Category: Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion Week: The Assembly Commission’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

The Assembly Commission’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy sets out our diversity and inclusion objectives for 2017-21 and the steps we need to take to deliver against these objectives. The strategy will also help us plan how we comply with the duties placed on the Assembly Commission by the Government of Wales Act 2006 and also by the Equality Act 2010, covering each of the protected characteristics and other issues such as caring responsibilities, social mobility and other inequalities.

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It is important to us that the Assembly continues to be accessible to the people of Wales and beyond: making it relevant, easy and meaningful for people to interact with it and contribute to its work. It is also important to us that we behave as an inclusive employer, enabling everyone we employ to realise their full potential.

We are finalising our action plan which details what activities we need to pursue to meet these objectives and how we will monitor our progress and success in meeting them.

We will ensure that our staff understand the part they play in helping our organisation deliver on our diversity and inclusion objectives and realise our diversity and inclusion vision and values.  Each year, we publish and Annual Diversity and Inclusion Report which provides an update on progress made in meeting our objectives.

We have identified five diversity and inclusion objectives and here we set out a summary of planned activities:

Objective One: Fostering Inclusive Leadership and an Inclusive Workplace Culture

We will ensure senior accountability, inclusive leadership, and continue to support and develop our Workplace Equality Networks (WENs).

Objective Two: Building on our Approach to Organisational Development

We will look for opportunities to identify and raise awareness of potential barriers to inclusion through collaboration with our workplace equality networks, the ongoing use of equality impact assessments and other appropriate awareness-raising activities such as our annual Diversity and Inclusion Week.

We will continue to benchmark our diversity and inclusion work with other organisations through peer review and other external recognition activities.

We will ensure that staff receive current, relevant diversity and inclusion training and information throughout their employment to support them to help us realise our diversity and inclusion vision and values.

Our workplace policies will continue to be inclusive in the way that they are drafted and reviewed, including being subject to equality impact assessment, which includes input from our workplace equality networks.

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Objective Three: Supporting Assembly Members and their Staff to build Diversity into their work

We will support Assembly Members and their staff to build diversity and inclusion into their roles as employers, as service providers and into their work as caseworkers, scrutineers and legislators.

We will continue to feed diversity and inclusion considerations into the work of the independent Remuneration Board of the National Assembly for Wales.

We will also work with the Business Committee and the Committee Chairs’ Forum, to explore how to strengthen the ways that diversity and inclusion are taken into account in Assembly business procedures and practices and when legislating to exercise any new devolved powers to the Assembly.

We want to broaden the reach of the Assembly to individuals and communities who are not currently engaged with its work or with the work of Assembly Members. We want to make information about the Assembly and its work to be increasingly easy to access and meaningful to the people of Wales.

We will also regularly review policies and arrangements for visitors to the Assembly to ensure that they are inclusive and promote access to all.

Objective Four: Supporting Assembly Commission Staff to build Diversity and Inclusion into their work

In order to ensure that inclusion is at the heart of decision-making across service areas, we will ensure that equality impact assessments are conducted whenever we change or initiate something new.

Service planning will take account of how service areas will deliver, where appropriate, on the objectives set out in this strategy. This approach will ensure that diversity and inclusion considerations are at the core of our day-to-day work.

We will take into account diversity and inclusion when buying-in goods and services.

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Objective Five: Behaving as an Inclusive Employer which attracts and retains the widest pool of talent where all staff have the opportunity to realise their full potential

We recognise that every member of our talented workforce, irrespective of their background, deserves to realise their full potential and progress in their careers.

We continue to address imbalances in representation of BME colleagues and disabled colleagues particularly at senior management level. We will support our existing staff and adjust where necessary, our recruitment attraction arrangements, exploring employment outreach activities and whether exploring and using positive action initiatives would be beneficial.

We will also maintain an ongoing review of our overall recruitment and selection processes to identify and remove any barriers to inclusion.

We collect and use workforce, recruitment and pay diversity data to identify and address any inequalities.

For any further information about our strategy, contact diversity@assembly.wales

Diversity and Inclusion Week: Message from the Chief Executive and Clerk

photo of manon Antoniazzi, the Chief Executive and Clerk of the Assembly

The senior team and I are wholly committed to ensuring that as an employer and parliamentary organisation, we are an exemplar in our promotion of diversity, inclusion, equality and provision of accessible services. In order to deliver this, we have developed our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and accompanying action plan which will help us deliver our diversity and inclusion vision and values:

Vision

We want to continue to be an exemplar organisation in valuing diversity, promoting inclusion and embedding equality, both as an employer and parliamentary organisation. Our organisation is accessible and engages with and respects the people of Wales and beyond.

Values

From our corporate values which define the way we work, we have identified our Diversity and Inclusion values and we:

  • ensure diversity, inclusion and equality are embedded throughout our organisation and informs our approach to how we deliver services, recruit and manage staff, support Assembly Members and engage with the people of Wales;
  • challenge and strive to eliminate harassment and discrimination;
  • recognise and address barriers to inclusion, access and participation;
  • behave as an inclusive employer and accessible parliamentary organisation;
  • aim for our workforce to be representative of our diverse society, including at a senior level;
  • encourage and widen participation in Assembly activities and engagement with the Assembly from people across Wales; and
  • promote positive attitudes towards diversity and inclusion and foster good relations between different groups of people.

The Strategy sets out how our staff deliver and promote inclusive, accessible services and achieve positive outcomes for people. It will also help us plan how we comply with the duties placed on the Assembly Commission by the Government of Wales Act 2006 and also by the Equality Act 2010, covering each of the protected characteristics[1] and other issues such as caring responsibilities, social mobility and other inequalities.

As an employer and service provider, our organisation is committed to ensuring that no-one is disadvantaged or discriminated against on these grounds: discriminatory behaviour will be dealt with via our disciplinary procedures. Also, as an employer, we encourage flexible working practices whilst accommodating our business needs.

In line with the Assembly Commission’s strategic goals, it is important to us that the Assembly continues to be accessible to the people of Wales and beyond: making it relevant, easy and meaningful for people to interact with it and contribute to its work. It is also important to us that we behave as an inclusive employer, attracting and retaining talent, enabling everyone we employ to realise their full potential.

I will ensure that our staff understand the part they play in helping our organisation deliver on our diversity and inclusion objectives and realise our diversity and inclusion vision and values.

We aim to achieve the best possible equalities outcomes for both our workforce and everyone who interacts with the National Assembly for Wales. I hope you will do all you can to work in a way that continues to achieve real, measurable diversity and inclusion improvements of which we can be proud.

Manon Antoniazzi

Chief Executive and Clerk

[1] Protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex, sexual orientation

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

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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

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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