EDI – best practice for trustees

In 2023, TPR published guidance for the first time on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) for pension scheme governing bodies and pension scheme employers.

TPR’s guidance is not a statement of law but it is an indicator of what TPR considers to be “best practice” for schemes. TPR believes that improving EDI in trustee boards will lead to wider discussion, encourage new thinking and approaches, which in turn will lead to more effective decision-making.

TPR recognises that there is not a one-size fits all approach to EDI and each scheme will have different challenges to consider.

What is EDI?

In essence:

• equality is about making sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talent
• diversity means a variety of individual differences
• inclusion is the effective involvement of everyone and creating an environment where everyone can thrive.

What do trustees need to do?

We’ve helped clients at all stages of the EDI journey. Trustees who are starting out should consider:

• training on EDI to understand the role it plays in board effectiveness and member communications
• setting EDI objectives and goals that are scheme specific to help focus on what you want to achieve
• reviewing MNT recruitment and appointment processes eg reviewing the communication materials and considering a selection rather than election process.

Trustee boards looking ahead to what they can do beyond this are thinking about how to embed EDI throughout their day-to-day activities. For example, we’ve been asked to carry out a review of scheme rules (eg death and incapacity benefits and out of date terminology), for help with making member communications more accessible and to give unconscious bias training.

Taking EDI further – the gender pensions gap

We have been working with trustees of a large scheme as they grapple with their DC gender pensions gap. We are also developing a strategy for them to increase engagement and help all members of their workforce maximise their DC pension pots.

EDI at Sackers

At Sackers we do more than just talk the talk – EDI is part of our culture. We celebrate our differences and give everyone a voice. We believe this makes us better legal advisers and enables us to help our clients more effectively. To learn more about the ways we do this, take a look at our equality, diversity and inclusion page.