Diversity and inclusion (D&I) has never just been about policies, programmes and headcount. It is also about culture, leadership, business strategy and co-production. This conference will build on the D&I focus which both the pandemic and Black Lives Matter have prompted by bringing together speakers and delegates who want D&I to become part of the fabric of organisational life.

Before 2020 most employers could point to a range of modest steps they had taken to improve D&I in their workplaces. Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and the spotlight has been on widening inequalities in pay, employment prospects, educational opportunities and health outcomes for many groups in the UK. Also, the energy behind the Black Lives Matter movement has lent a new urgency to many initiatives where momentum was perhaps too slow.

As employers regain some ‘bandwidth’ to focus on their post-pandemic priorities, many recognise that they have an opportunity to do more than just polish up their D&I ‘credentials’ and to accelerate many of the initiatives they were already working on and to tackle others which have now become more urgent. At IES we are hearing this message from many of our employer contacts, network members and clients and this conference is an opportunity to hear from practitioners and people with lived experience about what is new in D&I and the future challenges we all need to confront to ‘move the dial’ on D&I decisively.

Who should attend:

Senior HR Leaders and Diversity and Inclusion focussed HR practitioners

Topics we will cover include:

You will hear from:

Liz Sayce OBE, Visiting Senior Fellow, International Inequalities Institute

Liz Sayce is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics and was until recently CEO of Disability Rights UK. Former roles include Policy Director of Mind and of the Disability Rights Commission. She has published widely on disability, mental health and equality.

An inclusive future for work: Changing people to fit work, or changing work to suit people?

Liz will reflect on progress in making work inclusive and on areas that have stalled. She will discuss approaches to create greater momentum, set against significant future change prompted by both Covid and automation/robotics. Greater inclusion depends on collaborative action, involving employers and government as well as trade unions, employee networks, civil society and anchor organisations.

Wendy Cartwright, former HR Director, Olympic Delivery Authority

Wendy Cartwright, Chair Advisory Board, Global Diversity Practice is the former HR Director for the Olympic Delivery Authority – the organisation responsible for developing and building the new venues and infrastructure for London 2012. More recently Wendy was HR Director of the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme, and Corporate Services Director at the University of East London. She has held senior HR roles in central government, financial services, energy and retail sectors, and now has a portfolio that includes a mixture of project and non-executive roles.

Wendy has a Master’s degree in Employment Strategy and is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD.

Making Equality, Diversity & Inclusion a business priority

In this talk, Wendy will look at how organisations are grappling with multiple pressures and increasing complexity and answers the question of why should EDI be a priority? What can be done at a strategic and operational levels to ensure that employees’ lived experience matches EDI values statements?

Barry Boffy, Head of Inclusion & Diversity at British Transport Police

Barry Boffy is the Head of Inclusion & Diversity for British Transport Police (BTP); the UK’s specialist policing service for the railway network across England, Scotland and Wales. As Head of Inclusion & Diversity he is the strategic lead for all operational and people & culture related equality, diversity and inclusion activity.

Unhappy Accidents: Impacts of Trends in Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

How could emerging trends in Equality, Diversity & Inclusion practice actually derail progress in tackling inappropriate workplace cultures? Could adopting new concepts in ED&I practice do more damage than good? This talk will outline the importance of understanding how future trends and concepts in ED&I could actually be counterproductive to tackling toxic workplace behaviours or cultures. How can employers avoid the pitfalls of jumping on the wrong bandwagon?

Jacqueline Bowman, EU Policy Lead for the Study of Obesity , EASO

Jacqueline has spent her 24-year career in EU and global health policy & stakeholder engagement environments in Brussels, EMEA. She began as an Advisor to a Member of the European Parliament on international human rights issues, moved through global consultancies, international institutions and international NGOs focusing on policy-driven stakeholder engagement and policy advocacy.She works actively to ensure consensus and concrete policy actions across stakeholder groups in: Obesity, Value of Innovation, Mainstreaming mental health, Self-Care and wellbeing and Women’s empowerment (maternal health and other women’s health issues)

Obesity at Work: Challenging the last ‘Acceptable’ Form of Discrimination

Many people living with obesity – especially women – experience stigma & discrimination both in the jobs market and at work. Yet obesity is not yet a specific ‘protected characteristic’ in the UK. This session will draw on Jacqueline’s lived experience of multiple forms of discrimination and offer employers some guidance on how to support employees who have complex challenges to overcome.

Steph Hutchings, Strategic People Consultant and Disability Inclusion Specialist, London Borough of Hounslow

Keeping inclusion at the top of the management agenda and the benefits of ‘co-production’ in the design in inclusivity initiatives.

The phrase ‘nothing about us without us’ is now commonly used to emphasise the need to include people with lived experience in D&I initiatives. So why should employers embrace employee involvement in the design & operation of D&I practices and how can the principles of ‘co-production’ inform the we implement D&I programmes in the future?

Dr Duncan Brown, IES Principal Associate

Duncan Brown has over 20 years’ experience in HR consulting and research on topics such as pay and reward, and talent management. He has participated on government taskforces on pensions and human capital reporting and was a member of the expert advisory group to the Hutton Review of Fair Pay.

Beyond Gender Pay Gap reporting: the case for monitoring disability and ethnicity too

Love it or loathe it, gender pay gap reporting has become a mainstream way of monitoring at least one aspect of D&I practice. Despite its limitations, pay gap reporting means that employers must collect & report data AND account for any differences which it reveals. Duncan will look at how pressure is now growing to extend this reporting regime to both disability and ethnicity. This session will look at the challenges & benefits of going down this route and offers practical tips on how to prepare should this become mandatory.

The conference will be chaired by Stephen Bevan, IES Head of HR Research Development

Stephen has conducted research and consultancy on high-performance work practices, employee reward strategy, performance management, staff engagement and retention, and ‘good work’.

Stephen is a Board Member of the European HR Director’s Circle and a member of the Britain’s Healthiest Company expert advisory group. Stephen regularly appears in HR Magazine’s list of Most Influential HR Thinkers. He has been an Honorary Professor at Lancaster University Management School since 2010.


Event timetable:

9:00 Check in

9:15 Chair introduction

9:20 Talk 1: An inclusive future for work – Changing people to fit work, or changing work to suit people?

9:45 Q&A

9:55 Talk 2: Making Equality, Diversity & Inclusion a business priority

10:15 Talk 3: Unhappy Accidents: Impacts of Trends in Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

10:35 Q&A

10:45 Break out room discussions (and opportunity for Coffee Break )

11:05 Talk 4: Obesity at Work: Challenging the last ‘Acceptable’ Form of Discrimination

11:25 Talk 5 : Keeping inclusion at the top of the management agenda and the benefits of ‘co-production’ in the design in inclusivity initiatives.

11:45 Q&A

11:55 Break out room discussions (and opportunity for Coffee Break )

12:15 Talk 6 Beyond Gender Pay Gap reporting: the case for monitoring disability and ethnicity too

12:35 Q&A

12:45 Chair Summary

13:00 End


Ticket prices

As the 2021 event is a virtual one, and overheads have been reduced, we are passing on the cost savings made to you directly by offering significant reduction in the ticket prices for this year’s event.

HR Network member tickets (find out more):

Full member: 4 inclusive tickets (normally 2)

Associate members: 2 inclusive tickets (normally 1)

Non-member tickets:

Non-member: £89 (+VAT) (usually £320.00 +VAT)