Girl walking through a school corridor with a service worker

How we got here

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

In recent years, events in the external environment have had a huge impact on the children and families we support, as well as our colleagues – especially for those with protected characteristics.

The pandemic affected us all, but not equally, with Black and Asian individuals far more likely to become seriously ill and lose their lives; disabled people at greater risk and less able to access healthcare; young LGBT+ people often separated from support networks and sometimes trapped in unsafe homes; and women disproportionately relied upon to straddle work and caring responsibility.

Meanwhile, the murder of George Floyd in the United States and the global response that followed led to a new urgency for organisations to become actively anti-racist.

At Barnardo’s we responded with a public commitment to anti-racism and a set of specific actions to help us achieve progress.

During this period, we also commissioned an independent investigation into allegations of racism departmentally within the charity, which we had to face in to and from which we have learned, committed to action, and developed together.

We are clear that we have not always got everything right in this area, and we seek to approach this work with humility, acknowledging that this is a journey, and there will be missteps along the way, but that we must remain resolute to learning and making progress, together.

Racism exists within the society that we live and work in and as a charity we must do all that we can to tackle it, taking both individual and collective responsibility and accountability for this.

We have already taken a range of actions which include bespoke learning and development for managers and colleagues – led by an external partner – sought external expertise in developing an action plan arising from our work over this period and commissioned work to support us to move forward. But we know this work is never done, there is no end point and we must continue to set ourselves targets in pursuit of continuous improvement and inclusion.

Before we consider where to go next though, it is important to take stock on our progress to date.

Ahead of 2020, we had already taken a number of steps, in line with our strategic commitment. These include:  

young man at work

• Our Corporate Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Board, which is chaired by the Chief Executive.

• Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs) being required for all major decisions.

• Our active colleague networks (Race Equality; LGBTQ+; Disability & Women).

• Our Corporate Leadership Team Champion roles to support each network.

• Our Emerging Leaders and Reciprocal Mentoring Programme.

• Our regular communications to promote inclusion.

Between 2020 and May 2022, we made additional progress against a specific plan. The highlights include:

• Anti-racism training conducted by an external partner.

• ‘License to recruit’ training programme to ensure colleagues practice inclusive recruitment.

• Publishing an ethnicity pay gap – with a commitment to publish ethnicity, disability and LGBT+ pay gaps in future years.

• Revised induction to include up to date equality, diversity and inclusion training.

•Colleague engagement, including webinars hosted by senior leaders.

• Training and development aimed at helping us become a trauma-responsive organisation.

• Delivering a Government-funded pandemic-response programme See, Hear, Respond, and a new helpline BOLOH to support children and families most severely affected by the pandemic, generating important learning about the differential impact on minority groups.

• Building on this learning – setting up a Race Equality Fund and working with community-led partners to develop specific work to improve outcomes for Black and Asian children.