Race Equality Matters is pleased to announce that Cornwall Council have been awarded Bronze Trailblazer status!

Cornwall Council have demonstrated effective use of data collection tools to inform their understanding of their workforce composition and based their internal initiatives and strategies on this data to direct their goals. The creation of their ‘Tackling Racism Toolkit’ alongside the supporting Race Equality Action Plan have demonstrated a robust commitment to the empowerment and education of their employees as well as improvements to their recruitment processes. They have also successfully implemented Tea Breaks. Race Equality Matters’ independent panellists certified the need to celebrate this activity. 100% of panellists stated that clear action had been taken. This action shows a commitment to inclusivity, endorsement and clear and measurable outcomes. 

Cornwall Council’s strong commitment demonstrated at all levels of the organisation along with their comprehensive action towards change makes them a Trailblazer to celebrate. 

Actions and Initiatives

Successful Implementation of Tea Break 

Cornwall Council initially ran their Tea Break during Black History Month 2021 on Race and Identity in the workplace in collaboration with Pentreath, a mental health charity. They chose to engage the charity because they wanted to ensure they were creating a safe space for ethnically diverse colleagues to be able to discuss their lived experiences. Since then, they have run two more Tea Breaks on Allyship and Resources and they have shared where colleagues can seek further support regarding race equality with further Tea Breaks planned. Further, invites are also sent to Chief Executive and Strategic Directors inviting them to attend Tea Breaks.

Tackling Racism Toolkit for Employees and the Race Equality Action Plan 

Cornwall Council demonstrated a commitment to improving competence through providing their Tackling Racism Toolkit which covers how to recognise racism in the workplace and actions to address it. They covered topic areas such as white privilege, microaggressions, racial gaslighting and intersectionality. They created a practical guidance on recognising racism and how to challenge it proactively. In addition to this, they supported this resource with their Race Equality Action Plan, which focuses on actions to tackle racial inequality. The plan included seven topic areas which included Denial of Racism, No Data Excuse, and White Fragility in Leadership.  

Race Equality Employee Forum 

Their Race Equality Employee Forum has been fundamental in driving forward change to tackle racial inequality and racism.  The forum co-produced their Tackling Racism Toolkit and Race Equality Action Plan and assisted with delivering Tea Break sessions and are in the process of refreshing a training offer.  Each Employee Forum also has a Strategic Director sponsor who attends the forums on a regular basis enabling escalation and discussion at the highest level in the Council. 


Cornwall Council faced the challenge of ensuring that all colleagues were aware of initiatives, particularly because of colleague workloads. To mitigate this all their internal events and communications are issued through a range of corporate communication channels.  The Chief Executive’s weekly message, the manager’s weekly bulletin and the fortnightly staff newsletter.  They also do personal invites to members of the Race Equality Employee Forum and ask them to extend the invite to other colleagues.

Impact and Ethnically diverse Staff Endorsement

To achieve both Bronze and #Tea Break Trailblazer status, meaningful impact needs to be evidenced. Cornwall Council has demonstrated determination and a strong commitment to tackling race inequality with accountability measures. 

  • The Tea Break sessions have provided an informal space for employees to learn and grow and provided space to talk about racial inequity and lived experiences safely.
  • Through their Race Equality Employee Forum, their members feedback has demonstrated that ethnically diverse colleagues are feeling more included and able to have their voices heard and can see how they have shaped how the organisation works.
  • The Council have also implemented the #MyNameIs campaign which has reported to have increased confidence and reduced apprehension of employees with ethnically diverse names meeting with other employees and this is an initiative they will continue to pursue.
  • They have increased visibility of senior leadership at events.
  • By providing a targeted approach towards tackling racial inequality it has meant clear measurable outcomes have been achieved.
  • They have also provided different ways for employees to share their experiences which has worked well as not one method suits everyone.
  • To ensure colleagues and allies are using the right terminology they provide regular comms on inclusive language, training opportunities and case studies to inform employees.
  • Managers have taken action against employees through their disciplinary procedure who have displayed inappropriate racist behaviour and language.

Feedback from an Ethnically Diverse Panel

One judge thought it was an ‘amazing’ step that the organisation had been ‘brave’ enough to take up a personal Race Equality Audit. Judges felt this could offer immense value and showed a genuine and responsible approach to action. The council showed a clear and effective way of implementing the Tea Break initiative with a great use of resources. The judges praised the pursuit of creating informed and safe spaces where important conversations could be had through the race equality employee forum and external support in the form of Pentreath.

Next Steps…

Moving forward, Cornwall Council seeks to (among other actions):

  • They have ensured actions have been endorsed by their senior leadership team. In 2023 they secured endorsement, funding and resources to undertake an independent race equality audit in 2023 which shows a true commitment to accountability and transparency. 
  • They have signed up to the Zero Tolerance to Hate Crime campaign run by Devon and Cornwall Police and seek to establish a reverse mentoring initiative for their employees. 
  • They also seek to have in person anti racism training and continue to strengthen their recruitment process to include race equality competency screening.

Follow Cornwall Council’s 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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