EDI Policies

We want our people to be proud to work for Cancer Research UK, an organisation renowned for its world leading work. We recognise and welcome our role as an aspiring sector leader in equality, diversity and inclusion. We recognise the sector’s diversity challenge and will take Positive Action to ensure we have a workforce that is reflective of society.

Cancer Research UK is committed to creating and supporting inclusive practices which foster the creation of inclusive workplaces and stakeholder engagement across all its business operations. We aim to create a culture of mutual respect and support for EDI, underpinned by the determination to create an inclusive workplace environment where all staff can achieve their full potential.

Cancer Research UK is fully committed to the fair treatment of everyone we employ, work and engage with (including volunteers), regardless of their personal characteristics (see section 5 for further information).  Our commitments go beyond the minimum requirements set out by the 2010 Equality Act.

We at Cancer Research UK recognise the link between diversity and improved business performance and stakeholder engagement, and we understand that ensuring equality of opportunity is one of the essential requirements to achieving our mission of 3 in 4 surviving cancer by 2034.

This EDI Policy, along with the EDI Strategy, sets out our commitment to ensuring that EDI is taken fully into account in everything we do. This includes providing services, engaging with external stakeholders, employing people, developing policies, and consulting with and involving people in our work.

The commitments set out in this EDI policy apply to everyone who works for, contracts and partners with, visits, and engages with Cancer Research UK. It is also extended to our volunteers and to some extent mirrors the Volunteer Fair Treatment Policy. Volunteers are therefore free to access either policy.

The EDI policy will play a key role in achieving the following outcomes:

3.1. Developing a consistent approach to EDI that ensures that all Cancer Research UK staff benefit from an inclusive work environment, where their talents and skills are fully valued and utilised.

3.2. More effectively embedding EDI within business as usual processes to support the continued development of inclusive everyday employment and work practices.

3.3. Encourage all staff to contribute to the development of Cancer Research UK’s EDI commitments through the development of staff networks and the EDI champions group, and other Cancer Research UK wider consultation activities such as the engagement survey.

4.1. Equality: is about recognising the inherent disadvantages and advantages experienced by people and the processes that are used to create equality of opportunity. It is important to understand that equality does not necessarily mean treating everyone the same, it is about taking into account differences appropriately. Equality provides the framework to ensure everyone is protected from unjustified disadvantage, discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

4.2. Diversity: Encompasses everyone, it does not only cover the protected groups/ characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, which are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage/civil partnership, pregnancy/maternity, race, religion/belief, sex, sexual orientation. Diversity also includes cognitive diversity, different ways of thinking and working, different accents, different social and economic background, neurodiversity, etc. Diversity is the mix of people who make an organisation unique.

4.3. Inclusion: Is about proactively removing unnecessary barriers that prevent certain groups and individuals from participating, engaging and succeeding within the workplace. Inclusion is essential to ensure that staff feel valued and can add value but also that they can think differently, do things differently and make a difference.

4.4. Positive Action: Is a range of measures and actions allowed under the 2010 Equality Act, which can be lawfully taken to encourage participation, engagement, recruitment and representation from under-represented and specific groups linked to their protected characteristics (for example, age, ethnicity and sexual orientation) to help them overcome historic or current unjustified disadvantage or discrimination.

4.5. Direct Discrimination: Occurs when a person is treated less favourably because of their race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, marital status, religion or belief, gender, gender reassignment, disability, sexual orientation, age or employment status.

4.6. Indirect Discrimination: Occurs when a condition or requirement is applied equally to all groups of people but has a disproportionately adverse effect on one particular group.

4.7. Harassment: Defined by the Equality Act 2010, as unwanted conduct related to your ‘protected characteristics’ that has the purpose or effect of violating your dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for you. Harassment is also unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which has that same purpose or effect. Further information is included in the Dignity at Work Policy.

4.8. Victimisation: Occurs when an individual is treated less favourably than others in the same circumstances because he or she has made a complaint or an allegation of discrimination, harassment or bullying or given information regarding such a complaint or allegation.

4.9. Discrimination by Perception: Someone is treated unfavourably (less well) because others believe they belong to a particularly protected group or have a particular characteristic, even though in reality they don't have it, it is perceptive discrimination.

4.10. Discrimination by Association: Associative discrimination comes about when someone is treated unfavourably (less well) because of their association with another person/ group. Discrimination arising out of disability occurs when someone is treated unfavourably because of something arising from the consequence of their disability rather than the disability itself. For example, a diabetic person being disciplined because of their need to take regular breaks to take medication/ food.

4.11. Failure to Make Reasonable Adjustments: Discrimination occurs here when an employer/ service provider fails to make reasonable adjustments that remove disadvantage or discriminatory practice.

4.12. Bullying: is defined in the Dignity at Work Policy.

4.13. Safeguarding: Safeguarding as a general concept is the combined steps we take to keep ourselves and others safe whilst working for and representing CRUK. Safeguarding legislation specifically talks about children and vulnerable adults and the additional considerations CRUK staff would need to make when working with these groups. For further information on safeguarding contact your HR Business Partner, Health and Safety or EDI Managers.

The introduction of the 2010 Equality Act consolidated pre-existing separate pieces of equality legislation into one with the intention of simplifying equality legislation to make it easier for everyone to understand, support and comply with.

Cancer Research UK is fully committed to meet all its duties and responsibilities under the Equality Act (2010). Cancer Research UK will publish EDI information on an annual basis, that will set out how we have met and will continue to meet our own EDI strategic priorities as well as our progress in respect of the following three equality areas:  

1. Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation 

2. Advance equality of opportunity for all 

3. Foster good relations between different groups and individuals 

We will use EDI data to inform our governance, employment and stakeholder engagement processes. We have a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination, harassment (including bullying) and victimisation of any individual or group. It is contradictory to our values and commitments. All allegations of this behaviour will be investigated, and appropriate action taken. Further details can be found in our Dignity at Work Policy. 

