Equality diversity and inclusion (EDI) annual report 2022

Read our 2022 progress on our EDI strategy, and find out more about our diversity.

Summaries and introductions

In December 2021 we launched our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy and road map to our 2024 EDI vision:

“We support each other so no one has to face MS alone. By recognising and respecting all our different lived experiences we will be stronger and our voice louder.”

Our strategy recognises and celebrates the diversity of people affected by MS in the UK. At the MS Society, our role is to reach and support as many people as possible. No one should feel alone, unheard, unsupported or excluded. We want people affected by MS to see us as their fearless ally. That means everyone, whatever their age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, beliefs, disability, health status or how much money they have.

If we’re to make the biggest impact, we need our people (volunteers and staff) to reflect the diversity of our MS community. We want all our staff and volunteers to feel included and empowered in their role. We want everyone to feel they can be themselves.

Our six objectives for the EDI Strategy

These objectives aim to help us become more diverse and grow our reach. They’ll also help us make sure everyone in our community feels their voice is included in what we do and how we do it.

  1. Support and promote the voice of people who face discrimination.
  2. Broadening our reach.
  3. More inclusive experiences for people affected by MS.
  4. Recruiting and fostering diverse talent.
  5. Recruiting and retaining diverse volunteers.
  6. Building an inclusive culture.

We recently recruited an EDI programme manager, Dr Amy Reeve, to oversee the implementation of our strategy. She is building an evidence base to identify progress made and where there’s work to do. She’ll also develop new actions to address gaps.

In this annual report, we provide an update on each aspect of our strategy and our gender pay gap report. Many people across the MS Society have contributed to progress against our objectives. We thank them for their dedication.

Nick Moberly, CEO

I’ve been with the MS Society since July 2022 and I feel very lucky to have been appointed as custodian for this important work. I’m committed to the implementation and development of our EDI strategy.

While I don’t have a personal connection to MS, I’ve worked for many years as a Parkinson’s researcher. I also have personal experience of supporting a family member with a neurodegenerative condition. These experiences have taught me the importance of having a community around you and the feeling that your voice is heard within that community.

When I joined, the MS Society had already made progress against the objectives set out in our EDI strategy. We want to make sure that EDI is at the centre of all we do. Its principles should be part of our daily working lives. Having such a committed team of people to support this work will undoubtedly help this to happen.

In this document, we share the progress we've made over the last twelve months and highlight our next steps. We also include some pay gap reporting. We plan to expand this in the future.

As we move into the second year of our ambitious strategy, we’ll build on these foundations. We’ll continue to act positively to fulfil the commitments we've already made. We’ll also use the data and evidence we collect to look for areas in which we still need to do more.

Sometimes we’ll ask you to share sensitive personal information with us to allow us to do this. We anonymise this data to look for patterns and trends, to check that our current actions are fit for purpose and identify inequalities that still exist.

I know there are people, both within our organisation and within the MS community, who have been waiting too long for change. I'll continue to listen to the voices of marginalised people and people who face discrimination, to make sure we act and to carry their voices through all that we do.

By supporting each other, we’ll make sure that no one has to face MS alone.

Amy Reeve (She/Her)

(#mynameis Am-ee Reeve (rhymes with sleeve))

EDI programme manager

Before 2021, we’d made some progress to embed EDI in our work. However, we recognised our complacency in this work. We’d been content to make incremental progress, without reflecting on how we were perpetuating discrimination. This meant progress was slow and for that we apologise.

We want to be there for everyone affected by MS. We know that means constant activity to combat all forms of exclusion and disadvantage. This includes tackling systemic racism and conscious and unconscious bias – both in ourselves and others. We wanted to do more to support cultural change across the MS Society and be a stronger and louder advocate for change for our community.

And so, the development of our EDI strategy was a much stronger and clearer commitment to bring about change. It took too long for us to make this commitment. Many of you may still be wondering what we’ve done to bring about the cultural changes you’ve been waiting for. Changes we promised.

Here we provide you with a detailed description of what we’ve achieved as an organisation. We discuss delays which have occurred and highlight the next steps in this journey. We recognise this is a long report and we’re committed to improving its accessibility over the coming years. At the same time we’ll continue to provide an open, honest appraisal of our progress.

We wrote this report:

  • to update you on the impact our implementation plan has already had
  • to reaffirm our commitment to put diversity and inclusion at the centre of all we do as an organisation
  • to acknowledge and recognise the many contributions which have made our progress in this area possible
  • because it’s our duty to report on steps we’ve taken to improve EDI across the organisation

In our first annual EDI report, we give a detailed update across all six strategy objectives:

  • Support and promote the voices of people who face discrimination
  • Broadening our reach
  • More inclusive experiences for people affected by MS
  • Recruiting and fostering diverse talent
  • Building an inclusive culture
  • Recruiting and retaining diverse volunteers

We’ve included previously reported gender pay gap data. We hope to be able to examine this in more detail in the future.

Currently, we’re not able to report on other pay gaps because we lack the data. We want to report our disability and ethnicity pay gaps in the next two years. And pay gaps across the other protected characteristics in the coming years. New approaches to data collection will support this.

We end by reporting on delays to our strategy, mitigations we’ve put in place and amendments we’ve needed to make.

We’ll continue to collect data over the next year so we can analyse trends and the impact of our EDI strategy. This will help us identify areas in which there’s still work to be done. We’ll use consistent data collection across the whole organisation to look at diversity across all our work.

If you’d like to get more involved in our EDI work, or discuss anything related to EDI, please email [email protected].

In 2010, the Equality Act set out nine protected characteristics. The Act made it illegal to discriminate against people based on their identification with these characteristics:

  • age 

  • disability 

  • gender reassignment 

  • marriage and civil partnership 

  • pregnancy and maternity 

  • Race 

  • religion or belief 

  • sex 

  • sexual orientation. 

The principles of EDI centre on these characteristics, but often expand beyond them. For example, when we consider barriers people face because of social and economic factors.

We want to have EDI at the heart of everything we do. Not because we feel we have to, but because it’s the right thing to do. And because it will allow us to support the whole MS community.

We want to do more, to challenge inequalities and carry the voices of people who face discrimination. In this way, we will bring about change.

Supporting equality means we make sure that everyone who interacts with us has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents. No one should have less opportunity because of where they come from, their beliefs, their age or whether they’re disabled.

Striving for diversity means that we recognise and value the differences between people and the impact that combining these perspectives can have on our success.

We want to be inclusive. This means we don’t want anyone to face MS alone. We want everyone to feel that they could have a home with the MS Society.

We’ll listen to our communities to learn about the barriers they face and welcome constructive feedback. And we acknowledge that while we've made progress, we still have work to do.

There’s still a problem with micro-aggressions and discriminatory behaviours. We need to find ways to prevent these, that don’t rely on traditional training modules. We need to recognise these behaviours and be more confident to be active bystanders and allies to those who are experiencing them. In short, we need to improve our organisational culture to prevent discriminatory behaviour.

These cultural changes are taking too long to happen. People aren’t feeling any impact in their day-to-day lives. We want to do better at communicating the changes we've made and engage more with our communities to understand their needs. This EDI annual report is one of the first steps to do this.

