6. Diversity

Principle

The board’s approach to diversity supports its effectiveness, leadership and decision making.

Rationale

Diversity, in the widest sense, is essential for boards to stay informed and responsive and to navigate the fast-paced and complex changes facing the voluntary sector. Boards whose trustees have different backgrounds and experience are more likely to encourage debate and to make better decisions.

The term ‘diversity’ includes the nine protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010 as well as different backgrounds, life experiences, career paths and diversity of thought. Boards should try to recruit people who think in different ways, as well as those who have different backgrounds.

Key outcomes

  1. The board is more effective if it includes a variety of perspectives, experiences and skills.
  2. The board ensures that the charity follows principles of equality and diversity, going beyond the legal minimum where appropriate.

Recommended practice

  1. Encouraging inclusive and accessible participation
    1. The board periodically takes part in training and/or reflection about diversity and understands its responsibilities in this area.
    2. The board makes a positive effort to remove, reduce or prevent obstacles to people being trustees, allocating budgets, where necessary, to achieve this within the charity’s available resources. This could include looking at:
      1. the time, location and frequency of meetings
      2. how papers and information are presented to the board, for example using digital technology
      3. offering communications in formats such as audio and Braille
      4. paying reasonable expenses
      5. where and how trustee vacancies are publicised and the recruitment process.
    3. The chair regularly asks for feedback on how meetings can be made more accessible and how to create an environment where trustees can constructively challenge each other and all voices are equally heard.
  2. Recruiting diverse trustees
    1. The board regularly carries out an audit of skills, experience and diversity of background of its members to find imbalances and gaps and inform trustee recruitment and training.
    2. The board sees diversity, in all its forms, as an integral part of its regular board reviews. The board recognises the value of a diverse board and has suitable diversity objectives.
    3. When deciding how to recruit trustees, the board thinks about how best to attract a diverse pool of candidates. It tries to achieve diversity in any trustee appointment panels.
  3. Monitoring and reporting on diversity
    1. Trustees ensure that there are plans in place to monitor and achieve the board’s diversity objectives.
    2. The board publishes an annual description of what it has done to address the diversity of the board and the charity’s leadership and its performance against its diversity objectives, with an explanation where they have not been met.
  1. Encouraging inclusive and accessible participation
    1. The board periodically takes part in training and/or reflection about diversity and understands its responsibilities in this area.
    2. The board makes a positive effort to remove, reduce or prevent obstacles to people being trustees, allocating budgets, where necessary, to achieve this within the charity’s available resources. This could include looking at
      1. the time, location and frequency of meetings
      2. how papers and information are presented to the board, for example using digital technology
      3. offering communications in formats such as audio and Braille
      4. paying reasonable expenses
      5. where and how trustee vacancies are publicised and the recruitment process.
    3. The chair regularly asks for feedback on how meetings can be made more accessible and how to create an environment where trustees can constructively challenge each other and all voices are equally heard.
  2. Recruiting diverse trustees
    1. The board regularly looks at the skills, experience and diversity of background of its members to find imbalances and gaps, informing trustee recruitment and training.
    2. The board sees diversity, in all its forms, as an important part of its regular board reviews. The board recognises the value of a diverse board and has suitable diversity objectives.
    3. When deciding how to recruit trustees, the board thinks about how to attract a diverse pool of candidates. It tries to have diversity in any trustee appointment panels.
  3. Monitoring and reporting on diversity
    1. Trustees ensure that there are plans in place to monitor and achieve the board’s diversity objectives.
    2. The board publishes a description of what steps it has taken to address the diversity and accessibility of the board.