Jan 122021
 
Diversity and Inclusion in the Boardroom – What is at Stake if we Don’t Get It Right?

Owning up to our Negative Automatic Thoughts: Are we becoming tired and numb to the messages around diversity equity and inclusion?

Sometimes it seems like some individuals and organisations have switched off from messages on racial justice and racial equity. However, the challenges facing us are no longer just about diversity, equality and inclusion, they are much greater than this. Psychologists recognise that if you experience something enough times you can become numb and supress your feelings and responses.

I believe this also applies to work in the area of diversity equity and inclusion. When we feel like we are being bombarded with information on the lack of racial tolerance and differences and being told that we have to change both at an individual and organisational level, there is a danger we can stop responding to these messages. Indeed we can become numb to the suffering of those who are different and to the efforts being made to promote change in this area. Our brains can filter out the information and we can switch off from this. But at what costs? Events in the USA warn us of the dangers of racism and intolerance of differences and what happens when our sense of privilege and entitlement is left unchecked.

Empathy and compassion and fearing for the lives of others.

I woke yesterday morning to the news of the death of Police Officer Sicknick. I like many others had watched officers battling to maintain control of Capitol Hill against a mob who had invaded the building demanding that the USA election outcome be overturned. One particular video which caught my attention was of a black police officer trying to hold off the mob of protesters terrified for his life.

As I watched this black officer running away from the mob and then at times standing his ground and then having no option but to flee as he was outnumbered, my heart was in my mouth and I empathised for this black man and wondered why he was on his own. Where were his fellow officers? How must he be feeling in that moment?

As a black woman it was not difficult for me to empathise with him and to understand the fear and terror he must have been feeling as he was standing face-to-face with this mob who were most likely right wing extremists and intolerant of racial differences.

It reminded me of the film Roots which I had watched when I was very young which still gives me nightmares to this day when I remember scenes of black people being isolated, trapped and lynched. We talk about post-traumatic stress disorder and psychological trauma but no one can begin to understand the trauma that these two policemen would have suffered in those moments. Black or white they were Officers doing their job and being attacked in the process.

An attack on democratic values and way of life?

Watching CNN following the riots and attacks on Capitol Hill there was a discussion on how worried we should be and someone reflected that what’s at stake is our democratic way of life and our liberal values. They talked of the dangers posed by the right wing extremists who having defined the world in a certain way are outraged that people do not agree with their definitions.

“They want to deny everyone else their rights and those at the most risk are the marginalised groups or ethnic minorities.”

If we needed further proof, the work in the area of anti- racism has never been more urgent. Racism and intolerance impact on society; fear, anger and blame feed the monster. Diversity and Inclusion does not just relate to organisations and boards it affects us all and we need to realise what the risks are if we continue to dismiss the need for change in this area as not applying to us.

When we allow ourselves to be stuck in caves of privilege, safe from the injustice which affects marginalised groups we convince ourselves that Diversity and Inclusion is not our business. However if we do this long enough the damaging impacts are clear to see as we nurture and reinforce messages of superiority and entitlement. We nurture and reinforce messages of intolerance and believe the conspiracy theories we are told. The impact of these repeated messages affects us all (not just those who believe them) as we saw in the Capitol Hill riots.

Some will argue this was in America, it cannot happen here. However the truth is it can happen anywhere. Wherever senses of privilege and entitlement are left unchecked and where there is intolerance of difference and an eagerness to blame those who are different such as ethnic minorities.

Why our focus needs to be on more than just about diversity, equity and inclusion.

Yesterday I met with David Doughty and Shirley Wardell to plan the diversity and inclusion in the boardroom course which we are holding later this month. We had a long discussion around what makes an effective board. We explored the areas we hope to cover on the training programme including concepts such as creating a safe space, building bridges of empathy, coming out of caves of privilege and promoting diversity of thought.

Concerns have been raised around unconscious bias training and whether this really has an impact on changing beliefs and behaviours. Some MPs have argued against such training, protesting against being told what to think. I recognise that some people are numb to anti-racism training and that some consider training not to be the solution in promoting change in boardroom behaviours.

It became clear to me during our planning that after months of conversations around racial injustice there is a real danger the course can fail to catch people’s attention and its messages lost. It’s therefore important to really highlight why diversity, equality and inclusion is such a key focus which we all need to make our business and not turn away from.

Why should Board members make this course their business?

So let me take time to explain why this course is critical to the work that Boards need to start doing in promoting greater inclusivity. Whilst the focus of the training program is on diversity and inclusion in the boardroom what we are going to be covering is much more than this.

