25th September – 1st October marks National Inclusion Week which aims to get organisations and individuals thinking about what actions they can take and what impacts these actions could and should have for marginalised people in our places of work.
Developing an EDI Strategy
In 2021, our charity set about developing an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategy and action plan. At this time, we recognised we had a lot to learn and needed to have a very clear understanding across Pharmacist Support of why EDI is important and needed.
We began by improving knowledge across the charity, with staff and trustees taking part in a variety of training sessions, and by speaking to key partners and other charities who were further on in their journeys. We quickly realised that EDI needed to be better integrated in all that we do, in our decision making and in our everyday practice. We started at the top, reviewing our own governance practices in line with the revised EDI principle in the charity governance code. The board acknowledged that a diverse Board contains a broad mix of skills, knowledge and experience which should give us greater flexibility to overcome challenges. They used this to steer our trustee recruitment which has seen our charity recruit six new trustees since 2021 with a much broader range of experience.
Improving our understanding of our service users and the profession
We also looked at our everyday practices and interactions with service users. Unfortunately, our data was not strong enough to support us in identifying areas that may need amending. We therefore set out to dramatically improve our EDI data collection across all services. We have now had improved data collection in place for over a year, and already this has helped inform changes to our services, including to our grants policy to support us to remove barriers and enabled us to map this data against data on the makeup of the profession. It is hoped this will help us identify areas of need or groups we may not be reaching.
Improving our internal practices as an employer
As a wellbeing charity, we had previously implemented a staff survey to inform a number of changes, including a new flexible working and hybrid working policy, which highlighted that many of our internal practices were very inclusive. However, there was still much work to be done. We set out to do more and during 2022, we joined up to National Inclusion Week and met with other charities to find out more about best practice. We’ve also signed up to a disability confident employer scheme that helps employers to think differently about disability and take action to improve how they recruit, retain and develop disabled people. Although we had several practices in place, the scheme has helped us to identify actions that we can take to be more proactive.
We still have lots to learn and are committed to continually improving our practices and listening to those we are here to help. We will continue this journey over the coming years and are committed to ensuring all voices are heard and to the continuous improvement and development of our services to meet our beneficiary’s diverse needs.