Equality, diversity and inclusion strategy 2021–2023

Sense is proud of its origins as a disability charity and what we have achieved so far. However, we cannot become complacent in our work. 

Today we want to leverage our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. We have set out these commitments in our EDI policy and the introduction of our EDI strategy outlines our priorities for EDI going forward. 

Our focus on EDI recognises and values the differences in each of our employees. We believe that everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. We want to create an inclusive culture that nurtures talent and allows every individual regardless of disability, gender, ethnicity or nationality, the opportunity to flourish and reach their potential. 

EDI must be at the heart of how we recruit, train and develop and retain our people. 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. 

We all have a role to play in this strategy and as the CEO of Sense I am personally committed to supporting the implementation of this strategy and working to eliminate inequality. 

Richard Kramer – Chief Executive


At Sense we recognise that structural inequalities exist within its workplace and as an organisation we are committed to achieving equality, diversity and inclusion.

The purpose of our EDI strategy is to articulate how we drive systemic change and work to ensure that we bring to life our pledges, remain committed to our values and ‘I’ statements as we embed a diverse and inclusive culture that provides an opportunity for all to realise their potential. 

We have a responsibility to reflect on the impact we have on the people that we support, our partners, our employees, and wider society. Embracing EDI in the workplace broadens the mindset in Sense and plays a key role in retaining and attracting very talented and capable people. 

As an organisation we are reliant on a mix of skills and expertise to maximise our effectiveness. Therefore, we have every reason to ensure that our employees feel valued and empowered when they come to work. This in turn improves employee well-being, greater employee retention, increases employee trust, motivation, satisfaction, and productivity. 

Whilst ensuring a happy and more productive workplace, we should also be the most inclusive employer in our industry sector. Embedding a workplace culture that offers dignity and respect to all, that encourages the sharing of ideas and perspectives, and values differences is of benefit to all employees. 

There is more work to be done and we aim to continue making progress towards shaping a fully inclusive environment and increasing diversity at all levels so that we widen our appeal to people and become an employer of choice. 

This EDI Strategy envisions that our council of trustees, executive leadership, managers and team leaders will assume direct responsibility for its implementation, recognising that promoting equality, diversity and inclusion and ensuring opportunity are both individual and collective responsibility and should be the pillar of everything that we do and the culture of the organisation.

Defining equality, diversity & inclusion (EDI)

A black woman pushes a white girl in a wheelchair. A blonde man is dancing in the background.


Equality is about ensuring a fairer society where individuals or groups of people are not treated less favourably, and where everyone can participate and have the same opportunity to fulfil their potential. 


Diversity is about recognising the value of difference. It means considering and appreciating all the unique characteristics that make people who they are. This includes, but not limited to, national origins, language, race, colour, disability, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, and family structure. Diversity also encompasses diversity of thought and life experiences. 


Inclusion is about creating and maintaining a culture where people feel welcomed and valued for who they are as an individual or group.

EDI are tangible things and they are critical to our success as an organisation. They are outcomes and they are measurable. The combination of the three give greater impact and change that can be established on our EDI journey.

Our approach 

We’ve made much progress already and our journey so far has been guided by our equality, diversity and inclusion board who have laid a foundation for us to build upon. The achievement of this plan does require ongoing commitment and focus so that we continue to build a diverse and inclusive organisation which is reflective of the people we support and the community we serve. 

This year our EDI Board, which brings together representation from our executive team, chairs of our employee networks and other diverse colleagues from across the organisation, implemented an anti-racism action plan. However, to make a greater impact, we must broaden our EDI efforts by focusing upon multiple diversity characteristics and approaches. 

There is more work to be done in shaping a fully inclusive environment and we want to renew our commitment to all elements of equality, diversity, and inclusion.

  • Equality – Equal access to opportunities 
  • Diversity – Everyone is individual and different
  • Inclusion – A sense of belonging, feeling accepted and valued for who you are; feeling supportive as you bring your authentic self to work

The work we have done so far

People and groups

  • We recruited an EDI Lead, to lead on all of our EDI work.
  • We established our EDI Board, chaired by the CEO. 
  • We reported our work to the Staff Forum. 
  • We have set up a Black, Asian and Minority Ethic Employee Network Group to provide peer-to-peer support. 

