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In a field crowded with excellent examples of personal and corporate commitment, Jackie Parker’s entry was crammed with real-life examples of the individuals whose lives have been changed by INS’s group-wide commitment to recruit for gifts and attitude, rather than ‘best fit’ CV. It took deliberate effort from Jackie to recruit from multiple sources, and to commit to interviewing everyone who applied - looking beyond conventional interview skills to seek the competences the job role requires. But the results have more than justified the efforts, identifying and encouraging individuals to go on and become high-performing members of the INS team, or move out into the industry as a result of INS’s confidence in them.

Can you tell us about your career to date, and how you got into the industry?

I worked for 30 years in fraud and security in public sector in varying roles including training/mentoring, investigation and prosecution. I took voluntary redundancy as I wanted a change.

What do Diversity, Inclusion and Equality mean to you?

I have family members with autism including an autistic grandson which has taught me so much about the differing needs of individuals and the constant challenges to be accepted the same as everyone else.

I have always been of the mindset that people are individuals and may be seen as ‘different’. We need to keep promoting and changing the workplace and society as a whole, I spent many years working with many people from mentoring/managing staff, to working with the public within Fraud dealing with many sensitive issues. EVERYONE is different and should never be judged based on social skills, colour, race, sex etc. I want to educate people to take time to understand, in the main employers, and give the same opportunities to all.

What are you doing to address D&I at INS Group?

Extra clauses in job descriptions, working alongside job centres with some of their longer-term unemployed. Wellbeing chats, writing and updating policies, weekly calls with open forum alongside reminders of policies and team work. Also making allowances for working hours, consideration of environment, upskilling staff to educate on diversity and be disability confident.

Why is D&I more than just a tick boxing exercise?

It’s about real people, there should never be a stat against people, in order to fully integrate diversity and inclusion, it needs to constantly evolve and become the norm within the business. People’s needs can change, social factors can change, and it’s an ongoing commitment within the workplace and in life in general.

Who do you think is responsible for driving inclusion and diversity in the workplace?

Everyone!! As always, the message needs to come from those who lead. However it is everyone’s responsibility as a decent human to educate themselves and others on the importance of acceptance and inclusion.

What do other companies need to be doing to encourage D&I?

Talking about it, educating the management and staff, looking beyond a CV to understand there is some real talent out there.

Who inspires you in the industry?

Those living every day fighting to be included and accepted. Those having to work that much harder to prove themselves due to ignorance and lack of understanding of management and peers, leaders and not bosses.

What does winning the ITP Diversity Champion of the Year award mean to you?

It means so much as it’s a subject I feel very strongly about. If I can make a change to how we look at recruitment and managing staff when it comes to D & I. I could change someone’s life and make a better future for those that find each day a struggle due to discrimination and ignorance, that is job done for me 😊

Jackie Parker is winner of the ITP Diversity Champion of the Year Award.