Pause and anti-racism: our statement of intent November 2020
Pause is committed to playing its part in dismantling the structural racism that is present both within and outside the organisation. We know that our leadership, staff and the women on the Pause programme do not always reflect the communities in which we live and work, or the local populations of looked after children. The impact of this is to perpetuate racism and discrimination. Pause rejects all forms of racism and is committed to the elimination of racial discrimination.
Over the last three months, we have been thinking and working together to bring about meaningful change in the organisation. We do not claim to have all the answers and we recognise we are on a journey of understanding and learning that will enable us to share in creating a healthy, happy place for us all.
We started by thinking about our language. Language can be divisive and offensive when used without thought and care and, as in all things, we wanted to be thoughtful in our use of language around race and racism. We would all prefer not to be categorised and Pause will always attempt to describe individuals in the way they have chosen to define themselves. This will be a conversation we continue to have, but at this point have agreed to use the term ‘black and brown’ when describing, as a group, those who may experience racism.
We have committed to an action plan that has four key planks:
We acknowledge the structural racism that exists in Pause and commit to supporting those who experience it by:
- Creating a facilitated group for people for those who are subject to racism to share and discuss experiences and support each other.
- Appointing people to be responsible for hearing all experiences of racism, both to understand people’s experience and to lead change within Pause and our partner agencies.
- Appointing an external consultant to support us with making change.
- Drawing on the learning from others who have succeeded in stamping out racism in their organisations or communities and learn from those who have not been able to.
We will be explicit and transparent in our rejection of racism and challenge it wherever we find it by:
- Writing and publishing an anti-racism policy and incorporating it into our new strategy.
- Providing information and resources for white people to educate themselves on racism and white privilege.
- Working with strategic and operations leads in our partner agencies to address racism. This will be reflected in our licence agreement.
- Speaking truth to power where we see the impact of racism on the women we work with, regardless of commissioner/funding relationships.
We will create a more diverse organisation and encourage black and brown people to become part of and develop within the Pause network by:
- Reviewing where and how we advertise jobs and how we recruit to posts, including consideration of a positive discrimination programme for roles.
- Ensuring interview panels are more diverse and working with partners to make this change. From now on, no national team role will be recruited by an all-white panel.
- Making changes to our induction, training and conference programme to incorporate anti-racism training and support for managers.
- Undertaking training for Practice Leads and other line managers to support them to adopt anti-racist management practices.
- Supporting Practitioners to develop and move into more senior roles either within or outside Pause.
We will understand more about racism in Pause and the communities we support by:
- Collecting data within the organisation about those working with and for Pause to understand if they are representative of the communities they are in and if not, why not.
- Seeking funding for research into the impact of race on the women who work with Pause and those who are eligible including barriers to support.
- Better understanding the needs of black and brown women on the Pause programme and ensuring we provide them with the support, information and advice they need, including about their cultural heritage.
This set of actions is not exhaustive, nor will it all happen overnight. We have set up an Anti-Racism Group that meets on a monthly basis to review progress, challenge the Pause Leadership Team and our Trustees to make change and help us to learn about what more we can do to make this vital progress in the organisation. We will report regularly on our progress against this action plan.
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Pause has signed up to the Halo Workplace Code. As an organisation, we are committed to our workplace championing the right of staff to embrace all Afro-hairstyles. We acknowledge that Afro-textured hair is an important part of our Black employees’ racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious identities, and requires specific styling for hair health and maintenance. Find out more here.