Social Enterprise Academy focusses on supporting people to develop their practice of entrepreneurship and leadership. To be credible, we must lead by example.
Diversity is a basic requirement of any board wishing to capitalise on a range of experiences, abilities and perspectives. In practice, achieving diversity can be challenging as there are many more dimensions than can be measured, recorded or accommodated in a single board. This policy sets out our approach to developing strong trustee diversity and inclusion practices.
This policy applies to the boards of Social Enterprise Academy (Scotland) and Social Enterprise Academy International CIC.
Equality, particularly in the context of The Equality Act 2010, is about protecting individuals from unfair treatment, enabling opportunity for all, and promoting a fair and equal society.
Protected characteristics are the characteristics protected by the Equality Act 2010. They are race; religion or belief; sex; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; sexual orientation; disability; and age.
Diversity relates to any dimension used to differentiate groups and people from one another. This includes protected characteristics as well as characteristics such as background (professional and social), education, tenure of role, personal attributes and cognitive style. Inherent in the concept of diversity is a respect and appreciation of difference, and a desire to capitalise on the range of different talents and perspectives offered by a diverse group.
Inclusion is about positively striving to meet the needs of different people and taking deliberate action to create environments where everyone feels heard and respected and able to achieve their full potential.
Cognitive bias, in the context of equality, diversity and inclusion, is when a person makes judgments and assessments of people and situations – sometimes unknowingly – influenced by their background, cultural environment and personal experiences; leading the person to favour others who look like them or share their values or conform to a particular stereotype.
We believe that, in the long term, having a diverse board can lead to:
- better discussion, more innovative problem-solving and more robust decision-making due to variations in perspective, experience and cognitive style
- a deeper understanding of, access to, and credibility with a broader range of markets, clients, partners, employees and other stakeholders
- improved organisational impact.
We will build a diverse and effective board that is coherent, relevant and highly functional, without setting arbitrary quotas. We will bring together the right group of people to lead the organisation, considering Social Enterprise Academy’s business, stakeholders, and society as a whole.
We will put in place inclusive board practices that will encourage the full participation of all trustees. Such processes are required in order to capitalise on diversity. Indeed, without them increased diversity could result in degraded rather than enhanced board performance.
- We will provide training and support to all trustees to ensure that the board has a strong and shared understanding of diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities issues.
- We will ensure that the board appointments process is designed around the principles of fairness, respect and inclusion – and that steps are taken to guard against cognitive bias, in particular with regards to protected characteristics.
- When recommending board appointments or changes, we will seek to build and maintain diversity whilst still prioritising the wider requirements of the role.
- We will strive to be a role model in realising the benefits of strong board diversity and inclusion.
- The Nominations Committee will lead on implementing the above policy and will report on it to the board on an annual basis. In doing so, the Nominations Committee will reference the board annual performance review to examine the relationship between diversity and performance.
- Specific policy objectives for board diversity will be reviewed annually by the Nominations Committee. Recommended changes to general aims or specific targets will be presented to the board for consideration.
Policy owner: Social Enterprise Academy Nominations Committee. Last updated 08/07/2019