As the water regulator, Ofwat has an important role to play in delivering public value and encouraging water companies to provide a service that is accessible and inclusive for everyone. At Ofwat we have committed to listening to a diverse range of customers more directly to better test our policies and guide where and how we hold companies to account. We have also asked companies to work with others within and beyond the sector, reflecting the needs of the places in which they operate, so it is vital that both we and the sector are equal, diverse and inclusive.
Our aim is to create an environment where colleagues feel comfortable being themselves and bringing their whole self to work. We are committed to being a truly diverse and inclusive employer, reflective of the customers and communities we serve, encouraging applications from all walks of life. We want Ofwat to be a place where everyone is treated equally, empowered to thrive, irrespective of their background, age, gender, location, ethnicity/race, religion/belief, marital status, sexual identity or disability. We are committed to creating an organisation which values all our people and their contribution, so that together we achieve our vision of improving life through water.
In our 2021 annual people survey: 90% of our people said they were treated with respect by the people they worked with and 87% of our people said they thought that Ofwat respects individual differences which is encouraging feedback.
What have we been doing?
In July 2021 we launched ‘Being Ourselves’, our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategy for Ofwat. People from across Ofwat are involved in championing and driving this work forward.
Since launching the strategy, which was developed in consultation with our people, we have been busy delivering on several actions. Here are just a few of the things we have been doing:
- Enhanced our Diversity Pay Gap Reporting
- Created the role of Being Ourselves Champions: ambassadors from across the organisation committed to role modelling EDI in Ofwat. They provide scrutiny and challenge of the action plan, and input ideas, support and enthusiasm to enable the successful delivery of the EDI strategy – embedding an inclusive culture in Ofwat
- Improved our EDI data collection rates: we continue to encourage people to share their EDI data, so that we can accurately measure where we are now and where we are trying to get to on our EDI journey. We have seen a significant increase in the proportion of those who have disclosed their personal information
- Established staff networks around protected characteristics and developed guidance for anyone wanting to set up additional networks. We have also connected with networks in the wider Civil Service and within other regulators
- Created a bespoke EDI learning and development programme for all our people to attend. In addition we delivered unconscious bias training for all our people, including our Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and Board
- Internal ‘Elephant in the Room’ workshops – So much of EDI is about learning. These sessions have allowed our people to talk about the uncomfortable and ask questions on EDI issues in a safe environment
- TinyTalks – 15 minute fireside chats led by our people on topics relevant to their personal experience, including race and disability
- Reverse mentoring: Set up a reverse mentoring programme between members of our Black Staff Network, SLT & our Chair to learn about racial inequalities
- Mentoring with a Difference: An initiative that broadens the knowledge and understanding of our people through mentoring on areas of diversity aligned to those protected by UK equality legislation
- Outside in Talks; a programme of external guest speakers who share their lived and professional experiences of diversity with our people.
- Early Careers: focus on ‘growing our own’ talent through increased graduate, apprenticeship and placement opportunities. We improved the diversity of our Graduate intake of 2021 by targeting ‘ Millionplus’ universities.
Diversity of thought leads to better decision making, minimising risk, supporting innovation and creativity by bringing together different experiences, backgrounds, and skills. We know there is more work to be done to make Ofwat an inclusive place to be where everyone can be themselves and bring their whole self to work.
Ofwat’s wider involvement in EDI
As part of our membership with the UK Regulator’s Network (UKRN), Ofwat has committed to a set of diversity and inclusion pledges which seek to collaboratively drive forward diversity and inclusion work across our organisations .