AHLU diversity discussion pack
Approved by the board 09/11/2020
2. Proposal elements
3. Supporting documents
a. Draft Diversity and Inclusion Policy
b. Proposed amends to existing documents
i. Recruitment Policy
ii. Trustee Code of Conduct
AHLU’s activities are driven by the belief that the study of history of art (and access to visual culture more
generally) should be available to all regardless of background. As part of that commitment, AHLU is
formalising procedures to ensure transparency and accountability of its diversity and inclusion throughout
the organisation from board level through to its students.
Applicant diversity metrics
In order to track the effectiveness of diversity and inclusion processes, applicants would be asked to complete a form setting out characteristics and identities such as: age range; state or private sector schooling; ethnicity; work of the main/ highest income earner in your household when you were a child; etc. This disclosure would be clearly expressed to be voluntary, and anonymised and kept purely for the purposes of tracking applicant backgrounds on an aggregate basis. Diversity metrics could also be captured for mentors in a similar way.
Even where trustees believe that the proposal of an individual to the board may demonstrate its commitment to diversity, all trustee appointments will be run through a public process, with advertisements on the AHLU website, social media, external recruitment sites and through specific partnerships with groups whose mission is similarly to diversity culture and arts education. Note that this has always been part of our public commitment within our Recruitment Policy. Where exceptions are made, the reasons must be recorded clearly in minutes of the appropriate Board meeting (for example, recruitment of an Alumni trustee would be justifiably restricted to AHLU alumni, and explained as such).
There is compelling evidence to suggest that where there is more than one ‘minority’ candidate in a recruitment pool, the odds of selection of one of those candidates is greatly increased.
Historically, applicant numbers, particularly for trustee roles, have been extremely limited. However to the extent the applicant pool is sufficient, the Secretary/CEO will actively include/recommend additional ‘minority’ candidates within shortlists so long as such candidates meet the minimum criteria for the role in question. These minimum criteria should be drafted as part of the recruitment pack specifically to be open to as diverse a pool of candidates as possible.
Recruitment Policy amends
As well as amending to reflect the above, the Recruitment Policy will be updated to provide further support for accessibility. Accessibility restrictions may discourage valuable candidates, and our experience of virtual board meetings following the outbreak of C-19 suggests little reason why this could not be continued if required.
Alumni board / advisory board member
An alumni board member has been discussed for some time. The board has space for such a member, and there would be value in having a voice on the board directly representing students. Alternatively, an alumni could form part of the Advisory Board Propose that AHLU advertise this role without further delay once agreed. The alumni member could be supported by the existing board members through a sequence of one-to-one sessions (for example, DW to hold a session on trustee responsibilities; SA to run a session on ensuring effective board meetings; etc), with a designated mentor trustee/POC within the board / advisory council for the alumni to speak to.
2. Board actions
Trustee and staff unconscious bias training
There is significant debate around the effectiveness of unconscious bias training (UBT). Proponents argue that it raises awareness, and challenges participants as to their biases. However evidence is unclear that UBT promotes genuine behavioural changes, and can risk cementing stereotypes, and providing participants with the belief that having gone through UBT, they are no longer susceptible to biases.
Nonetheless, as an element to support diversity, there is likely to be value in promoting the taking of implicit association tests (IATs). For the board, these will be mandatory, followed by a discussion at a board meeting. For staff more widely this will be encouraged but not mandatory. Project Implicit, run by Harvard University, provides free IATs, of which it is suggested the ‘Race’, ‘Sexuality’, ‘Transgender’, and ‘Gender-Career’ tests are encouraged to be taken, representing a broad spectrum of identities.
Introduction of the Diversity and Inclusion Policy
AHLU will introduce a new policy explicitly covering diversity and equality issues. A proposed draft of this policy is attached as Annex 1 to this document.
The adoption of a patron – a publicly visible figurehead for the charity not involved in the management of the charity – has been discussed amongst the trustees. In particular it is felt that a patron embodying diversity would be appropriate given the focus of the charity’s work on widening participation within history of art.
Although not explicitly an action addressing diversity and equality, the appointment of a patron would offer an opportunity to benefit from specialist knowledge and/or wider networks. In approaching a patron, we might ask that they take an informal role providing feedback to the board and the CEO on ensuring first in class diversity and inclusion within the charity.
4. Advisory Council
A new informal Advisory Board has also been discussed. Its primary purpose would be to support the CEO and Board with additional outside thinking and provide a forum to test and improve ideas from experts within the fields relevant to AHLU. While the number of Board members and their tenure are subject to conditions in the governing document, the Advisory Council would have more flexibility. It would include a diversity of representation (both professional and personal backgrounds) and would, in time, supply candidates for Board recruitment.
Note: some form of governing document (internal only) will also need to be set-up for the Advisory Council, in particular to make clear expected interaction with the Board.
AHLU will within the Diversity Policy make a commitment to promote diverse perspectives on art history,
for example through championing postcolonial or queer readings, subject to working within the confines
of the curriculum.
