Equality, diversity and inclusion

A word from our Head of EDI

At Sense, we’re all about inclusion. But that doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels. In 2020, we committed to becoming an anti-racist organisation.

In 2021, I was really proud to launch our first equality, diversity and inclusion strategy. As an employer, we value all elements of cultural diversity. We’re striving for a culture where everyone at Sense can bring their whole self to work.

Christopher Joell-Deshields, Sense’s head of EDI

Our approach 

Our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy consists of three key goals:

  • Attract, develop, support and retain diverse representation within our workforce
  • Develop and embed an inclusive culture.
  • Be recognised as a thought leader on equality, diversity and inclusion in the charity sector.

These objectives inform all of our work – from our services for disabled people to our campaigns and our recruitment. Here’s how.

In our services

Sense is proud of its work as a disability charity that promotes inclusion and offers equality of opportunity to people who are deafblind or have complex disabilities. 

Our services provide inclusive and accessible ways for people to communicate, receive support, build relationships, and learn skills. 

We help over 14,000 people a year take part in life: 

  • Our virtual and in-person buddying services tackle loneliness and social isolation.
  • Our arts, sports, and wellbeing programmes empower disabled people to lead creative and active lives.
  • Our residential care work provides crucial support to people, helping them to communicate and live independently.

However, we’re still just getting started. We plan to reach five times the number of people over the next five years.

In our campaigns

We campaign to build a more inclusive society, where accessibility and equality for disabled people are at the forefront of people’s minds. For example:

  • Our Left out of Life campaign encourages people to take action in their communities to tackle social isolation and loneliness.
  • Sense Sign School has introduced over 90,000 people to British Sign Language.
  • Our campaign for disabled people to be at the heart of the Covid-19 inquiry received over 40,000 signatures from the public.

In our work in parliament

We speak up for the rights of people who are deafblind and disabled through our policy research and through our engagement with policymakers locally and nationally.

  • We were members of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, and led a group of disability charities working together call for action.
  • Our #ForgottenFamilies campaign called on government to reinstate flexible community support for disabled people and their families. 
  • We supported NHS England on the development of the Accessible Information Standard. 
  • Our petition for families to receive help to plan for the future care of their loved ones received 36,000 signatures.

In the workplace

At Sense, we want everyone to reach their full potential. Equality, diversity and inclusion is about more than ticking boxes – it underpins everything we do. 

We do not tolerate discrimination against staff, volunteers or the people we support.

We’re a Disability Confident Employer

We interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum essential criteria for a job. 

Our EDI board and Sense User Reference Group

Our equality and diversity groups champion equality not only at Sense, but across the charity sector. 

Our Sense User Reference Group (SURG) is a group of people living with complex disabilities who provide feedback on Sense services. They help improve our services, influence new projects, and inform our guidelines and procedures.

Empowering future leaders

The Moving Up programme by Skills for Care trains future leaders from Black, Asian or minority ethnic communities. We support Sense staff who are eligible to take part. Find out more about personal development and training at Sense. 

Our employee networks

At Sense, we’re proud to have an LGBT+ networkethnic diversity networkdisability network and mental wellbeing network for our employees. These communities help to champion equality, diversity and inclusion in everything we do.

We live in and support a very diverse society and therefore we want Sense to truly reflect the people that we support and the communities we serve. Our aim is to improve equality, diversity and inclusion across the organisation and lead the way and influence change across the charity sector.

Richard Kramer, Sense’s CEO

How do we measure success?

There are three measurements we track for our workplace EDI initiatives:

  • Employee data measuring increased recruitment, retention and staff development from underrepresented groups
  • Employee surveys with EDI indicators
  • External standards, such as our Disability Confident Employer status

Gender pay gap

Overview of Sense’s gender pay gap

We publish gender pay gap data every year. 

  • We have 79% female and 21% male employees
  • Our median pay gap is zero
  • Our mean pay gap is 7.99%

What does the data show?

Our gender split for each pay quartile was as follows, with Quartile 1 being the upper pay quartile, Quartile 4 the lower pay quartile:

GenderQuartile 1Quartile 2Quartile 3Quartile 4
Males25%17%20%19%
Female75%83%80%81%

We’re delighted to report that we had no median gender pay gap last year. 

The data in full

Our gender pay gap report contains a full breakdown of how we are doing.