Wales & West Utilities has been recognised for its innovative HR practices after being named the winner in the Best Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative within the private sector category in this year’s CIPD Wales Awards.

The gas emergency and pipeline service, which has a team of over of over 1,900 colleagues who look after the pipes that keep the gas flowing across Wales and the south west of England, scooped the top award for its dedication to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, challenging inequalities, overcoming resistance, breaking down barriers and bias, and making change happen.

The CIPD in Wales, the professional body for HR and people development, held this year’s awards at Cardiff City Stadium. Now in its seventh year, this year’s awards saw more entries than ever before, and honoured over 80 finalists across nine categories.

The award follows recent recognition by Utility Week, which awarded Wales & West Utilities with its newly introduced Skills and Diversity Award in December.

Bethan Jones, Head of People & Engagement at Wales & West Utilities, said:

We are delighted to be recognised by our professional body for our continued drive to address important issues that build a sustainable commitment to fostering diversity, promoting inclusion, and creating an equitable working environment.

Our values underpin everything we do, and we strive to create a working environment that supports and fosters diversity, inclusion, and equity, where all of our colleagues feel valued and supported to contribute to their full potential.

Whilst we continue to work through a long-term cultural journey, we are seeing the positive impact of our work in the areas of equality, diversity and inclusion and are already reporting significant changes in the expectations of our people, our customers and those applying to work with us.

Whilst our journey has a long way to go – we're clear on our path and have built a strong foundation for our colleagues to be able to feel safe in their work environments and we look forward to making this even stronger.

Lesley Richards, head of the CIPD in Wales, said:

The CIPD Awards in Wales are always a great opportunity for the excellent, innovative and, sometimes life changing, work that goes on across the country to be officially recognised and celebrated. We’re always impressed by the number and the quality of entries, along with the commitment to people development that has been showcased, however we were especially impressed this year as we received a record-breaking number of entries.

HR and people development directly influences the successful operation of every business and are integral to championing employee progress and retaining talent – which has been particularly challenging in recent years as our sector like many others have dealt with shrinking budgets and difficulties with recruitment. All of our winners, those highly commended and finalists have proven that are excellent examples of the difference that HR and people practices can make.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night.