Anti-racism work

Read about our anti-racism work and continued commitment to becoming an actively anti-racist organisation.

Our vision is for the British Red Cross to be an organisation where people of all ethnicities feel welcomed to work, volunteer or seek help.

Where there is equal opportunity, and everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

To put it simply, we reject all forms of racism and there is absolutely no place for it at the British Red Cross.

Being an anti-racist organisation is at the heart of our purpose. 

It is about understanding and addressing the historically ingrained inequality that so many charities are faced with in their work.

This enables us to reach the people who need us most in a crisis.

Arrow icon Progress so far

Arrow icon What we are doing right now

Arrow icon Statement from chief executive

Progress so far

In recent years, we have been working hard to ensure that we become a more inclusive and diverse organisation in line with our fundamental principles, as well as our organisational values - Inclusive, Compassionate, Dynamic and Courageous.

We have invested time, leadership and funds in recognition of our commitment and have made some good progress. This includes increasing the number of employees who identify as being from minoritised ethnic groups from 8% in 2017 to 14.6% in 2023.

In July 2022, we held our second anti-racism survey, to help us understand the experiences and feelings of our volunteers and staff even better. We commissioned FLAIR - a company that supports organisations to tackle racism and promote greater inclusion in the workplace.

While FLAIR have scored the British Red Cross above their benchmarks in some areas, the results show we are not where we want to be. People are still experiencing racism at the British Red Cross and this is not acceptable. 4% of survey respondents who identify as Black, Asian, mixed race or other ethnic minority have experienced harassment and 23% report being recently subjected to racial microaggressions at work.

We want to be clear that if you are one of those who told us you have experienced racism or felt excluded from work life, career development, or opportunities for progression, we’re sorry we haven’t got it right yet but we are committed to action.

The results also show that 93% of all respondents said they would respond if they witnessed racial discrimination. We are pleased that so many of our people are committed to taking action against racism. Now we’ll focus on building confidence and educating ourselves about the best ways to respond to what we see and report all forms of discrimination.

What we're doing right now

We want to be an actively anti-racist organisation, and we are already taking steps to make the British Red Cross a more inclusive place to work and volunteer. 

We have a zero-tolerance approach to all discrimination. Our new dignity at work policy sets out standards of behaviours that are expected from all staff and volunteers and provides a clear framework to ensure that any complaints of discrimination, bullying and harassment are dealt with promptly and fairly.

We have launched an Anti-Racism learning programme to help our people learn about racism, unconscious bias, and how to challenge racism when experienced or witnessed.

We’re recruiting and developing diverse talent and have increased the numbers of our staff members who identify as Black, Asian, mixed race and other ethnicities from 8% in 2017 to 14.6% in 2022. Our Positive Action Programme will further support under-represented groups to succeed in joining the British Red Cross and developing their career with us.

We’ve introduced our REACH leadership academy to support people into leadership roles and increase our ethnic diversity at leadership level. We know that diversity of thought and representation will bring benefits to all our people and those we support.

We've launched an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion dashboard to provide data and insight and monitor our progress to address under representation at all levels of the organisation. We want everyone to feel comfortable to be themselves at work and fully participate in all we have to offer.

Individual directorates are developing anti-racism action plans and equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives. The action plans are tailored to suit their unique operating context and the people we support.

Our values underpin all our work: We have refreshed our values and placed renewed emphasis on the behaviours we expect from everyone in the British Red Cross. Dynamic, Courageous, Compassionate & Inclusive are at the heart of what we stand for. They are the foundation of our culture, behaviours and ways of working.

We still have a long way to go and we will continue to work together with you.

Our anti-racism work is focused on creating meaningful change throughout the whole of the British Red Cross. It is about making a sustainable, deep and long-term commitment to becoming a more inclusive and diverse organisation.

Last updated 30 December 2022