility of NERC Management Board (NMB) which will ensure NERC makes robust and responsible decisions. We will be transparent about our performance in terms of delivery against the actions in this plan. NERC Council (and when established, the NERC Future Leaders Council) will see an annual progress report as part of NERC delivery plan performance reporting.

We will be honest about progress and publish an annual update on the UKRI website.

Director responsible: Alison Robinson, NERC Deputy Executive Chair.

Core actions

Action 1.1: make the action plan publicly available

Ensure the action plan and associated narrative is publicly available via the UKRI NERC website with named director leads and in an accessible format.

Due by 31 December 2022.

Action 1.2: share diversity data

Provide diversity data externally in a clear, accessible and simple format. Share it with partners and the environmental science community so that it can be discussed and challenged in constructive ways. This includes annual disclosure online of diversity performance data in relation to our grants, workforce and senior boards.

Data should show success rates as a percentage and the composition of the funded community, workforce and senior boards.

Due by 31 December 2022.

Action 1.3: annual reporting aligned with the NERC delivery plan

Establish annual reporting of progress aligned with NERC delivery plan progress reporting, which is published annually to:

  • share our progress
  • celebrate success
  • allow for challenge.

The first round of reporting will focus on establishing baselines to monitor progress.

Due by 31 December 2022.

Priority area two: ensuring equity in and improving diversity through funding and grants

We will ensure NERC grant processes are free from bias, building trust within the funding systems we manage. We will provide funding opportunities for under-represented groups to ensure a diverse range of talent and skills is nurtured in environmental sciences.

Director responsible: Susan Waldron, Director of Research and Skills.

Core actions

Action 2.1: publish grants and fellowships diversity data

Collect, analyse, and publish diversity data on grant and fellowship applications and award rates, to monitor the impact of approaches and identify areas of concern or under-representation.

Due by 30 June 2023.

Action 2.2: address under-representation in the diversity of expert reviewers

Assess and analyse NERC expert reviewer diversity data to understand composition of the community and identify targeted action to address under-representation.

Due by 31 December 2022.

Action 2.3: improve visibility of student training provider diversity data and approach

Mandate student training providers (Doctoral Training Partnerships and Centres for Doctoral Training) to:

  • publish their approaches to improving diversity and inclusion on their websites
  • provide annual diversity data to NERC outlining success rates of protected groups to identify where additional action is required.

Due by 31 December 2023.

Action 2.4 – pilot innovative approaches to diversity and inclusion

Pilot innovative and proactive approaches to improve diversity and inclusion across our funding programmes, with robust reviews to determine their effectiveness and future use. This extends to positive action activity following agreement with UKRI to directly address under-representation.

Due by 31 December 2023.

Priority area three: active leadership and community engagement

NERC will use its convening power, in partnership with the community and partners, to catalyse a step change in the representative diversity of people in the environmental sciences. We wish to see improvements in the diversity of applicants and the funded community.

Director responsible: Alison Robinson, NERC Deputy Executive Chair.

Core actions

Action 3.1: identify how to support grant applicants to increase diversity

Establish how NERC (in line with UKRI more broadly) can apply positive action to support potential applicants from under-represented groups to drive a system change which actively increases the diversity of applicants awarded grants. Gain agreement from UKRI on a single approach to applying positive action.

Due by 30 July 2022.

Action 3.2: establish a UK environmental sciences baseline

Establish a baseline of the profile of those within the wider UK environmental sciences community to:

  • ensure the impact of interventions can be assessed
  • identify ‘missing groups’ in the NERC funded community.

Due by 31 August 2022.

Action 3.3: deliver a community engagement programme

Deliver a community engagement programme to co-create innovative ideas, stimulate constructive challenge, and enable joint activity, such as co-funded engagement programmes, to:

  • increase the attractiveness of environmental science as a career
  • improve diversity and inclusion in environmental science.

Due by 31 December 2023.

Action 3.4: promote diversity within the NERC Future Leaders Council

Enable the new NERC Future Leaders Council to bring diverse perspectives into senior decision making.

Due by 31 December 2023.

Action 3.5: work in partnership to improve the visibility of diverse role models

Work in partnership with environmental science institutions (such as higher education institutions) to improve the diversity of visible role models to attract under-represented groups into environmental sciences, providing support to develop individuals.

Due by 30 September 2024.

