Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) round-up: January 2021

Welcome to our third EDI round-up where we’ll be sharing what we’ve been doing, reading and thinking at NCVO over the last few months.


The next step in our journey towards developing an inclusive organisational culture will be the recruitment of the chair of NCVO’s EDI committee. Our chair, Dr Priya Singh, wrote about the importance of this appointment last month; and is ‘determined that we will find someone with a passion for giving a voice to those who’ve not been heard, someone who will encourage debate and help us make better decisions’. Find out more about the role.

To discover more about how we began our journey and what we’ve learnt so far, follow these links to our previously published blogs and Twitter threads by Amira Tharani and Keeva Rooney.

The Road Ahead in 2021

NCVO’s annual publication, The Road Ahead, analyses the changing operating environment in the voluntary sector. In the wake of a particularly turbulent year, inequality has been a core theme of this year’s report.

While, as a sector, we’ve risen to meet the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic through innovation and collaboration, this year has also demonstrated that we have a lot to learn and change when it comes to inequality. As Sarah Vibert, NCVO’s director of membership and engagement, reflected in her blog:

As a sector, we must confront internal and external structures of power and privilege with humility, determination and a willingness to listen – and perhaps most importantly, take action. In order to create deep and lasting cultural change we must live our values.

Diversity in Volunteering report – Time Well Spent series

In December we published our Diversity and Volunteering report, the third in a series based on the ‘Time Well Spent’ research. In it we look at diversity and volunteering from the perspective of volunteer-involving organisations.

The report recognises the importance of embedding inclusion and diversity in the organisation in multiple ways to build common understanding and shared values across the organisation. One of the key conclusions of the report states:

In order to promote inclusive volunteering and greater diversity, organisations may need to face uncomfortable realities internally in relation to attitudes and behaviours, shared values and beliefs. This work is not easy. Shifting culture and entrenched prejudice takes time and should be intentional. It may involve uncovering power dynamics and privilege that are not easily visible to all and may meet with resistance by some.

 Keeva Rooney summarises our key findings brilliantly in this helpful Twitter thread.

A couple of free events we’ll be checking out…

Also in the news and on the blogs

  • Roger Kline, Research Fellow at Middlesex University Business School, critiqued the traditional view of ‘merit’ in the last of his series of blogs exploring structural racism in the NHS. He noted research findings that show that our very ideas of success and merit are subjective, and suggested in interview settings, panels might ask different questions about what an individual might add to the team.
  • Tiger de Souza‘s #ImNotTired blog on ‘positive change’ and allyship discusses what an inclusive society looks like that enables others to truly be themselves. He shares what he’s learnt through listening to people and invites us to do the same, suggesting that ‘we will only achieve our aims when we choose to consistently and positively act in response to those who share their experience or their identity’.
  • Leila Billing’s recent blog, ‘So you’ve hired a diversity and inclusion expert? Here are six ways you could be undermining them’, is unflinching about the realities faced by people of colour trying to make change in organisations. This is a must-read for any senior leader considering hiring a diversity and inclusion expert, whether as a staff member or a consultant.
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Arabella Shewry Arabella is senior people and culture officer at NCVO. Her role focuses on equity, diversity and inclusion and people development within the organisation.

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