Finally, we need to build confidence in having sensitive conversations around EDI issues. We need to make sure we’re all equipped to support people who are facing challenges and provide appropriate signposting. We’ve developed a guidance document to support this. We’ll be gathering feedback on this from across the organisation.

Who supports our EDI work?

EDI work relies on listening to people’s stories and making sure there are opportunities for input from experts by experience. Without placing the burden of doing the work on those people. Most actions within our EDI strategy are implemented by subject expert teams across the MS Society. But we also gather feedback and insight from other groups.

The group who oversee our EDI work is called the EDI activity group. It’s made up of senior staff and subject experts from around the organisation. We also have Amy, our dedicated EDI programme manager, our EDI reference group (made up of colleagues and people affected by MS), our staff-led networks and a network of staff EDI champions. You can read a bit more about them below.

This group has oversight and responsibility for delivering our EDI strategy implementation plan. It’s made up of senior staff and subject experts from around the organisation. We’ve expanded the EDI activity group this year to include additional voices.

It provides feedback on our work and makes sure it aligns with our corporate strategy and values. Members of the group challenge on behalf of the teams and networks they represent. And lends their insight to action planning and evidence gathering.

Insight from the staff networks, EDI reference group and EDI champions is shared with this group. This makes sure that diverse voices are heard and together we can develop meaningful actions to address concerns. We’re hoping to extend it further to include voices from people living with MS and our volunteer community.

As the activity group responsible for delivering our EDI implementation plan, how do we feel we’ve done over the last 12 months?

Honestly, we’d have liked to have done better and achieved more progress against our 2022 actions. We should have progressed our culture change further.

We still don’t represent the whole MS community as well as we should. Our senior leadership is not diverse. And people across the organisation still experience micro-aggressions.

But this year we’ve laid a solid foundation to build on, and hope to increase the rate of progress over the coming year. The culture change we want to achieve is huge. It will take time. But we’re proud of the steps we’ve taken on this journey already.

We’re grateful to everyone who has already contributed to this work. With special thanks to those who’ve challenged and shared your stories and experiences. We are indebted to everyone who bravely shared their experiences of discrimination and micro-aggressions. You relived trauma and hurt. We will learn from your stories.

The EDI reference group is made up of people living with MS. The members of this group are experts by experience who helped shape our EDI strategy and this annual report. They bring together unique and shared lived experiences to ensure that we carry the voices of the MS community in our EDI work. They provide constructive feedback and lend their expertise to shaping the EDI work that we do.

It’s a diverse group, whose members are passionate about EDI. They work with our EDI programme manager on specific projects to fulfil our strategy.

Our EDI reference group also gave their feedback on this report and our progress after one year. They said:

"It's heartening to see the progress that has been made in just one year with the MS Society's EDI strategy but also the acknowledgement that there is still progress to be made. The transparency and openness around this process is very welcome and I hope to continue collaborating with the MS Society to move this forward for everyone who interacts with the organisation"

Trishna Bharadia (EDI Reference Group Member, MS Society Ambassador and Asian MS Committee Member)

‘I think that in the last year considering the small amount of dedicated EDI resource, the MS Society has made 100% effort. We have really good intentions and are considering intersectionality from the start. In my experience, this is not usually considered until the end of a project. So in this respect we are quite advanced. However, we need to be doing more to consider intersectionality across all aspects of the MS Society. We need to make sure we have all the voices in the room. We need to make sure we value the voices of people living with MS. That we have a minimum standard of respect for these voices and that those people know we value their voices as an asset. These are my reflections from working with Amy and the conversations we have had as a group’

Dean Owens-Cooper (He/Him) (Member of the EDI reference group).

We meet monthly, online, in the early evening and create a safe space to discuss EDI related matters. Our meetings are relatively informal and support open conversations.

We’re always open to new members, so please email [email protected] if you’d like to join us.

Our staff networks provide supportive forums and safe spaces for colleagues to share their experiences. Run by staff in their own time, they provide feedback on organisational work including EDI when they can.

REACH (race, equality and cultural heritage) colleague network

REACH is our colleague-led network for people with Black, Asian and ethnic heritage. 


Spectrum is our colleague-led LGBTQIA+ staff network which supports LGBTQIA+ colleagues and organises events like Pride marches. The group is open to all LGBTQIA+ staff and allies, and there is no expectation to disclose your gender identity or sexuality in order to join.

The Purple Network

This is our colleague-led network for disabled people, people with long-term physical or mental health conditions, neurodivergence or invisible illnesses. There is no expectation to disclose your disability or condition in order to join.

Carers’ Network

A staff forum for anyone with caring responsibilities to come together for mutual support, information sharing and to raise the profile of carers in the MS Society.

If you want to find out more about any of these groups, contact [email protected] and we will direct you to the appropriate contact.


Our EDI champions are members of staff who are passionate about EDI and seeing us achieve the culture change we aspire to. They’re subject experts who sit in the various teams across the organisation and across our nations. They provide feedback and insight from their teams and subject areas, bringing knowledge and experience to EDI projects.

We’re always open to new members, so please email [email protected] if you’d like to join us.

Our data on diversity at the MS Society

When you engage with us, we might invite you to provide sensitive personal information about your identity. We ask you about your gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age and whether you are disabled. We also ask about any personal connection you have with MS.

You may wonder why we do this and be unsure about whether to disclose this sensitive information to us.

We want to reassure you that this data is always stored anonymously. And whether or not you share it is always your choice.

When we use EDI data to understand who’s using a service or applying for a job we look at the overall numbers of answers to each question. And we don’t report information on groups which contain fewer than five people. This makes it almost impossible to identify people from their answers.

By giving us this information you’re helping us to understand more about the make-up of our community. Both our staff and the people we support.

Our EDI strategy was developed based on consultations with you and recognised the mistakes of the past. We must continue to make sure this strategy supports everyone, not just focusing on one or two communities and excluding others.

The information you share helps us understand if our strategy is working. And where we have more work to do.

To support our EDI data collection we’ll use the same questions across all areas of the MS Society. We aim to have implemented this by the end of 2023.

By offering people the option to answer the same questions however they interact with us, we can compare data across all our communities. We’re continuing to improve the way we collect and analyse data through our new database project, Project Sage. This will allow us to collect, manage and learn from data across the whole organisation.

These approaches will give us an evidence base to identify under-served groups and barriers which prevent people from these groups engaging with us.

A key part of our EDI strategy is to make sure we reflect the diversity of the whole MS community. It includes actions to increase diversity of senior leadership positions and support diversity in the people who interact with our services, website and volunteers.

In this section, we present a picture of our MS Society. We’ll do this in each annual EDI report to show areas where we’ve improved diversity and those where there’s still work to do. It will help us to show how our diversity changes over the years of this strategy. Making sure we’re reaching out to, and carrying the voices of, everyone affected by MS in all that we do.

The data included in this report is not yet perfect or complete. And because of the way it was collected it’s reported in slightly different ways. Our standardisation work will improve it for future reports.

2022 data from our HR system

By October 2022, 54% of staff had chosen to share answers to our EDI questions.