The 2010 Equality Act prohibits unjustified discrimination against the following Protected Groups/Characteristics:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Ethnicity (includes race, national origin and caste)
  • Gender Reassignment (further transitioning at work guidance is available on the EDI intranet page)
  • Marriage and Civil Partnerships
  • Pregnancy and Maternity/Paternity
  • Religion and Belief (includes no belief)
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

In addition to the above nine statutory Protected Groups/ Characteristics, Cancer Research UK is committed to embedding EDI best practice in the following additional areas:

  • Social and Economic Background
  • Employment Status
  • Carers

Alleged or actual discrimination in these areas will be treated just as seriously as the Protected Groups/Characteristics.

Informal Process 

Breaches of this policy

All staff (including volunteers) have a duty to observe and promote the commitments set out in this EDI policy and the requirements of the Equality Act (2010). Any reported breaches will be investigated through the relevant staff procedures and may result in disciplinary action being taken. Staff who have concerns about unlawful discrimination, harassment (bullying) are advised to contact their line manager, HR contact or the EDI Manager as appropriate.

If you are unhappy with the way you or a colleague have been treated, if possible you should raise this with the individual(s) concerned as soon as you are able to.  

If the behaviour carries on, or you feel unable to deal directly with those responsible, you should speak to your manager to try and resolve it. If it is difficult to speak to your manager, or if this is not appropriate, you can raise it with a more senior manager. You can also raise the issue or incident with your HR Business Partner, the EDI Manager or a recognised Cancer Research UK Staff Representative. It is not possible for Cancer Research UK to address unreported issues so please do tell someone if there is a problem.

Formal Process

Where the informal process has either been unsuccessful, or it is not appropriate because of the seriousness of the allegation, the formal grievance process may be used. Please see the Grievance (Resolving Concerns at Work) Policy for more information. If you make an allegation about someone’s behaviour, they may be investigated under our disciplinary procedure.

Appropriate and Responsible use of this Process

This process, policy and its provisions provide fair, transparent and honest resolution to genuine complaints. We may consider formal action, including disciplinary action, against anyone found to be making mischievous or malicious complaints which are unfounded or unsubstantiated.

Support & Advice

There are a number of internal and external support services available to help you get the advice you need.  These include:

  • Your HR Advisor or Business Partner
  • Your Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager
  • A Staff Representative – these are individuals elected from across Cancer Research UK to represent the views of our people. They provide support and advice to anybody going through a formal process, such as a restructure, a disciplinary or a grievance process. They will be able to advise you as to how best to approach the situation and make you aware of the correct procedures to follow. Our current list of Staff Reps can be found on the Cancer Research UK intranet
  • Our Employee Assistance Programme - The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a free, confidential independent resource provided by MetLife intended to help you and your dependents deal with personal problems that might adversely impact work performance, life, health and wellbeing. They are available 24 hours a day; details of our EAP can be found on the Cancer Research UK intranet
  • Our Mental Health network – contact our central Health & Safety team
  • Our independent Whistleblowing Hotline, run by a third party. An individual “blows the whistle” when they disclose information which relates to suspected wrongdoing or dangers at work. Whistleblowing concerns usually relate to the conduct of managers or staff
  • You can contact the Whistleblowing hotline by:
    • Calling them anonymously and confidentially by phone or via the website; details can be found on the Cancer Research UK intranet

7.1. Board/ Council
The Board/ Council has ultimate responsibility for ensuring that CRUK meets its strategic priorities and any statutory responsibilities detailed within this policy, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy and Action Plan.

7.2. Executive Board
The Chief Executive and the Executive Board is responsible for providing visible leadership on EDI, along with ensuring agreed EDI priorities and commitments are met and that the Council is kept appraised of all key EDI risks.

7.3. Directors, Heads and Line Managers
Heads and line managers are responsible for:
a. providing visible leadership on EDI throughout all activities in their area
b. ensuring staff in their area take account of EDI within their roles
c. recognising and applying EDI principles in their management of staff

7.4. EDI Manager and Human Resources
Human Resources (HR) and the EDI Manager are responsible for developing and supporting the implementation of strategies, policies and activities for advancing equality and celebrating diversity across the CRUK; including specific responsibility for supporting the operational implementation of this policy as it relates to staff, by:
a. keeping up to date with relevant legislation and best practice
b. advising and supporting managers and staff about relevant issues
c. supporting investigations into complaints about alleged breaches of this Policy as it relates to staff and relevant stakeholders
d. ensuring guidance is provided to allow HR policies to be applied fairly and to support transparency in their application.
e. Ongoing monitoring of the use and impact of this policy and the wider EDI strategy

7.5. EDI Champions and Staff Network Groups
The EDI Champions and Staff Network Groups will work with the EDI Manager to disseminate and champion EDI good/ best practice across CRUK. These groups will also act as a critical friend to the organisation.

7.6. Marketing and Communications
Marketing and Communications staff are responsible for ensuring that CRUK communication materials are inclusive and accessible to all.

7.7. All Staff and Volunteers
All staff and volunteers have a responsibility to support the organisation’s commitment to EDI set out in this policy (including related guidance documents), the EDI Strategy & Action Plan.

7.8. Contractors and visitors
All contractors and visitors have a responsibility to support and comply with CRUK’s commitment to EDI.

We collect diversity data at two points; during application for a role and when an employee has been hired, both via our HR system. Hiring managers never get access to this information at any point during any processes. Only HR can access this information and we will be using it for reporting purposes only. This will always be shared outside of HR in a format where an individual cannot be identified from the data.