Defining ‘diverse led’ organisations

Last year we made a commitment to review our definition of diverse-led organisations, to ensure we give recognition to all the diverse projects and organisations we fund.

What makes an organisation 'diverse-led'?

In our Equality Action Plan 2015–18, we commited to review and refine our approach to capturing information on Black and minority ethnic and disabled-led organisations. We commissioned creative consultants Hybrid to carry out a consultation over November and December 2015 and produce a report with suggestions about how we should define and collect information about these organisations.

The consultation

We previously had definitions for ‘Black and minority ethnic-led’ and ‘disability-led’ organisations:

  • Black and minority ethnic-led - a National Portfolio Organisation or Major Partner Museum where 51 per cent or more of the organisation’s board and senior management team are from a Black or minority ethnic background
  • Disability-led - a National Portfolio Organisation or Major Partner Museum where 51 per cent or more of the organisation’s board and senior management team are disabled

The consultation explored the merits and limitations of the above definitions and considered alternatives. It included:

  • around 50 one-to-one interviews with representatives from the arts and cultural sector, other Arts Councils, lottery distributors, trust and foundations, and government partners
  • eight national consultation meetings with the arts and cultural sector
  • an online consultation survey completed by more than 200 respondents

Changing our definitions

As a result of the consultation we have made the following changes to our definitions:

  • We have extended our definition of 'diverse led' to include ‘female led’ and ‘LGBT led' organisations
  • We have introduced an approach where organisations can self-define as ‘diverse led’, based on who is making their key strategic decisions

This means that we can now report on both the number of organisations where 51% or more of the board and senior management team are BME, disabled, female or LGBT, as well as the number of organisations that self-define as ‘diverse led’ based on key strategic decision makers.

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Image captions
Top left to bottom right: 1. Alan French and cast members in Hot Stuff at Oldham Coliseum Theatre. Photo © Joel C Fildes / Oldham Coliseum Theatre 2. Sonia Sabri of Sonia Sabri Company. Photo © Simon Richardson / Sonia Sabri Company 3. Plymouth Music Zone participants making music. Photo © Plymouth Music Zone / Kevin Clifford 4. Manchester Day produced by Walk the Plank. Photo © Mark Waugh 5. Artificial things by Stopgap Dance Company. Photo © Chris Parkes