Diversity, equality and inclusion

Our mission at Big Society Capital is all about system change. But what if we try to change systems only to replicate the bias, unfairness and inequality found in the old?

Feedback from the Quadrennial Review, alongside the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, and the global reaction to the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, has shown how racial injustice is built into the systems we are part of and trying to change. It is clear we need to do more.

In 2020, we took three principles to guide our work.

  • Intention: making deliberate choices about what we are going to do and how we will know when we have made progress.
  • Transparency: collecting and publishing data where possible.
  • Building capacity with and for others rather than trying to do everything ourselves: we do not yet have all the answers and are still developing our plans.

We hope that these three principles will help us make progress, as we apply them across four areas: internal standards, our investment strategy and processes, managing and reporting on our portfolio and our work as a market builder.

The first of these is whether we live up to this high standard internally and are addressing issues raised by the sector-wide Diversity Forum. The 2020 data on the composition of our senior team and Board show that we are not as diverse as we should be, and we will address this in future recruitment.

Second, we want to ensure our investment strategy and processes support equality and diversity. Our Women in Safe Homes fund, managed by Resonance, focuses on gender and we want to make more investments that specifically address inequality.

Third is around how we manage and report on our portfolio. We will now collect and share data from our top 15 fund managers of the diversity of their Board and senior leadership team in Investment Committees, starting in 2021.

The fourth area is our role as a market builder. We will support and amplify what others are doing, and improve the tools we offer. We have begun to update our Outcomes Matrix, adding an inequalities lens, while also adding diversity and inclusion as a component of our Building Blocks toolkit.

Finally, we have worked with Inclusive Boards and a working group from our staff to develop our own Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan for 2021-25. This builds on our first plan, published in 2019, while also recognising there is still much for us to do in this area to bring about a more equitable, diverse and inclusive sector.