It offers board members the first steps in exploring the function of their board and in evaluating where they are in their efforts to foster change and promote greater inclusivity. However more than this, it provides support and challenge in exploring Board values, beliefs and behaviours in relation to racial differences.

We all know that racism is really about power and that if true change is to occur it needs to be at the structural and institutional levels. This is why working with Board members is critical to this work.

In the UK, the Charity commission has recently published the updated Charity Governance Code which includes revised recommendations on Equality Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) and Ethics –essential reading for all charity Chairs and Trustees. This further highlights the importance of work in this area.

So what does it take and what are the costs if we fail to do this work and achieve change?

With all the conversations and protests following the murder of George Floyd and now the attacks on Capitol Hill, some say this is a time for healing, however before the healing can begin, we have to do the work and this includes building bridges of empathy. We need to be able to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes like officer Sicknick’s shoes or the black police officer and imagine how they must have been feeling in those desperate moments as they tried to hold off the rioters.

We need to be able to talk honestly about trust and how we build trust in each other and across different racial groups. How can I be sure that my colleagues will support me and that they will have my back? Those are questions many who have experienced racism in the workplace have asked themselves.

It is only when we practise building bridges of empathy and promote an understanding of what it’s like for someone who is different that the healing can begin. We also need to be able to reflect on our negative automatic thoughts. We all have them and it is important to recognise these and consider their impact.

Posturing and position statements will not achieve the change required.

Currently, in some organisations there is a lot of posturing and pretending when actually the empathy and trust is not there. People and organisations put out position statements saying “racism has no place in our society” when their very practice is one of racism and intolerance of differences.

We need to be open and transparent and start talking about the failure of some organisations. We need to start naming and shaming organisations and celebrating those organisations and individuals who are doing the right things.

We need to stop posturing and pretending and playing at saying the right things. We actually need to start taking action and thinking about what we are doing.

Organisations need to recognise and accept that the work in the area of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion begins with honesty first and foremost and an acknowledgement of the complexities of racism. We need to put our hands up and admit when we've got it wrong. We need to admit our negative automatic thoughts and challenge ourselves and others to control these.

Commitment to change starts in the Boardroom with senior leaders having conversations.

There has to be a real commitment at the individual and organisational level if things are going to change and if we are to achieve true racial equity and racial justice.

This commitment has to start with conversations on race and speaking up and talking honestly about our experiences of differences whether we are black or white. This involves an understanding of emotional intelligence and an ability to explore the principles of empathy, compassion and belonging. Senior leaders need to find ways of building bridges of empathy, bringing different communities together, fostering belonging and shifting away from narratives of blame and racial intolerance.

However that is only the first step. The real work in achieving change starts after that!

The Diversity and Inclusion in the Boardroom course offers that first step in raising awareness and beginning the first step of the journey to admitting to ourselves that we haven’t always got it right and we need to do things differently. We need to challenge racial intolerance and prejudices. If we fail to act now scenes like the storming of Capitol Hill will become common place as we continue to create a society which is intolerant of difference, a society where ordinary families are radicalised and join with extremist groups who feel entitled by the colour of their skin and will stop at nothing to snatch power away from others.

As part of this training you will have the opportunity to complete the Six Stages Questionnaire which is a support and challenge developmental tool designed to promote an understanding and ability to deal with racism.

By Dr Shungu Hilda M’gadzah

Psychologist, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultant.

Inclusion Psychologists Limited

Six Stages Framework.

contact@sixstagesframework.com

Jan 112021
 
Nasdaq emphasise importance of board diversity for 2021

At the end of last year, Nasdaq filed a proposal with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to adopt new listing rules related to board diversity and disclosure.

If approved by the SEC, the new listing rules would require all companies listed on Nasdaq’s U.S. exchange to publicly disclose consistent, transparent diversity statistics regarding their board of directors. Additionally, the rules would require most Nasdaq-listed companies to have, or explain why they do not have, at least two diverse directors, including one who self-identifies as female and one who self-identifies as either an underrepresented minority1 or LGBTQ+. Foreign companies and smaller reporting companies would have additional flexibility in satisfying this requirement with two female directors.

The goal of the proposal is to provide stakeholders with a better understanding of the company’s current board composition and enhance investor confidence that all listed companies are considering diversity in the context of selecting directors, either by including at least two diverse directors on their boards or by explaining their rationale for not meeting that objective.

