Tag: BME

Assembly hosts the first Welsh Public Sector BME Staff Networks event

Selina Moyo speaking to delegates at the BME staff event.
Selina Moyo speaking to delegates at the BME staff event.

By Selina Moyo, Black Minority Ethnic Action Plan Coordinator

On 24 June representatives from different Black Minority Ethnic Staff Networks (BMESNs) gathered in Cardiff Bay to set up a forum where BMESNs from Welsh Public Sector organisations could:

  • share ideas, resources and good practice;
  • learn about different initiatives to support BME development, and
  • explore and address issues applicable to BME staff and BME Networks.

The event was opened by the Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler AM, who congratulated the staff networks for coming together and urged them to continue working together in order to bring about changes in their workplace and communities.

“We cannot progress as a nation unless all members of our society are fully supported and reflected in our public services … such networking opportunities give us an opportunity to see how best we can better engage with each other and support the communities that we work for.”

The Presiding Officer addresses delegates at the BME staff event
The Presiding Officer addresses delegates at the BME staff event

The event was well attended, and speakers included: the Deputy Minister for Health, Vaughan Gething AM; Director of Resources for the National Assembly for Wales and BME Champion, Dave Tosh; the Assistant Director, Head of Complaints Unit at Welsh Government, Sanjiv Vedi; Yangi Vundamina, from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and Tola Munro from Gwent Police Ethnic Minority Association (GEMA).

Discussions focused on the role of BME Networks, in supporting staff development, in the workplace.

Participants agreed to set up a forum and meet regularly, to enable a deeper discussion of the themes that came up during the event. Already support for future meetings has come from the ONS, the Welsh Government and Diverse Cymru and Race Council Cymru.

The event was the start of an engagement process that will establish relationships to allow the support of BME staff development in the Welsh Public Sector, thus ensuring that organisations are representative of all the people they serve.

The event was initiated as part of the Assembly’s on-going BME Action Plan project which is aimed at addressing BME representation among the organisation’s workforce and to raise awareness of and promote the National Assembly for Wales as a diverse employer. To find out more about the BME action Plan contact selina.moyo@assembly.wales.

Equality and Diversity Week – Advancing the representation of BME people in our workforce

My name is Selina Moyo, I have been working on the Black Minority Ethnic (BME) Action Plan project to increase our recruitment, retention and advancement of black minority ethnic members of staff within the Assembly, for the past year.

One of the challenges that we have as an organisation is making sure that our staff are representative of the communities that we serve so we can provide a better service to all. Through our annual equalities analysis we identified that we needed to work at increasing numbers of BME people working in the organisation.

Although we are not quite there yet I think we can pride ourselves in having taken the first step to ensure that we are a representative organisation that represents all the people we serve in Wales.

What have we done so far?

We have made ourselves more visible to the communities that we serve. I have gone out and engaged with BME communities in Cardiff ensuring that they have a better understanding of our role as the Assembly but more importantly who we are as an employer and the opportunities that we have to offer.  The last 12 months have seen us take part in job fairs and other events hosted by external partners, which we have not done before.

We have worked with partners to make our application process more accessible, through provision of basic training on the application process as well as one to one support to individuals.

We piloted a ‘Train the Trainer’ programme for partner organisations so that we could develop ‘job ambassadors’ for our organisation. We hope that this can continue and more people become aware of how to use our application process.

We have established more diverse ways of advertising for our posts and work with partners providing specialist employment advice to ensure that more organisations and individuals engage with the Assembly and advertise our posts through ‘BME friendly networks’.

I sit on a number of steering group committees working at BME empowerment, to ensure that we have a better understanding of issues affecting BME people and can help support processes to engage BME people.

We have listened to our partners and as a result of their contributions we have clarified the process of filling in the Equality Monitoring form through providing Q&A factsheet on the monitoring form for all applicants.

We realise that development of our existing staff is crucial in any efforts to develop our BME workforce. To this end we are working on programmes to ensure that our BME staff are supported through their personal development and can advance in the organisation if they wish.

