METRO Charity is on a journey to increase our racial literacy and awareness, and in turn become an actively anti-racist organisation. It isn’t an easy process. It has meant looking inwards, grappling with some uncomfortable truths and making some difficult decisions, but it is something we are committed to, and believe is crucially important for our staff, service users, and our mission as an organisation.
In April 2022 METRO commissioned JEDI Consultancy to support us to examine and address the charity’s issues around race. As a result of this work, JEDI produced the Race Audit Report, which METRO published in March 2023. Read more about our Race Audit Report and our initial response.
We have been reflecting, readjusting, and dedicating considerable time, thought and resource to making sure we do the right thing and live up to our own values. This has meant figuring out what our next steps are and how quickly we can move to embed sustainable, considered and thoughtful change.
We appreciate the support we’ve received, but recognise that not all the progress has been visible from the outside. So, to be as transparent as possible, we wanted to give an update on where we are in that journey: both what we have done so far, and what is still to come.
Along with the publication of the report in March, METRO pledged to take the following actions (in bold). We have detailed where we are with each one, immediately below:
- Registering the findings of the report as a serious incident with the Charity Commission
This was carried out immediately, alongside the publication of the Race Audit Report.
- Alerting our partners, funders and commissioners to the findings of this report and our plans to address them
Following the publication of the report, members of our Senior Leadership Team reached out to partner organisations, funders and commissioners to share and discuss the report’s findings. Our CEO, and members of our senior team, met with several individuals and organisations who were keen to know more. We remain in an ongoing dialogue with our stakeholders about our journey.
Additionally, METRO GAVS held a General Meeting on 5th June 2023 for METRO to answer questions directly from their members.
- Provide a package of support for our staff, focused around the impact of the release of the report, facilitated by JEDI.
All staff were encouraged to attend discussion spaces facilitated by JEDI Consultancy in the months following the release of the report. There were also additional sessions put on for staff who identify as People of Colour (PoC) who wished to discuss these issues further in a safe space which ran through until June 2023.
Additionally, our PoC staff have self-organised and formed a peer support group providing them with the opportunity to share and inform the journey.
- Creating a Race Equity Strategy Group drawing from all parts of our team, with contributions being paid, and facilitated by the new head role
We are currently recruiting for the now director level role which will facilitate the Race Equality Strategy Group. As such, this work is paused until they are in post to lead on that work. In the interim we are supporting the self-organised staff PoC Group by remunerating the convenors. This group is being consulted by our Senior Leadership Team on key changes relating to METRO’s journey to becoming an anti-racist organisation.
- Tendering and commissioning for further external support and development for our staff as we continue on this journey
METRO tendered and commissioned diversity and inclusion training for staff, with colleagues from across the team taking part in the interview and selection process. METRO is continuing to identify further training options, both in-person and online. For example, we have just launched online training for all staff about microaggressions.
- Recruiting a Head of Equality Diversity and Inclusion, sitting in our Senior Leadership Team, to lead on our work in becoming an actively anti-racist organisation
Members of our Senior Management Team and representatives from the PoC Group ran a consultation exercise with other organisations who have specific Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) roles. Following this exercise, the role has been increased in seniority to a director-level post which will lead on our EDI, people and culture remit. The role of Director of Equality Diversity and Inclusion, People and Culture is now being advertised widely. Visit the jobs section of our website to find out more.
- Further diversification of our recruitment channels to reach racially diverse candidates
Our Human Resources and Volunteering team have been advertising roles in a wider variety of settings to increase accessibility. This includes LGBT Consortium, Job Centres, Inclusion London, the Black African and Asian Therapy Network and The Voice newspaper.
We have also been making further changes to recruitment, including work on better anonymisation of application forms for shortlisting, and including staff panels for senior roles, such as directors and trustees, to further ensure fairness and equity. The impact of these changes can already be seen in our new recruits and internal promotions across all levels of the charity.
This journey is not yet finished, and our Human Resources and Volunteering team will continue working on making METRO’s application forms more accessible, and automatically anonymised, for both paid and voluntary roles.
- Reinforcing awareness of channels for raising concerns and providing feedback, including the option to do this anonymously
METRO staff have been reminded of the anonymous internal form for whistleblowing, providing feedback and sharing ideas. Additionally, we have been actively promoting how to contact trustees directly should they have any concerns.
We have also started two informal drop-ins, one for Trustees and another for the Senior Leadership Team (SLT). These drop-ins provide an opportunity for the wider team to get to know the Trustees, our heads, directors and our CEO. The aim of these is to deepen relationships, increase transparency and accountability, and enable a culture where people can feel more comfortable in raising concerns and providing feedback.
- Review of our policies
We will be reviewing our HR policies to ensure they are fair, equitable and sensitive to issues which may not be immediately apparent. This work will be led by the new Director of EDI, People and Culture when they are in post.
We acknowledge that this process is challenging, and that this journey is taking longer than we would like, but we are also aware that meaningful change takes time. METRO’s leadership are wholly committed to learning from the mistakes in our past, they take responsibility, and will ensure that METRO becomes a place where all staff are equally respected and feel valued.
If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions around the response to our Race Audit Report please email [email protected] or call us on 020 8305 5000 and ask to speak to our CEO or one of our directors.