Update on our anti-racist commitments (December 2022)

23 Dec 2022

In January 2021, we set out SSE’s commitments to become an anti-racist organisation. Commitments are nothing without action and accountability. So twice a year, we’ll update you on the progress we’re making. Our last update was in April 2022.  

 We invite you to challenge us and push for progress, if you think we could be doing more to become truly inclusive and equitable please let us know but contacting us on  [email protected] and write FAO EDI lead in the subject line and we will be in touch. 

A word from Ali Wilson, our CEO: 

Over this last reporting period, there has been 2 significant highlights. Firstly, on the back of SSE’s Board level commitment to become EDI Hustlers, SSE has developed a strategic partnership with Voice4Change England (V4CE). This has begun to dividend results. In partnership, we have committed to developing the Match Trading portal to ensure that EDI thinking is baked in from the beginning. Secondly, we are working in partnership with V4CE and SEUK on the delivery of the government’s procurement readiness programme. This will ensure that we achieve an increasingly diverse participation in our learning programmes.  

1.  Keep learning and challenging ourselves to be anti-racist 

Our commitment: We will analyse, reflect, learn and challenge ourselves, and our community, to be anti-racist – now and on an ongoing basis.

Measuring progress

Indicator 1: Update on action plan for 2022

  • Our 10-year EDI roadmap is aligned with seven organisational pillars that underpin our strategy, in order that it is fully embedded in every area of the organisation. 
  • We had a successful Board EDI workshop in March 2022, and we have committed to biannual learning and reflection EDI sessions going forward. EDI is also incorporated into the quarterly board reports.  
  • SMT and the Board are committed to being ‘EDI hustlers’ – keeping this as a core focus in all that we do.  
  • From a data point of view, we are establishing a baseline of where we are at in terms of diversity across SSE, so we can have a reference point to compare future data to. This will be part of a new EDI survey for staff launching in January. 
  • We involve fellows in our grant making process, but are working on integrating this further, to ensure that the lived experience of our fellows and their rich diversity is reflected in our processes. 

Indicator 2: Actions and target outcomes published as part of new three-year strategy

  • EDI (Equity, diversity and inclusion) is one of the seven pillars of development underpinning our new organisational strategy launched in January 2021. 
  • We agreed EDI priorities for 2022-23 in 2021, these are tied in with our EDI committee and we have progressed in the following areas: 
    • Our learner data has seen an uplift of 3% in Black learner enrolments over the last 12 months and an increase of 3% in applicants and enrolments for learners identifying from a mixed and multiple ethnic background. 
    • We have recently held workshops to review of recruitment practices for our staff and learners. 
    • We have held workshops with all the staff on our customer journeys and digital transformation projects, focussing from an EDI perspective. 
    • Our recently launched Fellows Portal (December 2022) is a platform for us to create stronger and more meaningful connections with our alumni community. We have reviewed the portal experience through an EDI lens.  

2.  Diversify our staff team, senior leadership, and board 

Our commitment: We will increase the representation of people from Black and other racialised and minoritised communities* in our staff team, particularly at senior level and among the trustee board. We will publicly set and report on diversity indicators.

Measuring progress

Indicator 3: Diversity of staff team, including at senior level

  • From September to December, the percentage of people from black & minoritised ethnic backgrounds in our staff team increased from 15% to 17%.  
  • We acknowledge that there are no people from racialised and minoritised communities* in our senior management team. Recent recruitment has addressed this, and we will report further in April 2023, once the new joiners have started. 
  • We are anonymising job applications and responses to questions, prior to review, to remove unconscious bias in the hiring process.  
  • Our Staff EDI survey is launching in Jan 2023. We will share data and insights from this in our April 2023 report. 

Indicator 4: Diversity of our trustee board

  • Our trustee board as of October 2021 was: 
    • 57.13% white English 
    • 14.29% Black and/or Black-British Caribbean 
    • 14.29% mixed ethnic background 
    • 14.29% white – other 
  • In 2022, one trustee left. We then recruited for three new board members who are due to have their induction in early 2023. We will provide an update on the trustee EDI data in our April 2023 report, once the induction process is complete. 

3.  Diversify our programmes (people and content) 

We will increase the racial and ethnic diversity of participants on our programmes at all stages, from pre-start to scale, as well as provide targeted programmes of support for people from Black and other racialised and minoritised communities. We will make our programmes more inclusive to achieve this, in particular by improving our recruitment and selection processes and by diversifying our delivery team (e.g. assessors, speakers and facilitators).