To support relations among our staff we have developed a number of supporting fact sheets for use by all staff. For example our cultural diversity factsheet is available to all our staff for use in supporting internal and external engagement with diverse groups across Wales.

Our BME staff Network last year participated in the Black History Month events and the MELA event in September, so that we are better known in the community.

We hope we can continue to build these external relations and this year we will again participate in community events and showcase our work even further.

What still needs to be done?

We need to cement our relationships with external partners so that we can become the employer of choice for more BME people.

We want to see young people join us through work experience so that they better understand what we have to offer, we want to see increased applicants from BME members of the community and we will continue with our engagement efforts.

We still want to hear from the various BME communities that we may not have reached so far and work with them to make our application process accessible and transparent. If you want to find out more about our project contact selina.moyo@assembly.wales.

Selina and Abi at WMC for BHM2014

#SeneddWrexham blog: It’s been a busy week in Wrexham!

During the last week of March the National Assembly for Wales held its week-long #SeneddWrexham series of events. Here Lowri Lloyd Williams, the North Wales Outreach Manager runs through the week’s events.

National Assembly for Wales bus

Monday 23 March 2015

Launching #SeneddWrexham, we parked the Assembly bus in the town’s Queens Square, where we had a steady stream of visitors during the day.

Mr Pugh was our first visitor, who stopped by on his way to collect milk for his wife, to raise points around transport in the Wrexham area.  He was concerned about the road surfaces as well as the amount of roadworks on the A55 and its effect on the area. Parking charges was also a point Mr Pugh wanted to raise.

Other issues raised on the bus during the day included broadband speed, raising awareness of the Assembly’s work and health related matters, specifically breast cancer services.

Andrew Atkinson and Alex Jones from Wrexham Business Group also came on the bus to raise points about business rates. They left the following video regarding business rates in the town.

We were also visited on the bus by Dr Helen Paterson, Chief Executive of Wrexham Borough Council and John Gallenders, Chief Executive of AVOW (Association of Voluntary Organisations Wrexham) who encouraged their staff to get involved in #SeneddWrexham.

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Day two of #SeneddWrexham and the Assembly bus was back in Queens Square, and the people of Wrexham were still making the most of our presence, and coming to see us with plenty of questions, comments and matters to raise.

Health again was a popular topic with waiting times, cross border services and free prescriptions among the matters raised. Members of the public who raised these were encouraged to contact their Assembly Members to discuss further and look at the work the National Assembly for Wales Health and Social Care committee have done recently.

We were delighted to be joined by Welsh Baccalaureate students from St Christopher’s School, Wrexham during the morning.  They were given a short presentation on the National Assembly for Wales and as part of the Votes@16 consultation we had an interesting debate around lowering the voting age to 16. You can find out more about the consultation here.  They also thought that young people should be given more opportunities to learn about politics and that Assembly Members should commit to having young people shadow them.

St. Christophers School

St Christophers School during their visit to the bus.

We were also visited by Lynn Morris and Yvonne McCarroll from Wrexham Tenants Group who wanted to learn about ways that tenants could get involved and have their say on issues that affect them.  As I work for the Outreach team in North Wales this gave me a really good new contact in the Wrexham area that I can contact when working with the Assembly’s Committees on future consultations.

While some of the team were on the Assembly bus, others were at The Wrexham Foyer talking with members of their Breakfast club.   They were interested to hear about who represents them and how they can have their voice heard. They also talked about the voting process and learned about how they can register to vote. Listen to Courtney and Amy talk about it here:

On Tuesday night we visited young people at The Vic in Wrexham to do a session on what the Assembly is, how many Assembly Members they have and what their job is. Other members of the team were with Dynamic Wrexham holding a similar interactive session.

Wednesday 25 March 2015

The Assembly’s presence in the center of town for #SeneddWrexham continued on Wednesday with the team setting up a pop-up stand at Contact Wrexham on Lord Street.  People took the opportunity to speak to Assembly staff as they visited Wrexham council for other matters.

