Race Equality Matters is pleased to announce that Northamptonshire Carers have been awarded Silver Trailblazer status!


Even with a small team compared to other organisations who have applied to become Trailblazers, Northamptonshire Carers have made great progress to tackle racial inequality, having already previously been awarded Bronze status.


100% of our Trailblazer judges said their application demonstrated evidence of continued action and their strongest area was the inclusivity and impact this action had. They were a strong pass across all of the Silver Trailblazer criteria and 83% of the judging panellists voted for them to receive the status.


Actions and initiatives


Formalisation of staff networks

Three staff networks have now been successfully formalised, including the Global Ethnic Majority or GEM (previously known as Race) Staff and Volunteer Network, all of which are supported by Trustees, the Chief Executive and Chief Operations Officer. There is also a new Global Ethnic Majority Carers peer support group. Membership to the Staff Networks is open to allies of those with protected characteristics, which has encouraged active allyship and learning within the organisation, particularly around identifying and using ‘white privilege’.

The Ethnic Minority Carers Lead oversees the GEM (Race) Staff Network, where it is informal and engaged with senior management in a safe space, enabling actions started by Race Equality Matters such as Big Promise and My Name Is to be implemented in the previous year and embedded within the organisation.


Improved recruitment processes

Steps to improve their recruitment process and make it more equitable and inclusive for ethnically diverse candidates include accepting CVs as well as filling out an application form as was the original method, introducing mirror-recruitment (recruiting staff that reflect similar characteristics and life experience as the interviewer, also known as diverse panels), rolling out unconscious bias awareness training, and changing language in job descriptions that may deter candidates who are not White British with English as their first language. They also use two systems which collate and track data on ethnicity and other characteristics of both candidates and employees, which will help them review trends and address racial inequality.

Since their Bronze Trailblazer application they have increased the diversity of their senior leaders with a number of recruits from various ethnically diverse backgrounds across the business. The new staff are vocal about their heritage and their life experiences and all staff feel safe to have conversations around them, encouraging positive curiosity.


Senior Leadership Endorsement

In addition to senior leadership endorsing the staff networks, they have also supported the rollout of the My Name Is campaign, eventually making it mandatory to honour phonetic spelling on their email and/or name badge and non-compliance would be treated with the same severity as misconduct in the workplace. This came about through the identifying of a micro-aggression happening, and after reverse mentoring by a GEM member of staff to then take action.


Senior leaders have also taken part in ‘Brave Conversations’ in the workplace, which can often be uncomfortable for them but want to be progressive regarding the work to address race inequality.


Implementation of the countywide ‘Investors in Carers’ GP Standard Accreditation Award


This scheme aims to improve identification of and support available to Carers as well as acknowledge work undertaken to support Carers by Northamptonshire GP teams. In their work to address health inequalities they have acknowledged the Award also needs to evidence GPs actions to address race health inequalities. With it they will ensure the recorded patient ethnicity is correct, provide evidence that policies are in place which recognise the need for inclusion in regard to all communities, considering the specific health needs of BAME and LGBTQ+ carers. The requirement for GPs to identify Carers from Black and Asian (GEM) heritage through their Accreditation Award proactively encourages them to refer GEM Carers to Northamptonshire.

In addition to their efforts to tackle health inequalities for ethnically diverse people, their work to address Sickle Cell provision in the county has seen positive engagement from speakers travelling from around the country to support the initiative. The Sickle Cell course is a radical move for the organisation and has attracted people who are not only Black British, Black African and Black Caribbean to engage but also members of their extended family and friends who may be of white heritage and wish to learn more so they can improve how they can support them.


Impact and Ethnically diverse Staff Endorsement


The impact of Northamptonshire Carers’ activities has encouraged positive engagement from across the organisation and people who access their services, especially those from ethnically diverse backgrounds:

  • 100% of daytime ethnically diverse staff have been affected by the actions that have been put in place
  • The new initiatives such as Sickle Cell provision and GEM Carer support groups have increased engagement with the organisation by approximately 40 new GEM Carers accessing support
  • More people from Asian heritage are accessing support, where historically they did not
  • Ethnically diverse staff feel safe to call out inequalities and microaggressions and talk of their past experiences within the organisation prior to the work to address race inequalities
  • They have a female Black member of staff who was the only black member of staff for over 10 years. She disclosed that in the past she would not raise issues she encountered around race and felt things had always been “white-washed” by white staff who had ‘privilege’. She now feels more comfortable and confident to express her experience to colleagues
  • Ethnically diverse staff staff have created their own safe space which is needed to ensure psychological and emotional security
  • Ethnically diverse staff support and monitor HR issues relating particularly to other ethnically diverse staff, provide support to each other as well as guidance, insight and awareness. They also advise and feedback information to senior leaders so they can amend policies to be more inclusive, such as adding the option of mediation rather than just a grievance procedure
  • Some ethnically diverse staff have received requests from non-ethnically diverse colleagues for additional education regarding terminology, which is a radical change; those often requesting the information are ones who previously believed they were inclusive, were not racist and did not accept there was any additional learning needed


Feedback from an Ethnically Diverse Panel


Our Trailblazer judges were impressed with clear growth in activity since achieving Bronze status, the appointment of dedicated roles to support diversity and inclusion as well as the new staff networks, and the support of Senior Leadership and Trustees displaying clear accountability and responsibility. One panellist said it was a “really great application with lots of good evidence and very inclusive practice” and another commended Northamptonshire Carers for it being “strong in identifying what issues they have.”


Their application showed a positive commitment to engagement through the strategies in place to ensure effective and inclusive communications both internally and externally. Additionally it showed commitment to data collection to inform decisions expanding on findings to ensure there is learning and understanding. Judges also praised the increased allyship as well as learning and understanding around ‘white privilege’, use of testimonials from ethnically diverse staff and allies and senior leaders to support their answers, and their effective changes to recruitment practices.


By promoting a culture of education and open conversation, they have created space for new frameworks, allyship, higher representation as well as endorsement and senior and organisation-wide buy-in to support real change.


Next Steps…


Northamptonshire Carers have outlined several actions and initiatives they will carry out in the future, including:


  • Each team,, including the Executive and Leadership Team, is expected to deliver on their Big Promises
  • All staff are expected to have an objective in their performance and development reviews
  • Planned staff training on diversity and inclusion is being reviewed with the support of the GEM Network to make sure it meets the needs of the organisation
  • They will continue to ensure race equity is embedded into our culture through an intersectional lens with a particular focus on gender and neurodiversity
  • There will be mandatory anti-racism and equity staff training for the third year
  • Lead education opportunities on equity and inclusion training for the wider community, the public and in partnership with external organisations for their members
  • Publishing their Gender and Ethnicity Pay Gap reports for the second year
  • Yearly MHFA Impact Reports will include updates on how anti-racism commitments have progressed and are embedded within the organisation and Instructor Member community
  • Updating the website to be live with diverse imagery as well as a diverse and inclusive careers page to encourage greater diversity of applicants
  • They will continue to improve our staff and wider community diversity data collection so they can take even more, evidence-based action towards anti-racism and inclusivity; they have redesigned the forms and will be using more effective methods of collection



Follow Northamptonshire Carers’ Lead: Become a Trailblazer

If your organisation is driving change for Race Equality and you can demonstrate impact, endorsement from ethnically diverse employees and share future plans; register your interest for the next round of trailblazers.


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