We have a responsibility to advocate for and actively effect structural change to make the sectors we support and our own organisation more diverse, equitable and inclusive. We have been too quiet for too long and it is time to speak up.
A long term commitment
We are a values-led organisation. We are a co-op. But just saying these things doesn't mean we always get everything right. We talk about inclusivity, about diversity, about equity - but do we really know how inclusive, diverse and equitable we really are?
So earlier in the year we commissioned ChangeOut to carry out a review of Co-operatives UK. We did this in partnership with Power to Change, Locality and Plunkett Foundation.
Through this partnership we will take action to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion is elevated to build a more diverse co-operative and community business sector.
We will hold each other to account, learn from each other and align our practices to ensure we are individually - and collectively - committed to positive action.
This is a long-term commitment. We will continuously examine our organisational culture, policies and practices to address discrimination and inequality - as we strive for systemic change.
This will be achieved in the following ways:
- Continuous improvement by shining a light on our own organisational practice
- Prioritising equity at all levels - including our boards
- Investing in our shared values, assumptions and beliefs to make sure that equity is authentically embedded into our organisational culture
- Ensuring our programmes and activities are culturally responsive and explicit about our commitment to diversity and accessibility
- Challenge our partners and each other to be more accessible and self-aware
Our first action to support this strategy is the appointment and collaboration with ChangeOut to explore our diversity profile. However, we recognise that the findings delivered by ChangeOut are not exhaustive or a solution in themselves, but are a catalyst for ongoing change.