Priority area four: improving our own diversity

We will ensure that we attract and retain a diverse workforce and create a culture where all can flourish to deliver and support the best environmental science.

Director responsible: Victoria McMyn, NERC Chief Operating Officer.

Core actions

Action 4.1: formalise annual performance update requirements for employers of NERC staff

Formalise requirements for NERC head office directorates, and centres which employ NERC staff, to maintain and provide annual performance updates against local plans to drive and empower local action, reflecting the wide-ranging nature of our operations.

Due by 31 August 2022.

Action 4.2: mandate equality impact assessments (EIAs)

Mandate EIAs across all NERC core decision making processes with supporting training to ensure equitable considerations and mitigate inadvertent discrimination.

Due by 31 December 2022.

Action 4.3: establish a NERC workforce baseline

Determine the diversity of the NERC workforce to establish our baseline and provide us with a better understanding of under-representation, thereby establishing a strong evidence base for action and annually monitoring progress.

Due by 31 December 2022.

Action 4.4: review and enhance recruitment processes and work experience opportunities

Review and enhance our recruitment processes and work experience opportunities to ensure they are free from bias and increase opportunities for under-represented groups.

Due by 31 December 2023.

Action 4.5: diversity training and guidance for staff

Deliver tailored training, guidance and tools to ensure all staff understand:

  • our diversity data
  • our diversity and inclusion performance
  • the importance of their contribution to an inclusive work environment including calling out unacceptable behaviour.

Due by 31 August 2023.

Ensuring impact

By 2025, we want to see a measurable improvement in the representative diversity of our workforce and the funded environmental science community.

The impact of this plan will be reviewed annually on a rolling basis by the NERC Deputy Executive Chair in conjunction with director leads, from February 2023. Leading indicators of change to be reviewed as part of annual review cycle include:

  • the diversity of grant applicants (including training grants and fellowships)
  • the diversity of grant awardees (including training grants and fellowships)
  • grant success rates for under-represented groups
  • the diversity of applicants to join our workforce
  • the diversity of our workforce
  • new staff applicant success rates for under-represented groups
  • the diversity of our senior boards.

This plan will be updated as required, but at least annually in its entirety with a stock take every two years. It will evolve alongside best practice and our learning as we progress on our diversity, equity and inclusion journey.

Annex one: NERC diversity and inclusion living action plan schedule

In this annex we’ve set out the detail of each priority area’s actions including:

  • deadlines
  • desired outcomes
  • outputs and measures
  • milestones.

As this plan is a living document it will be amended and updated as we work towards achieving our goals.

Strategic priority area one: openness and accountability

Director responsible: Alison Robinson

Action 1.1: make the action plan publicly available

Ensure the action plan and associated narrative is publicly available on the UKRI website with named director leads and in an accessible format.

Deadline

31 December 2022 and then review annually.

Desired outcomes

NERC can direct people to a public document.

The community can access our diversity and inclusion living action plan on an accessible web platform without requesting access.

Outputs and measures

A plan available on the UKRI website, including in accessible formats.

Indicators of success will be:

  • an accessible action plan provided online and on time (updated annually)
  • that the website states a clear way for external stakeholders to ask questions and provide feedback. Enquiries will be responded to within 14 days.
Milestones

A living action plan in accessible formats and shared on the UKRI NERC website with a clear route for feedback by April 2022.

Content updates as part of our web programme incorporating external input from a diversity, equity and inclusion specialist, aligned to the web transition project. Due by December 2022.

Action 1.2: share diversity data

Provide diversity data externally in a clear, accessible and simple format. Share it with partners and the environmental science community so that it can be discussed and challenged in constructive ways. This includes annual disclosure online of diversity performance data in relation to our grants, workforce and senior boards.

Data should show success rates as a percentage and the composition of the funded community, workforce and senior boards.

Deadline

31 December 2022 and then review annually.

Desired outcomes

NERC community can access diversity and inclusion data for NERC funding streams, the NERC workforce and senior boards using the UKRI website. This includes an accompanying narrative and clear feedback channels.

Outputs and measures

Publication cycle agreed for main data sets and delivered to the programme.

Evidence of regular updates to the published data.

Feedback from the annual stakeholder survey is positive.

Indicators of success will be:

  • the publication of reports to the programme
  • positive feedback on data provision from annual stakeholder survey.
Milestones

Future publication dates for NERC data are agreed and complement UKRI publication dates. Due by March 2022.

