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How to make senior leadership teams ethnically diverse - without losing staff?

The Albany is a multi-arts centre in South East London. Its local community is highly diverse, with Black residents comprising 30% of the local population. The all-white senior artistic leadership team chose to each reduce their working hours to make room for another senior member of staff. The four senior leaders agreed to work 4 days a week instead of 5, and use the 'saved' day from each role to appoint an additional senior team member who will also work a 4 day week. This is one of the many developments to 'shift towards a democratic model of making and creating' by The Albany. Soon after the decision, additional investment (appointment as Lead Delivery Partner for London Borough of Culture 2022) meant they were able to appoint a fourth and fifth senior role as a job share without the need for reductions elsewhere.

Job Shares in senior leadership: 

An increasing number of business leaders job share. Working Families has a wide range of resources to help you consider this.

Three senior citizens stand in front of a pink wall. They are taking a selfie. All three wear t-shirts reading 'Age Against the Machine'.


This is where we will be sharing best practice and case studies on how organisations are taking radical action to make inclusive change. Nothing is impossible.

Does your organisation have a best practice case study that should be listed here?
Get in touch:

An anti-racist approach to budget allocation

Three women sit at a work desk. They are in conversation

The 1% challenge is a sector-wide provocation from Inc Arts. It invites organisations to make an explicit EDI commitment on every budget line. With a recommended minimum 1% allocation of budget, the provocation is a way to influence all aspects of business including contractors and suppliers - and offers a peer-reviewing process that builds systemic change.

Find out more here.

Making your board inclusive

A young East Asian woman in a blue desk stands between two seated colleagues at a desk.

Being on a board takes time and resource - which may be challenging for those who do not have the resource support available to facilitate their volunteering.


As boards seek to bring in fresh thinking, some are also seeking ways to remunerate board members. Generally, charities can’t pay their trustees for simply being a trustee. Some charities do pay their trustees – they can only do so because it’s allowed by their governing document, by the Charity Commission or by the courts. You can remunerate travel, and provide assistance to make attendance possible (e.g. pay for childcare cover or assistance to attend), and you can pay your board members for specific consultation that they do.


Some organisations are considering converting to CICs (Community Interest Companies) which does allow directors to be paid for their work.

Diversifying Recruitment

The Rooney Rule

Advocates are calling on organisations to introduce The Rooney Rule to recruitment and hiring. The Rooney Rule is a US policy which requires “at least one woman and one underrepresented minority [to] be considered in the slate of candidates for either every open position or every open senior position (the details vary from company to company).”

A young black woman sits at a desk with a laptop and lots of papers. Behind her is a white board with planning diagrams and post-its.

Originally implemented by the National Football League (NFL), and named after Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, the original Rooney Rule sought to increase the opportunities for ethnically diverse people to hold NFL head coaching positions. The results were impressive – diversity in head coaching hires in the NFL increased from 6% to 22% in 2006.


In the UK: Job applicants are protected against unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, which includes positive discrimination. Positive action in the recruitment process, such as taking a protected characteristic into account when deciding whether to offer an interview between two applicants, is permissible under the Equality Act 2010 if the candidates are "as qualified as" each other. The Equality Act 2010 does not permit UK employers to have blanket policies of treating certain candidates more favourably, such as that proposed by the Rooney Rule, as this would mean the recruitment decisions were not being made on a genuine case-by-case basis. Therefore, although the Rooney Rule is a widespread practice (predominantly in the US), there is a risk that use of the Rooney Rule would not be justifiable or lawful under the positive action provisions of the Equality Act 2010 and would amount to positive discrimination (which is unlawful). It IS lawful to reflect in your job ads, and job descriptions a 'desirable' competency such as 'an understanding and knowledge of under-represented and marginalised communities' or 'an understanding and knowledge of a particular protected characteristic' - and you may use this as one of the considerations in applications.


We recommend you use targeted advertising to encourage applications from ethnically diverse candidates, and consider where you might reflect in job ads and job roles the value that ethnically diverse perspectives bring to your workplace.

Bringing ethnically diverse artists into your programme and practice

An image from behind of a Black woman wearing a headwrap standing on a stage.

​Jerwood Arts recruits a panel of 'individuals with the skills and expertise to contribute to identifying talent, and supporting selection and decision making processes. With their specific art form and discipline knowledge, they represent our ears and eyes across the UK providing a current perspective on artists, artistic groups and arts organisations, and helping us to deepen our impact. They are a key part of our push for greater openness, increased national reach and broadening of our taste. Over the next year, we will continue to grow this pool which speaks to the diversity of practice, place and people we support.' 'We look for people who are actively engaged in wider debates and contexts around their practice.'

Find out more here: Jerwood Arts: Artist Advisers

Sharing skills across teams

You can diversify your teams by working in EQUAL AND SHARED partnership across your work. You can partner with diverse organisations across all your work (and not just on EDI work), share roles and responsibilities across yours and your partner's organisation - and this will build skillset and capacity in a cost-effective way. This can help you to reach any workforce targets that you set.

An South Asian man wearing turban sits at a desk. He is typing on a laptop.
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