It's not just box-ticking, research shows that diverse boards are better boards

As part of rationale for the new requirements, Nasdaq’s proposal presents an analysis of over two dozen studies that found an association between diverse boards and better financial performance and corporate governance.

Under the proposal, all Nasdaq-listed companies will be required to publicly disclose board-level diversity statistics through Nasdaq’s proposed disclosure framework within one year of the SEC’s approval of the listing rule. The timeframe to meet the minimum board composition expectations set forth in the proposal will be based on a company’s listing tier. Specifically, all companies will be expected to have one diverse director within two years of the SEC’s approval of the listing rule. Companies listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and Nasdaq Global Market will be expected to have two diverse directors within four years of the SEC’s approval of the listing rule. Companies listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market will be expected to have two diverse directors within five years of the SEC’s approval. For companies that are not in a position to meet the board composition objectives within the required timeframes, they will not be subject to delisting if they provide a public explanation of their reasons for not meeting the objectives.

“Nasdaq’s purpose is to champion inclusive growth and prosperity to power stronger economies,”

said Adena Friedman, President and CEO, Nasdaq.

“Our goal with this proposal is to provide a transparent framework for Nasdaq-listed companies to present their board composition and diversity philosophy effectively to all stakeholders; we believe this listing rule is one step in a broader journey to achieve inclusive representation across corporate America.”

Nasdaq will also introduce a partnership with Equilar, the leading provider of corporate leadership data solutions, to aid Nasdaq-listed companies with board composition planning challenges. Through the Equilar BoardEdge platform, hosting nearly one million profiles and the Equilar Diversity Network, and by leveraging existing services through the Nasdaq Center for Board Excellence, the partnership will enable Nasdaq-listed companies that have not yet met the proposed diversity objectives to access a larger community of highly-qualified, diverse, board-ready candidates to amplify director search efforts.

“This proposal and partnership gives companies an opportunity to make progress toward increasing representation of women, underrepresented minorities and the LGBTQ+ community on their boards,”

said Nelson Griggs, President of Nasdaq Stock Exchange.

“Corporate diversity, at all levels, opens up a clear path to innovation and growth. We are inspired by the support from our issuers and the financial community with this effort and look forward to working together with companies of all sizes to create stronger and more inclusive boards.”

Through this proposal and other corporate initiatives, Nasdaq seeks to make a positive impact in the global community by leveraging the scale of its operations and client network. In September, Nasdaq announced the launch of its Purpose Initiative, designed to champion inclusive growth and prosperity for all stakeholders. This effort will include the relaunched Nasdaq Foundation and initiatives through the company’s employee volunteerism and philanthropic programs and the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center.

Stakeholder Endorsements:

“Successful companies must cultivate diversity to fuel innovation and to thrive in today’s era of ongoing environmental, social and economic change. The technology industry is committed to promoting inclusivity at all levels to ensure that our economy remains robust and innovative. We support Nasdaq’s proposal to advance diversity throughout corporate America.”

– Linda Moore, President & CEO, TechNet

“By pushing its listed companies to address racial and gender equity in corporate boards, Nasdaq is heeding the call of the moment. Incremental change and window-dressing isn’t going to cut it anymore as consumers, stakeholders and the government increasingly hold corporate America’s feet to the fire. Nasdaq’s efforts to prod and push its listed companies is a welcomed and necessary first step. With increased representation of people of color, women and LGBTQ people on corporate boards, corporations will have to take actionable steps to ensure underrepresented communities have a seat at the table."

– Anthony Romero, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union

“Diversity of experience, gender, race, knowledge, and perspective means that a company is more capable of seeing the full picture, assessing risk and overcoming challenges with forward-looking, innovative solutions.”

– Michael Splinter, Chairman, Nasdaq

“When we embrace diversity, we are better equipped to serve our clients, employees, partners, communities and shareholders.”

– Charlene Begley, Director, Nasdaq

“Nasdaq’s diversity proposal marks a transformative moment in a larger movement toward greater representation of women and people of color in the boardroom and beyond.”

– Alfred Zollar, Director, Nasdaq

1 - An “underrepresented minority” is an individual who self-identifies in one or more of the following groups: Black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, Asian, Native American or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander or Two or More Races or Ethnicities.

