The British Standards Institute (BSI) has released PAS 1948, a new code of practice aimed at driving a customised diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) framework (the Code). Sponsored by the All-In Diversity Project, the Code is free to download and provides comprehensive guidance for organisations (including trade unions, employee representative groups and other interested bodies) seeking to develop and implement effective DEI initiatives. It covers various areas essential to DEI, including concepts such as “diversity of thought”, “dimensions of diversity”, “intercultural competence” and “cognitive diversity”.
Developed in response to the growing demand for guidance on DEI initiatives, the Code serves as a practical resource for organisations of all sectors and sizes and has broad applicability. It recognises that workplaces extend beyond offices to environments such as zoos, sports arenas, film sets and more. The Code goes beyond presenting principles to give practical guidance, recommendations and a workplace toolkit.
The Code aims to assist organisations in identifying appropriate learning and development needs related to DEI, creating inclusive brands and workplace cultures that prioritise customer engagement and embedding DEI principles into internal policies, practices and processes. It emphasises the organisational benefits of establishing and maintaining an effective DEI culture and provides guidance on setting achievable targets and measuring progress. It also offers practical recommendations on recruitment and retention strategies that promote DEI, provides guidance on engaging and supporting underrepresented social and cultural groups, and addresses how organisations can tackle behaviours that are inconsistent with DEI principles.
The Code does not include details of equality laws or regulations. However, it does include standards and principles endorsed by organisations, research institutes, government agencies and other reputable bodies. The BSI encourages organisations to incorporate the guidance alongside existing British standard frameworks in areas such as human resource management, diversity and inclusion, valuing people management systems, and psychological health and safety at work.
Christina Thakor-Rankin, Co-Founder of the All-In Diversity Project which sponsors the Code, highlights that DEI is a responsibility shared by everyone, not just the HR department. She emphasised that the relevant focus is shifting from why inclusive workplaces are important to how organisations can create them.
Kate Field, Global Head of Health, Safety and Wellbeing at the BSI, has commented on the potential transformative power of a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace culture that prioritises people. She emphasised that leadership plays a crucial role in turning DEI ambitions into actionable steps that build and sustain inclusive environments. Field highlights the significant benefits of investing in DEI, including attracting and retaining top talent, driving innovation, enhancing customer engagement and improving overall performance.
If you have any questions on the Code or DEI matters, please contact a member of the Employment team who would be delighted to assist.