Westminster Employment Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Next steps for ethnic minority equality in the workplace - recruitment and progression, workplace culture, and pay gap reporting

Morning, Thursday, 25th February 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will look at the next steps for improving opportunity and equality at work for people from across black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from BEIS; DWP; the MoJ; Defra; DfE; DIT; the NAO; the Education & Skills Funding Agency; the FCDO; the Government Legal Department; the HSE; the Home Office; the MOD; and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, ROI.

The discussion at a glance:

  • ethnicity pay reporting and data gathering
  • embedding inclusive cultures and promoting the creation of diverse workplaces
  • representation in leadership
  • improving recruitment practices
  • impact of COVID-19

A scan of relevant developments:

  • The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities:
    • announced by the Government in July to examine inequality in the UK, in particular in health, education, criminal justice and employment, and currently calling for evidence
    • the conference is timed to follow the Commission’s findings and its chair, Dr Tony Sewell is a keynote speaker
  • New Parker Review report reveals ‘slow progress’ on ethnic diversity of FTSE boards - commissioned to consult on the ethnic diversity of UK boards
  • Inquiry into the impact of coronavirus on ethnic minorities - the EHRC developing evidence-based recommendations to tackle racial inequalities in a number of areas including employment
  • Increasing number of employers calculating ethnicity pay gap, PwC study finds - with lack of ethnicity data cited by organisations as the most common reason for not reporting
  • Bridge the gap: practical ways to close your ethnicity pay gap - from the CBI, with recommendations on culture, leadership and organisational processes
  • Race Inequality in the Workforce - the Carnegie UK Trust finding young people from some minority ethnic backgrounds at a greater risk of being in unstable employment than their white peers
  • Colour of Power - the latest survey finding that 52 out of 1,099 top roles in the country filled by non-white individuals, an increase of 15 people since the 2017 index

The discussion in detail:

  • The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities Review - examining its work and findings so far and next steps for improving representation, retention, and progression opportunities for people from different ethnic backgrounds in public sector workforces, and what can learned by private sector employers
  • ethnicity pay gap reporting - looking at employer best practice and the government response to its consultation, expected before the conference take place, and latest thinking on:
    • the information reported, the gathering of data by businesses and how this is used, and the businesses affected
    • next steps including preparing for any future reporting requirements and increase the number and range of businesses reporting
  • closing ethnicity pay gaps - strategies and practicalities of fostering trust and openness in work cultures, championing diversity and inclusion, and improving recruitment and progression practices 
  • recruitment and progression:
    • best practice - strategies such as recruitment of senior-level diversity officers, use of specialist recruitment agencies, and introduction of mentoring programmes
    • innovation in recruitment - latest thinking on the rollout of blind CVs and reviewing interview practices 
  • creating inclusive cultures:
    • engagement - how communication and use of language are being implemented in work environments to embed cultures of diversity and inclusion throughout organisations
    • beyond top-down - use of employee support networks, involvement of all staff in creating organisational culture, and harnessing positive employee power to put pressure on leadership in implementing more inclusive policies and environments 
  • COVID-19 and safeguarding health, wellbeing and employment:
    • best practice - with some ethnic minority groups at greater risk from COVID-19, key steps employers can take to safeguard staff, such as individual risk assessments and encouraging employees to raise concerns
    • government support - what more might be needed, including guidance for businesses
    • security of employment - with some ethnic minorities overrepresented in the sectors hit worst by the economic:
      • how participation in the Government’s job retention scheme can be monitored by ethnicity
      • what can be done to support employers to bring those from ethnic minorities back into work

The agenda:

  • Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities Review - progress and key findings so far
  • An update on the Parker Review - increasing ethnic minority representation at board level
  • Continuing to develop diverse workplaces - gathering and publishing ethnicity data, communicating policy, and changing culture 
  • Closing the ethnicity pay gap 
  • The Business in the Community Race Equality campaign - progress made 25 years on and the impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minorities employees
  • Recruitment and progression - targeting talent, the role of employee networks and mentoring programmes 
  • Next steps for ethnic minority equality in the workplace and ethnicity pay reporting and policy priorities going forward

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by BEIS; Defra; the Department for Education; the Department for International Trade; the DWP; the Education & Skills Funding Agency; the FCDO; the Government Legal Department; the Health and Safety Executive; the Home Office; the Ministry of Defence; the Ministry of Justice; the NAO and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, ROI.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from senior officials from the GEO, BEIS, DWP, MoJ, and other relevant Departments, as well as representatives of employers and trade unions, community and campaign groups, lawyers, equality and diversity professionals, trade and professional associations, academics, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Arun Batra

Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Partner, EY and Adviser, Parker Review

Keynote Speakers

Dr Tony Sewell

Head, Generating Genius and Chair, The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities

Arun Batra

Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Partner, EY and Adviser, Parker Review

Sandra Kerr

Race Director, Business in the Community


Katy Bennett

Diversity and Inclusion Consulting Director, PwC

Hugh Milward

General Manager, Corporate, External and Legal Affairs

Fudia Smartt

Partner, Spencer West

Wilf Sullivan

Race Equality Officer, TUC

Raph Mokades

Founder and Managing Director, Rare

Jenn Barnett

Director of Inclusion, Diversity and Wellbeing, Grant Thornton

Richard Iferenta

Partner and Vice-Chair, KPMG and Chair, Race Equality Leadership Team