Communication plan for external audiences explaining NERC outcomes and ongoing actions to enhance inclusion agreed by May 2022.

Defined data included on the UKRI NERC website and subject to annual update as a minimum by December 2022.

Action 1.3: annual reporting aligned with the NERC delivery plan

Establish annual reporting of progress aligned with NERC delivery plan progress reporting, which is published annually to:

  • share our progress
  • celebrate success
  • allow for challenge.

The first round of reporting will focus on establishing baselines to monitor progress.

Deadline

31 December 2022 and then review annually.

Desired outcomes

Diversity, equity and inclusion is aligned to core reporting processes. Progress is shared publicly in an honest way.

Outputs and measures

Annual reporting cycle agreed and first report generated.

Indicators of success will be:

  • annual report produced on time
  • positive feedback on data provision from the annual stakeholder survey.
Milestones

Agree reporting approach by February 2022.

Identify role models across NERC to inform first progress report by April 2022.

Publish the first progress report by December 2022.

Strategic priority area two: ensuring equity in and improving diversity through funding and grants

Director responsible – Susan Waldron

Action 2.1: publish grants and fellowships diversity data

Collect, analyse, and publish diversity data on grant and fellowship applications and award rates, to monitor the impact of approaches and identify areas of concern or under-representation.

Deadline

30 June 2023 and then review annually.

Desired outcomes

NERC identifies and understands any bias within the grant process according to protected characteristic groups.

Data on protected characteristics from funding streams is collected on an ongoing basis.

Outputs and measures

Report on findings issued.

NERC can show it has used the report outcomes to drive more inclusive practices through this living action plan.

Indicators of success will be:

  • establishing a baseline for the NERC funded community
  • that the annual review of data sets results in an update to local actions to improve under representation.
Milestones

Develop a Tableau dashboard for monitoring and reporting purposes and to generate figures for inclusion in future reports by February 2022.

Complete disability and age analysis of all funding streams by February 2022.

Undertake preliminary pairwise analysis of co-dependencies with age across protected characteristics to inform remedial interventions by May 2022.

Action 2.2: address under-representation in the diversity of expert reviewers

Assess and analyse NERC expert reviewer diversity data to understand composition of the community and identify targeted action to address under-representation.

Deadline

31 December 2022 and then review annually.

Desired outcomes

Increased understanding of expert reviewer diversity.

Targeted action agreed to increase access to expert reviewer opportunities to under-represented groups.

Outputs and measures

Clear understanding of expert reviewer diversity.

Reviewer diversity improving over time.

Indicators of success will be a percentage increase in the diversity of expert reviewers over the period of this plan (2022-2025).

Milestones

Initiate reporting on the diversity of the NERC expert reviewer base twice a year, by June 2022.

Review and agree targeted milestones to increase the diversity of the expert reviewer base by December 2022.

Action 2.3: improve visibility of student training provider diversity data and approach

Mandate student training providers (Doctoral Training Partnerships and Centres for Doctoral Training) to:

  • publish their approaches to improving diversity and inclusion on their websites
  • provide annual diversity data to NERC outlining success rates of protected groups to identify where additional action is required.
Deadline

31 December 2023 and then review annually.

Desired outcomes

Increased understanding of the performance of training providers (Doctoral Training Providers and Centres for Doctoral Training), in the context of increased diversity, equity and inclusion.

Under-represented groups are better able to access studentship opportunities.

Outputs and measures

Evidence of training providers (DTPs and CDTs) publishing their approaches to increase diversity, equity and inclusion.

Increase in diversity of student training grant holders (change tracked based on an established baseline year).

Positive feedback from NERC PhD training providers on the diversity of applicants.

Indicators of success will be:

  • an increase in public disclosure of protected characteristics over time by DTPs and CDTs
  • a percentage increase in the diversity of training grant applicants and holders over the period of this plan (2022-2025).
Milestones

Mandate that DTPs and CDTs publish their approach to ensuring appointments are based on best practice on their own websites by December 2022.

Undertake central analysis of DTP and CDT recruitment data to inform action by December 2022.

Embed learning through training grant round ‘DTP3’ by March 2023.

Updates and changes

9 June 2022 – Due date changed from 30 June 2022 to 31 December 2023.

Action 2.4: pilot innovative approaches to diversity and inclusion

Pilot innovative and proactive approaches to improve diversity and inclusion across our funding programmes, with robust reviews to determine their effectiveness and future use. This extends to positive action activity following agreement with UKRI to directly address under-representation.

