Inclusion and Diversity at the IPO
We have built our culture on principles not rules, inclusion for all, and trust in each other and our intentions. These things are at the heart of everything we do that impacts on our people and customers. Our Deal principles, which sit at the heart of our culture, encourage us to see everyone as an individual, with different skills and experience.
IPO IT Academy: what inclusivity support is available?
Hear from our IT Academy Apprentice on Inclusivity support and how the IPO are working to improve equality in the tech sector.
What have we achieved this year?
We are thrilled this year to have been recognised by several external organisations for being a fair and inclusive employer, one of which being recognised as an Accomplished Carer Confident employer.
Karen Powell, Chair of our Carer’s Network says:
“On Carers' Rights Day, we’re absolutely thrilled to be recognised as an Accomplished Carer Confident employer. IPO is very deserving of this recognition and it is indicative of the inclusive workplace that makes IPO a brilliant place to work. I find being a carer very tough at times, but working in the IPO with all the flexibilities that brings, make things easier to deal with.”
Louise Wring, HR Specialist says:
“Our Carer’s Network are at the forefront of change in the IPO and it’s a real testament to their passion and dedication that we’ve been recognised as an Accomplished Carer Confident Employer. Using the Carer’s network, we’ve been able to consult with those who are living through some of the difficulties faced by carers to make our policies more inclusive, building an environment in the IPO where everyone’s experience is valid and respected. Our fantastic flexible working policies, along with our Carer’s passport have really made a difference to our carers who have particularly struggled during the pandemic. We aim to help everyone achieve a satisfactory work life dynamic, and are looking forward to building on what we have to make the IPO a brilliant place to work.”
Inclusion for all
We want our people to feel that they can be themselves at work, valued for the distinct perspective that they bring, and able to go as far as their talents will take them – irrespective of their sex, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, faith, age or socioeconomic background.
Feeling included is good for us as individuals. It’s good for teams and it’s good for the people and communities we serve.
The IPOs Inclusive Staff Network Groups:
i-Pride - LGBT Network
- iPride is the IPO’s LGBTQ+ Network group.
- iPride will stand for all those who have shared experience in the realms of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
- Their mission statement is - If you believe in equality, fairness and inclusion, then you can’t pick and choose.
- We will also be an ally to any of our colleagues who need support or encouragement.
Women’s Inclusive Network
- WIN is the Women’s Inclusive Network supporting the IPO to be a workplace where everyone can reach their full potential regardless of gender.
- This network is supporting the IPO to be a workplace where everyone can reach their full potential regardless of gender.
- We want to play our part in tackling any barriers to recruiting and progressing women in the workplace so that they can achieve and prosper.
“We have developed a network of volunteers in the organisation who, amongst other things, have made a commitment to us raising awareness of and support for Menopause by developing resources, guidance, Champions, videos and podcasts.
We have developed a cross-government session, which was delivered to all our people, busting myths on Imposter Syndrome and sharing personal stories.”
Business Change Manager and Women’s Network Co-Chair
Head of Business Intelligence and Women’s Network Co-Chair
- The Men’s Network was set up as a way of making sure that access to help such as our counsellor service was being accessed equally by men as it is by anyone else.
- This network was specifically set up for men looking for commonality and support around mental health and wellbeing, as well as supporting men explore opportunities to increase equal opportunities by working in partnership with the women’s network.
iBelieve Faith Network
- iBelieve is the IPO’s Faith and Belief Network.
- Of all the diversity characteristics, faith and belief tends to be the one we talk about least.
- All of us, have shared principles and values which frame our everyday lives but many people feel a bit uncomfortable talking about their faith or belief.
- The role of the iBelieve network is to support those conversations to help us feel comfortable talking about faith and belief at work - including those of us who have no religion or belief.
Mental Health Support
- IPO offer a variety of support networks focused around mental well-being; Staff Counsellors, Peer-to-Peer support group, mental health advocates, and “The Haven”.
- Our focus has been to measure the effectiveness of our current mental health services.
- We set ourselves a ministerial target to “externally validate and benchmark our provision for the mental health of our people” and used the MIND Workplace Wellbeing Index as the vehicle for this.
