Category: Diversity and Inclusion

The National Day for Staff Networks – 10 May 2017

By Abi Lasebikan, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Network Coordinator and Co-Chair of the Assembly’s Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage Workplace Equality Network

National Day for Staff networks log
Logo for the National Day for Staff Networks

The National Day for Staff Networks will be the UK’s first ever day dedicated to celebrating all workplace networks, recognising the value and contribution networks provide to organisations and the fact that networks are making work better.

The day aims to encourage staff networks to celebrate collaboratively and shout about their achievements, and to change the conversation about workplace networks so that they are seen as business critical and effective mechanisms of innovation and inclusion.

Our networks are referred to as Workplace Equality Networks (WENs) to reflect the fact that they are open to all Assembly Members, AMSS, Commission staff and employees of our on-site contractors to join either members or as allies. They are a place for people who identify with a protected characteristic group and/or have an interest in matters relating to a particular diversity strand, to come together. We recognise that anyone, not only those directly affected, can have an interest in a particular equality issue.

The Assembly recognises that the WENs are instrumental in helping the organisation to attain its aim to achieve a safe, inclusive and diverse working environment for all and to be a democratic institution and legislature that delivers effectively for all the people of Wales. We acknowledge that the participation of our networks is therefore a critical part of the employment relationship and not an addition function to an employee’s job description.

We are therefore pleased to take part in the day, with the WENs organising activities and articles to promote the networks and our recognition of their value to us.

Continue reading “The National Day for Staff Networks – 10 May 2017”

Assembly recognised once again with nomination in the Action on Hearing Loss Excellence Wales Awards

Logo for the Action on Hearing Loss Excellence Wales Awards

We are delighted to have once again been shortlisted for recognition at the Action on Hearing Loss Excellence Wales Awards. This year we have been shortlisted for the Service Excellence category and are also entered into the People’s Choice Award.

We constantly strive to excel in the services we provide for people who are deaf or have hearing loss and are always looking for new opportunities to enhance this service. Currently, we provide services for people who are deaf or have hearing loss by:

  • Engaging with deaf organisations across Wales. We deliver presentations to encourage democratic engagement and use BSL videos and communication support when necessary.
  • Ensuring that we have loop systems available across our estate and portable amplification loops for people taking part in tours.
  • Providing BSL and subtitles for weekly First Minister’s Questions – this is the most popular watched aspect of Assembly Business.
  • Using online consultation fora like Diolog and Loomio to increase online democratic engagement.

We have also ensured that our staff have the confidence and support to effectively communicate with people who are deaf or have a hearing loss. We have done this by:

  • Rolling out mandatory online equality training for all staff that includes disability awareness and reasonable adjustments when communicating with people who are deaf or have a hearing loss. In addition, many staff, including all of our public-facing staff have undergone Disability Confidence training to ensure that they can effectively respond to people’s needs. Many staff have supplemented this with further deaf awareness training, achieving BSL to level 2.
  • Developing factsheets on promoting disability confidence, making reasonable adjustments, tips for effective communication and booking communication support. These have been shared with all staff through our intranet.

You can vote for the Assembly to win the People’s Choice Award at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/excellencewales

 

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LGBT History Month – The Importance of Role Models

Having visible LGBT role models can have a transformative impact on creating a truly inclusive workplace and society.

Stonewall’s guide, Role Models: Being lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender in Wales, features inspirational stories from a diverse range of people from different backgrounds working in different areas. You will recognise a couple of them!

Stonewall have also published LGBT voices, a collection of personal stories from LGBT people who have lived through inequalities and experiences rarely reflected on television, in books, in films or in schools.

It is of course important to note that different LGBT groups will have different role models. The Pride Power List 2016 contains a diverse selection of LGBT role models: male, female, non-binary, trans, disabled, Black, Asian, people of faith, older people, and people from a range of backgrounds and careers.

Here, some members of our LGBT workplace network explain why role models are important to them:

“The people I have a lot of respect for are the people who are prepared to go that one step further and put their head above the parapet and challenge the status quo. You shouldn’t underestimate the impact that visibility makes to people. It makes a difference to people when it’s not abstract anymore. There are still a lot of stereotypical ideas so a diverse range of role models is important. I want to be part of creating a modern Wales, a Wales that’s representative.” Hannah Blythyn, AM

“It’s important to have diverse role models; one person is not the totality of gay experience.” Rhys Morgan, Translation and Reporting Service

“It’s very important that there are visible LGBT people within the organisation, that people see that being from a minority group hasn’t hindered peoples’ ability to reach senior levels. We have young people who say it took three years to come out in their previous organisation and three weeks here. If you’ve reached a position of success, if you can inspire someone else, if you can lead by example, you should.” Craig Stephenson, Director of Commission Services and Co-Chair of OUT-NAW

“I think role models help show that it is ok to be you.  They show you that there should be no limits on who you can be and what you can achieve.  The more role models there are and the more diversity they represent, the more we can break down barriers and challenge misconceptions.” Lisa Bowkett, Head of Finance and Co-Chair of OUT-NAW.

