We stand with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues in working to support and promote a more equal and diverse society, in denouncing racism in all its forms and in working to create a place and environment where everyone can be themselves, reach their full potential and celebrate their own identity.
As a firm, Osborne Clarke has long recognised the need for racial equality in the workplace. Our race and ethnicity employee group (OC REACH) has been operating for over three years. The firm has regularly supported education and understanding around the challenges affecting minority communities, including supporting the Stepping Up programme with resources and mentoring. We believe that transparency and openness are drivers of change, and so we regularly report our ethnicity pay gap statistics and take decisive steps to close it.
The tragic death of George Floyd in the USA in 2020 was a wake-up call to the world of the dangers of unchecked systemic racism. Many communities, from across the racial, ethnic and cultural spectrum, stood together to protest and denounce racism and the lack of progress towards true equality in the UK.
Colleagues at Osborne Clarke were no different. During and after the protests we engaged in a period of reflection. Through our active OC REACH network we created safe spaces to digest the events, and discussion groups to consider what it meant to us as a firm.
Since the summer of 2020, we have been looking to accelerate change within our own business. We have signed both the Race at Work Charter and the Race Fairness Commitment to provide a clear framework for change and visible accountability to deliver on our promise; conducted listening exercises with colleagues to create clarity around the barriers to inclusion and progression within the firm; and appointed an executive level champion, Leona Briggs, to support OC REACH in driving forward the agenda.
This is only the beginning of our journey. As part of our work to increase representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities at the firm, by April 2022 we will:
1. Conduct an independent review of our recruitment practices to ensure we are attracting and hiring diverse talent;
2. Put in place a reverse mentoring programme to build understanding and empathy among partners and senior business leaders of issues affecting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues;
3. Educate colleagues about the language of race, allyship and what it means to be anti-racist;
4. Ensure our policies and practices support a zero tolerance stance towards harassment, bullying and racism in the workplace;
5. Review our targets for increasing representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues and put in place robust action plans to achieve them;
6. Develop action plans to deliver on our external commitments and report on progress towards achieving our goals annually; and
7. Develop and broaden support and outreach to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities through the Stepping Up programme, annual mentoring programme and the 10000 Black Interns initiative
8. Report on our progress on a regular basis internally and externally.