The Australian Financial Complaints Authority’s (AFCA) Chief Ombudsman and Chief Executive Officer, David Locke, has been named CEO Diversity Equity & Inclusion Champion at the Australian HR Institute Awards 2023.
Mr Locke received the award for his leadership in prioritising diversity, equity and inclusion and promoting a safe workplace culture, so that all people can feel a sense of belonging, respect and achievement at work.
“David is an exceptional leader who truly lives the values of fairness and equality for all,” AFCA’s Independent Chair, Professor John Pollaers, said. “This achievement acknowledges the strides AFCA has made in diversity, inclusion and belonging under his guidance.”
AFCA is an ombudsman service that works with consumers and financial firms to resolve disputes. In its five years of operation, AFCA has registered more than 400,000 disputes and has helped secure over $1.2 billion in compensation and refunds for complainants. It employs about 1,000 people.
“As Australia’s financial ombudsman service, AFCA plays an important role in the community,” Mr Locke said. “Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is not only for the good of our people. It also enables us to deliver better, fairer, more equitable and human-centred experiences for the diverse communities we serve.”
In the last 12 months, AFCA has launched its Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging strategy and three-year action plan. The plan outlines the steps AFCA will take to ensure all employees feel safe and respected and are able to bring their full selves to work.
AFCA also established three new Employee Resource Groups this year, adding to its existing LGBTQ+ Ally Network. These groups aim to promote engagement and foster a sense of belonging among employees, particularly those with disabilities, those from diverse cultural backgrounds, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and those with family and carer responsibilities.
Earlier this year, AFCA also introduced flexible public holiday leave and women’s health leave among new benefits in its enhanced leave policy that support inclusion.
In a recent staff survey, AFCA scored 85 per cent in an Inclusion Index that measured equity, belonging and authenticity, placing the ombudsman scheme above the average for the financial services sector.
In 2022–23, 43 per cent of AFCA employees identified as being culturally or linguistically diverse, 12 per cent identified as being part of the LGBTQ+ community, and over half of AFCA’s leaders and board members were female.
This latest award comes shortly after AFCA was named Employer of Choice in the Australian HR Awards in September.
The AHRI awards are judged against rigorous criteria by national panels made up of AHRI member committees, leading industry practitioners, academics and award partners.
About AFCA - The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is a non-government ombudsman service providing free, fair and independent dispute resolution to individual consumers and small businesses when they are not able to resolve complaints directly with financial firms in banking and finance, insurance, investments and advice, and superannuation. AFCA aims to help the parties reach agreement, but it can issue decisions that are binding on financial firms.