As the only professional accountancy body specialising in public finance, CIPFA has a vital role to play in advocating for greater diversity across the profession. We can only do so if we're able to demonstrate progress among our organisation – leading by example.
We have commissioned research, undertaking a diversity and inclusion survey across our employees and membership, and hosted workshops across the community. This generated important evidence about the levels of diversity at CIPFA and how our staff and members feel about inclusion. We also voluntarily publish information on gender pay gaps within the institute, and will do the same for ethnicity.
We are making progress, but much more is needed. We aim to achieve a step-change in the levels of diversity and inclusion at CIPFA, among employees and members alike.
We will take a holistic approach to diversity and inclusion, understanding change is required across a range of related areas, using data to inform and evaluate said change. For example, our initial focus is on protected characteristics where we face the most acute challenges (sex, age, and ethnicity). This will also include socioeconomic background, as evidence shows this has a significant impact on access and progression.
CIPFA as a professional body
Access Accountancy (AA)
CIPFA is an active signatory member of Access Accountancy, a collaboration of more than 25 accountancy firms, professional bodies and organisations dedicated to improving access to, and progression within, the accountancy profession for applicants from lower socioeconomic backgrounds in the UK.
As a signatory, we encourage the employers we engage with to offer placements to individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and undertake benchmarking activity.
Mental health and wellbeing hub
In 2021 we launched the hub to provide support for members and CIPFA employees. We also have a trained team of mental health first aiders for CIPFA staff.
Member Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group
This group supports our strategy by providing context and advice from a member's and practitioner's perspective, championing the cause and being an advocate for progress and change. It's made up of regional diversity and inclusion representatives, council members and other volunteer members.
Several of CIPFA's regional bodies are developing or promoting initiatives and have appointed diversity and inclusion champions.
Chartered Bodies Group
CIPFA has been working with a group of like-minded chartered bodies, initiated at CEO level. The group is convened by the CIPD and includes ACCA and ICAS along with professional bodies from other sectors, such as insurance and management. This coming together has generated three work streams:
1. new research exploring the barriers to progression in the professions
2. developing guidance on the collection and holding of member data, with plans to benchmark against each other
3. collating a library of EDI guidance and resources.
CIPFA as an employer
We want all employees to feel valued and included. We have rolled out diversity and inclusion training for all employees, which is now part of our standard training for all new starters. We are currently working to develop a programme to support, embed and integrate diversity, equality and inclusion into the wider culture and structure of CIPFA.
Employee Diversity and Inclusion Group
The group connects interested individual employees, provides input and feedback on our plans, and takes an active role in rolling out our initiatives.
Gender and race pay gap reporting
We have voluntarily reported our gender pay gap annually since 2017, an ongoing activity linked to the pay review process. We have undertaken analysis of our ethnicity pay gap and will publish the results soon.