10% of colleagues who answered are disabled. We’d like to understand more about the types of impairments our staff live with.

We’ll also start asking people about their personal connection to MS, so we can include this in future reports.

Staff diversity table expanded in copy

Ethnic origin
  • 14% Ethnic minority
  • 80% White
  • 1% Prefer not to say
  • 5% Irish or Northern Irish
  • 25% Male
  • 72% Female
  • 2% Prefer not to say
  • <1% non-binary
Sexual orientation
  • 84% Heterosexual or straight
  • 3% Gay man
  • 1% Gay woman or lesbian
  • 5% Bisexual
  • 4% Prefer not to say
  • 3% Prefer to self describe
Religion or belief
  • 9% Atheist
  • 5% Agnostic
  • 1% Buddhist
  • 26% Christian
  • 3% Hindu
  • 46% No religion
  • 3% Jewish
  • 1% Muslim
  • 1% Other
  • 6% Prefer not to say

(source: Select HR, our HR platform. Report generated 7 October 2022)

People applying to work with us

We looked at diversity across the applications we receive for jobs. We’re aiming to improve the breadth of the information we collect from people who apply to us.

Below, we show the proportion of applicants and people who reached the shortlisting stage and identified as disabled or from a minoritised ethnic background.

The data is from the last 12 months and shows the total from across the organisation. This reflects 1,478 applications (1,082 in July to December 2021, 396 in January to July 2022) and 352 short listed candidates (220 in July to December 2021, 132 in January to July 2022).

Staff recruitment data expanded in copy

Recruitment data July - Dec 2021
Application stage
  • 10% minoritised ethnic
  • 9% disabled
  • 11% minoritised ethnic
  • 13% disabled
Recruitment data Jan - June 2022
Application stage 
  • 12% minoritised ethnic
  • 13% disabled
  • 14% minoritised ethnic
  • 14% disabled

As of December 2022, 33% of our current trustees identify as being from minoritised ethnic backgrounds. 58% are women and 42% are men.

All our trustees have a personal connection to MS or a similar condition

Our volunteer diversity in 2021

Over 900 people who applied to volunteer with us in 2021 shared their sensitive personal data.

Volunteering survey 2021 results expanded in copy

Ethnic origin
  • 88% White British, English, Welsh, or Scottish
  • 3% White Northern Irish
  • 1% White Irish
  • <1% White Gypsy or Irish Traveller
  • 3% Any other White background
  • <1% Mixed White and Asian
  • <1% Asian or Asian British Indian
  • <1% Any other mixed or multiple ethnic background
  • <1% Other ethnic group
  • 2% Prefer not to say
  • 38% Male
  • 69% Female
  • <1% Non binary
  • 3% Prefer not to say
Religion or belief
  • 32% No religion or atheist
  • 6% Agnostic
  • 49% Christian
  • <1% Hindu
  • <1% Jewish
  • 4% Other
  • 8% Prefer not to say

Volunteer diversity in 2022

Out of the people we successfully recruited as volunteers, over 500 chose to share their EDI data.

This year, a number of trans volunteers joined us. The average age across all our appointed volunteers was 45. This is a snapshot of our current volunteers.

Volunteering results 2022 expanded in copy

Ethnic origin
  • 65% White
  • 8% Left blank
  • 7% Asian or Asian British
  • 5% Black, African, Caribbean or Black British
  • 5% Any other White background
  • 2% Other Asian
  • 2% Mixed or multiple ethnic background
  • 1% Any other mixed or multiple ethnic background
  • 1% Other Black background
  • 1% Other ethnic group
  • 1% Prefer not to say
  • 26% Male
  • 74% Female
Sexual orientation
  • 77% Heterosexual or straight
  • 8% Left blank
  • 2% Gay man
  • 1% Gay woman or lesbian
  • 5% Bisexual
  • 5% Prefer not to say
  • 2% Prefer to use my own term
Religion or belief
  • 37% No religion or atheist
  • 38% Christian
  • 8% Left blank
  • 5% Muslim
  • 2% Hindu
  • 1% Other
  • 1% Jewish
  • 1% Buddhist
  • 5% Prefer not to say

People applying to volunteer with us

Over 300 people who were still in the application stages of volunteering also chose to share this information with us. This is the data they shared with us.

Volunteering results 2022 expanded in copy

Ethnic origin
  • 71% White
  • 12% Asian or Asian British
  • 4% Black, African, Caribbean or Black British
  • 3% Any other White background
  • 2% Other Asian
  • <1% Left blank
  • 2% Mixed or multiple ethnic background
  • 1% Any other mixed or multiple ethnic background
  • 2% Other ethnic group
  • 2% Prefer not to say
  • 26% Male
  • 74% Female
Sexual orientation
  • 80% Heterosexual or straight
  • 6% Left blank
  • 2% Gay man
  • 1% Gay woman or lesbian
  • 5% Bisexual
  • 6% Prefer not to say
  • <1% Prefer to use my own term
Religion or belief
  • 39% No religion or atheist
  • 38% Christian
  • 10% Muslim
  • 3% Hindu
  • 2% Other
  • 1% Jewish
  • 1% Sikh
  • 5% Prefer not to say

(source: 2021 recruitment data from REACH, our volunteer recruitment platform)

People who withdrew applications to volunteer with us

A number of people chose to withdraw their applications to volunteer with us. 174 of them provided EDI data.

Volunteers who withdrew applications results expanded in copy

Ethnic origin
  • 57% White
  • 11% Asian or Asian British
  • 5% Black, African, Caribbean or Black British
  • 7% Any other White background
  • 2% Other Asian
  • 6% Left blank
  • 7% Mixed or multiple ethnic background
  • 2% Other ethnic group
  • 4% Prefer not to say
  • 36% Male
  • 64% Female
Sexual orientation
  • 78% Heterosexual or straight
  • 8% Left blank
  • 2% Gay man
  • 2% Gay woman or lesbian
  • 4% Bisexual
  • 6% Prefer not to say
  • 1% Prefer to use my own term
Religion or belief
  • 27% No religion or atheist
  • 50% Christian
  • 6% Left blank
  • 3% Muslim
  • 2% Hindu
  • 5% Other
  • 3% Jewish
  • 3% Sikh
  • 2% Prefer not to say

(source: 2021 recruitment data from REACH, our volunteer recruitment platform)

People who weren't appointed as volunteers

A number of people were unsuccessful in being appointed. 500 of them provided EDI data.

Volunteering results 2022 expanded in copy

Ethnic origin
  • 47% White
  • 17% Asian or Asian British
  • 12% Black, African, Caribbean or Black British
  • 8% Any other White background
  • 1% Other Asian
  • 1% Left blank
  • 6% Mixed or multiple ethnic background
  • 1% Any other mixed or multiple ethnic background
  • 5% Other ethnic group
  • 1% Prefer not to say
  • 32% Male
  • 67% Female
Sexual orientation
  • 79% Heterosexual or straight
  • 2% Left blank
  • 2% Gay man
  • 2% Gay woman or lesbian
  • 5% Bisexual
  • 6% Prefer not to say
  • 3% Prefer to use my own term
Religion or belief
  • 29% No religion or atheist
  • 44% Christian
  • 1% Left blank
  • 14% Muslim
  • 3% Hindu
  • 2% Other
  • <1% Jewish
  • 1% Sikh
  • <1% Buddhist
  • 5% Prefer not to say

(source: 2021 recruitment data from REACH, our volunteer recruitment platform)

We want to make sure our services are accessible to everyone. It’s important that everyone feels supported by our services and does not experience any barriers to using them.

