In 2022 we published our first Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy and action plan. This report provides an update on what we have done to implement this since April 2022. It also sets out what we plan to do until the end of March 2024 (when the first phase of the Modern Slavery PEC formally ends) to continue to deliver on our EDI aims.
Our four aims
Our four aims for the remainder of the period are:
1. Equitably including individuals and communities with lived experience and those who work closely with them in the Modern Slavery PEC’s work.
Last year we committed to including survivors of modern slavery in all areas of our work. Since then we have recruited a Lived Experience Engagement Manager and Lived Experience Engagement Co-ordinator who have appointed 6 members of our Lived Experience Advisory Panel and facilitated 3 meetings of the working group of survivor engaged organisations, which has developed its terms of reference and has identified a priority area of work on survivor payment standards.
People with lived experience of modern slavery have participated in all research call development and/or application processes over the past year and survivors have been included in different ways in new projects funded. The Centre has continued to support research teams, providing feedback on plans and outputs and sharing resources including our Safeguarding Policy and Meeting Rules designed to ensure a safe and productive space for all participants. In June 2023 the Modern Slavery PEC also co-hosted a two day conference with GFEMS and the Freedom Fund, titled ‘Equity in Evidence’.
Over the next 9 months, the Centre will continue to establish and embed best practice, sharing learnings of our network including research teams, Lived Experience Engagement team, the Working Group of organisations working with modern slavery survivors and the Lived Experience Advisory Panel.
2. Improving diversity within the modern slavery research community, to effectively include individuals, communities and organisations with an interest in and affected by modern slavery
Over the past year, the Centre has focussed on taking opportunities to facilitate equitable partnerships between different groups. Since its inception, the Centre has funded 48 research teams comprised of 42 academic institutions or research organisations, 25 NGOs and a number of other organisations including businesses and international organisations. In 2022, the Modern Slavery PEC hosted three workshops for research teams to meet, exchange learnings and advice from their experiences, and collaboratively discuss key thematic issues including research methods and their importance for policy impact. The Centre also hosted a public event, attended by over 50 people, aiming to build capacity and skills among the network to build collaborative, equitable research partnerships, sharing lessons learned from funded projects by the Centre’s staff and research teams.
The Centre has also implemented new, fairer funding rules. As a result, the Centre has funded two projects led by NGOs and hosted an online workshop which brought together academic researchers and small NGOs to share what NGOs need to know to partner on modern slavery research projects.
The Centre will continue this programme of workshops and other activities to share learnings and best practice among those working on or interested in working on modern slavery research, including cohort sessions for funded research teams.
3. Incorporating learnings from research on the challenges and barriers to EDI within modern slavery research and promote findings among others working on modern slavery research.
The Centre has funded a research project [link to research summary] led by BASNET which has generated new data and insights into EDI in modern slavery research in the UK, identified examples of good practice and outlined recommendations to build and sustain an equal, diverse, and inclusionary modern slavery research landscape. The Centre will work the funded research team to share learnings and findings from the research with decisionmakers, including funders and researchers working on modern slavery issues, as well as encourage and support funded research teams to implement recommendations made in the research.
4. Embedding EDI in internal operations and governance across the Centre.
EDI remains an organisational priority and this update demonstrates our commitment to these principles. Following the publication of the Centre’s 2022 EDI strategy and Action Plan the Centre published a podcast discussing our plans. We also presented at a workshop on race equality in modern slavery research hosted by BASNET, University of Sheffield and St Mary's University aimed at researchers and community organisations. The Centre’s Research Operations Manager has also recently been appointed as BIICL’s (the Modern Slavery PEC's host) Diversity Officer.
All roles we have recruited into core PEC team since the EDI action plan was published involved diversity within interview panels. We trialled new job application guidance documentation and have also undertaken targeted advertising outside of the usual channels, drawing upon our lived experience relevant network to share job opportunities.
The Centre will continue to progress and asses our commitment to EDI in all our work and will provide staff with additional opportunities for training and development.