24 May 2022
An update on the RCSLT’s commitment to anti-racism and equality, diversity and inclusion and our work so far.
Our work on anti-racism and more broadly, equality, diversity and inclusion was galvanised by the tragic death of George Floyd which brought the Black Lives Matter movement to global attention, and the call from members for us to respond to the lack of diversity in the profession.
Starting in 2020 we worked with members to identify several priority areas including:
- Supporting our members to be actively anti-racist
- Diversity in the workforce
- Meeting the needs of diverse populations
- Internal RCSLT leadership
We have set up an anti-racism reference working group and are some way through this journey. We know that getting this right takes time both from a logistical perspective but also in bringing members with us.
We are also working to influence and work in partnership with other stakeholders where accountability for tackling institutional racism sits. This includes NHS England and the Council of Deans for Health.
A key part of our work has been to look at the equality and diversity of our Board. Towards the end of 2020 we commissioned Kiki Maurey OBE MBA to undertake an independent review to help us identify what we needed to do. Kiki presented her robust report and recommendations in March 2021 and the Board held a workshop to agree next steps that same month. The action plan was agreed at the Board meeting in July 2021 and is well into implementation.
Kiki’s report identified 14 barriers preventing people from under-represented groups, such as members who are Black, Asian or have a minority ethnic background, members from the LGBTQIA community, or members with a disability from applying for RCSLT Board positions.
These barriers were:
- Lack of diversity in the profession
- Lack of access to the right network and support
- Lack of confidence
- Barriers of difference
- Unspoken Board culture and exclusivity
- Not knowing what’s involved in trustee roles
- Impact of unconscious bias
- The Board recruitment process
- The election process
- Effects and experience of societal and institutional racism, and the multiple pressures SLTs from protected groups face
- Lack of ‘likeness’, ie diversity at Board level, perceived ‘fit’ and issues of psychological safety
- Lack of opportunity, no clear route to the Board
- Lack of knowledge about the role and impact of the Board, and of the trustees
- Poor communications and engagement from the Board
RCSLT members can log in to read Kiki’s report in full.
Listen to the network group SLTs of Colour (Angela Whiteley, Heeral Davda and Dorett Davis), RCSLT chair Mary Heritage, and Kiki Maurey discuss the report and progress to date in part two of our anti-racism podcast series.
Progress to date
Since the plan was agreed, here is a summary of the actions we’ve taken:
- The recruitment process for Board and committee members has been dramatically overhaled. A Nominations Committee has been established, who are responsible for the strategic oversight of the selection and induction processes for the members of the RCSLT’s Board of Trustees and other governing committees. Recruitment for new Board and committee members is well underway, with interviews taking place in June.
- New, more inclusive and compassionate values and Board behaviours have been developed and are already being used as part of our recruitment processes and as a barometer for the overall ethos of RCSLT.
- All vacancy adverts now include statements to encourage applications from under-represented groups.
- The skills matrix for recruiting Board and committee members has been scrapped, in favour of a more inclusive application process, based on the values and behaviours.
- Several members have taken part in the AHPF leadership development programme which will create a pipeline of future leaders supporting members from a diverse background to have the confidence and skills to take on governance roles.
- The website has been revised to foster more transparency on the role of the Board and committees, who they are and what they do, and to make them more accessible.
- We are making all minutes of Board and committee meetings and reports available to all members.
- A new mission and vision statement has been developed and incorporated into the recently launched Five Year Vision with an explicit commitment to equality and diversity.
- Our work on anti-racism and equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is also threaded into our operational plan and as well as regular updates on progress to members through our e-newsletter and website. Accountability for delivery is through our committee and Board.