Sometimes, when it’s appropriate, we might ask you to complete a short survey which will include some sensitive personal questions.

Who used our services in 2021?

We’ve included some information below to show the diversity in the people who engaged with our MS Helpline in 2021. This year, we received over 28,000 enquiries to our MS Helpline or helpline specialist services. Over 800 people shared their information with us in the form of a short feedback questionnaire at the end of their call.

MS Helpline survey 2021 results expanded in copy

Ethnic origin
  • 85% White
  • 3% Asian or British Asian
  • 4% Black, African, Caribbean or British Black
  • 3% Mixed or multiple ethnic group
  • 2% Other ethnic group
  • 2% Prefer not to say
  • 25% Male
  • 74% Female
  • 2% Prefer not to say
  • <1% non binary
Sexual orientation
  • 77% Heterosexual or straight
  • 1% Gay man
  • 2% Gay woman or lesbian
  • 9% Bisexual
  • 9% Prefer not to say
  • 3% Other

(source: 2021 Feedback questionnaire response)

We’d like to be able to discuss the diversity of our people who use our services in more detail in the coming years. This will help us identify if particular groups or communities are not engaging with our services.

We can then commission projects to understand whether we’re creating barriers. And we can take action to remove those barriers, making our services more accessible and inclusive.

In 2021, we sent a one-off survey to 45 people who applied to our 2021 research grant round. Although this was only a small number of people, we found the gender split, sexual orientation and disability status of applicants was representative of the UK population. 54% identified as women, 13% identified as gay or lesbian, and 25% were disabled.

The age range of applicants (32 to 69 years) reflects the typical age range of doctoral researchers. This suggests younger researchers are not applying.

We saw the greatest under-representation when looking at ethnicity, with 92% of respondents identifying as White. We need more data to further investigate applicant diversity, particularly to examine this across different ethnicities.

We don’t currently collect demographic data on our funded researchers or Research Network volunteers. But as part of the Research EDI action plan, we’ll collect demographic data from researchers applying to us for research funding. We’ll also collect data from members of our advisory committees and panels, including Research Network volunteers.

This will help us evaluate the success rates for researchers with different characteristics and the groups that are recommending proposals for funding and reviewing research progress. We’ll begin collecting data from our Research Network as part of the wider piece of work to collect volunteer data across the MS Society.

We’ve been annually reporting our gender pay gap on our website since 2018. Recent improvements to our systems will help us report on our pay gap for other protected characteristics in the coming years. Several other charities already report their ethnicity pay gap. We want to report our disability pay gap as well.

Our last reported mean gender pay gap (reported in April 2022, the requirement for 2021) was 4.45% (2.06% 2020), based on 263 employees.

How do we compare?

This is low compared to other charities we use for benchmarking. In 2021

  • Cancer Research UK reported a 19.7% gender paygap and a -9.3% ethnicity pay gap
  • Parkinson's UK reported an 18.9% gender paygap and a -1.2% ethnicity paygap.
  • Alzheimer's Research UK reported a 14.9% gender paygap.

But we’re committed to closing this gap entirely. These are some of the ways we’re working to do this.

Smart working

In April 2021, we introduced our smart working policy to help create a more flexible, inclusive and collaborative environment. This gives more flexibility about when and where people work. It also allows staff to combine work with other important demands on their time such as childcare and other caring responsibilities.

New leave policies

We’ve introduced new leave policies which give employees the opportunity to buy and sell annual leave (up to five days). They can also choose whether to work bank holidays or not. And we’ve also delivered unconscious bias training to all new managers and other staff involved in recruitment decisions.

We’ll continue to support flexible, family-friendly employment policies and practices. We support people who take time off to have children to return to work when they’d like to. And we support partners to take time off too.

Reforming our interview process

We’re committed to reforming our interview processes to remove unconscious bias. We also support reasonable adjustments for interviewees. For example, we can provide interview questions in advance for people who are neurodiverse or with neuro-disabilities. This helps make sure they can perform to their potential under the pressure of an interview situation.

Detailed overview of progress against the six objectives of our strategy and beyond

When we developed our EDI strategy we listened to the voices of our community and reflected on our history.

You wanted better representation and better support for everyone living with MS. You wanted us to tackle behaviours like micro-aggressions and promote the voices of people who face discrimination. You wanted us to improve our culture, to become more inclusive and understand the barriers many of us face. Basically, you wanted us to do better to support and represent the people we’re here to support.

We’ve not achieved everything we set out to in 2022. But we have made progress. Next year we’ll build on these starting points and deliver more.

In this section we provide updates on key deliverables in the implementation plan. In the last section, we provide updates on each of the deliverables which were scheduled to be completed or to begin in 2022.

A year ago, we made our commitment to becoming a more inclusive organisation. We set out key things that we wanted to achieve by the end of 2022. We’ve made a good start. But, given staffing challenges, we’ve been unable to make as much progress as we’d hoped. We have not kept our community updated with our progress or communicated the things we’ve achieved. And several actions have been delayed.

We want to achieve more in the second year of our strategy, with a dedicated EDI programme manager to drive this work forward. We’ll provide more regular updates on our progress. We hope people across the organisation will begin to feel the impact of our work on their day-to-day lives.

My MS, My Needs

This year we tried a new approach with our My MS, My Needs survey. This vital survey helps us to understand more about the needs of people living with MS, their family and friends.

We hoped to be able to gather responses from across the MS community and increase the diversity of responses. Over 6,000 people responded.

The results of this survey will allow us to commission more evidence to ensure we support the needs of the whole MS community.

Wider evidence work on inequality

We’re commissioning research into inequality in the MS community. However, this won’t be fully complete until early 2023.

Myth-busting and grass-roots activism

We’ve started projects across the MS Society to examine how to help people affected by MS to get the best care possible. In consultation with various stakeholders, including our Board of Trustees, we’ve increased our ambition on this project.

At first, we were planning to focus only on awareness of legal rights. But now, we want to help people with MS understand what a good MS service looks like end to end. While we think this is an exciting approach the scope is a lot bigger. So we’re now aiming to complete this project in 2023.


In autumn 2022 we launched our #BreakingPoint campaign. This comes as we face a new cost of living crisis, but people living with MS have been on the receiving end of government cuts for years. Change can’t wait, we want the government to provide better support, so people living with MS aren’t forced to make devastating choices. Our campaign called for the government to:

  • introduce a new cost of living support package for disabled people immediately
  • increase benefits to cover the extra costs of living with MS
  • pause debt repayments for people on benefits

14,366 people signed our petition. In 2023 we’ll continue to run campaigns which focus on inequalities the MS community faces. 