Annex 1 – Draft Diversity and Inclusion Policy
Art History Link-Up (“AHLU”) was established on the belief that all young people should have access to art history, and to visual culture more generally, regardless of background. Diversity and inclusion are therefore at the very heart of what we do, and we believe that all organisations, particularly in traditionally restricted sectors like art history, gain greatly from the contributions and challenges different voices make. It’s important that these issues are transparent and formalised, and this Diversity and Inclusion policy (the “Policy”) sets out the following commitments by AHLU as to how it will ensure that diversity and inclusion is championed throughout its management and operations.
2. WHY IS DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IMPORTANT TO AHLU?
The Equality Act 2010 protects 9 characteristics: age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation. It’s AHLU’s legal
obligation not to discriminate on the basis of these characteristics, and we take that obligation very seriously.
More widely though, we believe that it’s critical that AHLU attracts voices from diverse backgrounds, and that individuals’ unique perspectives are shaped by characteristics and experiences even wider than those set out within the Equality Act. Our mission is to bring art history to young people regardless of background, and we seek similarly attract trustees, staff and volunteers with broad backgrounds who can champion (and challenge) the charity.
AHLU believes that as a gateway for involvement in the charity, recruitment is a critical part of ensuring a diverse and inclusive board and staff body. Full details of the steps we take to ensure we attract the brightest and broadest set of candidates are set out in full within the Recruitment Policy.
Lack of accessibility can prevent individuals from being properly involved in the charity’s work, or even from considering becoming involved in the first place. Although accessibility is typically thought of within the framework of accessibility, in reality it is much wider. Ensuring true accessibility means making sure that those who are restricted for any reason, be that physical or mental illness or caring commitments, are able to participate. As a result, we believe that ensuring accessibility is an important part of our wider commitment to diversity and inclusion, and will accommodate requests to support increased accessibility where possible on that basis.
At the board level, all trustees must always be capable of attending all of the board’s activities, and in particular board meetings, and the board will monitor any access requirements to meet the needs of trustees or potential trustees.
Amongst staff, the charity will ensure that all events and meetings are made accessible to all staff. Note that as AHLU works closely with certain institutions in delivering its programmes, we depend on those institutions to ensure their own accessibility obligations are met.
In all cases AHLU will ensure reasonable adjustments are made where required in compliance with its legal obligations.
5. BOARD COMMITMENTS
The board is responsible for safeguarding AHLU’s values, including its commitment to diversity. In addition, trustees have a legal obligation to ensure that the board collectively has the right skills and experience in place, a function of which is diversity. Finally, the board voluntarily observes the Charity Governance Code, which sets out good governance for charities, and makes explicit provision for the promotion of diversity within charity management.
In order to satisfy the above responsibilities, and above the recruitment commitments set out in the Recruitment Policy [URL to be linked], the board will periodically take part in appropriate training to promote the equal treatment of trustees and staff and challenge its own views.
Each AHLU trustee signs a code of conduct on joining the board (the “Code of Conduct”), setting out commitments on how they will act in the role of trustee. Amongst these are requirements to work considerately and respectfully with all, respecting diversity, different roles, and boundaries. AHLU considers these obligations to be fundamental to the role of trustee, and will not tolerate behaviour which goes against the Code of Conduct, or the spirit in which it is written.
AHLU promotes diverse perspectives on art history, for example through championing postcolonial or queer readings, subject to working within the confines of the curriculum.
Any commitment to diversity and inclusion will only be effective when it fully embedded and respected within an organisation. To ensure that diversity and inclusion are not simply empty words, a formal process for reporting discriminatory or unfair treatment is set out within our Whistleblowing Policy.
Any report of discriminatory or unfair treatment will be immediately shared with AHLU’s board for resolution, who will take prompt steps to investigate the complaint; prevent any further unacceptable behaviour; and ensure the safety of victims concerned.
8. STATUS OF THE POLICY
AHLU may update or amend this Policy at any time. The Trustees and the Advisory Board will review this Policy annually.
AMENDS TO THE RECRUITMENT POLICY
Recruitment Policy and Staff Pay Policy
Art History Link-Up (“AHLU”) undertakes to treat all candidates fairly and equally throughout any recruitment process. In particular, this recruitment and staff pay policy (the “Policy”) sets out the following commitments by AHLU as to how it will deal with candidates in all recruitment (both staff and volunteers), as well as the broad principles to be followed by AHLU in the setting and review of pay for paid staff only.
2. APPLICANT REQUIREMENTS
- Successful candidates will be required to complete an enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) application
- References will be sought for all successful candidates and we may approach previous employers for information to verify particular experience and qualifications
- Successful candidates will also be required to provide certificates of qualification
- Successful candidates will be required to both review and act in accordance with AHLU’s Safeguarding Policy, as well as all other AHLU policies in place from time to time.
- Candidates may be required to serve a probationary period of between 3 and 6 months.
