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Improving equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI): Our progress and plans

Our vision is to make sure we have a fully integrated and embedded approach to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in what we do. And that we demonstrate we understand and value difference.

We will work together towards this by taking an ambitious approach and integrating EDI into a whole range of our activities.

We will highlight the contribution EDI can make in meeting the needs of people we support, through our staff, volunteers, partners, friends and contacts, based on our common goals, behaviours and values.

Our progress in 2019

  • We continued to deepen our understanding of EDI in the MS community. Last year we completed a major research project with groups we traditionally struggle to reach about their experiences of MS and perceptions of our work. The project captured rich equalities data about our MS community which we’re drawing on to underpin our work and measure outcomes.
  • We established an internal network of EDI champions across the organisation. EDI Champions and people with MS have come together at a series of workshops to coproduce detailed plans for 2020 and beyond.
  • We expanded communications and outreach at EDI events. For example we had our first ever official MS Society presence at Pride marches in London, Belfast and Cardiff. We shared stories from staff and our community about their intersectional experiences of being LGBTQ+, mixed heritage and living with MS.
  • We put EDI at the heart of our new corporate strategy, with plans to improve our reach to all parts of the MS community and make sure everyone feels included in what we do and how we talk about it.

Our plans and progress for 2020

Work to develop an inclusive and fair recruitment process


  • We will always advertise externally for roles at Head and Director level, to make sure we are giving senior opportunities to a wide range of candidates - complete
  • Blind recruitment introduced (where recruiters don’t see candidates’ names on applications) - complete
  • Guaranteed interview for candidates from under-represented backgrounds - complete for BAME candidates and disabled people, still exploring extent of under-representation in other areas
  • Hire specialist recruitment agency who will focus on attracting applicants from BAME backgrounds to apply to become a trustee of the MS Society - complete

Make sure we have data in place to develop insights and evidence


  • Staff survey on EDI – complete
  • Full collection of EDI data on official staff HR system - by second half of 2020
  • Collection and review of our recruitment data to understand the outcomes of our new processes - by second half of 2020

Programme of staff training and development


  • Women in Leadership talks - second half of 2020
  • BAME people in Leaderships talks - second half of 2020
  • Training for Board and senior staff about reflecting equality in decision-making - by second half of 2020
  • Training on EDI and unconscious bias - rolled out to all staff by December 2020
  • Leadership development programme design - start by the end of 2020

Going further, faster

We will bring all staff together to co-produce a new and more ambitious EDI strategy over the first quarter of 2021. We know this conversation will work best if our senior leaders demonstrate they are genuinely open to change. So this will include a series of listening exercises where senior leaders talk about EDI with members of staff outside their own areas of responsibility. It will also include talks and workshops with leading thinkers on equality, diversity and inclusion.

Overall we want to set the tone for an ambitious and searching conversation, then hand over to staff to hear their ideas, comments and suggestions.

We recognise the time to start setting that tone is now, so we're announcing a series of extra commitments over the rest of 2020 to keep building momentum:

  • We'll develop an apprenticeship scheme in 2021, specifically for people who are under-represented within our organisation. We'll be exploring the exact scope and approach for this over the rest of 2020.
  • Going forward, we will make sure recruitment for senior positions always includes working with an agency with a strong track record on recruiting staff from under-represented backgrounds. We will hold all agencies we work with, as well as ourselves, to account for generating a pool of candidates that reflect the diversity of the society we live and work in - complete
  • Our CEO Nick Moberly will formally commit to the principles established by the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, with a supporting statement to be published soon - by November 2020
  • We will publish our ethnicity pay gap - as early as possible in 2021

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