Priorities for 2023

  • Use the findings from My MS, My Needs to commission more evidence to support the needs of people living with MS.
  • Follow on from #BreakingPoint with another campaign to fight inequality.
  • Complete projects to support myth-busting and grass-roots activism.


Our work to improve the diversity of our research and clinical trials falls under this objective of our strategy. The Research team have expanded their EDI work and have developed a dedicated action plan. You can find a summary update at the end of this section. Look out for their detailed EDI annual update in the coming months.


We’ve been talking to and photographing more people who are younger, disabled, or have diverse heritage to represent our community in all our external communications.

As part of our brand evolution, we’ll make sure that representation is built in when developing our brand toolkit. We hope to build up a more diverse and inclusive bank of imagery using the protected characteristics as guidance.

Making connections

In Wales, we’ve been building links with universities to reach more young people living with MS. We’ve met the heads of disability services across Wales to understand the best ways to support and engage with students with MS.

A graduate student living with MS has set up a Facebook page specifically for students living with MS. MS: to university and beyond is an online space for university students who are living with MS and studying in the UK or Ireland.

The Welsh team undertook a project with Race Equality First, funded by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. The project aimed to engage minority communities in North Wales, to make sure they understand the wide range of support services available. It wanted to address barriers around language, lack of understanding and lack of access for minority communities to vital healthcare services. The project team produced booklets in 10 different languages. So the most vulnerable people can engage with health and wellbeing support in their language of choice.

The Northern Ireland team, marched in Belfast Pride with eighteen people with MS and their supporters. They also ran a number of events alongside Pride including a Pride themed book club and art class.

Our LGBTQIA+ staff group SPECTRUM organised our participation in London Pride. They co-produced messaging and themes with staff and people with MS and invited other MS charities to march with us. 

Priorities for 2023

  • Pilot different ways to reach people who are struggling on their income and are from minoritised ethnic groups.
  • Improve representation of people from minoritised groups in our work. This will include representation of the different stages of MS.
  • Continue to make sure EDI is embedded in our brand and our representation is bolder.
  • Look for other opportunities and provide budget to support other events important to our community.
  • Align our local and national engagement to make sure we better reach under-served communities. Build strategic partnerships to support this.

Independent support groups

Towards the end of 2022, we launched a pilot of our new service to help. people living with MS build communities of interest around different themes.

It aims to provide a starting place for you to build communities of support based on your interests, experiences or type of MS. It’s designed to help you find your people, access peer support, develop existing groups or set up your own independent groups online or offline.

We’re aiming to launch fully in 2023. You can find out more about independent support groups on our website.

Community focused events

We want to do better to engage with groups within the MS community who are currently underserved and under-represented. An outcome of this will be to organise specific events and opportunities with those groups.

For example, our research team has planned an event with Parkinson’s UK and Alzheimer’s Society to discuss research with members of the Black MS community. The event will be held in early 2023 in South London and will give an overview of our research into how MS affects Black people, and how to get involved. We'll have more information on our website and shared across our channels in the New Year. Including how to sign up for the event.

ASPIRE project recommendations

ASPIRE is our management training programme for staff. For the last two years, colleagues on the programme have undertaken an EDI-related project.

In May 2022, their report included recommendations for how to help us engage more effectively with diverse groups. Several of these have been included in our EDI strategy. For example, improving staff engagement with the co-production tool kit. This will help us include experts by experience in many projects across the organisation.

The report also recommended developing an accessibility policy to make sure the important information we provide is accessible. And it recommended mapping our relationships with external organisations which support our MS community. This year, the ASPIRE cohort will focus on how managers can make the biggest impact on our EDI strategy.

Making local connections

Through ‘Digesting Science’ events, we support children who have a parent living with MS. Our newly diagnosed days help support people as they navigate those early days of an MS diagnosis.

Priorities for 2023

  • Review and evaluate rewards and recognition policies to support people who engage with us.
  • Continue to implement the recommendations from the ASPIRE 2021 project.
  • Implement the recommendations from the 2022 ASPIRE EDI project. This year the project focuses on how managers can have an impact on our EDI strategy.

Recruitment practices

To minimise unconscious bias and make sure we employ the best person for each role, we remove personal information from job applications before the shortlisting stage. We also offer reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process. For example, we provide interview questions ahead of the interview upon request. 

Colleague development

We’ve created a mentorship scheme to support our colleagues to develop. Mentoring can foster diverse talent by providing guidance on how to navigate organisational structures. It helps identify talented individuals and supports our aspirations to grow and diversify our leadership.

We currently have eight mentees and twelve mentors on the scheme. We’re providing external coaching to five other people. None of the people enrolled chose to provide EDI monitoring data, so we can’t report on the diversity in this group.


This year 70% of recruiters and managers undertook our unconscious bias training. And 82% of staff completed our equality course. These are the limits of our current EDI training offer and this is not good enough. There is a clear need and demand for improvements to this offer and our approaches to the ways we deliver training. Our training offer needs to support the culture change we wish to achieve.

We want to reimagine our EDI training offer to move away from generic packages and build training specific for the MS Society. This will include real-life stories and experiences from across the organisation, building in lesson learning from these stories to improve our culture.

Our ASPIRE programme

Our ASPIRE programme supports the training of our staff for managerial roles. Part of this programme each year includes an EDI project (see ‘ASPIRE project recommendations’ above).

This year, they’re focussing on how managers can make the biggest impact on our EDI strategy.

Priorities for 2023

  • Improve our recruitment. We will develop our practices to attract and hire more diverse colleagues. This will include advertising opportunities through channels to reach communities currently under-represented in the MS Society.
  • Establish a paid internship scheme. This will be targeted at candidates from backgrounds currently under-represented at the MS Society.
  • Continue to assess and evaluate our EDI data to support the reporting of other pay gaps (ethnicity and disability) in our 2023 annual EDI report.
  • Improve our insight into the application of reasonable adjustments throughout our processes and across the MS Society. Review the current reasonable adjustments and access to work processes with input from experts by experience.


We’re developing an accessibility policy. We apologise that we don’t have one in place already. This will provide criteria to make sure all our content and materials, both internal and external, are fully accessible. This should also extend to physical spaces. The first draft of this policy will be completed at the end of 2022. The final version will be ready in the first quarter of 2023.

Sharing pronouns

To help support each other, we encourage the sharing of pronouns. Normalising the sharing of pronouns helps us use the correct pronouns for each other. It helps support those who may want to change their pronouns or use gender neutral versions. While we want to normalise the sharing of pronouns in the MS Society, the sharing of yours remains your choice.

We include information on how to do share pronouns in our email signatures in our induction packs for new starters. We also encourage people to do it when introducing themselves and on title slides for presentations which include their names. We’ll continue to feedback to Microsoft to support the sharing of pronouns through software like Teams.


We updated our family friendly policy during autumn 2022 and will be launching the new policy in January 2023. This policy aims to be inclusive of different types of families and relationships. It provides support to everyone starting a family no matter who they are. We developed this document following feedback from our staff. When it’s scheduled for review, we’ll again listen to feedback.

