Respect continues to be committed to being an anti-racist organisation and to delivering true equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). When we started this work, we initially developed an action plan to take improvements forward. We soon realised that we needed to pause and make time to listen to and learn from our colleagues, taking a careful and thoughtful approach. This means we haven’t done everything, and there is still more to do, but we are ensuring that we carefully navigate a sensitive issue, bringing colleagues with us as we go.
We made several pledges in 2020:
Our strategy has a clear commitment to embedding EDI in everything we do, from our policies to our culture and practice. We are developing as we go, with the Anti-Racism Commitments in our new EDI policy underpinning all our activities.
When we started our work we focused on the experience of Black and Brown colleagues. We have since widened our remit to include all those experiencing racism, oppression and discrimination. We are using the definition of racism in the Equality Act as our starting point.
We delivered Anti-Racism training to the whole organisation. We identified that some groups were not being addressed in this training, so we are developing a plan to ensure we are responsive to the needs of all groups. This work will begin in 2022/23.
Leadership and Governance
We consulted the VAWG sector guidance and used this as a benchmark to assess our governance. We now have an ongoing discussion with board about our EDI work and have improved our organisational reporting. We continue to run our Anti-Racism working group, and in Jan 2023 this will become our EDI Steering Group, consulting on all of our work including our new EDI Action plan. This will ensure we are taking an intersectional approach to the work.
Work with members
In the forthcoming 4th edition of the Respect Standard, we have increased the requirements that services must fulfil to achieve accreditation. There is a strong focus on employing a diverse workforce and being more proactive and systematic in meeting the needs of service users. Through the Drive partnership, we are delivering a new workforce development and leadership programme for individuals working in the perpetrator sector from minoritised communities, and a programme for sector leaders to help them develop the skills, techniques, knowledge and confidence to support their staff members from these groups.
We have a vision to be a true ally to our partners and stakeholders that work with Black and minoritised groups. As we are not a by-and-for organisation, we have committed to delivering culturally competent interventions and are working with others to ensure we achieve these objectives. We will ensure that, in our role as a membership organisation, we are amplifying the work of by-and-for organisations, forming fair partnerships, and ensuring equal access to networks and resources.
This is very much a journey, but it is an ongoing and proactive one. As an organisation, we are listening to our staff team, the Board, our members and our partners, to pursue transformative change both internally and externally.