The IRC UK's commitments to diversity, equality and inclusion

IRC UK recognises the inherent biases and power imbalances in our organisation, which in turn reflect long standing historical and colonial injustices. We also recognise the need to confront and stop the harmful practices that result from racism and discrimination at the IRC. Across race, gender and other protected characteristics like disability and sexual orientation, and for those with refugee/asylum status – those whom the IRC serves – we can do better. We are determined to keep driving forward progress in IRC UK and more widely in the IRC, as part of the global IRC network. 

Our vision is that at the IRC, diverse clients, partners, and staff have the power, voice, and agency to shape programmes and operations. Within the IRC, we actively work to end all forms of systemic discrimination and foster an inclusive working environment where everyone feels respected, heard, valued, and supported. And, our programmes seek to reduce disparities in outcomes driven by systemic inequality.

Our strategy and action plan

In 2022, IRC UK launched an updated Gender, Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (GEDI) strategy. This sets out how we will continue to make IRC UK a more diverse, equitable and inclusive place to work through to 2024. 

To identify the priorities for the strategy, we carefully reviewed things like our UK ethnicity and gender pay gap reporting, internal surveys and employee-declared data; recommendations from external experts; and most importantly, feedback from our staff, including invaluable input from our Pride and Global Majority Networks, union representatives, and disability inclusion experts. Based on these learnings, the strategy defines several areas where IRC UK can and must take action.

Action is at the core of this strategy: in it, IRC UK commits to 75 targeted actions by 2024 to drive meaningful and needed progress. These keep a necessary focus on race and ethnicity while strengthening our commitments to people with disabilities, to LGBTQ+ staff and clients, and to people with lived experience of conflict and displacement – the people we serve. They are things like:

  • Setting leadership diversity goals for our management team 
  • Setting metrics to ensure diversity of spokespeople in our external communications  
  • Setting out how exactly we’ll consult the people we serve about our UK programme design and how we’ll compensate them for their expertise 
  • Introducing a paid short-term internship for people with lived experience of conflict and displacement 
  • Growing opportunities for career development for staff from underrepresented groups 
  • Requiring suppliers to have an up-to-date diversity and inclusion policy and action plan 
  • Achieving the final level of Disability Confident Employer government initiative  
  • Assessing ourselves as an LGBTQ+ friendly workplace 

 You can see our full list of actions here.

The strategy follows on from IRC UK’s 2020  Diversity, Equality and Inclusion action plan. This was a set of 79 urgent actions we knew we must take while we put together a longer-term strategy. UK teams delivered 60 of these 79 actions by 2021, and we have incorporated all but three of the remaining ones into the new GEDI action plan. 

UK Board of Trustees diversity, equality and inclusion plan

The IRC UK Board of Trustees supports IRC UK’s GEDI strategy by holding management and staff to account in delivering on its ambitions. The Board also plays an important role in living the values of diversity, equality and inclusion in its own work, which is a crucial part of good governance of IRC UK. 

To complement the strategic focus areas of the updated IRC UK strategy, the UK Board has developed its own updated GEDI action plan. This follows on from the Board’s 2021 diversity, equality and inclusion plan, and includes commitments like continuing to appoint GEDI Board champions, maintaining diversity, equality and inclusion as a standing item at all Board meetings, participating in annual training, and providing Trustees’ GEDI data towards maintaining the  diverse make-up of the Board. 

The Board is currently made up of thirteen Trustees with one vacancy, and of those, there are six women (46%) and seven men (54%); four Trustees who identify as people of colour (31%); and three (23%) with lived experience of conflict and displacement.

The IRC’s global GEDI strategy

The IRC UK and Board plans also seek to complement the work being driven by the global IRC organisation within the framework of the IRC’s global diversity, equality and inclusion strategy and action plan: we are hopeful that delivering on the commitments in the UK GEDI strategy will contribute to a meaningful change in the composition and culture of IRC UK, while also supporting the IRC’s global GEDI vision and objectives. Read more about the global IRC strategy and action plan here.

Read the IRC UK Board GEDI Plan here.