We’re continuing to review all our existing policies to make them more inclusive and are developing new guidance. For example, to support people transitioning at work.

Inclusive perspectives

We’ve included different perspectives in our ‘Inspiring Stories’ series of events for staff. So far, seven people have shared their stories. They’ve covered MS diagnosis stories, the challenges of navigating male dominated sports and career paths, what it’s like being a young person with MS, and the inequalities minoritised ethnic groups face.

The stories of these speakers have highlighted the experiences of people living with MS from different communities. They’ve also raised different challenges people face through their careers and the importance of looking after both your mental and physical health.

We'll continue to include and encourage discussion around different perspectives in other ways too. We’ll keep raising awareness during big moments, like International Women's Day, Pride Month, International Pronouns Day and Black History Month, sharing stories and content to connect with our community.

Embedding EDI

In 2021, every employee included an EDI objective in their progress review. Many people felt that while this was a positive step it wasn’t enough to allow people to support our culture change. We’ll be continuously including EDI objectives in progress reviews from 2023, to make sure EDI is part of our daily lives.

Decision-making processes

We’ve started auditing our policies, processes and procedures to improve how we consider EDI in our decision-making processes. Our board and executive group undertook training on equality considerations in decision-making in October of 2021.

Our board of trustees

To further support our commitment to EDI and improving our culture, our board has developed its own EDI action plan. This aims to improve diversity of our trustees and remove barriers to candidates applying for positions on the board.

We want to provide development opportunities for board members, for example creating a learning and development culture to build potential chairs of the future. And we want to make sure that our board understands the importance of EDI to help promote a culture of inclusion. Read more about the board EDI action plan here

Priorities for 2023

  • Develop accessibility policy to make sure everyone can access our offices, materials, websites and policies.
  • Develop an accessibility check-list we can all use to make sure our offices and the venues we use for events are accessible.
  • Publish an EDI calendar to promote awareness of cultural moments through the year. Promote stories from our community alongside these.
  • Include funds within the EDI budget that the staff networks can request to support events or activities with their communities.
  • Support the sharing of pronouns and phonetic spelling of names in email signatures to improve inclusivity.
  • Support the verbal sharing of pronouns and visual descriptions.
  • Build confidence in having sensitive EDI conversations, providing support and guidance around terminology. For example, publish our EDI lexicon and how to have sensitive conversations guidance documents. Share both with our staff and volunteer communities.
  • We’re developing a process for assessing the equality impacts of decisions, policies and projects. Once complete we’ll embed equality impact assessments across the MS Society. This will make sure the impact of decisions, projects and policies on people are considered as part of the decision-making process.
  • Make sure volunteers and people living with MS have a voice in our EDI activity group.
  • Schedule regular catch ups with teams in the devolved nations to share EDI best practice, approaches and lessons learned.
  • Review the grievance policy and develop ways for people to report negative behaviours and experiences.

Courageous conversations

The development of our EDI strategy was based on research we undertook in 2021. This included interviewing 22 of our volunteers to understand how volunteering was viewed by people from minoritised ethnic groups and younger people. This research shared the experiences of these people on their volunteering journey. We’re committed to undertaking similar research in the future. We’re very grateful to the participants who shared their experiences, particularly given that some of these experiences had caused hurt.

EDI e-learning for volunteers

We’ve created an EDI e-learning module which we’ll roll out for staff in early 2023. We will edit and modify this so it can be rolled out for our volunteers in 2023. We are delayed in sharing this with you. But as we expand our training offers around EDI as part of this strategy, we’ll make sure all packages are part of the volunteer induction and recruitment process. This roll-out is likely to be staged and incremental, starting with group co-ordinators and lead support volunteers.  

Increasing volunteer diversity

This year we launched our Volunteer Impact Awards. These awards recognise the huge contributions of volunteers across several categories. The winners were invited to attend a virtual awards ceremony hosted by Scott Mills.

The winners were all incredible people who had made a difference to the MS community with their volunteering. For example, Charlotte Hecht won the “informing” category for championing the Stop MS Appeal. She also shared the realities of caring for a baby while living with MS. And Simon Hoare, MP won the “influencing” category for carrying the voices and needs and needs of those living with MS to parliament.

However, we recognise the winners were not diverse, particularly in terms of ethnicity. This reflects the lack of diversity within our volunteer community. As we increase the diversity of our volunteers, the diversity of winners of these awards will also improve.

The process for choosing the winners was designed to be anonymous. No identifying details were included in the nominations. The winners were chosen based on their tremendous achievements. And the panel that picked the eventual winners was diverse.

Priorities for 2023

  • Roll out EDI training for volunteers, including real-life stories and learning from people’s experiences.
  • Implement the updated volunteer journey to support the removal of barriers to participation.
  • Establish peer support groups for volunteers.
  • Understand the barriers to being recruited as a volunteer. Investigate why the groups who withdraw or are rejected are more diverse than those who complete the process.

Research has some unique challenges in its effort to be more diverse and inclusive. To begin to tackle this, the Research team developed an EDI action plan for MS Society research. This details how we can improve the diversity and inclusivity of the research we fund, the research community we support, and the wider MS research evidence base.

We’ve been really encouraged by the enthusiasm across the research community for our work. And we’ve continued to listen, learn and reflect on our actions. Below is a snapshot of the key successes in 2022 and priorities for 2023. We’ll publish a more detailed update on progress, challenges, and future priorities of the research action plan in early 2023. 

Data collection

We’ve developed and implemented a survey to collect demographic information for all our grant applicants, grant recipients and panel members.

Across scientific research, there are known inequalities in ethnicity, gender, age and other protected characteristics. We don’t have enough data right now to fully understand the picture in the MS research community. We could be missing out on future leaders in MS research. And more diverse researchers could drive new developments and innovation.

This data will help us understand how diverse our funded research community is and help us identify how to improve it. 

Showcasing stories

We’re showcasing stories of researchers from diverse groups. In 2022 we focused on researchers from ethnic minority backgrounds and disabled researchers. It’s important we highlight the stories of researchers from these groups to show research can be a viable career path for a broad range of people. Here are two examples: 

Clinical trial participants

We’ve added a requirement that our new clinical trials must collect and report on the characteristics of participants. By collecting data about people recruited to MS studies, we can start to support researchers and clinicians to consider how they can recruit people with MS from under-represented groups.

This will lead to more people directly benefitting from participating in trials (for example increased engagement with and active management from clinicians). It will also contribute to the longer-term goal of ensuring healthcare solutions are more effective for everyone.

Priorities for 2023

  • Report on the demographic figures for our grant applicants, recipients and panel members. Conduct focused recruitment to increase the diversity of our boards, committees and panels.
  • Review and improve our research communications plan to ensure people from all backgrounds are aware of opportunities and ways to take part in research. And increase people’s understanding of how research works.
  • Deliver a research outreach event specifically aimed at the Black MS community in South London in early 2023. We’ll use the learnings from this to plan future community engagement and outreach.

EDI programme manager

Our EDI programme manager, Amy, joined us in July this year. Her role is to support delivery of our EDI strategy across all our teams. She is also a point of contact for support with any EDI related issues. Amy chairs the EDI reference group and supports the staff networks. She provides a channel for feedback and will develop actions to address priority areas of concern.

