Treating everyone we deal with fairly and equally is central to the work we do.
Building one community where everyone can be themselves, to contribute, flourish and succeed.
We’re committed to:
- making sure that our service is accessible to everyone
- drawing on our understanding of equality law, where relevant, in our responses
- sharing our knowledge and expertise with financial businesses and other stakeholders, including how inequalities can impact customers
Being diverse and inclusive means that we can better understand our customer’s different perspectives and backgrounds, which is fundamental to our job resolving financial complaints.
We’re committed to:
- attracting and developing people from a wide range of backgrounds to reflect the diversity of our customers and the population as a whole
- having a wide range of policies and guidelines to support our peoples’ different needs at different times of their lives and throughout their career with us
- reporting each year on diversity, inclusion and wellbeing and we share information about working at the Financial Ombudsman, our culture and the ways we support our people
We want to reach groups of consumers who are under-represented in their contact with us or may face barriers in bringing complaints to us – for example, because of language difficulties or disabilities.
To do this, we:
- volunteer with local communities
- meet businesses, trade associations and consumer groups across the UK
- educate our staff on people’s different needs, especially if they’re vulnerable
- learn from the charities and other partners we work with
Find out more about how we work with other organisations.
These are some of the memberships and groups we partner with, to align with best practice and continually push ourselves to improve.
We have an important job to do for our customers, but we also understand the importance of support networks and social activities for our people.
We want our people to be healthy and motivated, so we help to look after physical and mental wellbeing and promote learning and development.
We’re really pleased to have a wide range of employee-led networks, that play an important role in our diversity and inclusion and help us understand what really matters to our staff.
Here are examples of some the work of our employee networks in the past year:
The theme of 2023’s Black History Month was Saluting our Sisters. To mark this, our award-winning employee-led network, Embrace, organised a calendar of events including an engaging and lively lunchtime session, where colleagues shared powerful stories and perspectives about their career progression as black women.
Embrace came up with actions for every work day throughout October to help us all:
- learn about the experiences of other colleagues
- reflect on our own actions, and
- commit to ongoing action to support a more racially inclusive environment
They also hosted a two-part book club discussion of I'm not your Baby Mother, by critically acclaimed author and journalist, Candace Braithwaite.
Hundreds of people from across the organisation took part in our Purple Light Up events to demonstrate the economic contribution to the UK made by disabled people. Executive sponsors for Enable, our disability network, joined in the activities, which included:
- forming flash mobs in our London and Coventry office receptions
- a panel event to discuss the different aspects of hybrid working
- fundraising for Kidney Research UK, through a sale of purple merchandise
November, or ‘Movember’, is Men's Mental Health Awareness Month. To mark the occasion, our Mental Wellbeing network hosted a virtual panel event where senior leaders discussed:
- what mental wellness means to each of them
- how men are impacted by the stigma of mental health, and
- how hybrid working impacts our mental wellbeing
In November 2022, the Women’s network hosted their first in-person event on empowerment.
Colleagues from across the organisation joined a group of our female senior leaders, who spoke about taking charge of your career by developing networking skills. Senior mentors also hosted one-to-one speed mentoring activities.
In early 2021, we lost our friend and long-time colleague, Juliana Francis. Juliana was our Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing, a hugely experienced Ombudsman, and a driving force for inclusivity across the organisation.
About the award
We launched the Juliana Francis Inclusion and Wellbeing Award in honour of Juliana, her achievements and the ongoing work she inspired.
The award recognises and celebrates the work of colleagues whose contributions help to embed inclusion and wellbeing in the organisation.
The winner receives funding towards an activity or course to support their development or wellbeing. We also showcase their work in this area and celebrate some of the highly commended submissions.
Our inclusion strategy
Our new diversity, inclusion and wellbeing strategy – Together we Thrive – brings together a new set of commitments to foster a culture that goes beyond equality – one that promotes equity and embraces our differences.
You can read more about our four main pillars, our key focus and what we hope to do in the future, to help continue to progress our inclusion strategy:
We want everyone who works with us to feel a sense of belonging.
So we’re offering our people new training, guidance and resources about diversity and inclusion, exploring things like:
- assessing equality impact
- embracing active allyship
- addressing microaggressions, and
- understanding mental health.
This will help them to become better equipped to engage with our diverse population
We want to achieve diversity of thought and innovation by retaining our people and attracting from the widest possible pool of talent.
We’re planning to:
- increase our focus on socio economic diversity, including signing the social mobility pledge
- introduce mentoring opportunities and,
- roll out our diversifying leadership programme to junior members of staff.
Fairness is not only about achieving fair outcomes for our customers but embracing equitable ways of working.
So, we will review our current policies and processes to ensure fairness is embedded into our everyday work. For example:
- maintain our commitment to the Race at Work Charter, being disability confident and supporting women in finance, and
- working with suppliers who share similar diversity, inclusion and wellbeing values.
Covid-19 showed us the value of being prepared for when something happens. So, we’ve shifted our approach from reactive to proactive support.
We’re providing more opportunities for early intervention and good wellbeing practices such as:
- financial education and coaching
- manager mental health training, and
- health and wellbeing benefits.
We’re also introducing a more comprehensive support for our employees returning from long term leave.
And of course, we support our people to develop professionally throughout their career journey with us.