Equality impact assessments (EIA) have been required for all funding proposals since September 2021.

Deadline

Report on annual spend and evaluation impact by 31 December 2023.

Desired outcomes

Enhancement of gateway process to embed diversity, equity and inclusion.

Feedback from the community and programme managers indicates improved accessibility and improved access to opportunities.

NERC pilots new approaches, such as the diversity and inclusion enrichment funding opportunity, and positive action activity with agreement from UKRI.

Outputs and measures

Feedback from community and programme managers indicates improved accessibility and improved access to opportunity.

Indicators of success will be:

  • regular monitoring and evaluation of grant EIAs indicates that they are effective at delivering inclusive practices
  • positive percentage change in the number of diverse applicants and success rates over the plan period (2022-2025).
Milestones

Embed additional requirements for diversity, equity and inclusion into the gateway process, such as a minimum funding opportunity period and pre-notification requirements. Due by September 2022.

Agree future milestones for positive action which complement a UKRI approach by June 2022.

Review the outcomes from embedding sustainability into the gateway process and apply learning by September 2023.

Deliver equality, diversity and inclusion enrichment funding opportunity and identify learning by October 2022.

Review learnings from positive action pilots and share with UKRI by December 2023.

Strategic priority area three: active leadership and community engagement

Director responsible: Alison Robinson

Action 3.1: identify how to support grant applicants to increase diversity

Establish how NERC (in line with UKRI more broadly) can apply positive action to support potential applicants from under-represented groups to drive a system change which actively increases the diversity of applicants awarded grants.

Gain agreement from UKRI on a single approach to applying positive action.

Deadline

30 July 2022.

Desired outcomes

NERC and UKRI can confidently use positive action to increase diversity of applicant grant awards in a targeted way to address known under-representation.

Outputs and measures

NERC and UKRI mechanisms for positive action clearly defined and agreed.

Future milestones agreed for implementation of positive action in grants.

NERC can demonstrate an increase in diversity in the long term as the result of positive action.

Indicators of success will be monitoring and evaluation indicates that positive action results in an increase in representation from under-represented groups in the NERC funded grant community.

Milestones

Scope out existing practice by other funders to develop an approach which will enable councils to move unilaterally on positive action by January 2022.

Secure high-level agreement to principles and approaches so there is a consistent position at the UKRI level. Due by April 2022.

Agree future milestones for positive action which complement a UKRI approach by July 2022.

Action 3.2: establish a UK environmental sciences baseline

Establish a baseline of the profile of those within the wider UK environmental sciences community to:

  • ensure the impact of interventions can be assessed
  • identify ‘missing groups’ in the NERC funded community.
Deadline

31 August 2022.

Desired outcomes

NERC can use Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data in a consistent manner to understand the diversity profile within environmental science in the UK.

Outputs and measures

Access to HESA data and use for benchmarking to an agreed methodology.

Evidence of analysis to identify ‘missing’ groups (those unaware of or not engaged in environmental sciences).

Indicators of success will be baseline of the community eligible to apply for NERC funding established.

Milestones

Work with UKRI to agree a benchmarking methodology by April 2022.

Review sector composition against NERC funded community composition to identify ‘missing’ groups by August 2022.

Action 3.3: deliver a community engagement programme

Deliver a community engagement programme to co-create innovative ideas, stimulate constructive challenge, and enable joint activity, such as co-funded engagement programmes, to:

  • increase the attractiveness of environmental science as a career
  • improve diversity and inclusion in environmental science.
Deadline

31 December 2023.

Desired outcomes

Increased NERC head office interaction with higher education institutions (HEIs), centres and community members to set forward actions and maintain active engagement in collaboration projects.

Stakeholder feedback received from regular surveys.

Outputs and measures

NERC can demonstrate increased collaboration to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion, including use of existing forums where appropriate.

Achievement of shared actions and milestones annually.

Evaluation of the effects of these shared actions.

Indicators of success will be:

  • evidence of impact as the result of collaborations (case study examples)
  • an increase in response rate and improvements in assessment results from an annual stakeholder survey.
Milestones

Establish and identify resource for the community engagement plan by March 2022.

Review existing external forums and suitability for NERC engagement by December 2022.

Establish the first set of community owned actions (refreshed annually) by December 2022.

Stakeholder surveys complete to assess the impact of community action by December 2023.

