Race Equality Awards 2018 - Leadership Award: St Mungo's

Leaders Committing to race equality

Award Type: 

What was the issue?
An underrepresentation of BAME staff in senior leadership positions; an associated sense that St Mungo’s was not achieving its full potential. 

Action taken
Leadership team members, collectively and individually are committed to recognising and addressing the issue.

The Leadership Team participated in creating and endorsing a cross-departmental 2017-20 Positive Action Strategy, with aspirational targets, and an Annual Action Plan, which were signed off by the Board of Trustees. To ensure the strategy was created and implemented inclusively, the Chief Executive, Executive Director of People and Governance and BAME Network Senior Sponsor specifically met with a large group of BAME managers. 

St Mungo's leadership team have agreed aspirational targets to increase BAME representation and will work towards ensuring at least two members on the Board of Trustees, one member of the Executive Team and one member of the Directors are from a BAME  background. It will also work towards ensuring 20% of staff working at head level are from a BAME background. Progress against these is monitored quarterly. Its leadership team is committing to personal equality and diversity objectives, and promoting their inclusion in all staff members’ Personal Development Plans.

BAME mentees are intentionally matched with senior mentors, which helps to support their progression as well as enabling an important reverse mentoring dimension. Through this expanding initiative, the members of its Leadership Team are engaging personally as well as intellectually, and individually as well as collectively, with the direct experiences of BAME staff.

The Senior Sponsor of the BAME Network has continued to purposefully support it, including through regularly attending both internal and broader Network events. He was one of only three Senior Sponsors who attended the BITC development and sharing event hosted by Google. He has also blogged (about Unconscious Bias) and continues to work closely with the Network Officers to ensure their views are fed in to relevant discussions.

St Mungo's has also introduced Special Advisors as part of its BAME Network who are from different parts of the organisation in management roles and are excited to have a non BAME manager as a Special Advisor. Special Advisors are guardians of the network and are in place to ensure the vision of the BAME Network and the BAME Positive Action Strategy is fully realised.

Its Board of Trustees receive regular progress updates on its Positive Action Strategy, and participate in diversity events. This year they’ve identified a Board Diversity and Inclusion Champion and the Positive Action Strategy commits to appointing at least one BAME Board Member this year. St Mungo's is focused on improving its long and short lists and have engaged with a specialist talent agency to progress BAME attraction and recruitment.

What was the impact?
In its recent staff survey, 63% of St Mungo’s staff agreed that there are opportunities for career progression at St Mungo’s. This made the organisation the highest scorer for this question not only within its sector benchmark group but also against the survey company’s median scores for housing associations as well as the private, public and not for profit sectors. This hope is grounded in reality: on 31st March 2018, its percentage of BAME managers had increased to 25.4% from 19.4% at the same date the year before. Its 2017/18 mentoring programme was completed by 26 participants. Since completing, 16 mentees have been promoted (11 of whom are BAME).

Some very encouraging appointments in the year include Christine Eyers, the first BAME Regional Head, and Yemi Jackson, the Deputy Finance Director. Christine is the newly elected BAME Network Chair and was originally mentored by our Chief Executive, Howard. Described by her colleagues as “tenacious, resilient and inspirational,” Christine is committed to enabling further change as a lead ‘Change Maker’ and she’s a role model to many. Yemi has a background in senior finance roles in housing, education, recruitment and commerce. She is also actively supporting BAME community members in their career progression outside St Mungo’s.

St Mungo's was also pleased to welcome Pauline Obiamalu Agbo as the new Project and Business Analyst and Alison Olugunna as Head of Development, These are significant appointments, which give strong indication that the organisation is progressing in the right direction.