- At the end of April we received a copy of our report which confirmed that we were one of only 15 organisations this year to achieve the highest category of a Gold Award which is given to organisations which have successfully embedded mental health into their policies and practices.
Peer 2 Peer
“We have welcomed 12 new colleagues to the weekly virtual Peer 2 Peer sessions in the last 12 months.
We have continued to provide support to our group with weekly virtual discussion, Christmas Day sessions, Sunday Night Quizzes and one to one catch ups.”
Senior Business Analyst and Peer 2 Peer Network Co-Chair
Project Support Manager and Peer 2 Peer Network Co-Chair
- BAME is a network that was set up in 2017 to support our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues in the IPO.
- Our aim is to ensure that the IPO remains a brilliant place to work for ALL people and that we continue to encourage people of BAME background to join us working at the IPO.
- The iCAN Network has been set up to support and provide a voice for colleagues with disabilities.
- Its aim is to help colleagues access all the information and services the IPO offers promoting equality for all.
- We raise awareness of issues faced by individuals and groups due to their impairment and help to improve access, facilities, benefits all employees, customers and users of our services.
- iThink is the IPO’s neurodiversity network for colleagues with autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia etc.
- We are committed to making the IPO a brilliant place to work for those with neurodiverse conditions and supporting all colleagues to better understand how these conditions affect people.
- We run staff talks on colleagues’ experiences of living and working at the IPO with autism and dyslexia along with a number of other projects to make the IPO a brilliant place to work.
Women in STEM at the IPO support WISE’s #1oftheMillion campaign
Inclusive One IPO Culture
Our inclusion and diversity report for 2021-2022 is our fourth edition and outlines the work we have been doing to help make IPO a truly inclusive employer.
The report includes our vision for the future, diversity and recruitment statistics and how we plan to act on recommendations from organisations we engaged with to validate our approaches.
See our latest vacancies and find out more on our inclusive network groups by checking out our three diversity microsites.
Read about what we got up to for Black History Month and more.
Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) Jobs site
Check out how we marked LGBT history.
LGBT Jobs site
Find out about our mini iCAN-network and more on neurodiversity.
Disability Jobs site
Working flexibly in the IPO
Returning to site
Initially 96% of employees were working from home, with only those whose jobs could not be done from home working from the office. However, we identified that the wellbeing of some staff could be improved if they were to work from the office (e.g. lack of space at home, family reasons). Therefore, since August 2020 a number of wellbeing returners have also been authorised to work from the office. So that they have support at close hand should they need it, a member of the mental health first aid team also attends site on a rota basis.
To keep our people safe, our sites have been risk assessed and are covid safe. We have maintained 2 metres between desks, have increased cleaning schedules and made PPE equipment available to all staff attending site.
We are currently thinking about what the site and our working patterns may look like in the future. We think that wellbeing will be an important issue for a while yet and we’ve started to think about the longer-term mental health problems resulting from the pandemic and what we can do to support people.
Accessibility and Workplace Adjustments
IPO offices have disabled toilet facilities on each floor, of which there are at least 2 on each level. We have a disabled toilet with a shower facility at each location if needed.
The IPO currently has 9 accessible toilets and gender-neutral changing facilities. We also have dedicated welfare parking bays available, which can be booked for users with particular needs. Full conference facilities with disabled access. THE IPO H&S Team carry out full assessments, such as DSE, PEEP and risk Assessments.
We understand that we must be able to provide support to employees with a disability or health condition and that this may be in the form of a workplace adjustment.
A workplace adjustment can be a change that removes a barrier or a disadvantage for employees with a disability or health condition. This could be a physical feature or a change in working arrangements. What constitutes a workplace adjustment will vary depending on the individual.
Equality law recognises that bringing about equality for people with a disability may mean changing the way in which employment is structured, the removal of physical barriers and/or providing extra support.
Our values and the Deal principles
Our values and principles are the foundation on which we build our relationships, and so have a key role in influencing how much a part of the wider IPO community our people feel.
We are focused on moving away from inaccessible content formats offering alternative versions of documents and making use of our in-house user research team to test content –
A huge achievement of ours has been the creation and development of many staff networks, designed to create an environment where people feel that they belong – Read more here
Jobs at Intellectual Property Office
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Intellectual Property Office LinkedIn site
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