LGBT History Month – what progress we’ve made!

Photograph of Claire Clancy wearing a rainbow garland to prepare for Pride Cymru

By Claire Clancy, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Assembly

Since I joined the Assembly in 2007, I have seen a tremendous amount of change in making the Assembly more inclusive.

As this is my last LGBT History Month in the Assembly I have been reflecting specifically on how far we have come in our support of LGBT people and the promotion of LGBT equality. Over the years, we have won many awards for this work, we have increased our outreach, attended more events, reviewed and enhanced policies, provided training and raised awareness to make us a more inclusive employer.

We are very lucky to have an excellent workplace network in OUT-NAW and a dedicated Diversity and Inclusion Team who work extremely hard to further LGBT equality. I would like to take this opportunity to publically thank them for their work.

During my time here, I have had lots of conversations with Craig, co-chair of OUT-NAW, about how we can continue to make progress. I’m very happy to say that I was the first person to sign up to the Allies programme.

Last summer, I had lots of fun joining the network and LGBT Allies at the Pride March through the streets of Cardiff. It was a wonderful experience to see so many people celebrating diversity and inclusion.

I am proud of everything that we have achieved and I am proud to be an ally. I look forward to following the continued success of the Assembly. See you at Pride!

Logo with a rainbow that reads Proud to an Allylogo for LGBT History Month 2017logo for Stonewall's Top 100 employers 2017     logo for OUT NAW the Assembly's LGBT workplace network

photo of Assembly staff at Pridephoto of LGBT staff and allies with the rainbow flag

LGBT History Month – Proud to be an LGBT Ally

Logo with a rainbow that reads Proud to an Ally

There has been massive social changes that have resulted in legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the UK. However, there remain challenges and battles, not only in the UK but across the world. Discrimination and prejudice are still suffered by LGBT people, and there are particular difficulties around the support and protection of transgender people, in schools, in prisons, in workplaces and on the street.

Allies recognise that it’s not just the responsibility of LGBT people to create an inclusive culture. The action they take can range from being a leader of an organisation that puts LGBT equality at the heart of their work to being a junior member of staff who challenges homophobic banter amongst colleagues.

Below, some of our colleagues outline why being an LGBT ally is important to them.

“I have a gay brother and I’ve seen first-hand some of the struggles he’s had through school and into adulthood.  It’s always struck me as unfair the way some people try to use a person’s sexuality against them.  I’m proud of the Assembly’s achievements on LGBT equality and how an inclusive and diverse working culture can create a great place to work. For all of these reasons, I became an Ally.”

“It’s important for me to support my colleagues by being an Ally of OUT-NAW because I believe that everyone deserves the right to be happy and comfortable in their workplace. Becoming an ally of the LGBT network was the natural thing to do for me, since we don’t need a stage to be who we are. Life is not an audition, and to quote the chorus of that memorable song, taken from La Cage Aux Folles: Life’s not worth a damn ‘til you can say, Hey World, I am what I am.”

“Signing up to the allies programme didn’t require any thought. For me, it’s about personal values and a lesson learnt early about treating others in a way you would want to be treated. People don’t leave who they are at the door when they come to work, and that’s the motivation for me and why it’s important to be an ally. We all adopt personas in the workplace to some extent, but not being able to be yourself, on a fundamental level, is something I would not want to tolerate. So I support LGBT equality because I can’t think of a single reason not to.”

“LGBT people are our doctors, our nurses, our police officer, our family, our friends. They are Muslim, Christian, atheist. They are Black, White, Asian. They are disabled. They are young and old. They are male, female and everything in between. As the late MP Jo Cox said, “we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us”, and as long as there is a fight for LGBT equality, I will stand by their side as an ally.”

“I didn’t think twice before becoming an Ally. I was going to say that ‘I think everyone has the right to be themselves’ but I don’t think that, I know that! Everyone does have the right to be themselves. Sexuality doesn’t define you as a person, relationships and friendships are about love, not gender. And in the words of Lady Gaga – “No matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I’m on the right track baby, I was born to survive.”

“I’m proud to work at the Assembly, because of the work that we do, and because of the contribution that we make for the people of Wales. I became an ally of Out-NAW in my first week at the Assembly because it’s important to me that the people I work with can be themselves, without fear or prejudice, and can feel equally proud of the Assembly as an inclusive, welcoming employer. Working here feels honest, diverse, and celebratory – great stuff!”

