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ICE commits to collaborating on diversity and inclusion in the built environment

27 April 2022

The institution has signed a memorandum of understanding with other built-environment institutes to create a sector that’s as diverse as the communities it represents.

ICE commits to collaborating on diversity and inclusion in the built environment
The institutes have agreed minimum standards and competencies in relation to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). Image credit: fizkes/Shutterstock

The ICE has joined institutes across the built environment in committing to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive sector.

In signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) it has promised better collaboration across a number of areas with the following institutes:

  • The Chartered Institute of the Building (CIOB),
  • The Landscape Institute,
  • The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA),
  • The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and
  • The Royal Planning Institute (RTPI).

As part of the MoU, the institutes have agreed minimum standards and competencies in relation to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

Together, the institutes represent over 350,000 people in the sector.

Dr Anusha Shah, ICE vice president, membership, signed the memorandum on behalf of the ICE.

She said: “Together, we will work towards achieving a more diverse workforce and one that better represents the society we serve.”

“Driven by the ICE Fairness Inclusion and Respect Action Plan, we have worked hard to make sure that underrepresented sections of our communities see civil engineering as a career opportunity and one which provides a broad, diverse and inclusive environment for all, regardless of background.”

How the institutes will address EDI

The organisations have identified three key areas of work:

Standardise member data collection

The institutes agreed to a joint approach to data collection, including standardisation of what EDI data to collect from members.

Currently, there’s no consistent approach to member data collection.

This makes it difficult to make meaningful comparisons across respective memberships and form a clear picture of the built environment sector.

This data will then be published each year.

Improve understanding of the transition from education into employment

According to the memorandum, there's a level of diversity among students on institute-accredited courses that isn’t reflected in the workforce.

The institutes will therefore work with the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and other higher education data collection agencies to understand the reasons for this.

They have also committed to learning more about retention rates and awarding gaps on accredited courses.

Once data has been obtained, the institutes will decide what collective action can be taken.

The institutes recognised that the architectural training process means that RIBA already has a well-developed understanding of these issues.

Setting and supporting EDI competencies for the sector

The institutes have committed to setting EDI competencies for the sector and supporting organisations and individuals to develop and maintain them.

They will agree on a set core of EDI standards and their relationship to continued professional development (CPD).

To promote these standards and competencies, the institutes will find or create a platform to share supporting materials and help all members to achieve and maintain these standards.

This platform will be advertised to all members across the organisations.

Principles of the memorandum

As well as these workstreams, the signatories have agreed to work together and openly.

This means they will share information, knowledge, and expertise, and raise issues as soon as possible.

The organisations agreed that ‘using plain English’ is vital for clear communication and establishing effective working relationships between partners and external audiences.

Read the MoU

To learn more, read the full memorandum of understanding.

Download the MoU
  • Ana Bottle, digital content editor at ICE