Statements of intent / policy 

  • We have a clear Sense commitment to tackle equality and diversity and address racism that is articulated by different members of the Board. 
  • We have an established equality, diversity and inclusion policy and procedure. 
  • We have an Equality and Diversity Pledge which is articulated to all new staff during induction training and in our EDI Policy. 
  • We have developed an Equality and Inclusion Plan and checklist for services that has been implemented across our services so that we offer culturally appropriate services. 
  • We look at equality, diversity and inclusion when preparing new policies/procedures. 

Management Information and monitoring 

  • We have employee baseline data on equality and diversity, including data on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, that enables us to look at trends and report progress. 
  • We have an annual competency check for all staff to assess understanding and application of equality, diversity and human rights in their role. 


  • Equality, diversity and inclusion is covered during induction and is embedded in all training. We measure and report on completion of the foundation induction module in equality, diversity and inclusion against a KPI (85%). 
  • We provide training for all frontline Health & Social Care staff which addresses the importance of Identity, Sexuality and Relationships for the people we support. 
  • We have held Equality and Diversity Weeks and incorporate cultural dates into the calendar and social media including Black History month. 
  • We successfully rolled out our leadership programme to support Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and promoted successes.


Why does our demographic data matter?

As we strive to create a fairer and more inclusive workplace it is important to understand the impact our plans, decisions and activities will have or have had on different groups of people. Analysing our data gives us the opportunity to address issues of underrepresentation in certain areas or roles. It gives an indication of potential or actual bias and barriers facing our employees. The use of the data will also give us an understanding where we are currently and where we want to be in the future. We will present our data on an annual basis.

  • Female – 79.7% 
  • Male – 19.9%
  • LGBT+ – 3.6%
  • Disability – 7.5%
  • Minority ethnic – 12.4%
  • Black – 8.4%
  • Aged 55 + 22.6%

Our equality, diversity & inclusion vision 

Our vision is to be a charitable organisation that exemplifies excellence in equality, diversity and inclusion in all that we do, and influences others through our thought leadership, best practices and tools based on EDI principles. 

Our strategic priorities 2021–2023

We have three overarching strategic priorities, which we aim to deliver through the strategy.

  • Maximise opportunities to attract, develop, support, and retain diverse representation across all job levels within our workforce.
  • Develop and embed an inclusive culture. 
  • Recognition as a thought leader on diversity and inclusion in the charity sector. 

Steps to our EDI journey

A structured 5-step process for successful EDI implementation. 

Step 1 – Basic

The Sense Rothwell Resource Centre, Kettering, Northamptonshire. July 5th 2018. © Mike Pinches 2018

EDI exists at the level required by the Equalities Act 2010. 

Step 2 – Awareness

EDI is recognised as an important element in our overall success and initiatives are implemented to improve. 

Step 3 – Understanding & Application

Our Leadership and management recognise and accept the benefits of diversity. Throughout the workplace they are implementing EDI strategies in the workflow to create an inclusive work environment. 

Step 4 – Integrated

EDI is completely integrated into the organisation with leadership and management committed to creating an environment that supports EDI and encourages positive, inclusive behaviours. 

Step 5 – Sustained EDI

EDI is central to how we operate at Sense. It is the norm of our day to day activities and an essential element of our culture. EDI now forms part of our business strategy and impacts on our business success, with role models being visible at all levels of the organisation.

Our responsibilities

All colleagues at Sense have a responsibility to promote equality, diversity and inclusion and to challenge unfairness and discrimination. 

A number of groups and individuals have additional responsibilities including: 

Executive leadership

To make real EDI change and deliver successful results we are reliant on our leadership. Our trustees and executive team will ensure that EDI is core to the business and planning and that it is embedded into our core strategy, policies and procedures. 

We will ensure that our trustees and executive team show leadership and commitment to advance equality and challenge inequality and that they have the responsibility to lead, learn, understand, and support the delivery of this strategy. 

