Reflections on our Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Strategy
Last year, Settle launched our EDI strategy which outlined how we intended to become a more equitable, diverse and inclusive organisation.
Action, humility and transparency were the key principles guiding it. Action in ensuring change happened, humility in acknowledging we had a lot to learn and work on, and transparency in holding ourselves accountable both internally and externally.
A key part to our strategy is that both leaders and staff across Settle were involved in developing the strategy. We have established processes to help maintain momentum and accountability, including sharing our progress and priorities in staff meetings, on external blog posts and by reporting quarterly to Settle’s board of trustees.
As a result, we have been able to focus on the best way of delivering change across our organisation instead of spending time persuading others of the importance of change.
In that spirit, we want to be open about the progress we’ve made and the challenges we’ve faced along the way. We developed goals and objectives around three working groups: Organisation Strategy and Comms, Recruitment and Diversity, and Learning, Training and Culture.
What We Did:
- Collected and published data from our first staff diversity survey. See the latest data here.
- Set ambitious targets in our 2022-25 strategy for the following four protected characteristics: ethnicity, gender, disability and sexuality.
- Added lived experience in our survey to improve representation at all levels of the organisation
- Started collecting diversity data from the young people we work with. We held several workshops with young people to co-design the language used in these surveys.
- Introduced questions in our staff survey to measure how inclusive our team felt Settle was and where we could improve
- Started to analyse the diversity of job applicants to understand how we can improve our recruitment process from an EDI perspective
- Got team feedback on our socials to make sure they are inclusive for all
- Created a 'Settle celebrates' slack channel for celebrating important cultural, religious and awareness days
- Developed a language guide to ensure our communication upholds Settle’s values. This recognises that language can be harmful and othering and so the guidance includes specific language we prefer to use (for example, “care experienced” over care leaver).
- Developed our EDI strategy consultation with our whole staff team and board through several workshops.
What challenged us
- We didn’t increase the ethnic diversity of our job applicants as much as we hoped. We tried job sites that prioritised applicants of colour but this did not increase the diversity of our applicants. This is a key priority in our plans for this year and we will be tracking the impact of changes through our diversity job forms.
- We didn’t have sufficient data on the diversity of the young people we work with to understand how we can make the programme more inclusive for them. We have taken steps to address this through creating a diversity survey that is shared with young people when they start the programme.
- Striking the right balance between our organisational need for data to improve our understanding and respecting people’s right to privacy - whether that’s a job applicant or young person joining our programme - can be a fine line to tread.
As a collective, the team reflected on what went well, what we learned and how we can continue our efforts even further going forward. Our EDI officers, Evie and Holly, co-ordinated the development of our EDI work for 2022/23 working closely with the staff team and senior leadership.
Our strategy focuses on us achieving three key goals:
Goal 1: To have an inclusive Programme that prioritises supporting young people’s individual needs.
This goal is central to our young person led approach that underpins our work. To achieve this goal we will analyze diversity data of the young people we support to ensure our Programme is accessible to all and identify specific needs of the community of young people we work with. We will then look at how we can best meet those needs whether that’s through upskilling staff, forming new partnerships to meet any gaps or providing additional support for young people.
By understanding who we work with better we will also be able to identify any intersectionalities young people from particular background might be experiencing and use this information to challenge systemic injustices.
Goal 2: To ensure that Settle is a diverse and inclusive workplace that values lived experience.
Our second goal focuses on our team and creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable to be themselves.
We’ve introduced targets for four protected characteristics to ensure we hold ourselves accountable for our progress. To meet these targets we will review our recruitment processes to see how we can increase diverse applicants, develop our first young person involvement strategy to ensure lived experience stays at the heart of our work and invest in learning from other organisations who are exemplifying best practice. We will then review and update our EDI policy to ensure compliance with any new changes.
The majority of young people we work with are care experienced and we therefore believe care-experienced individuals should be represented at different levels of our organisation. Inspired by the Show Us You Care Too campaign to include care-experience as a protected characteristic, we’ve included this measure in our diversity survey for the first time to ensure we are increasing the number of care-experienced individuals at Settle.
We will continue to survey our staff on how we can be more inclusive as an organisation and strive to make improvements that are highlighted.
Goal 3: To ensure that our internal and external communications are transparent and promote inclusivity.
Our third goal is to hold ourselves accountable in sharing our progress and learnings from our EDI work externally. We are committed to progressing as an organisation and annually sharing our successes, challenges and learnings transparently.
Externally we will publish our staff and board diversity data here and write a blog on our progress against our strategy each year.
Internally we will continue to have an EDI working group made from across the organisation that reports to the CEO and share quarterly updates against our targets in our board papers
Last year we received a thank you bookmark for taking part in Anti Racism training with Strawberry Words. It quoted Maya Angelou: “Do the best you can until you know better, then when you know better, do better.” In our approach to EDI at Settle, we strive to learn from our young people, team members and wider community to improve ourselves as an organisation. If you have any questions about this blog, or if you’re from another organisation developing this and want to connect, you can get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.