NCVO creates equity, diversity and inclusion subcommittee to its board

The group will ‘challenge and support’ board and senior leadership team, as part of the umbrella body’s wider commitment to its EDI action plan

NCVO aims to be open about its progress in tackling systemic racism and other forms of discrimination in the sector
NCVO aims to be open about its progress in tackling systemic racism and other forms of discrimination in the sector

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has today announced plans to appoint a subcommittee to its board of trustees that will focus on equity, diversity and inclusion, as part of a wider EDI action plan.

According to a statement released by the umbrella body, the committee will meet at least four times a year and work to “provide challenge and support to the board and senior leadership team in relation to practice, culture and approach to equity, diversity and inclusion”.

Existing NCVO trustees Julie Bentley, joint vice chair of the NCVO, Jake Ferguson, chief executive at Hackney CVS, Ingrid Tennessee, chief executive of the Quo Vadis Trust and Chris Freed, head of volunteering at Citizens Advice, will sit on the subcommittee.

The subcommittee will also appoint new external members, with the NCVO announcing it will shortly open recruitment for an independent chair to lead the group.

Announcing the move, the umbrella body said that involving external support will “create the necessary safe spaces to further understand and respond to some of the weaknesses we understand we have as an organisation, and to guide our future work supporting the whole sector in this area”.

The creation of the subcommittee forms one part of a wider EDI action plan created by the NCVO, the umbrella body said in a statement, and will sit alongside commitments including the publication of ethnicity and disability pay gaps at the organisation, and investing funding in EDI support.

Commenting on the announcement of the action plan, chair of the NCVO Anne Heal said the voluntary and not-for-profit sector could not drive change in other parts of society if “we haven't demonstrated the courage to face the shortcomings of our own work and culture.”

“At its heart, this is about power and privilege. Campaigns such as #CharitySoWhite and the recent ACEVO/Voice4Change report on racism in charities have starkly shown that the charity sector, like other sectors, continues to be systemically racist,” Heal said.

“Sadly, the same is also true for sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism and disablism. Our EDI work has confirmed this is the case in NCVO and it is important to acknowledge that head on.”

Karl Wilding, chief executive of the NCVO, added that the first phase of the organisation’s EDI had “highlighted mistakes” made by the organisation.

“How we make decisions, the language we use, how we run meetings, and how we recognise the strengths and skills of different colleagues are just a few of the areas in which we need to change and improve,” he wrote in a blog.

“My hope is that by being open about our work on this so far and our progress we can be part of a very necessary wider conversation in our sector, and that we at NCVO can benefit from the experiences of others who are further along on this journey.”

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