Join us on Friday 22 January 2021 to discover the practical steps you can take towards increased diversity and inclusion in your boardroom

Jan 042021
 
Diversity and Inclusion in the Boardroom – Video Course Friday 22 January 2021

Diversity and Inclusion in the Boardroom

A practical interactive video course for Chairs and Board members

If you are wondering how you can promote diversity and inclusion on your Board then the Diversity and Inclusion in the Boardroom 1-day interactive video course will provide you with an essential overview of what is involved together with practical steps that can be taken to help you to achieve a more diverse and inclusive board.

This course is aimed at Chairs and Board members in the private, public and voluntary sectors including NHS Trusts, Social Enterprises, Local Authorities, School and College Governors and Charity Trustees looking to reflect on the impact of current issues on racial equity and working in order to promote diversity and inclusion on their boards and in their organisations.

Who should attend?

Chairs and Board members in the private, public and voluntary sectors including NHS Trusts, Social Enterprises, Local Authorities, School and College Governors and Charity Trustees.

What to expect?

  • An overview of the core principles and essential knowledge about the impact of diversity and inclusion in society and on organisations.
  • Identification of the challenges faced by Boards in the area of Diversity and Inclusion and an exploration of the various ways in which Executive and Non-Executive Directors can contribute to these issues
  • Practical guidance on how Board members can make positive contributions to a board’s work by embracing diversity and diversity of thought

Course objectives

Participants will gain the fundamental knowledge / terminology to interact at Board level whilst considering the key impact of these issues on Boards and within organisations.

There will be opportunities to explore recruitment and selection processes, induction and how Boards can implement diversity and inclusion principles

Course Leaders:

Dr Shungu Hilda M’gadzah

Director & Lead Consultant Psychologist: Diversity & Inclusion expert and Educational Psychologist at Inclusion Psychologists Ltd with senior leadership experience and Board level leadership experience in the voluntary sector and public sector. Experience as senior leader in education at Head of Service level leading and managing multi-disciplinary teams. (linkedin.com/in/shunguhildamgadzah/)

Shirley Wardell

Thinking Environment Coach and Facilitator Trainer specialising in Leadership Development. A member of the Time to Think Faculty, qualified to deliver Nancy Kline’s Thinking Environment courses. Experience in Higher Education, mostly for the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (linkedin.com/in/shirley-wardell-47b2467/)

David Doughty CDir FIoD

David Doughty - Chartered Director

Chartered Director and highly experienced Non-Executive, Chief Executive, Chair, Entrepreneur and Business Mentor. David has extensive executive and non-executive experience in small and medium enterprises in private and public sectors. He is also a board level consultant to multi-national organisations and a Chartered Director Ambassador for the Institute of Directors. . (linkedin.com/in/daviddoughty)

Key Details

Duration: 1 day
Location: Zoom Video Conference

Price
£350.00 (ex VAT)
Payment with Booking Price £320.00 (ex
 VAT)
Partner Discount Price
£295.00 (ex VAT)*

Book Now

To see course dates and to book your place now follow this link:
Course Registration

The fee includes a copy of the course handbook

Attendance counts as 6 verifiable CPD hours of structured learning

*Discounts on Excellencia course fees are available for:

Courses can be delivered ‘in-house’ to a single board – to find out more contact courses@excellencia.co.uk or call 01437 731 161


 

Dec 302020
 
Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in the Charity Boardroom

The recently updated Charity Governance Code includes clearer recommended practice in the renamed Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Principle and sets out four stages of practice for charities in their EDI journey.

Boards should:

  1. Think about why equality, diversity and inclusion are important for the charity and assess the current level of understanding.
  2. Set out plans and targets tailored to the charity and its starting point.
  3. Monitor and measure how well the charity is doing.
  4. Be transparent and publish the charity’s progress.

So, how can charity trustees and in particular their Chairs tackle the four stages as a priority for 2021?

As a Chair of a registered charity and having worked with the boards of many charities on matters of Corporate Governance, I would like to suggest the following practical approaches that can be taken to help trustees on their journey to satisfy the four stages towards EDI compliance:

1.   Think about why equality, diversity & inclusion are important for the charity and assess the current level of understanding.

EDI should not be seen as a box-ticking exercise or an attempt to address historical racial injustices – from the point of view of a charity trustee, it should be focused on asking the questions:

  • how can we ensure that we are recruiting the best trustees, staff and volunteers?
  • how can we best understand and meet the needs of the communities our trustee has been set up to serve?
  • how can the board ‘set the tone from the top’ to ensure that the charity treats all its stakeholders with respect, equally and fairly in order that it can do the greatest amount of good in achieving its charitable objects?

