Mental Health Concern

Supporting Mental Health Concern’s diversity and inclusion strategy with an in-depth diversity audit

Mental Health Concern, the parent charity of Insight IAPT, is a specialist in mental health and wellbeing, providing services on behalf of the NHS and local authorities across England.

With a key focus on placing people and communities at the heart of everything it does, Mental Health Concern is committed to diversity and inclusion. Over recent years, it has been taking action to turn commitment and some early initiatives into a deep understanding of what’s involved, underpinned by a detailed strategy to support its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) journey.

Diversity audit – a data driven approach to strategy development

Mental Health Concern approached EW Group and Challenge Consultancy to support their DEI strategy development. DEI Consultants, Nina Amoo and Amanda Ariss, conducted a diversity audit to help Mental Health Concern and Insight IAPT develop a robust 3-year diversity and inclusion strategy aligned with their strategic aims.

Sarah Dewar, Chief People Officer at Mental Health Concern, said: “As a key part of our ‘Shaping our Future’ strategy, we’re championing equality, diversity and inclusion for the benefit of all.

“We partnered with diversity and inclusion experts EW and Challenge to support us on our inclusion journey and help us gain an objective view of where we already excel and what we could do to improve our working lives.

“This important piece of work will help us to create an environment where we foster the best experience possible for our people and everyone feels a sense of belonging.”

As part of the process, Nina Amoo facilitated focus groups with representatives from across the organisation, including new starters and long-serving employees, leadership, staff from Mental Health Concern and Insight IAPT, the colleague forum, and three network groups (BAME, Neurodiversity, and LGBTQ+). Additionally, Nina conducted one-to-one interviews with senior leadership.

“Nina was able to create a space where a lot of truth could be communicated and attendees felt safe and able to be open.”

Reuben Soobrayen, Senior People Business Partner at Mental Health Concern

DEI consultant, Amanda Ariss, also interviewed the chair of Mental Health Concern’s trustee board, and conducted an in-depth document review and an analysis of existing data, including a data gap analysis. The document review covered five key areas:

  1. Attraction
  2. Recruitment and selection
  3. Learning and development
  4. Progress and promotion/appraisal and performance management
  5. Other/miscellaneous

Diversity report – practical recommendations to drive DEI forwards

The audit and resulting report focused on practical actions to build a more inclusive culture, embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the organisation.

The audit identified two strategic objectives that Mental Health Concern should prioritise:

  • Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion is part of business as usual at Mental Health Concern
  • Mental Health Concern’s workforce reflects its client base.

Four key pillars of recommendations emerged from the audit:

  1. Securing Solid EDI Foundations – getting the foundations right (data, policies, the role of network groups)
  2. Building Skills and Confidence – upskilling the workforce and equipping them with knowledge and skills of DEI best practice (all staff, leadership and board)
  3. Recruitment and Progression – moving towards a workforce that reflects the community we serve
  4. Building an Inclusive Culture – continue to build on the recommendations from the Great Place to Work survey previously conducted, to re-enforce and strengthen their position as an employer of choice and build a truly inclusive culture at Mental Health Concern.

Amanda Ariss also facilitated a feedback session with the Mental Health Concern team on the key findings of the report. Attendees praised the amount of work that had gone into the audit and the breadth of voices included.

Embedding diversity and inclusion into organisational culture

Mental Health Concern continues to work closely with EW Group and Challenge Consultancy to implement the report recommendations. The team will be presenting to the Mental Health Concern People Committee in September 2022 on the diversity audit findings, and to discuss how they can strategically take forward their commitments and 3-year wellbeing plan.

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