The Charity Commission is being urged to report on diversity data in the charity sector, and to publicly commit to antiracism and antiracist practices after research highlighted a number of diversity issues both at the Commission, and more widely in funding practices and at charities.
As well as campaigning on the issue, Money4You spent two years researching various aspects of discrimination in the sector, with a particular focus on racism after finding no data in the Charity Commission’s Register of Charities on diversity at individual charity level.
Its #OperationTransparency report launched at the House of Lords on Wednesday. It covers representation and transparency around diversity in the Charity Commission’s workforce and senior leadership, funding parity for organisations led by people of colour, the inclusion of lived experience in senior leadership at the UK’s largest and most influential charities, and the regulation and enforcement of equality duties.
Charity Commission & diversity
Among its findings, Money4You discovered that, as far as it can tell:
“no person of colour served as Chief Charity Commissioner between 1853 and 2006, nor Chair of the Charity Commission from 2006 onwards, and it is possible that only one person of colour has ever been shortlisted. It is also possible that no person of colour has ever served on the interview board for shortlisted candidates. We have not been able to obtain definitive answers on these questions from DCMS, which oversees the appointments process.”
It also said that it is difficult to judge whether the Charity Commission’s current efforts to encourage charities to recruit a diverse range of trustees are effective, “because the Commission does not monitor diversity in the sector in a sufficiently systematic way.”
Grants & board diversity
When comparing grant amounts with board diversity, it found “a ‘triangle effect’” – while small grants go to a diverse range of organisations, the larger the grant, the more likely the grantee board is to contain a large proportion of white people and men.
And, within a sample of grants from the UK’s 10 largest grant funders, Money4You found that “the average amount awarded to organisations with a majority of white men on the board was £1,226,754.78. The average awarded to organisations with a majority of people of colour on the board was less than a third of that, at £406,333.33. The overall average grant amount was £1,119,983.20.”
Lack of lived experience in senior charity roles
Looking at charities, it found that while large UK-based organisations often try to draw on the expertise of people with lived experience, lived experience is rarely embedded in their leadership or governance, and none of the five super-large charities it looked at had a dedicated executive, board member, or senior committee for lived experience.
Among its recommendations, Money4You is calling on the Charity Commission to collect and report on diversity data in the charity sector, and to make a public commitment to antiracism and antiracist practices. It is also asking the Charity Commission to publish a review of diversity and inclusion in appointments to the post of Chair, and says charities should be asked to describe and explain the level of lived experience in their leadership structures when they publish annual reports.
Commenting, Money4You CEO and Founder Carol Akiwumi said:
“Reporting diversity data isn’t just a checkbox; it’s a strategic move toward building a stronger, more representative sector. Just as we track metrics in other areas, diversity metrics should be no exception. When we measure and report, we signal a collective commitment to creating an inclusive space for all.”