Professional bodies

The Equally Professional network

The Commission facilitates a network of professional bodies called 'Equally Professional', committed to promoting equality and diversity in and through their memberships, and thereby widening access to opportunity.  The network believes that, to deliver the highest professional standards in a diverse society, professional bodies must reflect that same diversity in their membership.  The network also recognises that as the British demographic changes, the future of the professions depends on their ability to attract and retain entrants from all sections of the community.  It seeks to inspire and equip the professions so that they in turn will inspire and equip people from under-represented groups to join them.


Report - Equally Professional: Like minds on different journeys

Equally Professional reportInterest in and commitment to equality and diversity has become more widespread and mainstream among professional bodies. With support from the Commission and with research input from the Professional Associations Research Network (PARN), Equally Professional is creating a repository of knowledge and good practice which addresses all aspects of diversity in the professions.


Report - Equally Professional: Diversity monitoring in professional bodies

Equally Professional: Diversity monitoring in professional bodiesThis paper will set out some of the experience of network members and others in the area of diversity monitoring. It is the first in a series of reports addressing the core commitments of the members of the Equally Professional network.

Download the Diversity monitoring report (PDF) | Word version



The Equally Professional network participated in the DIUS Gateways to the Professions initiative, partnering QED-UK (a Bradford-based charity) and PARN (Professional Associations Research Network) in research projects aimed at understanding the issues and barriers for under-represented groups in the professions.   It has contributed to the government’s Fair Access to the Professions consultation.

This collaboration led to the creation of an Equality and Diversity Toolkit, which demonstrates different ways of embedding diversity and implementing training, and contains a variety of tools that provide information, make suggestions and prompt thought-provoking questions. Another output from collaboration with PARN was the production of the Professional Recruitment Guide.

The role of the Commission

We have committed to:

  • Provide critical input and expertise at network meetings and informally
  • Raise awareness of the network amongst other professional bodies and more widely, with input from participants as appropriate.


Currently participants are nineteen associations with a collective membership of over 1.5 million professionals.  The network is peer-led with the Chartered Management Institute currently in the chair.  It expects to recruit a further member to enhance its broad sectoral coverage, yet remain manageable by individual bodies on a rotational basis.

Future developments

The network’s relationship with the Professional Associations Research Network (PARN) has developed to the point where, encouraged by the growing interest in equality and diversity in the professions, PARN have initiated a Special Interest Group (SIG), hosted on their website, for which the EP network will act as a ‘pathfinder group’.  Good practice developed by EP members will be posted on the SIG site, which will also act as a forum for the exchange of practice and ideas amongst professional bodies generally.  PARN have access to a membership of some 120 professional bodies in the UK, and a database of over 200 more. The SIG is the EP network’s dissemination route to that population, in fulfilment of one of its core activities.

In this section…