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In 2020, the BABCP commissioned an independent diversity audit, which highlighted that the BABCP can be perceived as “speaking from a ‘white’ perspective”. The audit asked the challenging and uncomfortable question: “are all voices involved in BABCP being heard?” Our organisation took a long hard look in the mirror and began engaging with a process of intentional change, which included the necessity of acknowledging how different forms of social and cultural exclusion might influence how we think about ourselves as a professional body, and also affect our clinical practice, intentionally or not.
Consequently, this organisational statement is intended to provide information on equity, equality, diversity and inclusivity (EDI) for our members, our staff, people with lived experience of diversity and exclusion, and external stakeholders. We appreciate this statement will be an evolving and iterative one, and we will revise it as we improve our awareness. A programme of work has begun to embed EDI principles throughout our organisational culture and in our behaviour, working practices and organisational policies. We aim to ensure that this paradigm shift includes the ways that we communicate and engage with those involved in the business of the Association. We recognise this needs to be owned at every level, and we have begun this process with the Board. We acknowledge that we have much work to do, and we will ensure that there is greater transparency and openness throughout our decision-making processes. We intend to continually learn and develop as an organisation and will reflect upon our practice and seek to improve it, even when and where this is an uncomfortable process.
As per our Articles and Memorandum of Association, we intend to take such actions as is consistent with the Objects of the Association, and is committed to the public interest. Therefore, the Board will not stay silent about unethical practice. We will not tolerate members who are intentionally discriminatory through their actions. Members who express racist (or xenophobic), sexist, transphobic, biphobic, homophobic, ableist, or religious based hate speech such as Anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, or maliciously show any related prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour, have no place within the BABCP. In addition to not tolerating members who are intentionally discriminatory through their actions, as an organisation we take a clear anti-oppressive / anti-discriminatory / anti-racist stance. This is of importance as even though it may seem that not being racist and being anti-racist are the same thing, we consider they are not. Within the context of any mental healthcare setting, anti-racist practice requires more than just not tolerating racism. It requires proactively working to counter prejudice, unpicking systemic racism, and tackling the discrimination of racially minoritised communities in so many ways (Edwards et al, 2022).
Nor will the BABCP ignore the key issue of accrediting practitioners who are unethical in their private practice, and we are currently drawing up standards for Independent Practitioners around this. For example, we are reviewing our accreditation processes to ensure all practitioners must undertake training and professional development activities in relation to EDI, promoting awareness of equality and equity, and requiring regular updating during their careers. The Board have reviewed the entire Complaints Procedure to be better able to deal expediently with such matters, and we will take action as necessary to protect the public, patients, or other practitioners.
We want to take this opportunity to remind all members of the recent change to our Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (Section 1.2)
“You must not allow your views about a service user’s characteristics to affect the way you treat them or the advice you give. Some characteristics are legally protected. You must not assume that service user characteristics, protected or otherwise, are inferior to others and must not seek to change or suppress them on that basis. You must treat service users with respect and dignity.”
As a further statement of intent, the BABCP are a signatory to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU2). The primary purpose of the MoU2 is the protection of the public through a commitment to ending the practice of ‘Conversion Therapy’ in the UK. This has the backing of all major psychological, psychotherapeutic and counselling organisations in the UK. A link to our signatory is found here. Therefore, any member who is alleged to carry out ‘Conversion Therapy’ will be investigated in line with our Complaints procedure, and will be expelled from BABCP if this is found to be the case.
In our roles as an employer, professional body and holder of a voluntary accreditation register for training programmes and individual practitioners, the BABCP Board opposes all forms of discrimination and discriminatory practice of any kind. We understand that discrimination based upon an individual’s characteristics and circumstances is also a denial of their opportunities, and consequently prevents the achievement of potential.