3. PROMOTING DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
It is the policy of AHLU to provide equal opportunities for all qualified individuals regardless of race, colour, religion, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, age, gender medical condition or disability in accordance with the Equality Act 2010 guidance provided by the
More widely, we believe that it’s critical that AHLU attracts voices from diverse backgrounds, and that individuals’ unique perspectives are shaped by characteristics and experiences even wider than those set out within the Equality Act. You can view our full Diversity and Inclusion Policy here.
We advertise openly, with full person specification and role responsibilities, and interview all shortlisted candidates.
In order to track the effectiveness of our diversity and inclusion processes, applicants will be asked to complete a form setting out characteristics and identities, detailing for example the work of the main/ highest income earner in their household as a child. This disclosure is voluntary only, and a decision not to provide this information will not affect an application. Where such information is provided, it will be anonymised and kept purely for the purposes of tracking applicant backgrounds on an aggregate basis.
Where there are sufficient applicants meeting the person specification advertised, AHLU will seek to ensure that the shortlisted pool properly captures the diversity of experience and background of the applicant group.
Lack of accessibility can prevent individuals from being properly involved in the charity’s work, or even from considering becoming involved in the first place. Ensuring true accessibility means making sure that those who are restricted for any reason, be that physical or mental illness or caring commitments, are able to participate. As a result, we believe that ensuring accessibility is an important part of our wider commitment to diversity and inclusion, and will accommodate requests to support increased accessibility where possible on that basis.
4. VOLUNTEERING FOR AHLU PAID STAFF
Some AHLU paid staff may also work alongside AHLU in a separate capacity as volunteers. In such cases it is important to recognise that working for AHLU and volunteering with AHLU are separate commitments, even when both performed by a single individual. For information relating specifically to volunteering with the charity, please see AHLU’s Volunteer Policy.
5. STAFF PAY POLCIES
This section of the Policy applies only to paid staff, and not to volunteers. Specific policies relating to volunteers are separately available through AHLU’s Volunteer Policy. AHLU is an equal opportunity employer. This means our intention is to treat all paid staff equitably with regards to the terms and conditions of employment offered, including pay. The Board will review pay levels from time to time to identify and address any anomaly.
Pay will be reviewed annually following a performance appraisal conducted by the relevant line manager. In deciding on whether to increase pay, we will first consider whether we have the funds to do so. Some years we may not have the funds to increase pay.
If we do increase pay, we will decide on the level of pay rise taking a number of factors into account, including the living wage, the retail price index (RPI) and the consumer price index (CPI), and the level of other pay settlements. Any pay review will be recommended by the CEO and will be subject to the approval of the Board.
New staff will be offered a salary that takes into account the skills and experience they bring to the role, pay equality, and affordability.
A staff member will not usually be eligible for a pay review until after their first year’s service. Any member of staff subject to poor performance or misconduct procedures would not be eligible for a review until the expiry of any warning.
All staff will be given a written statement of their individual terms and conditions with regards to salary and arrangements for working hours, deductions, holiday, any overtime payable or time off in lieu. Any changes to these terms and conditions will be notified to the individual in writing.
If you have any queries on your pay level or any pay review, you are asked to raise this with the CEO in the first instance.
6. STATUS OF THE POLICY
AHLU may update or amend this Policy at any time. The Trustees will review this Policy annually
Trustee Code of Conduct amends
Trustee Code of Conduct
It is the responsibility of Trustees of Art History Link-Up (“AHLU”) to:
- act within the confines of the governing document and the law – being aware of the contents of AHLU’s governing document and the law as it applies to AHLU;
- act in the best interests of AHLU as a whole – considering what is best for AHLU and its beneficiaries and avoiding bringing AHLU into disrepute;
- manage conflicts of interest effectively – registering, declaring and resolving conflicts of interest. Not gaining materially or financially unless specifically authorised to do so;
- respect confidentiality – understanding what confidentiality means in practice for AHLU, its Board and the individuals involved with AHLU;
- have a sound and up-to-date knowledge of AHLU and its environment – understanding how AHLU works and the environment within which it operates;
- attend meetings and other appointments or give apologies – considering other ways of engaging with AHLU if regularly unable to attend Trustee meetings;
- prepare fully for meetings and all work for AHLU – reading papers, querying anything you don’t understand and thinking through issues in good time before meetings;
- actively engage in discussion, debate and voting in meetings – contributing positively, listening carefully, challenging sensitively and avoiding unnecessary conflict;
- act jointly and accept a majority decision – making decisions collectively, standing by them and not acting individually unless specifically authorised to do so; and
- work considerately and respectfully with all – respecting diversity, different roles and boundaries. Each trustee commits to taking such additional training around diversity and inclusion as the Board shall from time to time agree (currently being the ‘Race’, ‘Sexuality’, ‘Transgender’, and ‘Gender-Career’ Implicit Association Tests run by Harvard University as part of Project Implicit).
Trustees are expected to honour the content and spirit of this code.