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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion - The CQI Journey

Published: 28 Sep 2020

National Inclusion Week is the perfect time to update our members, staff, partners and stakeholders on our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) journey.

National Inclusion Week is the perfect time to update our members, staff, partners and stakeholders on our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) journey.  

Our experience in EDI falls into four main areas:  

  1. As with any opportunity or problem, it is tempting to move into solution mode: our science of quality management has proved invaluable in taking a systemic approach to policy deployment and change management 
  2. Like most small organisations, we don’t have huge resources to fast forward learning and interventions: we have found that the resources, insights and experience we can draw from our trustee members and partners have been invaluable 
  3. There is much you can do immediately just by getting people thinking and talking about EDI in their daily work and projects
  4. We have found that EDI is a complex and emotive topic and the journey itself requires openness and diversity of thought. This is challenging but, with the right values and behaviours, it is also a rewarding, learning process  

The timeline below provides an outline of the CQI’s EDI roadmap and plans.

  • Governance Review – our Board of Trustees conducted a review of the CQI’s corporate governance using the newly published Charity Governance Guide. This review identified opportunities to improve in two key areas: risk management and diversity. The former required improving. The latter, to be honest, was not even on our agenda 
  • Board Diversity – recognising that an organisation’s board sets the tone, the CQI’s Nominating Committee was tasked with considering trustee candidates who could bring a more diverse range of backgrounds and experience to improve board insight and decision making  
  • Strategy Review –  the Board commissioned a strategy review to coincide with the CQI’s centenary and to consider the future of quality management, the quality profession and the CQI 
  • Governance & Risk Committee (GRC) – the Board’s new governance and risk subcommittee was embedded within our governance structure  
  • Strategy Review – the strategy review process took account of key external trends, including technology, global trade, demographics and societal expectations, and concluded that these will drive and require significant changes    
  • Strategy 2030 – the Board completed its strategy review which was published in January 2020 as we entered our second century. This concluded that our profession must be more diverse in background, experience and skills to respond to the significant changes ahead, and therefore the profession and the CQI must be seen as open and inclusive for all 
  • Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Working Group – the board established its EDI working group in March 2020 to close the loop on the equality, diversity and inclusion gap identified in 2018 and to drive the CQI strategy. To benchmark approaches in the professional body context, the CQI is benefiting from its membership of the UK Professional Associations Research Network’s (PARN) EDI group. We are also using the D&I Progression Framework developed by the Royal Academy for Engineering and the Science Council to review maturity and develop our improvement plans
Next steps   

As you might expect from the CQI, we know that a policy with no real deployment and closed loop system of review and improvement is a compliance defence at best, and wallpaper at worst. Therefore, over the next few months, we will be developing and testing our EDI policy, how we integrate this into our management system and into the DNA of the CQI and the quality profession, and how we report progress.  

We are especially keen that our EDI policy review process is sufficient. If it isn’t handled sensitively, it has the potential to exclude and divide rather than include and unite. Therefore, we will now be consulting with members, through the Membership Council, and partners to ensure our guiding policy document is done right, rather than quickly.  

What you can do 

As part of National Inclusion Week, we are taking the opportunity to ask our members to consider inclusion from their own perspectives, from the perspectives of their teams and of their organisations. We have opened a discussion thread on Quality Connect in the Members’ Area of the CQI website for you to share your experience, your ideas and your views on what the profession and the CQI could and should be doing as we progress our own journey, bearing in mind our Royal Charter purpose to benefit society.

CQI Board EDI Working Group