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.
Building and deepening connections
- We continue to deepen our understanding of EDI in the MS community. In 2018 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 the future.
- We centred the experiences of our community at more EDI events and awareness days. For example in 2019 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. In 2020 we marked UK Black History Month for the first time and we continue to raise awareness on International Day of the Disabled Person.
- 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.
Improving staff diversity and inclusiveness
- We will always advertise externally for roles at Head and Director level, to make sure we give senior opportunities to a wide range of candidates
- We will also 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 hold all agencies we work with, as well as ourselves, to account for providing a pool of candidates that reflect the diversity of the society we live and work in.
- We've introduced blind recruitment (where recruiters don’t see candidates’ names on applications)
- We guarantee interviews for candidates from BAME backgrounds or who are disabled (we're looking into whether other groups should be added to this list).
- We worked with a specialist recruitment agency to attract more applicants to join our Board of Trustees, which has improved our board diversity
- We delivered unconscious bias training to all managers involved in our staff restructure to make sure we made fair recruitment decisions, the first phase in our wider roll out.
- We produced equality impact assessments at each stage of the staff restructures to transparently show the effect of decisions on different groups and provide assurance that decisions were fair.
- We completed a staff survey on EDI to feed into our new strategy.
Co-producing an ambitious EDI strategy
We will bring all staff together to co-produce a new and more ambitious EDI strategy over the first part 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.
We want to set the tone for an ambitious and searching conversation, then hand over to staff to hear their ideas, comments and suggestions.
Two specific ideas we'll explore with staff are an employee development programme and apprentice scheme for under represented groups. One or both of these could over time help us improve staff diversity, particularly at senior levels of the organisation.
We'll keep working on improvements to develop the strategy and keep building momentum:
- We're organising a series of talks from women and BAME people in leadership to inspire staff - this spring
- Our CEO Nick Moberly is formally committing to the principles established by the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, with a supporting statement to be published soon - February 2020
- Collection and review of our recruitment data to understand the outcome of our new processes - ongoing
- Training for our Board of Trustees and senior staff about reflecting equality in decision making - second half of 2021
- We will publish our ethnicity pay gap - as early as possible in 2021
- Training on EDI and unconscious bias rolled out to all staff - December 2021