We’ve changed how we support the strategy by changing the membership of our EDI activity group. We’ve included new members with specific expertise and from across the organisation. This will not only make sure we complete our actions, but also that we can gather feedback from across the MS Society.

We’re publishing this annual report and will continue to report on our EDI progress every year.

Building networks

We’re building relationships with other EDI leads across the sector. This includes sharing best practice and learning from others at different stages of their EDI journey.

Priorities for 2023

  • Improve our approach to gathering evidence to support increasing diversity across the MS Society.
  • Improve accessibility of the annual EDI report for 2023, by providing alternatives to document formats.
  • Support the implementation of standardised EDI data collection across the MS Society.
  • Actively listen to people from minoritised groups. Listen to the barriers they face and understand their experiences. Develop actions to counter inequalities.

Delays, mitigations and amendments

We’ve not achieved all our aims this year. Although all change takes time, we’re disappointed not to have achieved as much as we hoped.

These are some of the delays which have impacted our progress.

Recruiting our EDI programme manager took longer than anticipated. Due to the number of applications received we had to extend the interview process. We also had to respect the length of notice periods. This impacted some actions which had already been assigned to the programme manager. However, we have made progress and will continue to support the delivery of all our strategy actions.

One area the recruitment delay particularly impacted was our research into understanding the barriers to people from minoritised groups engaging with us. It also affected the pilot of better outreach to these groups, particularly people from minoritised ethnic groups and people struggling on their income.

The delay to filling our EDI programme manager role also impacted our reporting of progress. We would have achieved more against our 2022 actions had we had a person in this dedicated role earlier. 

The wait for our new HR system iTRENT has slowed our collection of data around colleague’s protected characteristics. Reporting this data from across the organisation is imperfect, meaning we don’t have the full picture of how diverse we are.

We are hoping iTrent and standardising how we collect data will help us have a better picture of where we are, and how we still need to improve.

There was also a delay to our plans to embed equality impact assessments (EIAs) within the MS Society. We’ve held a workshop with our leadership group and are developing our EIA documents and process. This will support the inclusion of the impact of decisions on people in the decision-making process.

Now our full-time programme manager is in place and can oversee the EDI strategy implementation, we hope progress will speed up.

The mapping exercise to understand more about the relationships we hold with other external groups and organisations is nearly complete. Once it’s finished, we’ll work with them to understand more about the barriers to engagement with us. This information will feed into the new approaches we take to outreach.

The culture change we aspire to achieve is going to take time. There are still reports of micro-aggressions from across the organisation. To minimise this in the future we’re building new training programmes. These will include real-life stories from across the organisation so we can integrate a ‘lessons learned’ approach. We’ll build a new programme which aims to avoid e-learning modules.

The implementation plan included a specific action around the acceptance and refusal of donations policy. This was included to make sure we reflect strong expectations around EDI.

This should be amended to look at all policies. We’re already developing a project to look at how we choose our suppliers.

Topline report against each action for 2022

This section shows our progress against all deliverables from the EDI implementation plan which were scheduled to be completed or begun in 2022.

We've grouped actions that make up the milestones for each section under three headings:

  • Completed
  • In progress
  • Delayed

For many milestones actions are under multiple headings.


Milestone: Building evidence on inequality
  • Activity: Major push to make sure our "My MS, My Needs" survey captures different facets of inequality of outcomes and experience.
  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Tried a new approach to distributing the survey. Data currently being analysed
Milestone: Raise our voice on the issues that matter

Activity: We will speak out on issues that are important to segments of our community, even if they don’t only relate to MS

  • Due date: Ongoing
  • What we did: Launched #BreakingPoint and will continue to campaign on important issues into 2023

In progress

Milestone: People who face discrimination have a chance to raise their voice

Activity: Provide myth-busting evidence and support for minoritised people to dispel prejudices within their own communities

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Commissioned research into inequality, continuing into 2023. 

Activity: Provide know your rights material to empower grassroots activism.

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Projects initiated but expanded. Continuing into 2023

In progress

Milestone: Local connections

Activity: We’ll make sure we look for opportunities as they come up in our work at local level and in the nations.

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Events for people newly diagnosed with MS and for children with a parent living with MS
Milestone: Partnership working

Activity: We’ll implement a senior-level stakeholder engagement plan with partner organisations focussed on people with MS from ethnic minority backgrounds

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Initial engagement at board, trustee and CEO level. Continuing into 2023. 

Activity: We’ll implement a senior-level stakeholder engagement plan with partner organisations focussed on people with MS who say they are struggling on their income.   

  • Due date: 2022     
  • What we did: Initial engagement at the Board/Trustee/CEO level. Continuing into 2023.
Milestone: Research participation

Activity: Collect and report data on the diversity of clinical trials and research programme participants

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Survey developed to collect demographic data across the many facets of research. Continuing into 2023

Activity: Understand the barriers to recruiting people with MS from diverse background into research studies

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Supporting data collection and researchers to recruit people from under-represented groups. Continuing into 2023
Milestone: Digital engagement

Activity: Continue existing work to embed different perspectives in digital communications

  • Due date: 2024
  • What we did: Building a bank of representative imagery, EDI at heart of our brand. Sharing diverse stories across all platforms. Continuing into 2023


Milestone: Reflecting diverse perspectives and experiences in our work

Activity: ASPIRE management programme participants will focus on building diverse perspectives into our work.

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: 2022 project team delivered recommendations which are being carried forward.

In progress

Milestone: More chances to connect

Activity: Implement our support for independent groups

  • Due: 2022 - 2024
  • What we did: Pilot due December 2022, full roll out in January 2023

Activity: Develop communities of interest around different themes (including demographics or identity)

  • Due: 2022 - 2024
  • What we did: Supported in part by project to support independent groups. Continuing into 2023

Activity: Offer rallying points for people to connect on different themes related to identify or EDI more broadly through our digital content

  • Due: 2022 - 2024
  • What we did: Supported in part by project to support independent groups. Continuing into 2023
Milestone: Reflecting diverse perspectives and experiences in our work

Activity: Implement ASPIRE project recommendations.

  • Due date: 2023
  • What we did: Implementation to continue into 2023, led by EDI programme manager. 

In progress

Milestone: Giving different candidates a chance

Activity: Continue our existing apprenticeship scheme where we look to recruit candidates with strong potential, but some experience gaps to vacant roles. Then support them to learn on the job

  • Due: 2022 - 2024
  • What we did: Continuing into 2023. Develop an apprentice commitment.

Activity: Explore establishing a paid internship scheme targeted at candidates from backgrounds currently under-represented at the MS Society

  • Due date: 2022 - 2024
  • What we did: Plans to develop in 2023, supported by better outreach. Will aim to support 3 a year.
Milestone: Making sure we get diverse candidates for our roles

Activity: Advertise our vacancies in media that will reach candidates currently underrepresented

  • Due date: 2022 - 2024
  • What we did: Will continue to develop approaches to improve. Continuing into 2023.