For more information on our LGBT network, our allies or about LGBT-inclusion within the Assembly, please contact the Diversity and Inclusion Team.

Further information and tips on how allies can help to create an LGBT-inclusive workplace are available in Stonewall’s workplace guide.

logo for OUT NAW the Assembly's LGBT workplace network

Holocaust Memorial Day 2012 – 27 January 2017

logo for holocaust memorial dayOn Holocaust Memorial Day we share the memory of the millions who have been murdered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. HMD provides an opportunity for everyone to learn lessons from the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides and apply them to the present day to challenge hatred and persecution and create a safer, better future.

Click here to find out about events taking place across Wales.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 theme: How can life go on?.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust have produced a short film that challenges us to think about how we can support those who face hostility today and create a safer society together.

Below are some quotes from genocide survivors about the aftermath, their response and concerns for the future. These are taken from the HMD website.

“For the survivor death is not the problem. Death was an everyday occurrence. We learned to live with Death. The problem is to adjust to life, to living. You must teach us about living.” Elie Wiesel – author and survivor of the Holocaust

“‘The sight of someone dressed entirely in black would also trigger a memory – the uniforms of the Khmer Rouge. And for a moment it could paralyse me as if I was under a spell… Memories seep back to me in ways I hadn’t imagined.” Chanrithy Him – survivor of the Genocide in Cambodia

“Sometimes there is nothing you can do about a particular individual or the situation. Therefore retaining the anger in your heart continues to bring pain and bitterness to you and may affect your children in future. Forgiveness is therefore not for the other person, but for you who are bitter. When you forgive, you heal yourself.” Jean Paul Samputu – survivor of the Genocide in Rwanda and musician

“I’m afraid that Europe is forgetting its past and that Auschwitz is only sleeping. Anti-Gypsy threats, policies and actions worry me greatly and make me very sad.” Ceija Stojka – Roma Auchwitz survivor

International Day of Disabled People – 3 December

By Ross Davies, Diversity Manager and member of EMBRACE, the Assembly’s disability’s network

International Day of Disabled People (IDDP) takes place every year to promote disability equality, to help break down barriers and to support the dignity, rights and well-being of disabled people.

At the Assembly, we are proud to be an accessible employer and service provider. We value the input of our disabled staff and recognise the benefits of engaging with disabled people across Wales during our work.

As an employer, we fully support the needs of our disabled staff by providing workplace adjustments such as various options for flexible working, specific equipment to meet their needs or adjusting their sickness absence triggers. We also have supportive staff policies such as a mental health policy, access to an onsite Occupational Health Nurse, an active disability workplace network named EMBRACE and access to a counselling and advice service.

Here are some quotes from some of our disabled staff outlining the support that they receive:

  • “I do not feel disabled when I come to work, as I am treated with respect and my skills are appreciated.”
  • “The willingness with which the Assembly engages with our disability staff network really makes me feel that it values my opinions and experiences. I feel that I am helping to make a real difference to the organisation and its staff.”
  • “The continued support of the Health and Safety Team has made it easier for me to come to work.”

Our commitment to disability equality and inclusion has been recognised by a number of external bodies. We have been:

• Photo of Joyce Watson, AM and Ann Jones, Deputy Presiding Officer with the National Autistic Society Access Award certificate.

We are delighted to have recently received our latest Autism Friendly certificate which will be displayed in our reception area. Joyce Watson AM, the Assembly Member responsible for equality within the Assembly Commission, stated:

“We are delighted to once again be recognised as an organisation that takes the issue of equality of access very seriously. We are here to represent all of the people of Wales and have a duty to ensure that our facilities, services and information are accessible to all.”

The Assembly Commission is the body which provides property, staff and services to support the Assembly Members.

Ann Jones AM, Deputy Presiding Officer said,

“Working together with Embrace and our external partners is vitally important as it helps us keep pace with best practice in relation to removing barriers to access and inclusion. This helps us as an organisation to ensure we make sustainable and meaningful improvements for our staff and the people of Wales.”

logo for embrace, the Assembly's disability workplace network            logo for the Disability Confident employer campaign

logo for the National Autistic Society's Autism friendly award        Logo for the Action on Hearing Loss Louder than Words charter mark

If you would like to know more about the Assembly, you can look at our website, or follow us on Twitter or facebook. Information about working at the Assembly is also available on our website. Information for visitors with an autistic spectrum condition is available on our dedicated pages.

If you would like to contact the Diversity Team you can contact us by email at Diversity@Assembly.Wales or by telephone on 0300 200 7455. We welcome calls via text relay and can provide information in alternative formats upon request.