Equality, diversity and inclusion board

The EDI Board will advise the Executive Team on relevant issues, share good practice, challenge the status quo, and take other agreed initiatives consistent with the aims of this EDI strategy. Feeding into the EDI Board are the Employee Network Groups. These include: 

  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Employee Network 
  • Disability Employee Network 
  • LGBT+ Employee Network

The EDI Board, co-chaired by the CEO and EDI Lead has formal terms of reference and has responsibility for the development, implementation, and monitoring of outcomes for this strategy. 

EDI Lead

The EDI Lead is responsible for championing Sense’s EDI values, participating in EDI Board meetings and for providing leadership, advice and support across the organisation.

How will we achieve our objectives?

Our vision and strategic priorities will be used as a framework to shape the development of EDI work for all three strands of our business: Charity, Operations and Trading. 

Objective 1 – Maximise opportunities to attract, develop, support and retain diverse representation across all job levels within our workforce

As a charity that offers specialised services to those living with complex disabilities, it is vital in having a diverse and engaged workforce. 

We want those applying for roles to be provided equality of opportunity in all aspects of our recruitment and selection process. We want our employees to reflect the communities we service and the people that we support. To ensure this our recruitment strategy must reach candidates regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or socioeconomic background.


Continue to build inclusive recruitment practices. Ensure that the Recruitment and EDI strategies co-exist to achieve this objective


  • Better attract more diverse candidates for our vacancies by implementing equality, diversity and inclusion principles in the planning of our recruitment campaigns and all advertising channels and collateral. 
  • Enhance our recruitment processes on an on-going basis to reduce the potential for bias and unintended barriers. 
  • Use apprenticeships to introduce more diversity at entry levels – nurture and build our future talent pipeline. 
  • Conduct outreach and recruitment at job fairs and other events hosted by various organisations supportive of diverse communities, including disability advocacy groups. 
  • Implement a formal mentoring programme, including reverse mentoring, focusing on our areas of underrepresentation to understand the challenges and nurture talent. 
  • Ensure that succession planning and talent management identifies and improves our talent pipeline by focusing/targeting development. 
  • Effectively measure and monitor our recruitment metrics and the latest trends and strive to improve upon these.

Theme: Diversity Partnerships

  • Establish and maintain partnerships with minority, disabled and other diverse professional organisations to help develop and maintain a pipeline of diverse internal candidates (e.g. Skills for Care, Moving Up Programme). 
  • Implementation of a workforce and skills project with educational and charitable partners for example the Birmingham Social Change project with SCCB & partners and a program with Queen Mary University.

Objective 2 – Develop and embed an inclusive culture 

We want to get the best out of our people and equally support them so as they feel included, supported, and treated fairly.

We recognise and comply with the relevant legislation; however, we want to strive beyond this to ensure that our practice in EDI is embedded in everything we do. We also aim to foster a culture that promotes wellbeing and mental health and provides support to enable all our colleagues to thrive and achieve their potential. 

The Equality Act (2010) is the guiding legislation that protects individuals from discrimination in the workplace and the law defines nine protected characteristics; Age, Disability, Gender reassignment, Marriage and civil partnership, Pregnancy and maternity, Race, Religion or belief, Sex, Sexual Orientation.

Theme: Support managers to create engaged and inclusive teams 

  • Increase staff engagement from the under-represented groups in the workforce. 
  • Continue to challenge and change mindsets internally. 
  • Encourage discussions and dialogue about EDI as part of team meetings and briefings. 


Relaunch and development of our employee networks and support for any others network groups as they emerge: 


  • Support participation in Employee Network Groups 
    • LGBT+ 
    • Disability 
    • Black Asian and Minority Ethnic. 
  • Continued recognition of diversity, increasing awareness of LGBT, disability and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic issues and providing peer support for colleagues. • Actively utilise our cultural calendar to commemorate special observances and heritage months; and promote engagement with the entire workforce.


Deliver internal communications that support EDI 


  • Increased visibility of  diversity issues and campaigns and reinforces leadership commitment. 
  • Effective storytelling is utilised more to share personal experiences and to demonstrate example of success through EDI initiatives. 
  • EDI Champions are identified across the workforce who communicate and promote diversity and inclusion initiatives in their area. 
  • Improve quality and clarity of EDI resources on our employee intranet. 


