How to use Youth Music’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion tool for action planning – a view from Hertfordshire Music Service

Written by: Anita Holford

1 June, 2020

This is part of a blog series, see the main blog here: How we used equality, diversity and inclusion planning to create our 10-year vision –  includes a useful infographic

Step 1: Find out how you’re doing

a) Start by gathering your policy documents and your offer brochures together.

b) Work through each statement in Youth Music’s EDI tool, and give yourself a score for each one. Youth Music’s Checklist is set out as an Excel spreadsheet so it’s easy to use and rates you as you go along with totals on a separate sheet. It covers 3 areas:

  • Embedding inclusion
  • Your policies
  • Programming

c) Add up your scores to find out your overall score-this is your baseline measurement. You can repeat the exercise in a year’s time and find out if things have changed.

Step 2: Get team members’ input

a) Ask your team members to complete the spreadsheet, giving their own ratings to ‘self-assess’ the service on each area of EDI. Ask them where possible to include comments and examples. Make follow up calls/meetings to explore areas in more depth.

b) Consider who needs to be involved and how they should be involved (try to consult staff at all levels and all areas).

c) Prepare you consultation carefully, you want to avoid ‘everything is awful’ responses just as much as ‘everything is fine-we don’t need to do anything’ because both are de-motivating. Keep it active and engaging.

d) Include young people in your consultation.

Step 3: Agree priorities

Collate the responses and circulate and present them at a senior leadership team meeting where you can discuss the results, and agree priorities for the next 12 months/longer. 

We identified priorities for an action plan, tasked two of the team to draft it, and within a month we had our first EDI action plan. This then formed the basis of the 10-year vision that we’ve been developing, which informs our business planning going forwards.

Step 4: Create your plan

Download an EDI planning template

a) Your checklist will have identified areas where you are doing well and only small tweaks are required. These can be entered into your plan.

b) There may be areas where you haven’t done any work or don’t know how to start. It is ok to plan research or to bring in an expert organisation to help you kick start the changes you want to make.

c) Remember this is your plan, focussed on your area and the young people you work with or would like to work with. You need to plan realistically for the capacity you have and the resources you hold. Your changes and your timescales should be just challenging enough-not so big that you are tempted to give up. And make sure you are capturing the musical impact of the plan.

d) When your plan is written up, a further stage of consolidation is required. Who will be responsible for implementing the plan? How does it interact with your business plan? Do you need to raise some money to enact part or all of it? How will you sustain changes long term?

e) Senior management should sign off the plan and the service’s intention to enact its plan should be communicated to its staff.

Step 5: Update progress during the year

No EDI Plan will be perfect, that’s why you should build in regular reviews of the plan to ensure that it is still relevant and challenging.

We’re now on version two of ours, and it’s monitored closely and at senior level. Responsibility for its progress rests with our new HR director and an EDI steering group of staff who meet monthly and have responsibilities to deliver on it. Progress is discussed at weekly music service exec meetings, and the HR director formally shares progress to our main leadership team at monthly meetings.

Step 5: Rewrite annually to reflect new content or progress

Because our EDI plan is central to our business plan, it will be updated on an annual basis. We can already see that we’ll be updating it quite significantly next time. It will have KPIs linked to more areas of work, and will be event more robust around the role of inclusion in CPD, performance management, recruitment and retention. Importantly, we’ll be making the link between inclusion and our strategic vision even more strongly because as an organisation, we are now planning for growth, and inclusion is driving that too.

A note for small music services: we understand that capacity is an issue for small services but we heard a great example recently in which the Head of Service asked their entire staff from tutors to finance officer, to think of one small step they could take today, this week, to make the service more inclusive. The Head of Service was overwhelmed by the response of his staff who really rose to the challenge. Don’t assume there is nothing you can do until the funding arrives!

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