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Combined letter to staff, 6 July 2020

Dear NCVO Colleagues

I am writing to you in response to the report that we all received today from the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group. This is an important point in the long and difficult change process that we began last year. I would like to thank the EDI Steering Group for their work and recognise the huge amount of emotional labour that has gone into this. I would also like to thank the wider EDI Working Group for their efforts.

I wish to set out our thinking on the way forward.

On behalf of the senior leadership team, I wish to apologise unreservedly to anyone who has experienced oppression in any form as a result of working for NCVO. The individual cases that informed this report are unacceptable. We are determined to prevent any such incidents from happening again and we will take the necessary action to do so.

When we commissioned the work on EDI, we knew that the organisation needed to change – its governance and operation, culture and values. We have started to make those changes. We have also made mistakes. These are my responsibility alone. I hope that I, and others, can now learn from these. We will need to move further and faster to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion is the foundation on which the NCVO of the future is built upon.

Given the seriousness of the report’s findings, the Senior Leadership Team are committed to working with the Board to implement the following immediate changes to the organisation:

  1. We strongly support the commissioning of an independent review to investigate any individual cases that have not been formally heard. We will provide all necessary support and assistance to this process.
  2. We have assigned a new, ongoing budget to support NCVO’s EDI work. And we will support staff to make time available for EDI activities and personal development.
  3. SLT will each begin working with an EDI coach to support and develop more inclusive and authentic leadership practices.
  4. The Board has established an EDI Sub-Committee. We will work with this Committee to ensure that together we build a shared vision of EDI at NCVO and then deliver on this. It will also provide accountability for our EDI work.
  5. We will finalise NCVOs new strategic plan, ensuring that our the new ‘inclusive’ value underpins a strategy which will see us be a more humble, learning and collaborative organisation.

Longer-term change is also needed. We do not want to rush to further solutions until staff have had time to fully process and reflect on the findings of the report. We also want to develop longer term detailed proposals openly, including all staff, so that we are collectively agreed on the sort of organisation that we want to be.

We are fully aware that this report has arrived at what was already the most challenging time in our modern history. Nevertheless, there is a clear determination to lead this organisation through this period of change and uncertainty.

NCVO is a great organisation. It is vital to many. It needs to be better – more relevant, more inclusive, more humble. We are, I believe, in agreement on this. We now need to pull together as one NCVO and recognise that we are all part of the solution in making NCVO a more equitable, inclusive and diverse place to work. As we develop detailed plans in the coming weeks, which will include public statements, I hope that you will help us to build a better, inclusive, and tolerant NCVO.

Best wishes

Karl

Karl Wilding

Chief Executive, NCVO

 

Dear NCVO Colleagues

It is fair to say that when we read the report we, the Board of Trustees, were shocked and horrified. It was hard to read. But, that first reaction was rapidly replaced by the absolute determination - which I should assure you is shared by the whole Board - that the picture we see here of NCVO will not be the NCVO of the future. What is described is simply unacceptable and we as a board simply will not accept it.

The trustees want you to know that it is our intention that the report’s recommendations should all be accepted. In addition to the recommendations, we are working with SLT to take a number of immediate actions:

  1. The Board will commission an independent review into SLT’s handling of the racist incident that is mentioned in the report.
  2. In parallel, the Board will commission a second, independent review to investigate any individual cases that have not been formally heard.
  3. We have approved a new, ongoing budget to support NCVO’s EDI work. And SLT will support staff to make time available for EDI activities and personal development.
  4. SLT will each begin working with an EDI coach to support and develop more inclusive and authentic leadership practices.
  5. The Board has established an EDI Sub-Committee. The Committee will ensure that together we build a shared vision of EDI at NCVO and then deliver on this.

Our thanks must go to the EDI Steering Group who have bravely undertaken this very difficult and upsetting piece of work. We are most grateful to them. They have made and will make a profound difference to NCVO and its future. Our thanks also go to the EDI Working Group, who have also made an important contribution, drawn from their own lived experiences.

As a board we are truly sorry for what colleagues have experienced as they have worked at NCVO. I hope that we can all work together to build the NCVO of the future, which will be a very different place.

Yours sincerely

Anne

Anne Heal

Chair of the Board of Trustees, NCVO

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