Equalities within the West Midlands Combined Authority workplace

Everything we do at the Combined Authority is geared towards improving some aspect of life for people across the region – that’s our reason for being here and it drives every move we make.

To be successful in meeting our external aspirations it is imperative that we foster inclusion internally whilst also having a workforce that reflects our region’s rich diversity.

 

Our Values

Being Inclusive is one of the four core organisational values – the value is underpinned by behaviours that form the basis of our people management processes and provide a common language for how we go about our daily work.  The values and behaviours come to life through good practice examples and examples of behaviours to be avoided, are clearly visible, regularly communicated and form an integral part of key internal processes – all stages of recruitment from drafting role profiles to interviewing and induction; performance management and performance reviews; career development and learning and development; reward and recognition.

Supporting Our Diversity Aspirations

While we have a broadly balanced workforce across the organisation and at different salary levels there are some pockets of under-representation, so we are implementing a number of positive action recruitment and development initiatives to support our goals of a fully balanced workforce reflecting regional diversity:

  • Internal mentoring and reverse mentoring
  • Leadership apprenticeship programmes for minority ethnic female staff
  • Positive action in recruitment
  • Providing under-represented groups with a range of opportunities (e.g. apprenticeships, work experience schemes) through our ‘Building our Future Workforce” strategy

Increasing Equality Competencies

We believe that equality and diversity awareness should be ongoing and for that reason we run a number of different campaigns and awareness sessions on a regular basis, with support and direct senior leadership involvement. These cover wider inclusion issues or/and are focused on individual protected characteristics.  Equalities is also regularly covered as part of our weekly staff webinars.

In terms of structured training we deliver:

  • Face to face equality and disability awareness training for all customer facing staff
  • Mandatory online equality training for all staff
  • Mandatory e-learning for all new starters on equalities
  • Mental health awareness training
  • Unconscious bias for managers, recruiting managers and employees

Finally a range of different resources have been developed for staff covering topics, such as equality guidance packs; legislation updates; reasonable adjustments; use of language; Microaggressions; mental health; dementia awareness; neurodiversity and more. 

Employee Voice

We engage with staff in a number of ways:

  • Our Inclusion and Wellbeing Group has wide, diverse membership and works to promote inclusion and wellbeing, address barriers and develop and implement our equality action plan.  The group is championed and supported by our senior leaders.
  • We engage with staff through regular staff surveys and through targeted diversity and inclusion surveys.  These help inform our actions
  • We also run regular bite-size learning sessions to inform but also gauge people’s views on issues that matter
  • Our staff diversity networks help shape the equalities agenda

Staff Diversity Networks

Our Staff Diversity Networks were formed to benefit both staff and our organisational goals. The networks are voluntary and employee-driven, each with individual aims and objectives. Our Staff Diversity Networks provide a safe space for employees to discuss and share their experiences and also inform our Equality Action Plan by raising awareness of various issues as well as helping to shape our policies to ensure they are inclusive. 

We currently have the following staff diversity networks, which can be contacted via their respective emails:

The Race4Equality Group - RaceDiversityNetwork@wmca.org.uk

LGBTQ+ Network - LGBTQ.Diversity.Network@wmca.org.uk

Disability Staff Network - Disability.Diversity.Network@wmca.org.uk

Women’s Diversity Network - Womens.Diversity.Network@wmca.org.uk

Young People’s Network - Young.Persons.Diversity.Network@wmca.org.uk

 

Supporting Wellbeing

Wellbeing and inclusion are inextricably link.  By supporting staff wellbeing through our wellbeing strategy we are also able to support and drive our inclusivity aspirations.

We encourage a flexible approach to working.  Job sharing, part-time working and similar arrangements are promoted, where possible. We run webinars on key wellbeing issues (i.e. webinars on topics like diet and nutrition, sleep, mindfulness and resilience); publishing a huge range of online resources aimed at supporting positive mental health and wellbeing, as well as resources for parents and carers. We have Mental Health First Aiders and Employee Assistance provider support. Finally, wellbeing is embedded within 1-2-1 and performance review frameworks.

Accreditations and Awards

  • Times Top 50 Employers for Women’s List for 2021
  • Silver Armed Forces Covenant Status
  • Leaders in Diversity accreditation
  • Disability confident Leaders Accreditation
  • Thrive at Work Bronze
  • Silver Covenant
  • 2021 Inclusive Top 50 Employers List