December 2020 update

On July 1st 2020, we published a set of commitments which we have been working to live up to since. As we reach the end of the calendar year, we want to continue to be as open and transparent as we can about the work we are doing, the impact it has had so far, and what we plan to do next.

Our statement and plan from July was never intended to be a single moment’s commitment, but instead to put a marker down for the distance we know we have to travel. This is a process, one that should be methodical and deep, not performative. We should expect to maintain our energy and focus on this work for the long-term, undoing structures that none of us has ever lived without.

So, what have we done since July 1st?

We have:

  • Refreshed Board diversity data.
  • Initiated our annual staff survey, which will bring our staff diversity data up to date. We will make all our data public in January 2021, taking necessary precautions to protect individual identities.
  • Made significant changes to multiple parts of our recruitment process, from changing the wording of advertisements, to switching our channels of recruitment, introducing new methods of sifting and interviewing, and applying legal and appropriate forms of positive action.
  • Undertaken an audit of the accessibility of the materials we use in our training programmes, checking how suitable these are for all those who we hope will access our training.
  • Engaged Voscur and Diverse Matters to provide us with both practical support – for example providing a critical review of our values document and EDI policy – and also coaching support to ensure we are considering cultural change in our organisation, as well as practical improvements.
  • Drafted an Equality Impact Assessment which we will now apply not just to the start of projects, but at key points during delivery and at project closure.
  • Taken our three key values of ‘Human, Rigorous and Brave’ and set out what these mean for us in practice.
  • Had positive results from proposals we had put to funders before the plan was created, but which speak directly to our commitment to inclusive work. These proposals will bring us into formal partnership with multiple organisations specialising in supporting communities who are marginalised because of their sexuality, race/ethnicity or religion. Please see below with respect to our commitment about how we are experienced by these partners, now the proposals have been approved.
  • Commissioned dynamic research and longer-term focus on how race and ethnicity informs or is pertinent to perpetration of abuse, through the Drive partnership and with recourse to researchers operating from an expert position. This is just the start of systemic work Drive will undertake between now and 2023, through the recent Lottery grant.
  • Acted as the conduit for funding to the HOPE Network run by Meena Kumari, and made our own contribution to her work with frontline domestic abuse practitioners working from a position of specialist support for racially minoritised survivors of abuse.
  • Booked baseline EDI training for all our staff, Trustees and Pioneers (please see below re associates), with an expectation this will be the start of a long-running part of the organisation’s L&D programme.
  • Introduced wellbeing plans, which are introduced to new team members at the stage of induction, making conversations about mental health normal and routine part of our support for staff.
  • Ensured EDI is a standing item at all of our formal governance meetings, and included in our impact measurement data.
  • Undertaken training in reflective and restorative practice, as a method for raising and resolving sensitive issues which need to be addressed.
  • Been intentional in the use of our social media platforms to highlight the great work and key campaigns of organisations operating from a specialist perspective.

What impact has it had:

  • Data and perception of the impact of these changes will naturally lag the changes themselves. However, we are committed not only to creating these changes, but to examining whether they have had the necessary impact. As we do that, we will welcome colleagues from outside the organisation to provide independent scrutiny of whether we are living up to our commitments. We invite readers of this update to let us know if they would like to be involved in that. We will also be in a position to append our own data on impact to the next of these updates.

What we plan to do in the second half of our reporting year to end/June 2021:

  • We will be seeking feedback on stakeholder experiences of us. Initially this will happen when we publish our annual impact report for 2019/20. We also hope to create a rolling mechanism for this to happen.
  • Confirm our plans for collection of diversity data for other colleagues who are inside or alongside SafeLives, specifically our Pioneers and associates, and implement recruitment processes for both which uses the same principles of transparency and equity as the recruitment of staff and Trustees.
  • Continue to engage Diverse Matters in a coaching role, linking to restorative and reflective practice work, and the SafeLives culture group, making sure team members have the opportunity to learn and develop their skills, knowledge and confidence.
  • Develop our picture of who currently uses our services, for eg our training, research support and Leading Lights accreditation process, and identify barriers people might face to doing that.
  • Work through how to be a good ally and partner to organisations with whom we’re now able to do funded work (as referenced above). This will mean dismantling some usual ways of working and patterns of organisational behaviour.
  • Continue to develop our suite of HR policies, as well finalising a distinct EDI policy.
  • Consider how we extend the training support we are providing for staff, Trustees and Pioneers to the associates who work alongside us.
  • Develop ‘asks’ for our increasing number of corporate partners to see whether their offer of pro bono support could extend to providing drafting, legal, accounting or other skills to smaller, more specialist organisations who don’t have capacity.
  • Consider how we make our Leading Lights accreditation process more accessible, relevant and valuable for smaller and more specialist organisations, exploring what mentoring and coaching could take place as a stepping-stone to accreditation assessment, the content of our Leading Lights standards, and the governance arrangements for the process.
  • We will be recruiting for at least one new Trustee in 2021, and will apply our learning from staff recruitment changes to this process.
  • Our website is undergoing a complete redesign and redevelopment, due for completion summer 2021, and we will apply our EDI commitments to this process to ensure that it is relevant and accessible for anyone who might use it.
  • We will continue to engage (funded) support from specialist organisations in order to review and update our training materials.
  • We commit to ensuring we never hold a conference which only gives a platform to a homogeneous group of speakers.