EDI at Social Interest Group: 6 Guiding Principles19 January 2024
Since 2020 the influence of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Programmes has increased significantly. Social Interest Group have steadily built an EDI Programme which not only challenges discrimination but brings colleagues together to celebrate our wealth of lived experience. Here are our 6 guiding principles.
Allyship can create unity between colleagues, as bias is identified and positively challenged, and inclusive working practices become the norm. Allyship creates safety to share lived experience as a basis of sharing critical learning ideas. Social Interest Group has benefited enormously from this integrative process particularly when we have needed to mobilise focus groups. Our allies have stepped forward not just to lead but to empower those with lived experience.
Planned allocation of resources is essential for EDI Programmes to emerge beyond tokenism. Commitment to investment is critical to the long term development of staff who volunteer their time to ensure that the programme’s impact is sustainable. The Social Interest Group have apportioned resources to ensure appropriate training for our Board and Senior Leadership Team members, facilitated by an external consultant.
Voluntary sector agencies in particular should encourage the process of EDI based collaborations, to bring marginalised communities together. Unlike many organisational processes, EDI themes hold the potential to permeate through organisational boundaries and make progressive connections which can create meaningful pathways back into mainstream society.
A great example from the Social Interest Group is the exciting partnership we are developing with our colleagues from Luton Healthwatch, where together we are seeking to consult LGBTQIA+ community members about their experiences of local Primary Care, to work towards person-centred provision.
Shaping and adhering to a culture of continuous improvement, helps to keep organisations in touch with the ever changing landscape of social experience, and challenge the tendency to work in silos. This methodology promotes accountability from frontline to board level.
Here at Social Interest Group we are comfortable with the prospect of seeking and accepting improvement based guidance from external parties. In our Lewisham Services we are preparing to start the first phase of “Pride in Practice” Accreditation Process in February 2024.
EDI Ambassador Programme
The Social Interest Group utilises a baseline staff group engagement approach that encompasses the 9 Protected Characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, in addition to the menopause.
Our Volunteer EDI Ambassadors are offered ring fenced time alongside dedicated training to support the design and delivery of learning workshops. Additionally, our EDI Ambassadors are encouraged to share informed opinions on live issues; creating social media profiles and developing local community partnerships to challenge acts of injustice, as well as share best practice.
Internally, our EDI Ambassadors also create staff intranet blog content celebrating diversity based anniversaries and our model has produced a modernised version of employee activism, making colleagues feel organisationally connected and valued.
Critical Race Theory
Sharing knowledge and information is vital to empowering communities and critical race theory allows us to understand that social status is impacted by the notion of privilege. This flow of learning leads to recognition of race as a social construct which facilitates othering as a tool for manipulating people groups.
An authentic commitment to promoting equitable practice as a golden thread in policy and practice is an effective tool to neutralise the impact of this dividing concept. Our EDI Race Ambassadors have been researching the impact of racial constructs since 2022 and are currently preparing to deliver a learning piece aligning with Race Equality Week (05.02.24 – 11.02.24).