Action 3.4: promote diversity within the NERC Future Leaders Council

Enable the new NERC Future Leaders Council to bring diverse perspectives into senior decision making.

Deadline

31 December 2023 and then each year to 2025.

Desired outcomes

NERC council has a diverse advisory council that they actively draw upon to inform decision making.

Outputs and measures

Group terms of reference in place.

Publication of summary reports from the advisory council.

Indicators of success will be:

  • percentage increase in demographic diversity over the plan period (from 2022-2025)
  • increased inclusivity in NERC council discussion measured by annual self-assessment score improvements
    outcomes from the annual effectiveness review.
Milestones

Agree terms of reference for the Future Leaders Council by January 2022.

Complete recruitment of the new council and share diversity and inclusion outcomes from recruitment with the Executive Chair by February 2023.

Complete the first annual effectiveness review by December 2023.

Action 3.5: work in partnership to improve the visibility of diverse role models

Work in partnership with environmental science institutions (such as higher education institutions) to improve the diversity of visible role models to attract under-represented groups into environmental sciences, providing support to develop individuals.

Deadline

30 September 2024.

Desired outcomes

An increase in visible role models in the environmental science community from under-represented groups over the period of this plan.

NERC adopts new effective mechanisms to develop and support these role models.

Outputs and measures

NERC can demonstrate effective support of existing role models and is helping to develop more within the community.

Indicators of success will be:

  • an increase in NERC supported role models in the environmental science community over the period of this plan
  • an increase in the number of public case studies showcasing role models
  • feedback from role models indicates they feel supported in a positive way that adds to their career as environmental scientists.
Milestones

Identify support that is required to recognise existing role models. Ask them for any learnings to inform our approach and work with them and their institutions to provide ongoing support. Due by December 2022.

Identify new role models in the NERC community. Work with them and their institutions to agree how we will deliver the support they require as a recognised role model, based on learnings from existing role models. Due by December 2023.

Work with institutions across environmental science to establish a network to bring role models together as a cohort, if this is a form of support that they would wish to have in place. Due by September 2024.

Strategic priority area four: improving our own diversity

Director responsible: Victoria McMyn

Action 4.1: formalise annual performance update requirements for employers of NERC staff

Formalise requirements for NERC head office directorates, and centres which employ NERC staff, to maintain and provide annual performance updates against local plans to drive and empower local action, reflecting the wide-ranging nature of our operations.

Deadline

31 August 2022.

Desired outcomes

NERC can capture the broad range of diversity, equity and inclusion activity taking place across NERC which supports this plan.

Centre and head office directors are accountable for driving local improvements.

Outputs and measures

Directorates and centres have local plans to drive diversity and inclusion improvements specific to their area of work.

Assurance processes updated to capture activity and performance.

Indicators of success will be:

  • an increase in the number of diversity and inclusion activities and outcomes being reported through assurance processes
  • local plans set out key performance metrics for the local area and these are reported openly so staff and relevant stakeholders can see progress.
Milestones

New requirement for local plans clearly communicated to directorate leads and centres by March 2022.

Update to head office change plan reporting to capture plan development by March 2022.

Update to centre assurance processes to capture and emphasise reporting against local progress by July 2022.

Establish a new reporting mechanism for local plans at our head office by August 2022.

Action 4.2: mandate equality impact assessments (EIAs)

Mandate EIAs across all NERC core decision making processes with supporting training to ensure equitable considerations and mitigate inadvertent discrimination.

Deadline

31 December 2022.

Desired outcomes

A universal review of engagement, funding, strategy, policy, and procedures through a diversity, equity and inclusion lens to identify areas where EIAs will benefit.

Implement EIAs where opportunities exist.

Outputs and measures

EIAs embedded across key decision-making points.

Staff are more aware of diversity, equity and inclusion as part of business-as-usual activity.

NERC can evidence greater use of EIAs, and directors are accountable for use in their areas through appraisal.

Indicators of success will be regular monitoring and evaluation of EIAs indicates that they are effective at delivering inclusive practices.

Milestones

Agreed policy position on the use of EIAs for defined processes including target dates for adoption. Due by August 2022.

Agreed process for regular review of the use and impact of EIAs across NERC. Due by December 2022.

Action 4.3: establish a NERC workforce baseline

Determine the diversity of the NERC workforce to establish our baseline and provide us with a better understanding of under-representation, thereby establishing a strong evidence base for action and annually monitoring progress.

