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First electricity distributor gains National Equality Standard

UK Power Networks is the UK’s first electricity distributor to be awarded the National Equality Standard (NES), the top UK standard of best practice on equality, diversity and inclusion.

From Press releases - 5 November 2018 12:00 AM

Britain’s biggest electricity distribution network, which delivers power in London, the South East and East of England, was assessed against recognised national standards supported by the Home Office and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Over the past year the network has introduced inclusive behaviour e-learning courses and training on how to overcome unconscious bias, blind screening – which research has found can reduce bias in recruitment – for apprenticeship applications, and launched a new network, run by employees from diverse groups, to promote new ideas to make the business even more inclusive.

NES chief executive, Arun Batra, said: “I’ve been hugely impressed with the commitment shown by UK Power Networks, which has translated into real progress and I’m therefore delighted that they are the first electricity distributor to be NES certified.”

Sarah Porcelli, head of learning and development at UK Power Networks, said: “We serve 8.3million customers, from diverse backgrounds and experiences and having an employee base that reflects the diversity of the customers we serve enables us to understand and meet their individual needs and identify new solutions to deliver a better quality and efficient service.

“If English isn’t your first language we provide information in different languages. People with hearing impairments, for whom a voice call is not appropriate, can contact us online, by text, on social media and, if they use British Sign Language can speak to us using BSL via a dedicated video relay service. We are also proud to be the first network to provide customers with learning disabilities with information in easy read format.

“I’m absolutely delighted everyone across the business worked hard to achieve this. It was a company cultural change that has really brought to life our value of diversity and inclusion.”

Andrew Pace, director of HR at UK Power Networks, said: “NES accreditation signifies our commitment towards becoming a truly diverse and inclusive workplace. We want UK Power Networks to be a great place to work. It’s our colleagues who have made UK Power Networks the leading distribution network on reliability, cost and safety, and being the number one is built on best practice in diversity and inclusiveness for our staff and our customers.”