Dismantling racism in charity retail: A statement of commitment

We are the lead body in charity retail, with some 80% of the UK’s charity shops in membership. As such, we believe we have a moral duty to tackle racism in all its forms within the sector, and to give our members appropriate guidance, training and encouragement to excise racism from their activities.

We recognise that there is a problem of race inequality in society and our sector, and this impacts on our staff, our volunteers and the communities we are here to serve.

Far too many of the senior roles within our sector are held by white people, and there has been a real lack of opportunity for individuals from an ethnic minority background to begin, develop and succeed in their careers in the voluntary sector whether as paid staff or volunteers.

Systemic racism and discrimination in the UK directly and indirectly leads to poorer life chances, deeper health inequalities and greater risks being carried within ethnic minority communities, and those challenges are exacerbated when our sector fails to address its own problems of race inequality.

While many of our members have campaigned and fought for race equality and social justice over many years, collectively we have not done enough to create the real changes that are needed to achieve true racial equality in our work.

We know that words alone are nowhere near enough. But we also know that silence amongst leaders, especially white leaders, in our sector causes pain for our colleagues and our communities. We know that people from ethnic minority communities are tired of hearing worthy words and seeing no action, and that fundamental change is required before progress can be made – “tinkering around the edges” is not going to be effective.

We are therefore publishing our first action plan which we hope will go some way towards redressing the inequalities and lack of opportunities for people from an ethnic minority background which exist within charity retail. We recognise that fulfilling this plan will take determination, planning, energy and resource. It is not the role of a single organisation of course, and we will need to work closely with our members to achieve the desired results, but we are committed to working as quickly and effectively as possible to achieve measurable change.

We commit to being open and accountable as we progress this work. We will report publicly on progress against our plan – with honesty about the things that don’t happen as well as those that do.

As a board and as a staff team we commit ourselves to move forward together, to listen and to learn, to take action jointly and individually, to effect change and to be held accountable for delivering change.

We know we have much more to do. For the sake of our sector and our communities, charities and social change organisations are #NeverMoreNeeded, and we need to get this right.

Charity Retail Association, July 2020

Action plan – Stage 1

Set up

1. Publish a statement on our attitude to racism.
Completed July 2020
2. Publish an action plan.Completed

Building the foundations

3. Ensure all CRA suppliers are committed to an EDI policy or process which acknowledges the need to tackle racism – to be a requirement of suppliers going forward.
Completed July 2021
3a) EDI policies in place to be a requirement of Corporate Membership.By March 2023
4. Work with EDI consultant to further our objectives and support the focus on people from ethnic minority communities.
5. Review of recruitment practices to integrate values-based approaches and eliminate bias. Review where we advertise jobs.
6. Review of HR policies and procedures.
7. External review and monitor ethnic pay gap. Publish.
Completed but with no results due to no member data
8. Review of all marketing imagery and materials to ensure removal of bias and create positive representation.
Completed March 2021
9. Internal: Creation of inclusion survey to benchmark the organisation in terms of inclusion with a focus on ethnic minorities.
Completed April 2021   
10. External: Benchmark the sector in terms of inclusion with a focus on ethnic minority communities.July 2022 (member of staff on maternity leave)

Training and learning

11. Ensure inclusion and specific conversations around race are included from pre-employment throughout the lifecycle.
12. Staff EDI training, and build into induction
Completed April 2021
13. Board EDI training, and build into induction
14. One-to-one coaching to CEO and ChairCompleted Feb 2021. Ongoing

Board and governance

15. Ensure representation by people from ethnic minority communities on the board.
Feb 2022 (Board composition review under way)
16. Review of board procedures to enable all voices to be heard.
17. Review of this action plan as an agenda item at every board meeting.Ongoing

Ongoing CRA conversations

18. Review action plan monthly with staff.
19. Ensure that regular soundings from members include ethnic minority voices.
20. Ensure the CRA working environment is comfortable for people from different races.Ongoing

External actions

21. Run focus group with members to ask for views on what further steps should be taken.
22. Ask members to send more attendees from ethnic minority communities to meetings and ensure that we encourage and welcome these attendees, addressing any barriers to attendance.
Completed and ongoing
23. Circulate this plan and our reviews of it to membership.
24. Issue a media statement including this plan.
25. Research and report on the ethnic makeup of the sector staff and volunteers. Update annually.
July 2022 (staff member on maternity leave)
26. Issue guidance on dealing with racist incidents in shops and help members report hate incidences.
Completed March 2021
27. Issue public-facing communications that support a zero tolerance approach to racism in shops.
July 2022 – research stats needed
28. Run a member event focused on recruitment, retention and progression of staff from ethnic minorities.
Completed Feb 2021
29. Issue retail specific general guidance on ethnic minority communities.
July 2022 – research stats needed
30. Storytelling; create a narrative approach to sharing stories of minority ethnic groups / individuals aligned to inclusion.
Commence March 2022
32. Special Interest Group; Race and Ethnic Minority GroupsNo separate group, but EDI to be fed into existing groups.