Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of Vocal’s work. We’re part of a passionate, diverse and vibrant community who share our mission to create opportunities for people to have a voice in and make a real difference to the future of health and research.
Our anti-racism statement aligns with the Manchester University Foundation Trust’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Policy.
Black Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities are not homogenous.
Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities are not homogenous and comprise of multiple ethnic categories, for the purpose of this policy the term BAME refers to staff and communities that are from a Black Asian or Ethnic Minority background, that are not White.
What we have done so far?
In 2019 we took part in diversity and inclusion training to develop our inclusive capabilities further as a team and in 2020, we took part in #ShutDownSTEM, initiated in response to the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the killing of George Floyd.
We also took part in anti-racism training. Safe spaces were created so that we could have the conversations necessary to become effective advocates for change. We listened, and we learnt from each other’s experiences. We had conversations that challenged us personally and professionally in our ways of working, in our thinking, in our practices, and in our behaviours. At times the conversations were by their nature uncomfortable for both BAME and white staff and these conversations were also valuable, important and necessary.
The impact of racism on BAME staff
We also, acknowledged, the pain that our BAME colleagues and ethnic minority staff can have when recalling such experiences of racial inequality and we are clear that tackling racism, cannot and should not fall on the shoulders of BAME staff, alone. We know It is our collective responsibly to be actively anti-racist, not only because of our legal duty to act but as an organisation it is our duty to care. As senior leaders we have a responsibility to lead by example and we know that compassionate, authentic and committed leadership are key drivers for change.
As a team we now have a greater awareness and understanding of racism, the legal context, the lived experiences of our BAME colleagues and how racism is perpetuated at the individual, structural and institutional level, and the processes and behaviours that can lead to race disparities and racial harm. We also know that we have the power to choose to be and do things differently or not.
Safeguarding the wellbeing of our BAME staff and public contributors from racism is paramount. We value the diverse perspectives, knowledge and skills of our BAME workforce and we recognise the important contributions that staff and public contributors bring to health research.
Our ambition is to go beyond the legal requirement of the Equality Act 2010 and to strengthen our ways of working, so that we can become more effective and accountable advocates for change, enabling greater racial equality across all the work that we do.
We know that research evidence shows that where there is greater ethnic diversity in our workforce the better outcomes there are for patients. Within a research context the Diversity Dividend report also points to the benefit that diversity brings to innovation
We believe that this will help to improve patient outcomes for Greater Manchester’s diverse population and enable us to better influence the wider research system to become more inclusive.
Anti-racism action plan
Our anti-racism action plan (available on request) includes objectives for workforce development, senior leadership accountability, training for public contributors and embedding a health inequality lens in our project planning and business development and more widely promoting inclusive research across our work.
It is clear that the success of our plan can only be measured by the difference and impact it makes to those who are affected adversely by racism and race inequality and rests on the actions and decisions senior managers take in leading on this agenda.
Governance and reporting
Vocal is hosted by the Manchester University Foundation Trust and we will report on our progress through internal governance structures via the Research & Innovation, Equality Diversity and Human Rights Group (EDHRG). We will report on our progress regularly to this group and on our website.