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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Top charity boards and leadership teams are still not inclusive

This news post is 6 months old

They suffer a lack of diversity and gender parity

Senior leadership teams and the boards of the UK’s top 500 charities are not inclusive, a new report has found.

The Inclusive Governance report commissioned by employment search agency Inclusive Boards revealed that just 13% of charity boards have achieved gender parity, despite the majority of the sector’s workforce being women, and 29% of charities have all white boards.

And senior leadership teams remain behind charity boards in terms of gender, racial and ethnic diversity.

Following the 2018 publication which found a widespread lack of diversity in the 500 largest UK charities by income, four years on, this group of charities has progressed in many areas says the report. More women and people from minority ethnic backgrounds now sit on the UK’s largest charity boards than ever before.

However, the findings show there is still a long way to go for the UK’s largest charities to become more representative.

Samuel Kasumu, co-founder of Inclusive Boards, said: “As a matter of social responsibility and efficacy, there has never been a more important time for the UK charity sector to open its doors to people from all backgrounds."

He added: “This report is vital reading for leaders across the charity sector. It shows progress has been made, but from a low base.

“All charities talk up their commitment to ‘inclusion’, but this data reminds us that we have a long way to travel before that core value is consistently embraced.”



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Dominic Notarangelo
6 months ago

Has Inclusive Boards considered some research to establish the diversity of applicants. That would help them to inform their commentary.

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Lok Yue
6 months ago

There is of course a school of thought which opines that Boards are best comprised of enthusiastic supporters of the charitys' aims and objectives, regardless of race, colour or creed

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Former Chair of the Board of Trustees at a UK charity
6 months ago

We should certainly continue to challenge those charities that ignore the imperative to ensure that their beneficiaries, donors, and other stakeholders can see themselves represented, and to maximise the perspectives available to them (and minimise groupthink) by creating a heterogeneous leadership team. Even more so, those charities who drive out trustees (particularly, multiply marginalised trustees) who dare challenge homogeneity, or even an institutionally oppressive status quo.

However, as a sector, we also need to reconsider the principle whereby Board members generally cannot be paid for their time – as this inevitably leads to Boards made up of those who can afford not to be paid for their time, explicitly excluding those whose perspectives are often most relevant.