We understand that people experience poverty in different ways, and we strive to create a culture where people of all backgrounds and experiences feel appreciated and valued. This approach is central to ensuring that we are accountable to London’s richly diverse communities.
We recognise that there are deep structural inequalities in our society. Discrimination and social exclusion are major causes and consequences of poverty. People facing discrimination based on their identities , social positions  and in particular people at the crossroads of intersecting layers of discrimination  are at greater risk of poverty.
Our understanding of poverty goes beyond lacking the resources to meet basic needs. It extends to having opportunities and choices to participate fully in society. A vision of a more equitable society is integral to our mission, and we will work proactively to contribute to this goal.
Working towards a more inclusive society must start with ensuring that our own governance and operations are as inclusive as possible. We are conscious that many groups of people have historically been excluded from positions of power and leadership, and we want to take action to address this situation. We have taken proactive steps to ensure that the voices and experiences of people with first-hand experience of poverty  and inequality are at the forefront of all aspects of our work, including our governance, management, staffing, operations and funding decisions.
Our aim is to re-balance the value placed on first-hand and learned experience, so that we are well placed to respond to our mission of tackling poverty and inequality in the Capital.
A crucial element of our diversity, equity and inclusion commitments is to document the actions we are taking, continuously assess our progress, and share this publicly so we are accountable.
Actions we're taking
- Trustees have undergone training on unconscious bias and some have undergone diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) recruitment training. DEI training will continue to be provided on a regular basis with opportunities to reflect on the learning and to implement action plans as required.
- When Trustee vacancies arise, in addition to identifying the skills and experience required, we also emphasise the value of first-hand experience of poverty and/or discrimination, in the advertisements.
- All our vacancies are advertised as widely as possible, aiming to go beyond the networks of our current Trustees by using social media and our grantee contacts, to encourage people from diverse backgrounds to apply.
- We have recently openly recruited four co-optees to our two grants committees based on their first-hand experience of poverty and inequality. Other committees are also working to increase their diversity by recruiting co-optees.
- We undertake a Diversity Audit of Trustees, Cooptees and Staff every three years to monitor and review our progress towards becoming a more diverse organisation.
Our equal opportunities policy clearly outlines how we will strive to ensure the talents and resources of employees are utilised to the full and that we treat all job applicants and employees fairly and equally. In addition, we also:
- Provide line managers with training in diversity, equity and inclusion in relation to recruitment, with action plans developed as required.
- As job vacancies arise, we review the job descriptions and person specifications to ensure there are no unnecessary requirements which would act as a barrier to some people applying.
- Equal opportunities monitoring data is collected anonymously alongside each job application. This data is summarised and reviewed annually by our Finance and Resources Committee.
- All staff have participated in Disability Equality Training, which has resulted in an action plans to address any barriers experienced by Deaf and disabled people which may prevent access to our funding, staffing or other resources. Similar training will be provided to the Trustees.
- Have a range of policies to ensure that the Trust strives to be a good inclusive employer.
We have a long history of prioritising our funding to organisations of people who have been disproportionately affected by poverty and inequality. This continues to be a major theme in our current funding strategy. Specifically:
- Prioritising our funding to user-led organisations – specifically those that have strong and meaningful engagement of people directly affected by poverty and inequality in the leadership of the organisation, service design and campaigns. We have gone further for work relating to Deaf and Disabled people, as we will only fund organisations which have a majority of Deaf and Disabled people on their governing body (ideally 75%) and with at least half their staff members being Deaf and/or Disabled.
- We are considering how to implement this higher benchmark to other equality groups in order to increase funding to organisations addressing poverty related to racial and gender inequality, LGBT+ rights and the intersection of these identities.
- Targeted Special Initiatives – to tackle entrenched issues where discrimination and poverty continue to persist, and where a more strategic approach is needed, we work alongside relevant strategic partners to invest larger sums of funding to work toward systemic change. We have two current Initiatives focused on young black men and employment (Moving on Up) , and strengthening the rights of Deaf and Disabled people (SVRR). We will continue to proactively target the groups most acutely impacted by poverty and inequality.
- Strengthening the voice of marginalised people – by funding capacity building work and by convening networks to strengthen the collective voice of people, particularly in innovative work to influence policy. Most recently we supported the establishment of a Commission of Enquiry on the Social Security White Paper, whereby all the Commissioners are claimants or ex-claimants.
- We also want to link groups of individuals to organisations who have influence to create allies and encourage joint work.
- Using our influence with potential and current grantees – by raising the issue of diversity, equity and inclusion in assessment meetings. Specifically how well their governance, staff and resources reflect the communities they serve and by encouraging more action be taken as needed.
- Promoting an inclusive organisation which ensures that everyone including staff, grantees, visitors and anyone involved in our work feel valued, confident to be themselves, and are able to participate fully. This includes: ensuring that barriers to full participation are identified through training and feedback, and that all reasonable adjustments are made, as well as any other action needed to overcome these; staff and trustees new to the organisation are given a comprehensive induction and a buddy to support them to become fully engaged in the organisation; staff are actively consulted and involved in decisions that directly affect them; offering training and learning opportunities to staff and trustees to support them in their work.
We will be transparent about our progress by publishing on our website:
- Analysis of our Diversity Audit survey.
- Reports on our Gender and Ethnic Pay gap (annually); the ratio of highest vs lowest paid; and highest paid and FTE on London Living Wage.
- Analysis of the distribution of our funding to organisations addressing inequalities including those led by BAMER, Deaf and Disabled, LGBT+.
Plans for further action
- Consideration to be given to creative ways of reducing bias in recruitment (e.g. reading applications without the names or details of education) and other forms of positive action that could be taken to ensure we recruit a diverse Trustee board and staff team.
- Agreeing benchmarks to prioritise funding to groups of people more likely to be affected by poverty and inequality, in ways similar to the priority we currently give to Deaf and Disabled people’s organisations.
- Review our current policies and practices to identify further ways we can enhance our activity to become an even more inclusive organisation.
- Building in more time to reflect on the learning gained through training and to implement change as required.
 There are nine protected characteristics that have been identified in law, which can lead to discrimination – age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
 These could include someone’s class or migration status for example.
 For example, discrimination faced not just as a Black person and a Disabled person, but also the specific experience of a Black Disabled person.
 By ‘first-hand’ experience, we mean people that have direct and personal experience of poverty, including related discrimination and disadvantage.