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Why our race equality pledge should challenge ourselves – and others

30 September 2021

Marking publication of our race equality statement, Amy Woodhouse says that working to become a more inclusive, equalities-focused organisation is not only the right thing to do – it means our working lives can be so much better

This week we’re publicly sharing Children in Scotland’s racial equality statement and our five pledges to strengthen our organisational commitment to racial equality and inclusion.

We’ve been working on this statement internally for quite a while. There is no doubt that the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 set us an important and necessary challenge to look at our organisational culture, structure, practices and approaches with a race equality lens and ask ourselves some tough questions.

We have had Challenging Inequalities as one of our organisational priorities for more than four years. But had we done enough to identify and remove the inequalities that exist within our own organisation with regards to race? The answer was most definitely no.

We’ve been able to learn the value of internal reflection and change from our experiences of working to improve our organisational culture and practice in relation to other equalities. I think the work we did to achieve our LGBT Youth Scotland Charter Silver Award (click here to find out more) was a particular motivator for further equalities work.

Our experience of that has shown us that working to become a more inclusive, equalities-focused organisation is not only right thing to do but also a really good thing for us all – it makes our work and our working lives so much better.

So last July our internal Equalities & Diversity (Ethnic Minorities) Working Group was formed, involving representatives from across the whole organisation. We drew on advice and guidance from CEMVO, who work to build the capacity and sustainability of the ethnic minority voluntary sector. They emphasised a few of things that we should work on from the get-go: building commitment at a strategic level, developing an action plan and setting our baseline measures.

Our statement was developed on the back of an existing Equality, Diversity and Human Rights policy, and in consultation with our staff, Board and our young people's advisory group Changing our World. We identified five pledges which relate to organisational policies and procedures, representation and recruitment, addressing barriers to accessing our services and opportunities, training and development for our team, learning from others and sharing our learning.

The statement and pledges were approved by our Board of Directors earlier this year, building in that strategic commitment. We’ve published it this week as part of our belief in transparency and sharing our learning with others.

Work on each of the pledges is underway. Bearing in mind CEMVO’s advice, we’ve identified what the baseline measures should be for each pledge and have set up systems to collect data that will help us to measure progress. Some things are fairly easy to address – more routine equal opportunities monitoring across the organisation, for example. Some are more complex, focusing on organisational culture, and will take time to embed.

It can feel at times like the pace of change and development is slow. We have an understanding of where we want to get to, but don’t feel like we’re there yet. And that can be frustrating. However, I think we can take heart from an approach that aims to build race equality and inclusion into the bones of the organisation. Progress is vital, but it has to be meaningful and lasting.

If we are to continue to have a focus on challenging inequalities at Children in Scotland, it’s absolutely essential to view this work as much about an internal process as it is a part of our external influencing work. Indeed we can’t legitimately challenge others to improve their practice and decision-making if we don’t do the work to challenge and improve ourselves.

With special thanks to Vicky Wan, our ex-colleague, who did so much to steer this work forward.

Click here to read our race equality statement

Race equality statement

Our statement and pledge sets out what we will do to improve standards and awareness

Click here to read

"Taking a step forwards in standards and awareness"

News: CEO Jude Turbyne comments on the launch of our race equality statement

Click here to read

On diversity and the cycle of racism

Our recent podcast explored the issue through the lens of a project with GTCS and Intercultural Youth Scotland

Click here for more

Race equality statement marks bolder approach to addressing equality and diversity

28 September 2021

Children in Scotland today publishes its race equality statement, following a year’s work examining how our commitments and standards relating to equality and diversity could be strengthened.

The project work was spurred by the murder of George Floyd and issues raised by the Black Lives Matters movement in 2020.

While focusing particularly on what we can do to improve representation and fairness for ethnic minorities, the work is embedded in our broader beliefs about the importance of realising equality for children, young people and families in Scotland.

The statement makes clear our commitment to creating a culture in which equality, diversity and human rights are actively promoted, and rearticulates that we have zero tolerance of discrimination of any kind.

As part of this work we are also publishing a pledge of actions to strengthen our specific commitment to racial equality and inclusion.

Measures will be introduced internally to track how we are performing against equality and diversity baselines.

These will focus on areas including ethnic minority representation in our staff group and board; suitable training made available for staff; and more diversity in our choice of images and the contributors we commission for our communications work.

Children in Scotland’s Chief Executive Judith Turbyne said:

“Publication of our race equality statement and pledge today is an important step in building awareness and taking a much more proactive approach to addressing equality and diversity issues at Children in Scotland.

“In addition to what is currently required by legislation, we are dedicated to going further by taking positive measures to promote equality, diversity and human rights.

“I want to emphasise that this is ongoing work for us and that we take it very seriously. It is not a ‘one-off’ or a token gesture.

“We’re also aware of the need to be honest about our progress and our weaknesses in this vital area.

“We want to develop into a more diverse organisation and to do this we need to take forward our action plan and learn from the experiences and advice of experts partners in order to change.

“Recent project work with Intercultural Youth Scotland (click here to visit), and guidance from CEMVO (click here to visit) about the development of our statement, has been enlightening and encouraging, whilst demonstrating how much more we need to do.

“As the representative organisation for the children’s sector we will be seeking a wider conversation with our members about how we can come together to improve equality and diversity in a way that benefits all children in Scotland.”

We are sharing our race equality statement and summary of our equality and diversity work as part of National Inclusion Week.

Click here to read our race equality statement

Click here for information on National Inclusion Week

Race equality statement

Our statement and pledge sets out what we will do to improve standards and awareness

Click here to read

Our strategic aims

We're committed to challenging inequality and championing participation

Click here for more

On diversity and the cycle of racism

Our recent podcast explored the issue through the lens of a project with GTCS and Intercultural Youth Scotland

Click here for more

National Inclusion Week

Bringing organisations together to celebrate, share and inspire inclusion practices

Click here for more