We also had a presence at the Info Shop in Wrexham on Wednesday to get young people to complete the Vote@16? Consultation.  We met with some really interesting young people who have strong opinions about the topic.  We spent some time with Lacey, 22, from Wrexham, who is against lowering the voting age as there is not enough education for young people and so they don’t know who to vote for.    We also visited BAWSO during the morning to hold a session explaining the areas effecting their life that the Assembly is responsible for, who represents them and how they can raise issues with the Assembly.

BAWSO Session

Participants during the BAWSO session.

The sessions continued for the team on Wednesday afternoon with the team visiting Welsh Women’s Aid in Wrexham to hold two sessions on understanding and engaging with the Assembly.  It was really interesting session with plenty of discussion points raised. Here’s what Alison Hamlington had to say following the session:

Thursday 26 March 2015

#SeneddWrexham continued to pick up pace on Thursday with activities and events all over the town.

The Assembly was at Coleg Cambria all day where students streamed in to take part in the votes@16 consultation where we wanted to hear what 11-25 year olds think about lowering the voting age to 16. We had over 300 consultation questionnaires completed during the day.

Our website, ‘Your Assembly- your say, your way, will be updated regularly to let you know how the conversation’s developing.

In addition we had a filming station set up in the library of Coleg Cambria, where media students interviewed their peers about lowering the voting age to 16.  The students did all the filming themselves, and discussed other matters too including whether enough information about politics is given to young people and whether voting should be mandatory.  You can see these videos through the playlist

The students staged a ‘Your Assembly takeover’, where their content took over our website aimed at young people for the day. You can view photographs from the day in our Flickr Album.

Over in Glyndwr University during the afternoon, the Assembly’s Presiding Officer Dame Rosemary Butler AM met with young people from Wrexham to discuss the Assembly’s Vote@16? national conversation. The event was delivered in partnership with Wrexham Senedd yr Ifanc.

We also managed to squeeze in another two understanding and engaging with staff from Wrexham Council and Caia Park Jigsaw group where we were joined by the Assembly’s Deputy Presiding Officer, David Melding AM.

The day ended with a #SeneddWrexham reception hosted by the Presiding Officer Dame Rosemary Butler AM. It was a successful event with around 70 local people present where we celebrated the work of community champions in the Wrexham area.  To the sound of musicians from Coleg Cambria there was plenty of networking between politicians, leaders of civic and community leaders during the evening.

 

Friday 27 March 2015

The final day of #SeneddWrexham arrived and it was another busy day for the team.

Friday started with our education officers over in Rhosnesni High School where over 150 young people took part in the votes@16? consultation. This was followed by a session with the school council.

Deputy Presiding Officer David Melding AM joined in with the school council meeting where they discussed the issues they had tackled within the school during the past 12 months, including school uniform.

Rhosnesi High School

The school council having their say for votes@16.

After spending the morning on our pop-up stand at Glyndwr University, I spent the afternoon with a group from Hafal in Wrexham delivering the final understanding and engaging workshop of the week.  It was an interactive session with plenty of discussion and we were joined by Aled Roberts AM where he spoke about his role as an Assembly Member.

Hafal Group Presentation

The Hafal group following the presentation.

Meanwhile, over in Glyndwr University members of National Assembly for Wales and Cardiff University staff met with students and hyperlocal bloggers and journalists.  The event was part of the Presiding Officer’s Democratic Deficit initiative, to try and help community journalists around Wales to access information about the Assembly more easily.

The Presiding Officer has pledged to work towards addressing the ‘Democratic Deficit’ caused by large numbers of people in Wales consuming news and current affairs from UK broadcasters and media organisations which often ignore the different public policy landscape in Wales compared to England.

Journalists, including many from the Glyndwr journalism school, had the chance to interview the Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler AM and the Deputy Presiding Officer, David Melding AM. They also attended a press conference style event with Dame Rosemary Butler AM.

We would like to thank everyone who engaged with us during the week for the lovely warm welcome that we had in Wrexham.

It’s was a fantastic week and I know we’ve all had a lot out of the work that we’ve done and hope that you have too.

You can view photographs from the week in our Flickr album .

If you’d like to learn more about the work of the Outreach team in North Wales, then you can contact the Assembly on 0300 200 6565 or contact@assembly.wales.