November 15, 2022 — I am pleased to share IRC UK’s refreshed two-year strategy and action plan, designed to make IRC UK a more diverse, equitable and inclusive place to work.
The IRC UK Gender, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (GEDI) strategy for 2022-2024 pinpoints where IRC UK can and must take action to make progress over the next two years. To identify the priorities for the strategy, we carefully reviewed things like ethnicity and gender pay gap reporting, internal surveys and employee-declared data; recommendations from external experts at the Employers' Network for Equality and Inclusion; and most importantly, feedback from our staff, including invaluable input from our PRIDE and BAME/BIPOC Networks.
Based on these learnings, the strategy defines several areas where IRC UK will focus its actions. Most importantly, it spells out the specific 75 actions we will take by the end of 2024 to drive meaningful progress toward inclusivity. These actions keep a necessary focus on race and ethnicity while strengthening our commitments to people with disabilities, to LGBTQ+ staff and people we serve, and to people with lived experience of conflict and displacement.
These are commitments 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
The new 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, and followed from the recognition that we hadn’t expressed our commitment to anti-racism determinedly enough and we hadn’t matched this commitment with wide-ranging action that dismantled privilege. I’m proud of UK teams for having delivering 60 of these 79 actions by 2021, and we have incorporated all but three of the remaining ones into the new GEDI action plan.
Behind the new strategy is the same recognition of inherent biases and power imbalances in our organisation, which in turn reflect longstanding historical and colonial injustices. We also retierate our recognition of 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 or asylum status, we can do better.
This new strategy sets out our next phase of action towards doing better. I am very grateful to all IRC staff for their many contributions to the strategy, and especially to our PRIDE and BAME/BIPOC Networks, our Union representatives and our expert disability and inclusion colleagues for graciously sharing both their experiences and their ideas for action. We are guided by the principle that ultimately it is our staff and those we serve who must be the judge of whether or not our work to become anti-racist and increase inclusivity for everyone at IRC UK is sufficient.
This strategy also seeks to complement the work being driven by the global IRC organisation within the framework of the IRC’s Global DEI Strategy and Action Plan: we are hopeful that delivering on the commitments in this 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.
We cannot say it enough: There is much more to do. But I am proud of the work of teams across the IRC in laying a strong foundation for action, and I look forward to keeping you updated on our progress.
Laura Kyrke-Smith, IRC UK Executive Director