In order to measure progress along the EDI journey, it is important to understand where the charity is now in terms of its current level of understanding of the issues involved and the barriers that may prevent equality, diversity and inclusion in the organisation.

This will involve discussion amongst the trustees and between the board and senior management and with staff and volunteers and may require training and facilitation, either internal or external, in order to produce a clear picture of where the charity is now in terms of EDI.

It is important at this stage to formulate a collective idea of ‘what good looks like’ and to manage the expectations of your key stakeholders.

Wherever you are starting your EDI journey it will involve change – increasing diversity means increasing difference and the board must recognise that if it is bringing potentially different people onto the board then it may well need to behave differently itself.

This requires a degree of self-awareness and possibly changes in terms of style and presentation to ensure that the board is truly inclusive. The whole point is to recruit trustees who will bring new ways of supporting and challenging the executives and fellow board members – this should be anticipated and welcomed by all the current trustees.

2.   Set out plans and targets tailored to the charity and its starting point.

A good place to start is the charity’s Articles of Association, or other constitutional document. It is good practice to review them regularly, say every 5 years, anyway but particularly when there is a change in the law or Corporate Governance Code.

By law, trustees must be appointed for a fixed period of time and your Articles will say how often trustees should be presented for re-election at the annual general meeting – typically one third of the board will resign each year and trustees will either seek re-election or new trustees will need to be recruited.

It is good practice to appoint trustees for an initial term of 3 years and they may then serve a total of 6 or 9 years on the board.

If you are thinking of refreshing the board to make the membership more diverse, then it is a useful starting point to know when your current trustees are due to retire – though stepping down from the board is not necessarily the end of a trustees’ involvement with the charity, there is still an opportunity to play an important role as an Advisory Board member, or, with particular importance to EDI, as a mentor to new trustees.

The next thing to look at is the skills of the current trustees to see if there are any gaps. Typically, charity trustees were recruited with a legal or accountancy background but these days, charities also need digital marketing, information governance and cyber-security expertise in order to be able to effectively challenge the executives.

Finally, it is a good idea to examine your recruitment adverts, your website content, particularly on the charity’s governance and where you are advertising for new trustees.

Often the language used in trustee vacancy adverts tends to be off-putting for various sectors of the community from which you are looking to recruit – think about any unconscious bias which may be present which may deter applications from anyone who is not comfortable with the language you are using in the text.

It is a good idea to try out the content with members of the communities that you are targeting and seek their opinion on the best ways to reach the intended audience.

One of the most common hurdles which must be overcome is the apparent lack of suitable candidates for new trustee appointments.

The 2017 research report, Taken on Trust, published by the Charity Commission found that

92% of trustees were white, 51% were retired, 75% were richer than average, and 60% had a professional qualification

– so adverts asking for previous trustee experience are unlikely to receive applications other than from the demographic highlighted in the report.

In order to search a wider pool of potential trustee talent, boards need to consider appointing associate trustees who can then ‘learn on the job’ – with the help and support of mentors who may will be the trustees that the new recruits are replacing.

Programs such as those run by Board Apprentice and the NHS NExT director scheme are a great way to expand the talent pool of diverse candidates for board positions.

By the end of this stage you should have a timeline and a clear set of actions. When it comes to setting targets, these should be set with regard to improvements in the board’s effectiveness and the charity’s performance and not numeric or percentage targets based on protected characteristics.

3.   Monitor and measure how well the charity is doing.

Organisational change is always difficult, particularly for a charity board of volunteer trustees – there will be some trustees who wholeheartedly embrace change, some who are indifferent and some who actively oppose change.

Difficult conversations will have to be had, especially when it comes to boardroom behaviours and there may have to be an early parting of the ways for trustees who are unwilling or unable to come to terms with the challenge.

Having engaged and involved stakeholders at the start of the journey it is important to keep them informed of progress at regular intervals. A board EDI program may also be run in parallel with one for the rest of the organisation and learning opportunities should be encouraged between the two.

Key to the success of an EDI program is building and maintain relationships with the communities from which you are looking to attract new trustees. There are a great many organisations, often charities themselves, who will welcome the opportunity to help you to make your board and charity more inclusive – they may also have a lack of diversity on their own boards so their may be an opportunity for reciprocal support.

The main message is: ‘don’t be afraid to ask’.

4.   Be transparent and publish the charity’s progress.

The opposite of a diverse and inclusive board is a secretive, exclusive mono-culture, of which, unfortunately, many examples can still be found. Transparency is key to ensuring that the EDI journey is seen as a genuine desire to improve the effectiveness of the board and the performance of the charity by engaging with and recruiting trustees from as wide a talent pool as possible.

