• Diversity, Equality and Inclusion – Annual Review February 2022

    At the end of January 2021, Autism at Kingwood created and published a formal statement to share the Charity’s current position on diversity, equality and inclusion, and importantly its intent for action in the year ahead.

    The beginning of Race Equality Week 2022 is the ideal time for us to share our progress of the last year.

    What did we say we were going to do?

    We said we would audit ourselves on our employee diversity.

    We conducted our initial audit and analysis, and shared results on our website. We started by changing our systems to identify and report on gender diversity to the Board of Trustees. Presently we have a mix of 35% male and 65% female across the organisation which is a good representation for a social care provider.

    In the year ahead we will change how we collect data to include a wider range of gender identification groups.

    We joined the Global Equality Collective during 2022 to enable access to training and resources that would further develop our understanding and awareness both as individuals and as an organisation. We conducted a survey to gather employee perceptions of our approach to gender diversity, fairness, and equality. The analysis is in progress and will be shared once complete.

    Over the course of the year we have been able to continually improve the data we have, whilst ensuring we remain respectful of GDPR.

    We analysed the age of our workforce:

    And the diversity of ethnicity amongst our workforce:

    We assessed ourselves on our diversity against local demographics. Unfortunately, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) does not produce diversity data by geographical areas however, using the data collated by the Thames Valley Police we were guided on the diversity of the area in which we work. Their data suggests that approximately 15% of the Thames Valley population is within the category typically known as BAME* (*although Kingwood prefers the description ethnic minority groups)

    Assessing ourselves against internal targets in November 2021 was a useful exercise to conduct and enabled us to be clear on our objectives for the year ahead.

    I gave assurances that our commitment would come from the top and filter down to all employees. The trustee audits during 2021 showed some obvious diversity gaps. Consequently, diversity has been a regular topic at both trustee meetings and the senior leadership team. Having identified targets we have been conscious of them during recruitment and have seen improvement on our diversity in the leadership and management teams as a result. We will continue to assess ourselves against those targets over the course of the year.

    We will conduct another audit in May, update Chart 4 and share the results.

    We will appoint trustees from a wider range of ethnicity groups to improve our diversity.

    We said we could review the demographics of the areas in which we work in order to identify local targets for reaching autistic people from ethnic minorities.

    We have also introduced systems that enable us to collect data and explore the diversity amongst the people we support. We will use the geographical data above to guide us. There are many more people we want to share our support services with who may not be aware we can help or know how to contact us.

    In the year ahead we will complete our analysis of people we support and share the results.

    We said a programme of learning would commence and be rolled out by the end of 2021.

    Learning and development resources are available through both Careshield, our online training programme, and the Global Equality Collective application. Whilst many of the Senior Leadership Team have undertaken training, turnover has meant some are still outstanding and this will be improved upon this year.

    Ensure the programme of training, development and learning is continued for the year ahead.

    The Equal Opportunities Policy was reviewed, extended last year, and made available to all employees.

    We said would actively seek the views of stakeholders.

    Using online platforms to keep in line with Covid guidance, we have held staff forums to make the senior team accessible for the workforce. Although discussion has been helpful, attendance levels have varied.

    In addition to local family meetings, we hosted wider meetings for all relatives, parents and carers of people we support to have the opportunity to meet each other as well as members of the management teams. We are keen to ensure that whilst we have grown in size, we retain some of that personal contact that has always enabled the charity to remain connected.

    Although regular individual reviews take place between people supported and their staff teams, Covid has prevented the reintroduction of the co-production forum that existed until 2020.

    In the year ahead we want to improve attendance at employee forums to reach more people, alongside reintroducing the annual celebration as a way of connecting with families and reinstating the forums for people we support.

    We will introduce a rotating schedule for all trustees to attend the people we support forums and we will explore how we might introduce autistic advisors to work directly with trustees on a 1:1 basis.

    We said we would explore the language we use when advertising and communications to attract a more diverse workforce and encourage career progression.

    We have looked at the materials we use on recruitment resources, and others, and ensured we have a wider range of visuals. We are also joining the #MyNameIs campaign in February and launching the use of gender pronouns when identifying ourselves to aid gender identity acceptance and create a welcoming space for all.

    We will introduce a new career development workshop specifically for ethnic minority employees who are interested in progressing their career in care.

    In the coming year we will all be using phonetics and pronouns when we display our names.

    We said we would seek feedback and opinion from employees within ethnic minority groups.

    To date that has been completed on an individual basis with employees from all levels of the organisation.

    We are a learning organisation and as such we are all constantly learning and developing new ways to inform how we are engaging with a wide range of people, improving our accessibility to groups and growing. We might not always achieve our targets within the timescales we set, but that will not stop us from trying and being ambitious.

    Kate Allen, CEO

    7th February 2022

    Abi Cowley

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