Campaigns / People First Charter

The built environment sector is at the forefront of solving the world’s biggest problems, and to do that we know we need to attract and retain the best diverse talent. We all have a role to play in dismantling the barriers that are preventing talented people from studying and working in our industry.

The People First Charter focuses on behaviours and actions to continually improve organisational culture, underpinned by four guiding principles.

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Inclusivity of All

• Bringing your whole self to work
• What you know not who you know
• Diversity & equity
• Inclusive leadership

Openness and Respect

• Regular balanced feedback
• Wellbeing matters
• Effective communication
• Purposeful contribution to the workplace and wider society

Development and Growth

• Provide opportunities to grow with a multifaceted approach
• Lattice and linear opportunities
• New entry & existing development opportunities
• Skills for life


• Celebrating the contribution made to the firm
• Recognising the contribution made to the future sustainability of the sector/world
• Collaboration encouragement

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It is a commitment to work together to put people first at organisations across the built environment, and continually improve by focusing on behaviours and actions to create positive cultures.

It is also to publicly recognise that organisations who put people first are the most successful due to creating a positive workforce culture, attracting and retaining talent, and bringing in diversity of thought to tackle the world’s biggest challenges.

The initiative is led by the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), supported by their membership and Constructing Rainbows.

The aim of the Charter is to encourage signatory companies to collaborate more widely, continually improve, and share best practice around creating a people first culture.

By signing the People First Charter signatory companies pledge to:

– Appoint a member of the senior leadership team as a ‘People First Champion’

– Participate in the Building Inclusivity campaign as an active sponsor for change

– Agree an action plan, monitor and report on progress made under the 4 guiding principles;

– Actively demonstrate the provision of opportunities for training and education of employees, support the progression of diverse individuals into senior roles

– Place the wellbeing of employees at the heart of the organisation

– Create a culture that fosters inclusion and provides a safe space for all employees to talk openly, including at industry events and in meetings

– Create transparent people policies and processes that are accessible and attractive to everyone.

– Proactively and continuously seek opportunities to recognise and celebrate individual and whole sector successes.


We accept that not all signatory companies will be able to make the same commitments and that the time and resources available to each signatory company will vary significantly. However, we encourage all participating organisations to pledge to collaborate with each other and to take pro-active actions that aim to promote a people-first culture within their company and the wider industry.

Involvement in the People First Charter community will help you to improve the culture within your own organisation, with all the positive impacts that will bring. It will demonstrate your commitment to your employees, their progression and wellbeing, and to building a better industry for all.

The benefits of being a People First Charter signatory company include:

– Visible pledge to prospective employees

– Support in achieving your People First goals

– Greater involvement in improving inclusion across the profession

– 2 meetings per year to share knowledge, best practice and connect with thought leaders in this area

– Quarterly newsletter 

– Opportunity to feature in Infrastructure Intelligence highlighting People First best practice

– Access to templated best practice policies, frameworks and guidance documents

– Access to helpline for general advice on the journey (

– Certification which can be used to evidence or demonstrate commitment to the Charter for example recruitment, bids and other external accreditations - Marketing materials for example badges /logos to be used on footers, recruitment campaigns

– Company listed on ACE /EIC website as a People First adopter

– Ongoing support at a discounted rate to EDI specialist Constructing Rainbows (

– Review of biennial submission and recommendations for future focus areas

– Access to best practice documentation to share with clients to promote positive ways of working

To sign up to the People First Charter, you need to complete the form below providing us with your contact details.

By doing so, you are agreeing to the charter pledge listed above.

You will be asked to provide details of two people:

– A “People First Champion”, who must be a senior leader and have the authority to make the pledge on behalf of the organisation; 

– A designated People First Officer, who will be the main point of contact between your organisation and ACE and will be responsible for acting on the Charter commitments.

Your People First Officer can be the same as the People First Champion.

Please remember to let us know about any significant changes to your organisation, for example the appointment of a new People First Officer, or a change of name or address or legal status. Please note that for your organisation to remain a Charter signatory, we do need to have contact details for the People First Officer and People First Champion. 

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Find out more about/sign up to the People First Charter