Deadline

31 December 2022.

Desired outcomes

NERC understands the diversity of its recruitment pool.

Annual updates on the workforce data set illustrates NERC has an understanding of its own diversity and change over time.

A report including gaps in available data and action planned to address this.

Outputs and measures

Data and trends analysis which informs action to address under-representation and is disclosed publicly.

Indicators of success will be:

  • establishing a baseline for the recruitment pool
  • annual review of data sets results in an update to local actions to improve under-representation.
Milestones

Exception reporting process established and first data returned to NERC by March 2022.

Regular reporting cycle for data internally to NERC established by December 2022.

Summary data on workforce diversity on the website (updated annually). Due by December 2023.

Action 4.4: review and enhance recruitment processes and work experience opportunities

Review and enhance our recruitment processes and work experience opportunities to ensure they are free from bias and increase opportunities for under-represented groups.

Deadline

31 December 2023.

Desired outcomes

Greater diversity of applicants for posts through improved job descriptions.

Percentage of employees from under-represented groups represents the UK community we serve.

Targeted work experience opportunities for 30 people per year across under-represented groups. Partnership will be through:

  • 10,000 Black Interns
  • Race for Nature
  • the IEMA diversity project.
Outputs and measures

To monitor data through attraction and impact using diversity, equity and inclusion data in the application and recruitment process.

Positive feedback from individuals who gain work experience.

Evidenced increase in diversity of placement students.

Indicators of success will be:

  • a percentage increase in the diversity of workforce overtime versus the applicant pool and the diversity of the community we serve over the period of the plan
  • a percentage increase in work experience opportunities across NERC
  • an increase in diversity of students taking up work experience opportunities over the period of the plan.
Milestones

Roll out Textio to all staff including those at centres by January 2022.

Complete external review of onboard and exit processes by March 2022.

Update standard recruitment and interview templates and guidance by April 2022.

Recruit and place students with the 10,000 Black Interns scheme (NERC-wide) by November 2022.

Identify ongoing opportunities for placements for under-represented groups including graduates and apprenticeships. Due by December 2023.

Action 4.5: diversity training and guidance for staff

Deliver tailored training, guidance and tools to ensure all staff understand:

  • our diversity data
  • our diversity and inclusion performance
  • the importance of their contribution to an inclusive work environment including calling out unacceptable behaviour.
Deadline

31 August 2023.

Desired outcomes

Diversity, equity and inclusion ambition clearly communicated to staff with a defined engagement plan for ongoing dialogue.

Review the UKRI equality, diversity and inclusion curriculum and identify key modules for certain areas and teams within NERC to attend.

Identify additional training, if required, and deliver it.

Specific training and guidance delivered in response to the safe workspace survey.

Establish a NERC-wide tool for anonymous reporting following the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) pilot activity.

Outputs and measures

An increase in observed staff awareness of the diversity, equity and inclusion ambition for NERC.

Overall attendance across the equality, diversity and inclusion curriculum core modules at 80% NERC staff by December 2022.

Positive feedback on course content and new guidance from staff.

Staff uptake of anonymous reporting tool.

Indicators of success will be:

  • a percentage increase in staff uptake of training courses versus our target above
  • a percentage increase in tailored training opportunities
  • an increase in staff diversity, equity and inclusion awareness as measured through staff surveys
  • an increase in response rate and improvements in assessment results of the annual safe workplace survey.
Milestones

Clearly articulate the NERC ambition for diversity, equity and inclusion to staff at all levels of the organisation via team meetings and intranet by March 2022.

Agree internal diversity, equity and inclusion staff engagement plan, incorporating existing activity by May 2022.

Review the equality, diversity and inclusion curriculum and agree core modules for NERC by March 2022.

Publicise safe workspace survey outcomes and agree additional training and guidance needs across NERC by April 2022.

Pilot and complete a year one report on the anonymous reporting tool at BAS by December 2022.

Initiate rollout and encourage uptake of the UKRI equality, diversity and inclusion curriculum and then review attendance (using an appraisal process). Due by December 2022.

Review of UKRI equality, diversity and inclusion curriculum and additional line manager and leadership training needs by January 2023.

Agree additional bespoke training needs for specific teams, for example, estates and risk managers. Due by March 2023.

Establish an anonymous reporting system across NERC following the BAS pilot. Due by August 2023, subject to BAS pilot outcomes.

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