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Equality, diversity and inclusion training introduced following SC-WRES

08 Feb 2024

3 min read

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  • Culture and diversity
  • Learning and development
  • Social work

We speak to two local authorities who participated in the test phase of the Social Care Workforce Race Equality Standards (SC-WRES) about learning and development they’ve introduced to support equality, diversity, and inclusion.

The SC-WRES is a framework which has been designed for social care organisations to achieve anti-racist workplaces. It comprises of nine benchmarks which organisations can use to measure the experiences of people from minoritised ethnic backgrounds, and to make improvements.

The pilot phase of the SC-WRES ran across 18 local authorities from April 2021 to June 2022.

We spoke to two of the local authorities who participated in the pilot about their experience of SC-WRES and the learning and development which they’ve developed or strengthened following their participation in the programme.

 

Hertfordshire County Council

Hertfordshire County Council offers a wide range of equality, diversity, and inclusion training to all staff.

While some of this was introduced as a direct result of their participation in SC-WRES, other projects were already underway but have been strengthened by the learnings of SC-WRES.

One example is the authority’s ‘Connected leadership’ and ‘Connected practice’ programmes which include modules covering diversity and inclusion, which encompass race and ethnicity.

These programmes have been delivered to the majority of the adult care services workforce at the council. While the programmes had begun prior to the council’s participation in SC-WRES the content related to diversity and inclusion was further developed during the SC-WRES rollout.

The programmes supported people to understand how they play a part in connected working across social care. Prior to SC-WRES the topic of diversity and inclusion was mentioned in the modules, but after taking part in SC-WRES the team spoke with the provider of the modules about including more focus around social identities, and particularly the role of race and ethnicity as part of diversity and inclusion.

The council has found that participating in SC-WRES has helped enable people to have more open conversations about race.

Another programme which the council offers, “Becoming an anti-racist practitioner” consists of four half-day modules. The course provided to practitioners across social care departments is designed to share theoretical and research-informed knowledge in relation to racism and the notion of becoming anti-racist allies, from a number of perspectives, using a range of materials. It’s been created to invite participants to think about anti-racist practice with the people they support and within the organisation and teams.

The course holds relationship-based, anti-racist practice at its heart and is based on a model for achieving emotionally intelligent, critically reflective, curious conversations, in a safe space. The course invites those that attend to consider their own individual identity and position in relation to power, white privilege and Black and ethnic minority empowerment and development of own personal mission statement.

There is an ethos of collaborative learning, in a shared space working together to create shared responsibility.

Developed by John Burnham and Alison Roper- Hall in 1992, Social Graces has become the chosen tool in Hertfordshire’s children’s services to help colleagues explore 15 visible and invisible aspects of identity. One of the key aims of the framework is to ‘name’ power differentials and to explore the social graces which may impact on their decisions, actions and interactions.

Each service prioritises, enables, and supports structured safe-space discussions, using this framework in team meetings and in supervisions. Supporting materials identify ‘conversational roadblocks’, prompts and calls to action. Social Graces is a mandatory aspect of induction training for all new staff.

The council also has an equity, equality, diversity, and inclusion online learning directory which allows all staff to access a range of learning programmes related to equality and diversity. This includes courses commissioned by adult care services and children’s services on cultural awareness, religion and belief, allyship, and talking about race.

Adult care services and children’s services held a first annual conference, in 2023 which focused on how to bring equity, equality, diversity and inclusion into their work. This included reflections on SC-WRES alongside their broader equality, diversity, and inclusion work.

Equality, diversity, and inclusion is also a key part of the induction process for all staff. This includes welcome and induction sessions which feature an equity, equality, diversity, and inclusion presentation from board members.

Additionally, an induction session specifically focused on equity, equality, diversity and inclusion is delivered to newly-qualified social workers in Adult Care Services.

 

Leeds City Council

Leeds City Council has influenced their corporate equality, diversity and inclusion training offer as a result of the work they’ve undertaken on the SC-WRES.

The authority now has a mandatory equality, diversity, and inclusion training and development package for managers. This is titled ‘Be your best on equality, diversity and inclusion.’

The training intends to support and develop people managers to build inclusive teams and a work culture which is fair, celebrates difference, values all, eliminates discrimination and helps everyone to be their best.

The sessions outline the importance of all staff living the council’s values and taking a zero-tolerance approach to tackling inequality and discrimination.

Conversations around introducing an equality, diversity and inclusion training programme for managers were happening prior to the council’s involvement in SC-WRES but their participation in SC-WRES helped them to finalise the programme and aided the decision to make the training mandatory for all managers.

The SC-WRES also highlighted the importance of the training being focused on setting measurable objectives for teams and individuals and on reviewing the staff appraisal process.

The training is split into three stages, with the third stage involving managers setting an equality, diversity and inclusion objective for their team based on the issues that have come out through the training and discussions.

Since introducing the training for managers, 100% of all managers have now completed the training and it also forms part of induction for all new managers.

The council also offers an extensive range of facilitated and online learning options for all staff on equality, diversity and inclusion related topics including understanding unconscious bias, cultural awareness and having difficult conversations.

 

Find out more about SC-WRES.


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