Race Equality Matters is pleased to announce that Doncaster County Council have been awarded Tea Break solution Trailblazer status!
The Tea Break provides the framework and opportunity for an organisation to hear the honest voice and feelings of its colleagues about race inequality. All employees are invited to a one-hour themed, online discussion about an issue that matters. This initiative was developed through the Solutions Collaboratory™ in collaboration with Network Rail and its staff network, Cultural Fusion, Mental Health First Aid England and those with lived experience from other organisations. In a recent Race Equality Matters’ Event, 85% of attendees thought that Tea Break would facilitate their organisation in having uncomfortable conversations about race inequality. The Tea Break methodology enables courageous conversations. This gives the organisation and its senior management insights and the opportunity to address concerns and issues that are being shared.
Doncaster Council is making genuine steps in tackling racial inequality, facilitated by their successful implementation of Tea Break. All judges unanimously voted to recognise the successful implementation of the Tea Break initiative within Doncaster Council, demonstrating the organisation-wide implementation that has been achieved. As one of the three successful Tea Break Trailblazer applicants, Doncaster County Council is pioneering in its commitment to tackling race inequality. Through recognition, celebration and reflection of this, other organisations can implement Tea Break to tackle race inequality in their workplace too.
Implementation for Impact
Doncaster Council has successfully implemented Tea Break in under a year, demonstrating their continued commitment to change. Since October 2021, a new Ethnic Culture Fusion Network was also established to help support and change the organisation’s values and culture towards their objective of inclusivity and diversity. Tea Break has been instrumental in supporting this change, with 5 large events that attracted approximately 30% of the ethnically diverse staff. Judges celebrated this commitment to institutional-level change when praising their “clear vision” and “desire to move forward”. To ensure more voices are heard, engagement is secured and learning is done, Tea Break conversations had enabled Doncaster Council to:
- Increase Representation: The council has secured its first dual heritage cabinet member, who is also a member of the network and responsible for Equality.
- Facilitated Education about Racism: The Ethnic Culture Fusion Network created an Intranet site page to support the wider training and is accessible to all employees. One member shared her lived experience of racism during Windrush Day, to which the CEO shared this impactful story as part of their weekly blog to all employees to facilitate learning.
- Engage Senior Leadership: The first cohort of reciprocal mentoring began in June 2022, and Tea Break conversations continue to push leadership to hear and engage with uncomfortable conversations in order to facilitate change.
Judges praised the strong engagement in tackling race inequality, with 71% considering the evidence as “good” and a further 14% voting it as “clear and substantial”. One judge praised Doncaster Council’s impact and action, stating:
“The council has achieved greater ethnic minority engagement in a relatively short period of time… [There is] Good evidence of the council being committed to reducing race inequality long-term, with a fair and inclusive strategic direction for the Council to build over the next decade.”
Looking forward, Doncaster County Council seeks to use the Tea Break framework to continue tackling race inequality, as well as other initiatives using the Race Equity Continuum Paradigm framework to support and achieve its overall equality, diversity and inclusion objectives. They look to support the Ethnic Culture Fusion Network at an organisation and city-wide level, tackle biased recruitment within the Council and establish a ‘psychological safety zone’ within the organisation to tackle race inequality.
Reflecting on their journey towards race equality, the Council informed the judges that though they “remain steadfast” for future action:
“Recognizing our achievements at this stage is a great morale booster to plough through obstacles and focus on future actions.”
Follow Doncaster County Council’s Lead: Become a Trailblazer
If your organisation is driving change for Race Equality and you can demonstrate impact, endorsement from ethnic background employees and share future plans; register your interest to be considered for the next round of trailblazers.