Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion
Equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) is fundamental to everything that we do at Cafcass. ED&I is vital to ensure that we provide a service which responds to the needs of the children, young people and families we work with as unique individuals.
Cafcass serves the needs of some of the most vulnerable children and families, during periods of great difficulty and upheaval in their lives. Every child is different and every child matters. Our equality, diversity and inclusion work focuses on developing a greater understanding about the children and families we work with, our role as an inclusive employer and in our work to encourage and support staff diversity in all the form that takes.
In addition, offering a supportive, inclusive working environment for our staff, which draws on a broad range of talent and strives to better represent the diversity of the children and young people we serve is likely to support a more confident workforce and better-informed decision making.
Our strategic objectives for equality, diversity and inclusion guide the development of Cafcass’ new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy, which was launched in 2022.
ED&I strategic objectives
Better data and insight, used well
We will increase the proportion of children, families and employees for whom we capture information about their protected characteristics and publish analyses of that information to show whether there are disparities in their experience of us as a service provider or employer, and what action we have taken as a result.
Leadership and commitment
We would like all leaders and managers to be inclusive in their behaviours and styles of leadership. This means respecting the uniqueness of colleagues, ruling out discrimination based on protected characteristics and enabling everyone to feel that their input is valued. It also means seeking out a range of perspectives on the many issues we face at Cafcass, being ambassadors of diversity and inclusion and the significance in our work, accepting our own vulnerabilities and biases and communicating clearly about the need for listening and discussion to find the best solutions.
People, culture, environment
We will improve the recruitment, retention, progression, development and experience of the people who work for Cafcass to achieve greater diversity at all levels of the organisation.
Skilled and confident practitioners and wider workforce
We will make talking to children and families about race culture and heritage a core competency for all frontline staff – reflected in job descriptions, induction, training, reflective supervision, practice observation, performance learning and development reviews and case audits. We will also encourage staff at all levels and in all parts of the organisation to talk to their colleagues about race, culture and heritage, to find out about our differences and our uniqueness. Managers will become more competent and confident in talking about these issues in supervision and performance learning reviews.
Disability Confident Leader
Cafcass has further underlined its commitment to equality of opportunity by successfully achieving accreditation for the Department of Work and Pensions’ Disability Confident Leader scheme demonstrating our commitment to employ, train, retain and develop the careers of colleagues with disabilities.
As someone who might be considering joining Cafcass, you can take confidence that we are an employer that:
- Actively looks to attract and recruit disabled people.
- Provides a fully inclusive and accessible recruitment process.
- Offers an interview to disabled people who meet the minimum criteria for the role.
- Is flexible when assessing people so disabled job applicants have the best opportunity to demonstrate that they can do the job.
- Makes reasonable adjustments as required.
- Encourages our suppliers and partner firms to be Disability Confident.
- Ensures employees have sufficient disability equality awareness.
Furthermore, should you join us you will be part of an organisation that:
- Promotes a culture of being Disability Confident.
- Supports employees to manage their disabilities or health conditions.
- Ensures there are no barriers to the development and progression of disabled staff.
- Ensures managers are aware of how they can support staff who are sick or absent from work.
- Values and listens to feedback from disabled staff.
- Regularly reviews its Disability Confident Leader self-assessment.
We have also become a member of the Employer’s Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA).
Employers Initiative in Domestic Abuse (EIDA)
The Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA) is a network of companies and public sector organisations who have one mission in common: to tackle domestic abuse by raising awareness, supporting those affected, and providing support and education to help perpetrators to stop.
As part of the network, Cafcass representatives attend quarterly meetings at the House of Commons to exchange information on best practice and to encourage, promote and develop action to help staff who are either victims or perpetrators. We are proud to be part of such a wide initiative of making domestic abuse everyone’s business.
Mindful Employer Charter
As part of being a good employer, Cafcass is committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of all staff. Cafcass has signed the Charter for Employers who are Positive about Mental Health.
As an employer we recognise that:
- People who have mental health issues may have experienced discrimination in recruitment and selection procedures. This may discourage them from seeking employment.
- Whilst some people will acknowledge their experience of mental health issues in a frank and open way, others fear that stigma will jeopardise their chances of getting a job.
- Given appropriate support, the vast majority of people who have experienced mental ill health continue to work successfully as do many with ongoing issues.
As an employer we aim to:
- Show a positive and enabling attitude to employees and job applicants with mental health issues. This will include positive statements in local recruitment literature.
- Ensure that all staff involved in recruitment and selection are briefed on mental health issues and The Equality Act 2010, and given appropriate interview skills.
- Make it clear in any recruitment or occupational health check that people who have experienced mental health issues will not be discriminated against and that disclosure of a mental health problem will enable both employee and employer to assess and provide the right level of support or adjustment.
- Not make assumptions that a person with a mental health issue will be more vulnerable to workplace stress or take more time off than any other employee or job applicant.
- Provide non-judgemental and proactive support to individual staff who experience mental health issues.
- Ensure all line managers have information and training about managing mental health in the workplace.
Cafcass Diversity Networks
At Cafcass we want our staff to feel supported and have a voice. One of the ways in which we do this is through our Diversity Networks.
The purpose of the networks is to encourage staff to share and communicate experiences with one another as well as help shape and inform what Cafcass does and how we support our staff.
We currently have five networks although we are always open to suggestions from staff for further groups:
- Kaleidoscope (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic)
- Ability Matters (Disability)
- Mental health
- Pride (LGBT+)
Cafcass has also signed up to the Mindful Employer Charter.
Stonewall Diversity Champion
Cafcass is a Stonewall Diversity Champion and we are proud to work with Europe’s largest lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) charity. We know that people perform better when they can be themselves and we want to ensure all LGBT staff are accepted without exception at Cafcass. Being part of the programme helps us to:
- Embed LGBT inclusion in the workplace
- Attract and retain the best talent
- Build our professional network
- Learn from external expertise