Bristol Race Network
The Bristol Race Network have made an outstanding contribution in championing HMRC’s ambition for a more inclusive workplace.
The cross-directorate Network commenced in January 2018 and has since played a pivotal role especially when recent racial incidents were reported in HMRC in Bristol.
By engaging Network members it enabled the business contain the situation and avert damage to the Department’s reputation. The safe forum allowed discussion of common issues, provided advice and support from peers and offered insight to help senior leadership understand the issues. This was influenced and driven from our BAME members who were encouraged to speak openly about the challenges they were facing in the workplace because of their Race.
Once the issues were understood, key members from the Network developed a proactive business plan incorporating a number of cross-directorate initiatives and worked in partnership with all lines of business to drive this forward. This included development and delivery of a groundbreaking bespoke workshop to raise Race awareness which gained high level interest and was made mandatory for all managers in Bristol; and a Reverse Mentoring Programme where 20 BAME staff and senior leaders worked together to raise awareness about issues affecting BAME staff leading to strong working relationships between BAME members of staff and senior leaders.
By collaborating with senior stakeholders including amongst others CCG Director General, Regional Senior Leadership Group, HR Inclusion Team and D&I Networks, the Network used evidence-based stats and concerns to challenge race inequalities. This resulted in senior leaders changing local people management policies to help eliminate incidents of bullying, harassment or discrimination against BAME employees and to foster a more inclusive workplace.
In addition, the Network helped influence a high level change to communication lines between local Race Networks and national tier resulting in HMRC Regions now being represented on the national Race Steering Group facilitating cohesion and improved dissemination of news and resource across the networks.
A survey conducted by the Network a year after commencement shows increased engagement and optimism amongst BAME members. They feel better informed, more confident to speak up individually or collectively about their concerns and increased support from development opportunities and conversations they could not have imagined possible a year ago