Measuring progress

Indicator 5: Diversity of student population

  • Since January 2021, we have increased the proportion of Black students we support from 11% to 14%. 
  • The proportion of Black students enrolled on our programmes is 3% greater than the proportion who applied. 
  • We have also increased the proportion of students we support from mixed/multiple ethnic backgrounds, from 2% to 5%. 
  • Individuals identifying as ‘other’ has had an overall increase in applications of 3%, but a decrease in enrolment of 2%. 
  • Other racialised and minoritised groups have broadly stayed consistent. There has been a slight decrease of white British students enrolling compared to application, compared with the previous year (from 63% to 58%), but an increase of enrolment compared to applications since January 2021 of 4%. 

Indicator 6: Diversity of entrepreneurship delivery team (assessors, speakers, facilitators)

  • We have not yet established systems to assess the diversity of our freelancers and external contributors but are looking at collecting EDI data of all suppliers and will implement this in 2023. 

Indicator 7: At least two targeted programmes for people from racialised and minoritised backgrounds established by end of the financial year

Learn more: Reflections on SSE’s first Black Social Entrepreneurs Futures Programme 

Indicator 8: Multi-stakeholder learning captured, shared internally and externally, and used to inform future action

  • We ran diversity workshops for SSE Fellows during Black History month in October. 
  • We have an Inclusive culture pledge and Diversity Manifesto, links below:
  • Working in partnership with with Big Issue Invest, Key Fund, Resonance, and UnLtd, and funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, the Social Enterprise Support Fund provided essential financial support to help social enterprises in England to rebuild and regrow their income from trading, following the impact of COVID-19.  
  • The second phase of the partnership administered £16.3m of grants and support during 2021-22.  
  • The partnership had ambitious inclusion targets, which resulted in:  
    • 53.9% of awardees had leadership (majority of the Board or senior leadership team or CEO) from people from racialised and/or minoritised ethnic communities, disabled or both. 
    • 35.9% of awardees had leadership (majority of the Board or senior leadership team or CEO) from people from racialised and/or minoritised ethnic backgrounds.  
    • 29.7% of awardees had leadership (majority of the Board or senior leadership team or CEO) who were disabled  
    • 18.8% of awardees had leadership (majority of the Board or senior leadership team or CEO) who identified as LGBTQIA+.  
    • 83.6% of awardees had leadership (majority of the Board or senior leadership team or CEO) who identified as leaders with lived experience: that is, they used their first-hand experience of the social issue to create change through entrepreneurship 

4.  Influence our supply chain and funders 

We will increase diversity in our supply chain and promote and influence funder action on anti-racism, through who we work with and how we engage. This means working with funders and supporters who are willing to work alongside us to continue to learn and develop their practice to be anti-racist.

Measuring progress

Indicator 9: Increase in the number and value of supplier contracts held by people from Black and other racialised and minoritised communities in our supply chain

  • We have secured funding for two projects (Government VCSE contract readiness and Connect Fund) where we will partner with Voice for Change England to ensure increased diversity in the take up of programme offers. 

Indicator 10: Existing funder/supporter commitment to anti-racism assessed and a framework agreed for facilitating meaningful and collaborative discussions to inform decision making regarding future opportunities

  • In our April 2022 update we stated that in the narrative and budget for new projects we would show our commitment to inclusion with the following: 
    • we have started incorporating a narrative into bids and proposals 
    • budgets are developed including a specific line for inclusion 
  • We have recently confirmed funding from Connect Fund, which will support the development of Match Trading. In particular, we are looking at how to best to bake in EDI considerations to the Match Trading portal from the outset.  
  • Working in collaboration with V4CE (Voice 4 Change England), we aim to increase the proportion of Match Trading grants awarded to black and ethnically minoritised social entrepreneurs / VCSEs to 27% over the next 5 years. 

What’s next? 

We’ll continue to update on our commitments twice a year, typically in the Spring and Autumn. We welcome feedback and ideas from our Fellows, learners and funder community. Together we can make a difference. 

(*We know that language about identity is personal, and these terms won’t feel right to everyone. We mean people who may identify as Black, Brown, bi- or multi-racial, being from a diaspora, having Asian/African/Caribbean/Latinx/Middle Eastern/Indigenous heritage, as a “person of colour”, Jewish, and/or from a white ethnic minority such as Gypsy, Roma, Traveller. We have consulted our community to shape this language.)