Bristol scoops equality and diversity award

Race equality work in Bristol has been praised at the prestigious Global Equality and Diversity Awards with a ground-breaking project picking up a top prize.

Bristol’s Race Equality Strategic Leaders group scooped the Transparency award for their work in researching and publicising the demographic statistics of some of the city’s major employers.

The group’s recently published Annual Report of the Bristol Manifesto for Race Equality Strategic Leaders Group set out the city’s first-ever data picture of 11 of Bristol’s largest public sector bodies, including Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS).

This picture focuses on pay disparity, sickness levels and grievances across the organisations as well as highlighting the ethnic make-up of each public body.

As well as being a first for Bristol, this type of citywide look at the ethnic diversity of public sector organisations is also believed to be a first in the UK.

Simon Shilton, Assistant Chief Fire Officer at AF&RS, said: “We are extremely proud of the work we do in the Service area across equality and diversity.

“As a Service, we are always trying to improve and ensure that we have a positive impact across all communities and backgrounds, and to be part of a study based on data is fantastic.

“Our Diversity, Inclusion, Cohesion and Equalities team work extremely hard in ensuring we are always heading in the right direction and have a Service that is reflective of our communities.

“It is fantastic to be recognised for all of our hard work, and we will continue to push forward to make the Service as inclusive as possible.”

Mike Jackson, Executive Director for Resources at Bristol City Council and chair of the Strategic Leaders Group, added: “It’s great that the hard work of the Manifesto Leadership group has been recognised in this way. This past year has seen us achieve a major milestone on our route to achieving the ambitions laid out in the Bristol Manifesto for Race Equality.

“For the first time we have an accurate picture of the ethnic make-up of the public sector in Bristol – so we can pinpoint where our resources should be focused.

“We also hope that our work will provide a blueprint for others across the country to work collaboratively to understand the issues they face and put in place sustainable solutions to tackling racial inequality.”

In picking up the award the data tool was praised by the award judges for being “the best example of published data and transparent information across business and the public sector on organisational makeup, staff and/or customer service.”

In addition, the Strategic Leadership Group were commended for a high level of commitment to transparency, moving beyond statutory obligations, demonstrating engagement with a wide range of groups and working together to be transparent and open.

The Strategic Leadership Group was formed in response to the Bristol Manifesto for Race Equality. Its aim was to bring together all public sector organisations in the city to work collaboratively to tackle the issues the Manifesto raises.

With a rapidly changing population profile, the group felt Bristol needed to better understand the employment statistics of its major public sector organisations.

Using this data the group’s members will now work together to set out a number of actions to take on creating opportunities for BME employees and potential employees.

One such project that is up and running already is the city’s Stepping Programme which provides dedicated tutoring and mentorship to provide individuals from BME backgrounds the chance to develop their leadership skills.

The programme aims to increase the ethnic diversity of leadership across all sectors in Bristol by producing a pool of BME talent to provide employers with greater choice in recruitment.

The Strategic Leaders Group’s annual report can be viewed online by visiting the Bristol City Council website.