Making good progress and being able to talk about the journey openly can be a source of competitive difference when it comes to winning scarce grant funding.

It is a virtuous cycle – getting the best people on board and as staff and volunteers, regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation makes for a better charity which then enables it to meet the needs of the community it serves more effectively, which leads to enhanced reputation and funding.

Dec 242020
 
2020 Charity Governance Code recommendations on Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, and Integrity

non-executive director

The recently updated Charity Governance Code, which sets out 7 principles of good governance practice for charities in England and Wales, includes clearer recommended practice in the renamed Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Principle, and updates to the Integrity Principle to emphasise ethics and the right of everyone who has contact with the charity to be safe.

The 2020 update to the Code follows a rigorous consultation with the charity sector that involved user focus groups and received over 800 responses. With feedback particularly focused on the diversity and integrity principles, the Code’s Steering Group commissioned specialist EDI consultants to carry out further research and advice.

Rosie Chapman, Chair of the Charity Governance Code Steering Group said:

These improvements to the Charity Governance Code reflect changes in society and the broader context in which charities are working. The updated Code is designed to help charities adopt good practice and secure better outcomes for the communities they serve. We know that charities are at varying stages in their efforts to fully adopt the Code, including in achieving equality of opportunity, diversity and inclusion, and the updated Code is designed to help charities on this journey. We’ve also heard that charities and boards would like more guidance on how to improve their approach to EDI. In response, we are asking charity umbrella and infrastructure bodies to provide more guidance and support to charities, to help them meet the recommended practice in the Code.

The Code recommends four stages of practice for charities in their EDI journey. Boards should:

  1. Think about why equality, diversity and inclusion is important for the charity and assess the current level of understanding.
  2. Set out plans and targets tailored to the charity and its starting point.
  3. Monitor and measure how well the charity is doing.
  4. Be transparent and publish the charity’s progress.

Pari Dhillon, independent EDI consultant who advised the Steering Group on the changes, said:

As a governance and EDI fan, I’m very excited about the launch of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion principle, for two reasons. Firstly, great EDI has the power to create social justice in our boardrooms, charities, sector and ultimately society. Secondly EDI practice sits at the heart of good governance, and I’d argue you can’t have one without the other. I say this because:

To maximise public benefit, boards must focus on achieving equality of outcomes through their charitable purpose.

To make better and more informed decisions, boards must be diverse, reflecting and centring the voices of the community and needs that the charity seeks to serve.

To make robust decisions, all board members must have the power to fully participate and societal power imbalances must be prevented from playing out in an inclusive board room.

Malcolm John, Action for Trustee Racial Diversity commented on the new EDI Principle:

I’m delighted that the updated EDI Principle picks up the mantra of Actions not Words by encouraging charities to focus firmly on agreeing plans, setting targets and monitoring their progress. I’m hopeful that this will help set charities on the path to achieving greater racial diversity at all levels by moving away from informal recruitment processes for trustees and committing time and resources to drawing from a wider and more diverse pool of people.

As part of the Code’s refresh, the Integrity Principle has also been strengthened to emphasise the importance of a charity’s values, ethical decision making and the culture this creates.

Rosie Chapman, Chair of the Steering Group explains:

We’ve also updated the integrity principle to reflect the importance of everyone who comes into contact with a charity being treated with dignity and respect and to feel that they are in a safe and supportive environment.

In particular, the Code includes new recommended practice on the right to be safe (safeguarding) that asks trustees to:

Understand their safeguarding responsibilities.

Establish appropriate procedures that are integrated with the charity’s risk management approach.

Ensure that everyone in contact with the charity knows how to speak up and raise concerns.

Charities are encouraged to visit the Code’s website to view and download the new edition of the Code. Explanatory videos and accompanying blogs can also be found on the website.

As any experienced business executive who joins a Charity Board as a Trustee knows, running a charity, especially in 2020, is a particularly challenging task. Charity Chief Executives should be able to draw on the widest range of skills, background and experience from their Trustees for support. EDI should not be seen as pandering to sentiment but as an essential requirement to ensure that Boards have the best people contributing to the governance of the Charity, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or class.

Charity Trustees are, by and large, enthusiastic, unpaid, supporters of the cause that their charity serves but they should also ensure that they understand their role, duties and responsibilities - the updated Charity Governance Code is essential reading for all charity Trustees.

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