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An intersectional approach to equality, diversity and inclusion at NatCen

Posted on 24 August 2020 by Padmini Iyer, Research Director
Tags: BME researchers, LGBT, equality and diversity, inclusion, life at NatCen

This post is by Padmini Iyer, Shivonne Gates, Amelia Benson and Emma Corteen. Padmini and Shivonne are the co-chairs of NatCen’s Equality and Diversity Group, and Amelia and Emma are the co-chairs of our LGBT+ Staff Network.

NatCen’s Equality and Diversity Group and LGBT+ Staff Network are keen to establish a proactive, intersectional approach to equality, diversity and inclusion at NatCen. We are therefore excited that NatCen has signed up to the Race at Work Charter and has committed to key recommended actions from Stonewall’s LGBT in Britain: Work Report.

We recognise that these actions primarily focus on supporting BME and LGBT+ staff at work. We remain committed to supporting equality and inclusion for all staff, and will be working on future actions to support staff from all marginalised groups.

First steps

The Equality and Diversity Group and the LGBT+ Staff Network are working with NatCen’s Leadership Team and the HR Department to achieve three primary goals:

1.     Appoint a Pan-Equality Executive Sponsor: In June 2020, the Leadership Team appointed Paul Roberts, Director of Operations, as NatCen’s Pan-Equality Executive Sponsor. Paul will be a visible advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion issues, and will work closely with the Equality and Diversity Group and LGBT+ Staff Network to drive forward actions on the Race at Work Charter and for LGBT+ inclusion.
2.     Capture diversity data and publicise progress: NatCen will conduct an annual, confidential survey of all staff to capture data on demographics. This is a crucial step towards improving equality, diversity and inclusion at NatCen. Capturing this information will provide a clear picture of diversity, so we know exactly where and how we need to improve representation. It will also put us in a better position to report ethnicity and LGBT+ pay gaps.
3.     Commit to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying: NatCen is developing a standalone anti-bullying and harassment policy to better support dialogue so that staff feel heard and listened to. The existing policy focuses on formal grievances, and not all staff feel comfortable with this process. The new policy will include a range of additional channels through which staff can report issues and access support. To support this, the Equality and Diversity Group is developing a tool for registering issues and incidents that does not require formal escalation. The LGBT+ Staff Network and the Equality and Diversity Group will also work with the HR Department to ensure that the harassment and bullying policy explicitly adopts a zero-tolerance approach to racism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and any discrimination or harassment based on other protected characteristics, with clear sanctions in place.

Longer-term goals

Achieving these first steps will provide an essential foundation for three longer-term goals:

4.     Support staff through training: Providing all-staff diversity and inclusion training sessions that go beyond unconscious bias. Training will focus on advocacy and allyship, and will explain what anti-LGBT and racist discrimination looks like. This will provide staff with the knowledge and skills to challenge exclusionary attitudes and working practices. It will also give NatCen staff a better understanding of why a lack of diversity is bad for business. We are keen that diversity and inclusion training is a starting point for wider conversations and behaviour change across the organisation, rather than an end in itself.

5.     Make clear that supporting equality in the workplace is the responsibility of all leaders and managers: To achieve this, we will work with HR to integrate clear targets and actions into annual performance reviews and objective setting. We will develop specific deliverables for all managers and leaders so it is clear what they can and should be doing to support and promote equality, diversity and inclusion.

6.     Recruit and support career progression for diverse candidates: We will work with HR and the Leadership Team to improve NatCen’s hiring and promotion practices in the following ways:

  • Include statements and examples of NatCen’s commitment to LGBT+ and BME staff and the organisation’s wider commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion on our website.
  • Encourage a more diverse pool of job candidates by advertising job opportunities in a greater range of places, and by clearly communicating our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in job ads.
  • Train staff involved in recruitment and promotion to understand where discrimination against minority candidates and staff occurs and how they can mitigate bias.
  • Take a targeted approach to mentoring that supports career development and progression for staff from minority groups.

Guy Goodwin, our Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said:

We know we can do so much better to make everyone feel welcome at NatCen. I am excited by and fully supportive of our Equality and Diversity Group and LGBT+ network in their efforts to push boundaries so we make meaningful and demonstrable progress.

A full CEO statement on our equality, diversity and inclusion work is available here.

NatCen will be reporting annual progress towards each of these goals from 2021 onwards. We look forward to updating you!

Race at Work Charter

Five actions under the Race at Work Charter (click here for web version)

LGBT+ inclusion actions

Three actions for LGBT+ inclusion (click here for web version)

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