The Race Equality Charter underwent two phases of an overarching review. The first phase was led by Dr Nicola Rollock who is a specialist in racial justice in education and the workplace. Dr Rollock completed this phase of the review in 2019.
The first part of the review was an independent initial review of previous Race Equality Charter submissions to explore and examine the components that contribute to successful applications and identifying common areas for improvement.
Key findings from Phase 1 include:
- The REC usefully provides an important set of principles aimed at underpinning the work carried out by members including the survey about the views and experiences of their Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) populations but more support is needed to shape understanding of race.
- More work is needed to support institutions understand race and racism which can then enable them to work proactively to eliminate racial disparities and improve the success and outcomes of BAME staff and students.
- Data is being collated in a conceptual vacuum with a lack of understanding or engagement of how race and racism operate resulting in actions lacking specificity, ambition and rigour.
- A lack of focus on activities and initiatives aimed at white staff and leaders, and the ways in which structural inequalities manifest and remain embedded and perpetuated through processes and policies (focusing on systems of white privilege and power which are central to improving racial justice).
Based on the findings of this evaluation, Dr Rollock identified core recommendations pertaining to the status of the award, modernising the principles, learning and training that underpin race equality more broadly in the sector, and enhancing our internal and external operations, processes and governance. These core findings and recommendations have informed phase 2 of the review.
At Advance HE we have now delivered the ‘Introduction to race equality’ sessions to our panellists (many of whom are on their own university REC self-assessment teams) and have offered more exploratory sessions on how racism manifests in higher education. Whilst we are planning to deliver more events and webinars on this area, we are using this evidence to diligently inform our approach to developing the REC.