Diversity, equality and inclusion
Chief Executive’s statement
Surrey is a diverse county. Nearly 17% of Surrey’s population describe themselves as being from a minority ethnic group, with particularly large South East Asian, and Gypsy, Roma Traveller communities, as well as significant sub-groups, such as Nepali (owing to Surrey’s Armed Forces role).
Carers live in EVERY community, and are in themselves a disadvantaged, marginalised group, with their caring role affecting them emotionally, financially and practically, including their mental and physical health. So we see carers as a priority, disadvantaged group.
We provide information, advice and support for carers of all ages, right across Surrey. Our support includes benefits help, advocacy, guidance on moving and handling, workshops, events (by Zoom and face to face), support groups, free resources and more. We also help carers have their say on carer matters in Surrey, and nationally. And we have specialist support for younger carers, and people connected to the Armed Forces.
We have made progress towards being a diverse organisation, both internally with our staff and volunteers, and externally with the carers we support. (See below.)
Internally, key aspects such as our recruitment and training promote diversity, but we know we need to do more. Externally, we work to ensure we offer appropriate and tailored support for every carer, acknowledging each one’s unique situation. Additionally, we have events, activities and information for specific groups and communities. And we work to ensure our offer reaches all carers in Surrey. However, again, we know we have more to do, and so are working to put in place a comprehensive Action Plan, and new processes, such as clearer pathways of support that fully recognise Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) issues.
We fully acknowledge that we have some way to go, and importantly this process should be continually addressed, assessed, and improved. However, we are committed to doing everything we can, to reach and appropriately support every carer in Surrey, working to become a better, stronger and more diverse organisation.
Jamie Gault, Chief Executive, Action for Carers Surrey
Our staff and volunteers
What we do
- Trustees: in line with our Articles of Association, over half our trustees are carers. The Board also includes a broad range of ages, and BAME representation.
- Recruitment: we work hard to ensure a fair selection process, supporting inclusion (including advertising vacancies in 3 different places; not revealing potential employee’s name until the final part of the application; and for young carer roles, a young carer participates in the interview process. We also are keen to consider applicants who don’t have the professional experience outlined but do have ‘lived experience’ as carers.)
- We have a Staff Carers Group – for mutual support and to help guide the organisation.
- We have an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (DEI) Policy, which includes a new Action Plan to improve DEI both internally and externally.
What we plan
- More training in DEI.
- More staff surveying on DEI.
- Further developments to our recruitment programme.
- See above, re DEI Action Plan.
What we do
- We monitor the age group, sex, and ethnicity of our carers.
- This shows us that 9% of the carers we support describe themselves as BAME (up 41% in the past two years); and we support carers aged 5 to 97.
- We are part of the Surrey Carers Equality Group – membership is 100% BAME.
- We deliver personalised support acknowledging that every caring situation is unique.
- We ensure people, whatever their situation, can access our support (eg events that are on Zoom, and in person.) Zoom events reach carers who are unable to go out because of their caring role, or financial circumstances, ensuring they are not excluded. When using venues for events, we ensure they are accessible to all (eg disabled lifts, hearing loop, free parking/on bus route, etc).
- Our carers are constantly asked their views on our services (Giving Carers a Voice programme) to ensure we meet their needs and continue to improve.
Examples of recent initiatives and activities to support DEI
- Tailored events/activities, eg our Black and Minority Ethnic Carers Event, activities celebrating Black History Month (eg Creative Writing Zoom Workshop), a men’s Support Group.
- Specific content for minority groups on our website, including BAME, Gypsy, Roma, Traveller, and LGBTQ+ communities.
- Tailored communications for carers by age (adult, young adult and children).
- Partnerships/relationships with key DEI groups in Surrey, eg the GRT community and Surrey Muslim community, and other faith groups.
- Press and Media work: for example our carers/staff appearing on Voice of Islam Radio and BBC Asian Network Radio’s Group Chat.
What we plan
- Development of clear and accessible internal pathways in supporting carers, recognising any cultural, language or personal needs.
- More Partnership work; and more Press and Media work to ensure we are reaching as wide an audience as possible.
- Continual monitoring and assessment of our reach and offer, working to our new DEI Action Plan and our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy.
Regarding diversity, we use the term Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, but take this in its broadest sense, including shared (minority) cultures, and religions, for example, Muslims, or GRT (Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities) – both significant groups in Surrey.
Under equality, we naturally look to support all the groups as defined in the Equalities Act, with disability and age being of particular note as regards the carers we support.
Carers are a disadvantaged group in society, taking on a huge burden of responsibility, which impacts their lives in many ways, including emotionally, financially, and practically, affecting their mental and physical health. We naturally view carers as a priority disadvantaged group.