Equality, diversity and inclusion training 

  • Provide mandatory entry-level training and education to all staff on equality, diversity and inclusion matters. 
  • Strengthen the training offer on EDI by introducing an increased EDI training suite
  •  Ensure that all line managers complete training on Unconscious Bias. 
  • Increase the KPI for completion of the foundation induction training on equality, diversity and inclusion to 90%. 
  • Increase completion and recording of annual competency checks for equality, diversity and human rights. 
  • Broaden and deepen understanding of EDI through promotion of awareness events. 
  • Development of internal Leadership Program to give personal and professional growth to employees. 
  • Offer opportunities for all-employee and targeted discussions (e.g. Employee Open meetings, roundtable, and small group discussions) on issues related to diversity and inclusion, such as unconscious bias, disability inclusion and other critical topics. 


Pay Gap Reporting 

  • Produce and publish an annual gender pay gap report which is published internally and externally with any additional actions identified and implemented as necessary. 
  • Expand our gap reporting to include ethnicity and disability. 
  • Measuring and monitoring of diversity and inclusion progress and impact 
  • Improved monitoring of EDI indicators in our employee survey and other workforce data. 


Integrate and embed diversity and inclusion into our key employee policies and practices 

  • Continued review and updating of our policies with an EDI lens. 
  • EDI Lead participates in the review of our key HR policies and Rewards Strategy.

Objective 3 – Recognition as a thought leader on equality, diversity and inclusion in the charity sector

We want to leverage our position in the charity sector, by upholding our mission, our values and through inform and influence, we can work towards better change in the EDI space. 

By engaging externally with other organisations and sharing best practices, we are influencing other charitable organisations to do the same so that impactful change can occur.

We want our leaders and partners to be aware that EDI is implicit in all that we do and fundamental to our long-term success.


Maintain participation in external D&I groups who are at the forefront of EDI developments.


  • Sense contributes to the charity sector’s dialogue on, and development of EDI.
  • Engage in knowledge shares with other organisations. 
  • Sense share its EDI experience and expertise with others whilst also mutually benefitting from their insights. 
  • Host at least three EDI related events, inviting external participants to attend.
  • Sense brings various stakeholder groups together on EDI related topics. In doing so we support progress beyond our own organisation.


Our leadership team continue to raise awareness of the importance of EDI both across our industry sectors and internally within the organisation.


Employees believe that EDI genuinely matters to our leadership team, which is demonstrated through their words and actions. Our leadership team act as a positive influence on our industry sectors.

How will we measure success?

1. Data

We will use our employee diversity data to measure our progress on increased recruitment, retention and staff development of those from under- represented groups. We will work together to agree a set of KPIs to measure our progress. 

We will compare our data to external sources to evidence how reflective we are of the communities we serve.

2. Employee Feedback

Our employee surveys will include EDI indicators which will give a baseline measurement and better understanding of employee experiences; therefore allowing us to find out if people feel that we are making progress. 

3. External Standards 

We will gain and maintain accreditations in EDI recognised industry standards and report on progress. We will build on our Disability Confident Employer status by achieving Disability Confident Leader standard.

Our equality, diversity and inclusion Strategy 2021–2023

Supporting and overlapping our EDI Strategy is the Anti-Racism Action Plan, which is intended to help us achieve our overall EDI objectives. 

Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy 2021 to 2023 is a working document that will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that Sense’s EDI objectives remain relevant and achievable. This EDI strategy is aligned with our recently refreshed Core Strategy 2021–2026. 

On an annual basis we will provide updates that include equality data as well as providing a summary of our progress in meeting our statutory duty and the actions outlined in the strategy (reviewed by exec team and board).

Terminology Note

Across the organisation, there is use of several different terms to reference our work on equality, diversity and inclusion. To give clear understanding and better alignment with our objectives and strategy we will move forward with the use of one single term – EDI. 

As a result, the following name changes will come into effect immediately: 

  • Equality & Diversity (E&D) Board to Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Board.
  • Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Lead to Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Lead.
  • Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Strategy to Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Strategy.