Governance is “the system by which companies are directed and controlled…”as defined as far back as 1992 by Sir Adrian Cadbury. What is widely recognised cross jurisdictions around the world and across the private, public and voluntary sector in the UK is, if you want a robust mechanism of transparency and accountability, then having a governance code which looks at best practice and a principle-based approach, creates that environment. In my opinion if we are to have an impact on the structural aspects of racism, we should adopt a similar strategy, and have a robust governance framework.
So, what are the systems that direct and control race equity and how can we develop a principle based approach to tackling them? We must find a framework that recognises that it is the governance of business ethics, business culture and attitudes to corporate social responsibility, that ultimately provide the results that we
want. We want organisations to be responsible for outputs i.e. an increase in an organisation’s performance and cohesive and inclusive culture.
The RACE Equality Code provides us with the opportunity to use a robust and comprehensive framework of measures and a methodology for transparent implementation of actions to which an organisation can demonstrate accountability. Across the decades, many reports and reviews have tried to tackle race inequality and discrimination in the boardroom and the workforce. They have all made valid recommendations and some progress has been achieved. The case for
diversity and inclusion is now better established, but have charters, pledges or guidance notes succeeded in bringing about real and lasting change?
Real change only happens when you are able to influence leadership – the board and executive management – and hold organisations to account. So, the focus of this new and very first RACE Equality Code 2020 is firmly on how we deal with race inequity in the boardrooms and senior leadership teams of the UK. We must have robust procedures to put more Black people into leadership roles and make organisations accountable through what they publicly report. That is the driving force behind this new Code. – Dr Karl George MBE.
First of all, it’s not just another code! This Code, and its Accountability Framework, is designed to provide organisations across all sectors and sizes, with the opportunity to address a very specific challenge – How to deal with race inequality in the boardroom and senior leadership team.