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An update on Save the Children UK's anti-racism commitments

When we published our Statement of Solidarity in June 2020 we committed to providing quarterly public updates on our progress and mistakes, to supplement the monthly internal updates we give our staff. This is the latest update and first for 2021.

Some examples of progress made include:

  • We have audited and updated our website in the first phase of a piece of work aimed at making sure we remove white saviourism and the white gaze from our imagery. Work is nearing completion on a ‘self-check’ guide for content-gatherers, which will set out new guidelines to eliminate white saviourism and white gaze. A glossary of outdated terms has been drafted, with suggestions for more appropriate language.  
  • The third pillar of our Free To Be Me: Diversity & Inclusion Strategy is focused on decolonising development and the way we work. We have launched a Steering Group to lead on this pillar and contracted external expertise (Degan Ali Global) to support this work between now and April, especially to ensure that we challenge ourselves to think differently. This will include sessions with all staff and our Board, as well as us as an Executive Leadership Team (ELT). 
  • We have reviewed the profile of existing Save the Children supporters (including volunteers), which has shown that our current supporter base and the media we buy to fundraise and engage campaigners is in line with UK racial diversity. We have also reviewed our Supporter Engagement Strategy and there is nothing inherent in our audience segmentation and strategy that enables (versus hinders) progressing diversity and inclusion, so we are now thinking about what more we can do to enable progression.
  • Earlier this year we reviewed progress on our gender equality commitments during 2020 and underlined our commitment to do more in this area, including to address issues of intersectionality. 
  • We’ve wrapped up the first phase of our diaspora communities project, which focused on how we can work with and learn from diaspora communities in our campaigning. This is still in the thinking and piloting stage, but we’re excited to take it forward.
  • Internally, work is underway to create and agree a single, integrated programme of work for all of our People & Culture and Diversity & Inclusion commitments. We have ringfenced funds to deliver on this. Actions already taken include a successful pilot of sharing questions before interviews for neuro-diverse candidates, and our mean ethnicity pay gap reducing from 4.38% to 2.71%. We’re currently developing a pilot mentoring offer to our staff of colour, those with disabilities and our LGBT+ colleagues, which will roll out in the next couple of months. 
  • Teams across SCUK have continued to hold open discussions on D&I, including anti-racism, and to devote time to learning more about how to become an anti-racist organisation and how we can be better allies. We know there is still a way to go on this. To help, we are piloting D&I reps across teams (starting with our Global Programmes division), to help embed D&I considerations into day-to-day working, and to give staff another option if they have concerns they want to raise that they don’t feel comfortable raising in other ways. 
  • As an ELT, we are finalising our D&I and anti-racism commitments for the 2021 work planning period. These commitments and associated KPIs will be open to all staff, and regularly reviewed by the CEO.

Our Board of Trustees works closely with the ELT to guide decision-making on strategic issues and to hold us accountable. In the last few years, the Board has sought to increase its own diversity and in January Dr Tsitsi Chawatama joined as our new Chair of the Board of Trustees. Tsitsi brings huge amounts of knowledge and experience to the Board as an expert in global child health who has worked extensively in the NGO and development sector. Find out more about Tsitsi’s appointment here and view our Board of Trustees here. We’re also delighted that Ammara Khan has joined us in the newly created role of Director of Diversity & Inclusion; her induction is underway.

Looking forward, our focus remains on the substantial and long-term solutions, and we are prioritising making changes to recruitment, career development and behaviours. 

We know that in some of these areas we’re taking longer to deliver than we would have liked or initially planned for, both due to the complexity of the issues we are tackling but also as our understanding of these issues evolves. As an Executive Leadership Team we take full responsibility for the delivery of the commitments set out in our Statement of Solidarity and our D&I Strategy, and will always transparently report on what we achieve and the mistakes we will no doubt make.

We will publish our next quarterly update in the spring. 

Save the Children UK’s Executive Leadership Team

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