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


86% of our Trailblazer judges voted for Westminster City Council to receive the Bronze Trailblazer and the same also consider them as the type of organisation they would like to work for because their application demonstrated an inclusive and positive work culture. Westminster have been awarded this in addition to being a Race Equality Matters Tea Break Trailblazer.


Actions and initiatives


Started the journey to being an anti-racist organisation


By adopting the London Councils’ anti-racist statement and running anti-racist training for staff and participating in London Councils’ Race Equality Standard pilot project, as well as the Chief Executive pledging that there will be no pay gap by 2025, our judges noted that these activities highlighted that they align with the commitment to being an anti-racist organisation. The Pay Gap Task Force are continuously looking at the ethnicity pay gap of the organisation and working with different directorates and teams to take action.

In addition, they launched a Diversity and Inclusion Staff Toolkit with practical tools, resources, videos, and case studies to make their workplace more inclusive and embed an anti-racist culture. For example, this included guidance for managers on creating a psychologically safe and respectful space. The Global Majority staff network also set up the Reverse Mentoring Scheme with the Met following George Floyd’s murder to support communities.


Cultural and diverse events for learning


Westminster hosted several events throughout the year to mark cultural awareness and diversity and inclusion dates, but also specifically looked at ways in which ethnically diverse groups who celebrate them or whom it is about are affected by issues. For example, during Baby Loss Awareness week they highlighted intersectionality and race inequity by hosting an event on ‘Disparities that Black Woman Face in their Pregnancy Journey’. Another was a Lunar New Year celebration with a panel discussion on tackling racism towards the East and Southeast Asian (ESEA) communities. They also celebrated Windrush Day by engaging with members of the local community who were also part of the Windrush generation to share stories and experiences about what life was like and how they were treated.


Implemented Race Equality Matters’ My Name Is and Tea Break solutions


By introducing the My Name Is tool at Westminster, they are committed to tackle racial inequality that ethnically diverse staff may often face when it comes to the pronunciation of their names. This tool helps people learn about the background, meaning and heritage behind people’s names and how to say them properly so that they do not experience micro-aggressions or the feeling of not belonging.


With the Tea Break solution, Westminster held several important discussions around race and racial inequality that became safe sharing and learning spaces for ethnically diverse staff and their allies. Through this they saw a greater level of engagement and employee voices being heard. You can read more about their efforts here.


Increasing ethnically diverse representation


Westminster support the career progression of ethnically diverse staff with initiatives such as Black on Board and apprenticeship schemes. Black on Board attracted 82 applications from Global Majority staff to take part in training for board member positions. Ethnically diverse senior representation has increased massively from 5% in 2017/18 to 28% and numbers across the organisation have doubled to more than 1000.

This and all other activities initiated are led and supported by staff from ethnically diverse staff, the Global Majority staff network, the Diversity & Inclusion team, and staff and leaders from across the organisation.


Impact and Ethnically diverse Staff Endorsement


As mentioned, Westminster ensure ethnically diverse staff are consistently consulted and included in the processes they implement. Impact and endorsement have been shown in some of the following ways:


  • Around 80 events were celebrated, with increased participation and energy of staff throughout the year
  • The median ethnicity pay gap has reduced from 18 to 12%
  • They reached the top quartile for employment engagement with over 77% and just over 80% report able feeling able to be themselves at work
  • Their journey to talk about racism more explicitly has led to teams developing an Anti-Racist Charter and using this to guide practice, service delivery and hold conversations to talk about what it means, as well as impact for staff and communities
  • Through their wider Pan London Work, they continue to share and learn, leading the TRIG on the Challenging and Best Practice group and hosted a recent event on supporting Black Owned business
  • In recognition of the lack of representation across the Council, the Global Majority staff network supported the rebranding of recruitment and initiatives to increase representation, such as inclusive recruitment training and diverse interview panels
  • The Global Majority staff network now has 400 members made up of employees from all races, genders, levels and departments in the organisation


Feedback from an Ethnically Diverse Panel


Our Trailblazer judges felt that Westminster’s application showed successful senior leadership buy-in and highlighted CEO participation which showed dedication from the top-down to creating an environment of inclusivity. It also showcased an increase in ethnically diverse staff attracted to and working for the company and judging panellists were impressed that this had almost doubled in the last five years.


One judge said there was “a very clear grasp of KPIs across a broad range of diversity characteristics and strong inclusion efforts” while another added “there has been quantitative and qualitative measures taken to be able to create data that proves the effectiveness of the work that has been carried out”. Judges also commented that there was “clearly evidenced intentional work with good measures and reflections on what worked well and what needed to improve.” Judges added that Westminster “also shows how integral the internal Race Network and Diversity and Inclusion team are by giving them the platform and ability to initiate and support the strategic action plan.”


One panellist described that fact that over 80% of people within the organisation feel that they can be themselves in the workplace as “fantastic” and another said that the drive towards closing the pay gap, which includes having a Pay Gap Task Force was ‘‘incredibly positive action’’.


Next Steps…


The Council recognises that there is still much more to be done and its recent commitments aim to provide improved outcomes in diversity and inclusion for its staff and the communities that it serves. The council’s commitment to anti-racism will see it:

  • Publish an anti-racism commitment statement and charter
  • Produce a Racial Equity strategy and action plan in collaboration with our communities and partners, ensuring organisational accountability
  • Provide anti-racism training with an intersectional focus including how to report and manage incidents
  • Conduct a review of policies, procedures and services to ensure they are inclusive, equitable and anti-racist
  • Set up a Tackling Inequalities taskforce with partners to have an intersectional focus to create equity within and outside the organisation


Follow Westminster’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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