At the end of 2020, The Charity Governance Code was updated or 'refreshed' as it is termed on its website. One key feature of this refreshing was a focus on Principle 6; previously called Diversity and now extended out and called Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. A timely inclusion most would agree given the events of the last 12 months.

The killing of George Floyd and the support for the Black Lives Matter movement coupled with the disproportionate effects of Covid-19 on our BAME community, has demonstrated that our society is still one with deep divisions, inequalities and prejudices. We have come so far as a country with our anti-discrimination legislation and focus on diversity, but there is still a long way to go. 

Principle 6 – what’s changed?

What has become clear is that diversity will only address certain issues; it may mean our organisations employ more people of colour, more people with a disability, different genders etc. However, it does not mean that those same people will be able to thrive and rise within the organisation. Identifying and removing those barriers and asking why someone of colour or with a disability or a woman is still statistically less likely to be a director or board member is inclusivity. Some of those barriers may be perception; there has never been a person of colour on the board of trustees before so employees or volunteers assume (wrongly) that it is not a role to which they should hope to aspire. Or alternatively, it may be more tangible barriers; trustees have always been picked according to a certain criterion which favours people with a certain educational background so excluding a diverse recruitment pool. This newly refreshed Principle 6 recognises the importance of inclusivity stating as one of its key outcomes that "obstacles to participation are reduced".  

How does it benefit your charity?

A more diverse board is a more informed board and one that should make decisions that better reflect the variety of cultures, needs, opinions in our society that and encourage a greater level of engagement from staff. It sets the tone for the charity; a tone that says that we champion diversity and inclusivity, it is a key part of our culture and we want to be an organisation where there is no barrier to someone thriving.   

How does it benefit the people who use or rely on your charity?

A more diverse board can better serve the purposes of the charity and the individuals it is seeking to help. A board that lacks any diversity will struggle to make informed decisions for the direction of the charity when our society and those the charity is seeking to support are diverse. Obviously, it may be impossible for a board to have a representative from each minority within our diverse society, however, having a board that is not monoculture or gender, one that champions diversity and inclusion and sets it as a key performance indicator is going to make more informed and ultimately wiser decisions.

How can Anthony Collins Solicitors help?

The employment and pensions team at Anthony Collins Solicitors can assist in implementing equality, diversity and inclusivity within your charity in accordance with Principle 6. We can offer the following;

  • Key training for trustees and/or employees: This training addresses both the legal basis and the practical issues of creating a more diverse and inclusive organisation. It includes discussions on issues such as unconscious bias and microaggressions and the value of addressing these in the workplace. 
  • Documentation and policies: Key to implementing this is robust, current and accessible equal opportunities policies and other related documentation which demonstrate the charity’s zero-tolerance of discrimination in any form. This can also include codes of conduct for trustees and volunteers as well as employees. We can provide new policies or review existing policies and advise on any gaps.
  • Addressing inappropriate conduct: No matter how good your training programme is or how robust your policies are, there is always a risk that someone’s behaviour will not be aligned with your equality, diversity and inclusivity agenda. We can assist you in managing any such behaviour informally where appropriate, or by using formal disciplinary action.
For more information

For further information please do contact Anna Dabek in the employment and pensions team.