Developing a strategy for inclusion, diversity and equality

Developing a strategy for inclusion, diversity and equality


Historic England believes that the historic environment in England should be accessible and relevant to everyone who lives and visits there, whatever their socio-economic background, race, religion, sexuality, gender, disability, or health.  A useful guide on how to develop a strategy for inclusion, diversity and equality.

Historic England's strategy

The ‘Historic England Strategy for Inclusion, Diversity and Inclusion’ sets out how Historic England will work over the following three years to realise our vision:

Heritage is for everyone. The work we do ensures that a diverse range of people are able to connect with, enjoy and benefit from the historic environment.

We drew on a range of research and evaluation work undertaken by Government. Organisations from across the heritage sector also provided valuable insight and input, helping shape the strategy through a series of discussions, workshops and consultation events.

Our strategy expands upon previous good work by Historic England to engage new audiences and work in inclusive ways, building on the experiences and insights of other organisations. Our strategy sets out new and challenging targets, and a commitment to developing partnerships that will see us go further than ever before.

Read the Executive Summary (PDF) 

Read the full strategy (PDF)

Audio version: Listen to the Executive Summary as an MP3 

What Historic England have achieved so far 

Developing an Inclusion, Diversity and Equality Strategy

There are many good reasons to develop a strategy that outlines the Inclusion, Diversity and Equality (IDE) vision within your organisation.

Some examples include:

  • To help hold yourself accountable for delivering your ambitions
  • To instil confidence and a shared language for your staff
  • To align your colleagues and stakeholders with your vision and priorities
  • To signal a clear vision and ambition
  • To manage risks and expectations
  • To help you understand where you are currently, where you want to go and how best to get there

Prompts for developing your strategy

Below are a few prompts to help you develop your own organisational strategy. We recognise that heritage organisations can vary in size and scope, so some of the prompts may not be appropriate for your organisation.

Before you begin

  • Why are you developing an Inclusion, Diversity and Equality (IDE) strategy?
  • What problems are you trying to address?
  • How does this fit with your organisation’s purpose/work?
  • Where will this strategy fit within your broader organisational strategy?
  • How will IDE be embedded throughout your organisational strategy?

Stakeholder support

  • How will you communicate to your colleagues, members and other interested stakeholders that you are developing an IDE strategy?
  • Does this work have strong buy-in and commitment from your board and senior teams? If not, why not?

What and who

  • What is your organisational vision for the strategy, and what is it (broadly) aiming to achieve?
  • What are the aims of the vision? (Try writing down just three or four points, breaking down the areas of work you will focus on e.g. our people, our work, our members.)
  • Have you identified any priority groups / audiences that are particularly underrepresented? Do you have any existing data that you can use to strengthen the rationale for focussing on these groups? If not, is there similar data existing within the heritage sector that you could use?
  • Have you considered the protected characteristics, and your legal obligations, relating to any priority groups you have identified?
  • Have you considered social and economic diversity?
  • Have you considered young people?

The basics

  • Can your broader aims be broken down into useful strands?
  • Do you want to include specific actions that could help to achieve your aims?
  • Have you clearly defined what you mean by Inclusion, Diversity and Equality?
  • Have you considered the duration of the strategy? When will it be reviewed and updated?


  • Have you consulted widely within the organisation?
  • Have you ensured that any consultations are not self-selecting and that you are also speaking to those who might be more resistant to IDE work?
  • Have you considered presenting an ‘in development’ strategy to colleagues?
  • Have you consulted with external experts, or with your members?
  • How will you bring people on a 'journey' with you? How do you avoid your IDE work seeming like something that is being ‘done to’ people?

Where are you now?

  • Have you outlined your organisation’s current position with IDE? What work has already been done, and how has this been achieved?
  • Have you seen any positive results that you could build on? How has your IDE work informed the shaping of strategy and future work?
  • Have you recognised and acknowledged areas where there are gaps in your organisational knowledge around IDE? How could you build skills and organisational capacity in these areas?

Ensuring the work gets done

  • What are the risks of this work? How likely are these risks, and how can they be mitigated?
  • How will you ensure this work gets embedded and sustained alongside existing workloads / priorities?
  • What resources are needed to support any additional work that might arise from the strategy?
  • How will you ensure transparency of the work that you are doing, both internally and externally?
  • How will you address criticism of the work you are doing, both internally and externally?

Leadership, evaluation and reporting

  • Have you clearly articulated the ways in which the delivery of the strategy will be governed? Do you need to have it regularly reviewed by an internal board, or carry out consultations with staff, members or external experts?
  • What does success look like? How is success going to be measured?
  • How will you ensure that senior leadership are advocates for this work? How will you ensure that leadership support others to deliver this work?
  • How will you evaluate the progress of the strategy?
  • How will you keep your members and colleagues informed of the progress of the strategy?
  • How frequently will you review and refresh your strategy?
  • Are there opportunities for the strategy, as well as its development, outputs, successes and lessons, to be shared more broadly across the sector?


  • Have you considered accessibility throughout the development of the strategy?
  • Is the strategy available in alternative formats?
  • Are there ways of adapting the content of the strategy into easily consumed, ‘at a glance’ formats?
  • If you were to distil the strategy into a single page, what key elements would be included?

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Resource type: Guide/tools | Published: 2023