A responsibility we must meet - CEO message to members

Jo has emailed members to introduce our new action plan for equality, diversity and inclusion, which begins with increasing representation in our voluntary roles.

I’m writing in place of Russell this week as he’s taking a well-deserved break. This is my first all member email during this COVID-19 period and I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you all for everything you’ve done during this extraordinary year.

I want to share with you our new action plan for equality, diversity and inclusion – published this morning.

In 2019 we commissioned a report to look at diversity and representation in our voluntary roles. This was an important exercise, drawing on the perspectives of more than 200 members and volunteers. The report that followed, Putting Ladders Down, was endorsed by Council in January and we’re now ready to take forward a new action plan.

The need for real progress is now even more acute with increasing focus on racism and discrimination within our health service and our wider society. Our action plan will help us make tangible progress so that our organisation reflects the breadth and diversity of our membership. We want this to be reflected right across the College’s volunteer roles at Senior Officer level, our committees, examiners, AAC (Advisory Appointments Committee) and START assessors. This shouldn’t be framed as an aspiration but rather as a responsibility that we must meet.

The action plan commits us to four areas of work, which will be taken forward at senior level within the College. These areas are:

  • Build a volunteer network that truly represents our membership across the College
  • Review and clarify the needs and expectations of our volunteer roles
  • Identify and appoint the best candidates for our roles, ensuring developmental opportunities are accessible
  • Evolve our ways of working

There’s a lot of detail in terms of how we plan to get there, and we’ll report on progress in a year’s time. There are too many commitments to include but here are a few that I think are particularly important:

  • By 2030 those in voluntary roles across the RCPCH will reflect the diversity of its membership (this work will start immediately)
  • Start confidentially monitoring the make-up of those applying for, and in, voluntary roles in line with other institutions, across the nine existing ‘protected characteristics’ and on the basis of social background
  • Advertise all voluntary roles, including the most senior, as job shares to make it easier for those who are ‘time poor’ to engage in them, and succeed

The action plan includes a clear roadmap for how we’ll implement these commitments. It forms the first phase of our equality, diversity and inclusion work.  But we know the conversation has become wider across medicine and society about the nature of inclusion. We will publish a further action plan later this year to address other aspects of equality, diversity and inclusion of relevance to paediatrics.

Please do share thoughts and feedback to edi@rcpch.ac.uk. I hope you all get at least a bit of a break over the summer and thank you, as ever, for your support.