Activity: Continue improvements in staff data collection

  • Due date: 2022 - 2024
  • What we did: Supported by bringing in new HR system iTrent. Support disclosure of information by building trust in how we use it. 

Activity: Publish gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps

  • Due date: 2022 - 2024
  • What we did: Publish current gender pay gap. Aim to improve reporting year and year. Provide iTrent snapshot for ethnicity and disability pay gaps for 2023/2024.
Milestone: Fair and inclusive recruitment practices

Activity: Reform our interview processes more to eliminate unconscious bias and attract more diverse pools of candidates

  • Due date: 2022 - 2024
  • What we did: Provide reasonable adjustments if requested. Recruiters and managers did unconscious bias training. Dedicated development offer for employees from under-represented backgrounds

Activity: introduce local inductions designed to suit needs of new recruits

  • Due date: 2022 - 2024
  • What we did: Continuing development in 2023.

Activity: Make sure development opportunities (formal and informal) are fairly distributed.

  • Due date: 2022 - 2024
  • What we did: Continuing development in 2023.


Milestone: Giving different candidates a chance

Activity: Explore establishing a paid internship scheme targeted at candidates from backgrounds currently under-represented at the MS Society

  • Due date: 2022 - 2024
  • What we did: Plans to develop in 2023, supported by better outreach. Will aim to support 3 a year.


Milestone: Reflecting everyone's perspective

Activity: Continue our "inspiring stories " series of staff talks to centre different perspectives and spark conversations

  • Due date: 2022-2024
  • What we did: Hosted 7 "Inspiring stories" events and will continue into 2023.
Milestone: Embed EDI in decision-making

Activity: Our Board and Executive Group will do training on equality considerations in decision-making and agree approach to include in Board-level decisions

  • Due: 2022
  • What we did: Board and EG trained on EDI considerations in decision-making in October 2021.

In progress

Milestone: Making sure everyone has the skills and knowledge to contribute to EDI

Activity: set up training or other dedicated time for teams to think about embedding EDI in their work and behaviour.

  • Due date: 2022-2023
  • What we did: Improvements to training a focus for 2023. Supported by EDI PDR objectives.
Milestone: Tackling unacceptable behaviour

Activity: Review current processes for reporting unacceptable behaviour

  • Due: 2022
  • What we did: Evaluating the ways in which these behaviours can be reported. Continuing into 2023.
Milestone: Mentoring

Activity: We’ll establish a mentoring and coaching programme that will support staff development and help build connections

  • Due: 2022-2024
  • What we did: Mentoring programme established with some staff also receiving external coaching. Continuing into 2023. 
Milestone: Accessibility

Activity: We’ll emphasise accessible communications as a key strand of our new content strategy.

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Content strategy currently being developed with accessibility a key component.
Milestone: Reflecting everyone's perspective

Activity: Review our HR policies to make sure they embody EDI principles (like making sure different types of families and relationships are treated equally)

  • Due: 2022-2024
  • What we did: Policies continuously reviewed and will continue to review through an EDI lens. Launched the new family friendly policy to be more inclusive of all families.

Activity: Make sure staff networks like our REACH (Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage) network have the resources and input on strategic decisions that they need to play a full part in MS Society life

  • Due date: 2022-2024
  • What we did: Provide opportunities for networks to provide feedback, make sure feedback leads to actions to address concerns.
Milestone: Embed EDI in decision-making

Activity: We’ll audit our processes, policies, and procedures to improve EDI considerations in decision-making

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Board and EG undertook training on EDI considerations in decision-making. Continuing into 2023.

Activity: Our Board and Executive Group will do training on equality considerations in decision-making and agree approach to include in Board-level decisions

  • Due: 2022
  • What we did: Board and EG trained on EDI considerations in decision-making in October 2021.

Activity: We’ll review our policy on acceptance and refusal of donations to make sure we’re reflecting strong expectations on EDI when accepting support.

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: See amendments section of annual report. 

Milestone: Making EDI everyone's business

Activity: all staff will continue with personal EDI objectives

  • Due date: 2022-2024
  • What we did: Proposed EDI objectives return to PDRs. With methods to capture the impact of these. Paper sent to EB.

Milestone: Directors will be accountable for promoting accessible and inclusive behaviour within their directorate.

  • Due date: 2022-2024
  • What we did: Continuing into 2023.

Activity: We’ll review our processes to build EDI into programme management.

  • Due date: 2022
  • Activities: EDI programme manager to support across the organisation.


Milestone: Inclusive volunteering culture

Activity: Programme “courageous conversations” amongst volunteers

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Research undertaken, recommendations taken on board and actions being developed to support.

Activity: Implement EDI e-learning for volunteers

  • Due date: 2023
  • What we did: Training purchased, to be rolled out in Jan 2023. 
Milestone: Improving our volunteer diversity

Activity: Support groups to increase their use of online recruitment, to help us reach a wider and more diverse pool of applicants

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Supported by new support for independent groups. Use data from recruitment journey to understand our reach across communities and where there's still work to do.

Activity: Review the volunteer journey, identifying and removing barriers to participation.

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Volunteer journey has been reviewed. Barriers to participation will be examined by new transformation manager.

In progress

Milestone: Inclusive volunteering culture

Activity: Research the effectiveness of our recruitment.

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Use data collected across the volunteer recruitment journey to understand barriers to recruitment experience by some people.
Milestone: Data and insight on our volunteers

Activity: Gather EDI data accurately through REACH and PowerBI

  • Due date: 2022-2024
  • What we did: Continuing into 2023. Improve the way data is collected and reported.

Activity: Gather EDI data and measure satisfaction through our volunteer survey

  • Due date: 2022-2024
  • What we did: Continuing into 2023. Improve the way data is collected and reported. Aim for year on year improvements in satisfaction.

Activity: Gather informal feedback

  • Due date: 2022-2024
  • What we did: Continuing into 2023. 


Milestone: Improving our volunteer diversity

Activity: We’ll pilot different approaches to help local groups to be more inclusive and reach out to their local communities.

  • Due date: 2022-2023
  • What we did: Action delayed. Will commence in 2023.
Milestone: Diversity of senior volunteers

Activity: We’ll review the diversity of all our major standing advisory committees and groups and our recruitment approaches for them.

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: This action has been rolled to 2023. The review will include recruitment reviews of CNAP (Community Network Advisory Panel) and Impact Awards Assessment Panel.


Milestone: Making sure we make progress with our plans

Activity: Hire an EDI lead

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Completed. Joined July 2022

Activity: Update the governance structure for how we achieve our plans

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Updated and will continue to review. 

Activity: Publish an annual report on progress.

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Will continue to publish each year.

In progress

Milestone: Building our insight in seldom-heard groups of people with MS

Activity: Co-ordinate data collection and insight research work to broaden the breadth and depth of insights and evidence especially on seldom heard groups

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Continue to support collection of data and use to inform the research we undertake.

Activity: implement standardised EDI data collection.

  • Due date: 2022
  • What we did: Following roll-out of iTrent, EDI questions will be used as the standard set of questions across all teams. 


Share your feedback

If you want to find out more about what we're doing to create a fairer MS Society, or join our EDI reference group, email [email protected]