Equality and diversity

We are committed to fairness and, in particular, the promotion of equality of opportunity for all. Taking equality considerations into account in our work is an important and integral part of our approach as both an employer and a policy-maker.

Equality in policy-making

When working on policy, our officials look at the impact a policy option might have on those from protected groups, including positive opportunities for promoting greater fairness for them. They also consider if there are options for avoiding or otherwise mitigating against any negative impact on that group. Ministers are advised of the impact a decision has on protected groups, and this is taken into account when a policy decision is made.

Although the Treasury sets departmental budgets, it is up to each individual department to decide how they spend that budget. In deciding how the budget is to be spent, departments must consider the impact on protected groups. There are some policy areas, such as welfare, where the Treasury has a greater policy making responsibility.

Case study: Budget 2020 and Spending Round 2019

We considered the impact policy measures have on those sharing protected characteristics, throughout the policy development and decision-making process, both in the Budget of 2020 and in the Spending Round of 2019.

Advice to Treasury Ministers on individual measures for Budget 2020 incorporated a summary of equality impacts, including the implications for those sharing protected characteristics. In the interests of transparency, Tax Information and Impact Notes (TIINs) for tax measures legislated in the Budget were subsequently published here. These provided, in summary form, information on these measures, including their impacts for those sharing protected characteristics.

For the Spending Round 2019, covering budget allocations for 2020 to 2021, HMT worked closely with spending departments, including on equalities angles of the funding decisions to be taken. This engagement informed the advice provided to Treasury Ministers on relevant equality impacts and they took care to consider such angles. To promote transparency, the published Spending Round document included an annex on equality impacts. The annex listed illustrative examples where spending allocations at Spending Round 2019 would have a positive impact on those sharing the protected characteristics and, thus, help promote the outcomes for fairness sought by the Government.

Equality as an employer

We promote equality of opportunity in employment to ensure our workforce is representative of the community it serves and that we attract and retain talented employees. We publish regular information on the diversity of our work force.

Information on the diversity of the Treasury’s employees is also published in the Treasury’s Annual Report and Accounts.

Public sector equality duty (PSED) objectives – 2020-24

Most public sector organisations are required by the Equality Act to publish equalities objectives every four years. For the 2020-24 period, we have set eight workforce related equalities objectives and two that relate to our policy work. All ten are shown below:

Equality in the workforce

Progressing talent from under-represented groups

  • continue to embed targeted talent development scheme, Accelerate, for Range E and E2 (Grade 7/6) employees from under-represented groups to help promote career progression to the Senior Civil Service (SCS) and ensure there is a steady pipeline of people ready for the SCS. This initiative was introduced in 2018 and strengthened in 2019 to include executive coaching. Participants’ career progression is monitored (ongoing to March 2024)
  • review Range D (HEO) talent management initiative for under-represented groups, aims to promote career progression to the next level i.e. Range E (Grade 7). This initiative has been in place 6 years and has successfully supported career progression (ongoing to March 2024)
  • continue to diversify graduate intake and participation in (i) Civil Service wide Summer Diversity Internship Programme, coordinated by the Cabinet Office (ii) Care Leavers Internship and (iii) Autism Exchange Internship (ongoing to March 2024)

Building an inclusive culture

  • ensure all new members of the Treasury’s Senior Civil Service attend Inclusive Leadership Training (ongoing to March 2024)
  • continue to champion the work of the Treasury’s employee diversity networks, raising awareness and improving understanding on all diversity and inclusion strands (ongoing to March 2024)
  • support and promote flexible working and work-life balance (ongoing to March 2024)

Improving social mobility

  • encourage and improve declaration rates on socio-economic background to establish a strong evidence base to help support targeted interventions (ongoing to March 2024)
  • continue, in the context of graduate recruitment, to collect, monitor and analyse appropriate socio-economic background data to develop interventions and new initiatives designed to improve access for applicants from lower socio-economic groups (ongoing to March 2024)

Equality in policy work

The following objectives reflect the department’s continued commitment to consider with care the impacts of policy options on those sharing protected characteristics:

  • promote awareness and understanding by continuing to deliver and update the rolling programme of activities that informs HM Treasury officials on their responsibilities under the PSED and on equalities issues (ongoing to March 2024)
  • keep our internal mechanisms under active review and update the internal guidance, governance and support structures within HM Treasury for ensuring that statutory obligations set out under the PSED on equalities continue to be properly considered in policy work and decision making (ongoing to March 2024)