Where we started
The report we commissioned in 2019 on increasing member representation in our voluntary roles helped set the context for our work. A panel, co-chaired by Dr Bhanu Williams and Ben Summerskill, completed Putting Ladders Down in January 2020, and its recommendations were subsequently approved by both Council and Board of Trustees.
A review of our UK and Ireland member data highlighted that our data collection was not able to fully assess representation within membership. At the time of this work we held ethnicity data for 62.2% and a disability disclosure rate of 0.8%. Within members who volunteer, we had ethnicity data for 85.6% and gender data for 99.4%.
Comparing our volunteer roles to our wider membership highlighted that although our membership is 64.2% female, 51.3% of our volunteers were female. Ethnicity data amongst volunteers was generally similar to the wider membership, but there was some trend towards under representation, particularly in Black/Black British where the gap was higher than other ethnicities (5.0% vs 2.8%).
Our action plan
During the peak of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, taking forward these recommendations was one of several areas of work that we momentarily paused, but we are now taking this forward at speed.
In our two-year action plan, we made these pledges:
- We will embed the importance of a volunteer network that truly represents our membership across the College.
- We will review and clarify the needs and expectations of our volunteer roles.
- We will identify and appoint the best candidates for our roles; ensuring developmental opportunities are accessible.
- We will evolve our ways of working.
We will be reporting back to our members in one year on what we have achieved and what still needs to be done. This is the beginning of our attempt to address the problems that are deep-rooted and will need concerted action.
You can download our action plan below.
The focus on members' voluntary roles was our first phase of our equality, inclusion and diversity work.
In August 2020, we started our second phase, addressing wider issues across the protected characteristics. We published our phase 2 reports in March 2021.
Find out more about our work in this area, including our approach and members' blogs on our EDI web pages.