Our commitment to EDI

Equity Diversion and Inclusion (EDI): the Plunkett commitment and action plan

As part of our vision for resilient, thriving and inclusive rural communities throughout the UK, Plunkett is committed to the application of EDI in everything we do. We will go beyond equality legislation to tackle inequalities and barriers. We have an important leadership and facilitation role in respect of EDI across our sector – in the many community businesses we support and represent. We will use our resources and influence to drive positive change within Plunkett and across the sector.

Why EDI matters

We believe addressing EDI is fundamentally the right thing to do. Having a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive culture, and representation across our organisation and our membership will help us ensure rural community businesses are more relevant, resilient and impactful.

What EDI means to Plunkett

Our approach to EDI goes beyond ‘protected characteristics’ to thinking more broadly about inclusion. Every individual will think and feel differently and we believe that these differences should be embraced, and individual needs taken into account. Additionally, the makeup of rural communities leads to their own particular diversity and exclusion challenges and opportunities compared to urban areas. So our approach to EDI, both internally and externally, has been tailored to Plunkett and the communities we serve.

Our commitment

Ultimately, we are working towards our vision for a resilient and thriving countryside which is welcoming and inclusive for all to live, work and visit.

To achieve this externally, we commit to:

1.     Obtaining a greater understanding of the issues rural communities are facing, especially underrepresented groups and individuals, and those who are marginalised.

2.     Extending our geographic reach to areas where the community business model is underrepresented.

3.     Removing barriers from accessing Plunkett’s support, particularly from groups in areas of disadvantage, places currently underrepresented by community businesses, and individuals who are marginalised.

4.     Supporting new and existing community businesses to provide a wider range of services that communities value and depend on, especially benefiting people currently marginalised and excluded in those communities. In particular, we will share and promote good practice and practical cases studies of where and how community businesses have embraced EDI in a positive way, increasing their impact.

5.     Helping community businesses boost opportunities for employment, training and volunteering – especially for people excluded from the labour market and from underrepresented communities.

Internally, we commit to:

a.      Continued learning on issues relating to EDI in the workplace for all staff and Trustees

b.     Continue to remove any barriers for any individual to join Plunkett as a staff member, trustee,  adviser or volunteer, and to ensure that our recruitment, development and progression processes are fair and equitable

c.     Ensuring “equity” throughout our organisational culture, systems and practices

d.     Tracking our progress and sharing our work and learning with key stakeholders

Much work has already taken place to embed a positive culture of EDI throughout our internal operations. We have also been working on understanding how our work is regarded externally, and what barriers we need to remove to allow a greater diversity of communities and individuals to access our support. There is much more to do to but we accept this is a long-term journey and one we will take by listening, learning and working with others.

Having established a network of over 750 community businesses with a further 500 in the pipeline, we have a responsibility to play a leadership role in influencing more inclusive practice within these organisations and supporting their own EDI journeys.  Over the next 12months, we will:

1.     Build on our research in order to better understand the needs of rural communities, especially those from underrepresented groups, marginalised backgrounds and areas of disadvantage and the potential for community businesses to address this.

2.     Evolve our communications to raise awareness of the community business model in areas of higher deprivation and in areas where community ownership is underrepresented, and to inspire community businesses to benefit, engage or be led by individuals currently underrepresented or marginalised.

3.     Continually review and adapt Plunkett’s services to ensure they are accessible to all.

4.     Support new and existing community businesses to develop their own approach to EDI to benefit individuals and groups currently underrepresented, marginalised or disadvantaged.

5.     We will collaborate with new partners to:

a.     help us open up the countryside to a broader range of people

b.     broker employment, volunteering and training opportunities

Over the next 12 months, we will:

1.     Reinforce EDI at the centre of our work place culture.

2.     Continually review our approach to governance and compliance.

3.     Train employees to identify and address any unconscious bias in recruitment, career progression and performance management.

This work is cross-organisational. It is being sponsored by our Governance and Nominations Committee, which reports on progress to the Board, and is informed by the Chief Executive, Senior Management Team our internal Staff Forum, and our membership. We recognise that we need support, expertise and challenge in making change and we expect to work with external partners to achieve this throughout the life of the plan.

We will hold ourselves to some key principles as we develop this work:

We will be open and share our learning as we go.
We will involve all trustees, staff, advisors and members on the journey.
We will resource the work effectively, giving it the time and space it needs to be done well.
We will recognise that we do not have all the answers and work with experts of all kinds to get this right.
We will collaborate with others to encourage change at a sector level as well as an organisational level.
We will be brave, challenge the norm and encourage conversations that will lead to meaningful change.