Following our "Call for evidence of sector-leading and innovative practice in advancing equality and diversity" (HEFCE Circular letter 16/2016), HEFCE commissioned the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) to report back on the range of equality and diversity practice undertaken across the higher education sector. Of 120 submissions received, ECU chose 68 projects from 36 institutions to include in this report. The report highlights nine themes common to the most innovative and successful policies and practices: collaboration, communication, data, leadership, networks, research, resource, scale and strategy. It further reports that the majority of submissions were not targeted at specific equality characteristics, and there were noticeably very few submissions on age, gender identity, religion and belief, and sexual orientation. In concluding, the ECU makes six recommendations including repeating this call for evidence, that any future calls be targeted to specific characteristics, and that institutions place greater emphasis on qualitative and quantitative evaluations of their best practice submissions. Criteria used to evaluate practice is provided in an annex.