Last updated on 17 February 2022
Reach Volunteering is committed to becoming a more diverse, inclusive and equal organisation, and to helping to increase equity, diversity and inclusion in civil society. We have made a start on this journey but we know that we have much more to do, and Reach is committed to keep learning and to be receptive to challenge.
Summary of our work in 2022
Over the last 18-months, we have been focusing on the foundational benchmarks needed to embed EDI into our internal culture and external services, and ensure progress is sustainable and consistent.
We have been building our EDI vision, values and Theory of Change and considering the power we have to affect change, which we believe will inform our EDI journey in a positive way for the long-term.
We have made progress against many of our actions but have postponed some items into 2023. This has particularly been the case for items that will derive from our finalised Theory of Change, such as creation of our Core Language and an updated EDI policy.
We are currently finalising an action plan for the next 12 months which will be shared publicly.
Work to date
Reach changed its recruitment processes in 2019, to focus more rigorously on recruiting against defined attributes. This includes reducing bias at shortlisting stage by anonymising applications, switching from CVs and cover letters to work samples, and scoring using ‘chunking’ and scoring matrices. Questions are now shared before interviews. Irrelevant criteria like degrees are not used and the salary is always advertised. This has led to a more effective, fairer and more inclusive process.
In order to enhance our EDI capabilities, the board signed off an EDI programme in 2020 with a budget which included:
- Increasing the diversity of the trustee board
- Getting a consultant to lead Reach through whole organisation training, and to develop our EDI vision.
Following a board diversity audit, we agreed to prioritise age, ethnicity and disability in our upcoming board recruitment. We appointed four new trustees in 2021, who increased the diversity of the board in terms of age and ethnicity. This included the appointment of a trustee with expertise in EDI.
We appointed Social Justice Collective to support us and they provided training to the whole staff team and board of trustees in two half day workshops on
- Power & Privilege
- How to have challenging conversations about race
They also led a mixed group of staff and trustees through a workshop to develop our EDI vision and Theory of Change.
In addition, individual team members undertake more individual EDI training such as Fearless Future’s Thinking Outside the box, and workshops in recruiting and retaining a diverse board related to their specific areas of work.
Best practice research
We researched the EDI commitments of other organisations, their work in this space, their theories of change, core language, and roadmaps in order to inspire our own journey and benefit from the collective wisdom of those working in the EDI space.
Theory of Change
In 2022, we considered our EDI vision and values for Reach to create our Theory of Change.
Building on the work of our Theory of Change, we created an Ethics Guide in 2022 which outlines the different relationships we hold and to inform decision-making around purposeful and mutually beneficial relationships across all our work and services. This is currently being tested with a view to share it publicly, once approved.
We provide a free, accessible trustee recruitment service that supports boards to recruit openly, and to reach a wide audience of prospective trustees with professional expertise
We have updated our external complaints policy with consideration to discrimination complaints and third parties. This can be found on our website.
We analysed the equality monitoring data that we currently capture (age, ethnicity and gender) to explore the diversity of trustee applicants and appointees through our service. Our key findings were that applicants are considerably younger, and more likely to be from Black, Asian and other minoritised ethnic backgrounds than trustees in general, and were representative of the wider UK population. However, there is a disparity in outcomes, with applicants under 35 years being the age group least likely to be appointed, and white applicants being almost twice as likely to be appointed as applicants of colour. Our report is here.
In 2021 we launched the Trustee Recruitment Cycle to help charities diversify their boards and recruit in a more inclusive way. It weaves equity, diversity and inclusion throughout the cycle, and through all the resources which include case studies, templates and guidance
We reviewed the equality monitoring data collected for staff and trustees and made updates to our Board and recruitment equality monitoring form. We updated and deployed our volunteer equality monitoring form.
EDI Working Group
In order to build on the learnings from our training sessions and workshop, we have established a core working group, comprised of 7 staff and trustees, to take forward our EDI strategy. The working group’s action plan is designed to focus on the steps needed to embed EDI into our internal culture and external services.
ACEVO eight principles
Our CEO signed up to the ACEVO eight principles to address the diversity deficit in charity leadership, as part of our public commitment and accountability to this work.
Explore user-led organisations and how we reach organisations serving different communities.
Create the core language needed to communicate our D&I vision, values, and theory/theories of change consistently across our internal and external platforms.
Building an inclusive culture
- Update of our EDI policy, to incorporate refreshed language and vision.
- Update our internal complaints procedure, with consideration to discrimination and areas like grievance, bullying, whistleblowing.
Iterating the Trustee Recruitment Cycle, including updates to our content and case studies.
This is a living action plan which will evolve and develop as we do. We commit to reviewing our EDI approach on a regular basis and to sharing updates on our progress each step of the way.