Inquiry into Race in the Construction Industry


In January 2009 the Commission conducted an inquiry to examine the nature and causes of ethnic minority underrepresentation within the construction industry. Using a combination of evidence-gathering questionnaires, interviews and research, we completed an Inquiry Report in July 2009 that revealed a negative image of the industry and poor recruitment practices contributed to low numbers of ethnic minorities entering the sector.

The Inquiry Report made 31 broad-based recommendations for key issues to be addressed to improve representation of ethnic minorities in the Industry. These range from training and education, recruitment and contracting, retention, unlawful discrimination, monitoring and influencing change.

Action Plan

Following the publication of the Inquiry report, we embarked on a series of discussions with Industry stakeholders to produce an action plan that will help both large companies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) increase the number of employment opportunities for under-represented groups and diversify the supply chain in procurement.


PDF version | Word version

Construction Leadership Diversity Forum

One of the next steps was to launch the Construction Leadership Diversity Forum (CLDF) with senior level representation drawn from across the Industry. The first meeting took place in June 2010 where members were presented with policy options to take forward the delivery of the Action Plan.

Updates following the investigation

Update: November 2011

The final Commission-led Construction Leadership Diversity Forum (CLDF)was held on 9 November 2011. Following a consultation with key industry stakeholders in summer 2011, we developed proposals to hand over the group to the industry. Construction Skills, the Sector Skills Council for construction, have agreed to take over the CLDF and lead the work within the sector from 2012. Find out more about the CLDF.

Update: June 2011

New report: Equality and Diversity in the Construction Industry

This qualitative research examines good diversity and equality practice in the construction industry. It explores the benefits of implementing good diversity and equality practice in relation to race, gender, disability and age and presents a framework for action.

Fairer procurement standard for the Construction industry

October 2010: The Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has launched a new national procurement standard, known as  PAS91, designed to streamline procurement processes for the Construction Sector. The Commission participated on the Steering Group to develop the guidance to ensure equality was considered. The new standard will introduce greater fairness into the procurement system by streamlining the process and making it easier for SMEs to participate in bidding for procurement contracts. This was one of the recommendations from our Inquiry and we are pleased to see that BIS has taken this forward within the new standard.

> Find our more from the BIS website

> Download: PAS 91: 2010 - Construction related procurement - Prequalification questionnaires (Pdf)

(note: Wtihin PAS 91, Table B.2 on pages 15/16 in particular address equality issues)

2012 Olympic Games

Separate to the Inquiry, the Commission has been involved with a number of initiatives designed to promote and ensure equality in the delivery of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Ethnic Minority Employment Data Portal

We have participated in the Area Initiatives Group set up by the Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force to monitor employment in the 5 Olympic host boroughs. In November 2010 this group launched a web based tool, the Ethnic Minority Employment Data Portal to enable local government, partnerships and employers to find the best available sources of data on ethnic minority people in the UK.

In relation to the public sector and the Equality Act 2010 the Coalition Government is placing more emphasis on public bodies sharing local equalities performance data with citizens and organisations. The portal will help to make data sets more accessible for SMEs and skills and employment practitioners in the future.

Research: Access to training and employment opportunities

In Spring 2010 we published research that investigated the employment experience, skills and aspirations of ethnic minorities in the five host boroughs in relation to the 2012 Olympic Games, with a special focus on the Asian community. The report suggests that people from an Asian background appear to be disproportionately disadvantaged in relation to gaining Olympics employment, and that there are a number of factors contributing to this poor performance.

> Download a copy of the report - The 2012 Olympics: access to training and employment opportunities Word version | PDF version

Good practice guidelines on Procurement

In March 2010 we launched good practice guidelines to increase employment and local business opportunities created by London 2012. Based on our research findings, these guidelines represent what we consider to be the key drivers to promote good equality and diversity practice.

> Download the guide - London 2012: Good practice guidelines Procurement and employment

In November 2008 we published research to inform the development of a Charter to advise buyers on good equality and diversity practice in procurement, and help local businesses win Olympic contracts.

Last Updated: 12 Dec 2014