Rather than reproduce a ‘vanilla’ statement, the like of which can be found everywhere but can be rendered meaningless by inaction, we want to tell you about some of the things that characterise Julia’s House: what we believe in and how we try to improve.
Everything we do in the provision of care at Julia’s House is about treating people equally as individuals, and seeing their potential rather than their limitations: maximizing their opportunity to play, live, love and thrive within the family and the wider world.
We aim to be fair and kind to our people, which we believe is entirely consistent with a decisive, high performance culture focused on the children and their families.
We also want to recruit representatively from the local community, playing our part in correcting disadvantage, giving everyone equal opportunity, and ensuring diversity of background, experience and opinion in the charity.
This means challenging our own thinking in how we recruit, addressing barriers to inclusion. It means being sensitive to differences between people at work. It means actively seeking improvement.
Learning from equality campaigns and from the voluntary sector report Home Truths by Voice4Change, we have taken the opportunity to educate ourselves, measure where we are and commit to further steps.
People facing structural disadvantage
The following example - regarding people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds - demonstrates our intent on progress generally in diversity, equality and inclusion.
Census statistics show that 4.4% of Dorset’s population and 3.4% of Wiltshire’s (not including Swindon) are from BAME backgrounds (national average 14.6%).
- We estimate that 8% of service user children are from BAME backgrounds.
- 17% of the charity’s senior leadership team are from a BAME background.
- Median staff salary across the organisation is £13.43 per hour and median BAME staff salary is £13.84 per hour: a positive pay gap of 3%.
- The charity’s Board and senior leadership team have recently undergone training in unconscious bias.
- The charity recently anonymously surveyed its service users and staff to assess how we can be more inclusive of people from BAME backgrounds. Satisfaction rates were very high, for example 95.5% of responding service user families said that Julia’s House meets their family’s needs in terms of their race, culture or ethnicity, 4.5% were not sure and 0% disagreed. However both surveys gave examples of how we could improve, which we are addressing, for example by ensuring that children’s storytime features more diverse readers and stories.
We have provided translation services of Care documents or meetings for service user families where required. Care staff are educated in cultural differences and diverse requirements, for example in End of Life care, and many different faiths are accounted for in bereavement support.
For several years now, Julia’s House has adopted good practice in ‘blind’ shortlisting and interviewing: job applicants’ names and other personal identifiable details are redacted, and equality and diversity monitoring data are removed by HR before applications reach recruiting managers. Applicants are interviewed by more than one interviewer and independently scored. Where required, reasonable adjustments are made to enable applicants to attend interviews.
Board and senior leadership vacancies are advertised nationally. All senior staffing applicants undergo psychometric profiling, selection is through multiple stages with independent scoring, and interviews explore emotional intelligence and values, not just skills and experience.
69% of the charity’s staff work part-time and 31% full-time.
Gender pay gap
87.8% of our staff identify as female, 11.8% male and 0.4% other / non-binary. Based on median pay data across all roles, females are paid 0.07% more than males.
Mental health and wellbeing
This is another example of what we believe in and take action about.
Disabilities are not just physical or visible. Mental health and wellbeing have only fairly recently been recognized as essential to people’s ability to thrive. Julia’s House has played a small part in this for many years:
- The charity researches evidence for how regular respite breaks improve family wellbeing, by alleviating the stress and exhaustion caused by the demands of looking after a child who needs 24/7 care. We use that evidence to seek national government policy improvements in the support given to parents of disabled children.
- Parents have access to emergency assistance from Julia’s House, on-call support from senior staff, as well as the support of a regular Named Nurse who knows them and their child well.
- Julia’s House has a confidential staff helpline, providing independent, expert advice and counselling to help reduce stress and keep people well. We have provided this for more than fifteen years.
- We offer other wellbeing initiatives: complementary therapies for service user families; regular wellness videos for service users and staff; a wellbeing staff group and sessions run by a recognised wellbeing coach; group fitness sessions; informal socials; and managers maintaining regular ‘how are you?’ discussions with their teams.
Some of the charity’s next steps in equality, diversity and inclusion:
- Our HR Trustee is leading a Board-level process to measure and address any imbalances of representation on our Board.
- Our elected Employee Forum is assessing the results of our staff surveys to ensure we hear about people’s experiences, and to advise how we may improve any aspect of equality, diversity and inclusion.
- Training in equality, diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias is being rolled out to all managers to help ensure that line management and recruitment are fair.
- We are examining best practice guides for diverse recruitment, to see how else we can improve.
Your next step
We hope this statement shows you something of what it is like to receive services from, or work for, Julia’s House. Please do not hesitate to apply for either.
As part of our commitment to being open and accountable, we will regularly and publicly report on our progress. We cannot promise always to get things absolutely right - there is no such thing as a perfect organisation - but we must be part of the solution.
The Julia’s House senior leadership team