THE West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) launched the RACE (reporting action composition education) code on Friday(30) as part of Black History Month to help organisations ensure their boards and senior leadership roles reflect ethnic diversity after analysing more than 200 recommendations
The authority will help to trial the code in the West Midlands, working with others to shape the framework as it is finalised and rolled out as a free-to-download tool.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said that the Leadership Commission was set up in 2017 to ensure ethnic diversity in boardrooms across the region.
“Evidence shows that a lack of diversity in leadership equates to organisations missing out on local talent and diverse perspectives, which could help them to be more adaptive in these challenging times. Therefore there is a moral and economic imperative for the WMCA to help the region address this issue,” he said.
“By being an early adopter of the RACE Code, we have the chance to shape a tool which other organisations can then use to deliver the necessary change that our region needs.”
evidenced under-representation in leadership across the public and private sectors and called for widespread action to tackle the issue.
The RACE code activity will form part of the West Midlands Leadership Commission’s new action plan which will be overseen by councillor Brigid Jones, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council.
Cllr Jones said that it is the duty of any board to ask what it can do to better represent the diverse makeup of our region and hear the voices which are not in the room.
Anita Bhalla OBE, co-chair of the West Midlands Leadership Commission, said that the new framework has the potential to drive the step-change in senior leadership across the region which our communities so markedly deserve.
The code has been developed by Dr Karl George MBE and a national steering group of experts in governance and racial inequality.
“Black workers with degrees earn 23.1 per cent less on average than white workers. In Britain, only 5.7 per cent of black people work as managers, directors and senior officials, compared with 10.7 per cent of white people,” said Dr George who runs Birmingham-based the governance forum (tgf).
“The full and equal participation and progression of black people in senior leadership roles would bring huge benefits, socially, culturally and financially.”