Within the workplace, the BABCP is committed to providing an environment free from harassment and bullying, and as an employer we require people to be treated with respect and dignity. We will also ensure that all who come into contact with our organisation are treated equitably and with courtesy. We will adhere to all anti-discrimination legislation and associated codes of practice across the devolved nations. We pledge to respect the dignity of all our staff and members and associates and value the contribution they make. We operate a zero tolerance policy for the following kinds of discrimination: Direct discrimination, Indirect discrimination, Harassment, and Victimisation (please see definition list at the end of this document). We are clear that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable and we aim to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere for all. We recognise that discrimination can range from overt to more covert forms and can include micro behaviours and microaggressions.
The BABCP is aware of its duties and responsibilities under the Equality Act (2010) and will not discriminate against any staff, member, or stakeholder under the protected characteristics. However, the BABCP believes the 9 protected characteristics form the absolute minimum, and appreciate there are a variety of useful frameworks and reflective practices to explore and understand our identities and the possible cultural contributions. Consequently, the BABCP has adapted the Social GGRRRAAACCEEESSS model (Burnham, 2013). This provides a framework to represent the different aspects of identity, the intersectionality between these facets and the influences these may have. Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Member Resources highlight the importance of recognising such issues related to protected characteristics may overlap and occur together, and we acknowledge this. The Social GGRRRAAACCEEESSS acronym represents;
We consider in addition the following to have significance:
The Board appreciate the ‘business case’ for EDI initiatives has become increasingly compelling over recent years. Research supporting this comes most notably from ‘Diversity Matters’ by McKinsey & Co. 2020 (available at https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/diversity-wins-how-inclusion-matters), who suggest the business benefits of embedding Diversity and Inclusion result in:
Consequently, we understand and appreciate that diversity drives business benefits as well as improving clinical practice and innovation, therefore we intend to build a culture where difference is valued. We recognise that our membership is changing and becoming more diverse and we intend to fully embrace the opportunities this creates. It is central to our overarching philosophy that we recognise all those associated with the BABCP have an integral part in helping us to achieve our goals. However, as part of this process we will reject tokenism and will not make superficial or symbolic gestures in order simply to appear to be inclusive or supportive. We recognise that tokenism is directly harmful to individuals and we appreciate the importance of ensuring all connected with the Association are safe, valued, included and heard regardless of their identity and without any fear of different treatment or being ‘the only’.
As part of this process, we will implement inclusive language in our documents and use the term ‘People of the Global Majority’ (PGM) rather than the outdated BAME. PGM refers to people who are Black, Asian, Brown, dual-heritage, indigenous to the global south, and or have been previously described as 'ethnic minorities'. These groups currently represent approximately eighty per cent (80%) of the world's population. Although we may use the term PGM when speaking broadly across different racially minoritised communities, groups, tribes or castes, we do not intend to homogenise groups of diverse people, and so intend to specify which cultural value or group we refer to whether for example Ugandan; East African, Bengali; South Asian, Afghanistan; South Central Asian, Gypsy Roma; Northern Indian origin or Jamaican; Caribbean. We do this to demonstrate our recognition of the wide ranging differences and relational identities that exist in minoritised ethnic groups despite the shared experiences of oppression and discrimination.
Our EDI aims for the next 2 years indicate our intention to develop a culture in which allyship is encouraged and respectful challenge is welcomed, for instance by calling out discriminatory practice and highlighting unconscious bias. We understand allyship to mean: Everyone can be an ally as privilege is intersectional - white women can be actionable allies to People of the Global Majority, men can be allies to women, cis people can be allies to members of the LGBTQI+ community, able-bodied people can be allies to those with different abilities, economically privileged people can be allies to those who are not and so on.
Consequently the BABCP Board have agreed the following aims and initiatives. It is envisaged these can be benchmarked against by an EDI audit at the end of 2023 and so can be measured, assessed and reflected upon to ascertain how many have actually been achieved. Consequently, we pledge to value every person as an individual and:
Organisational Policy and Strategy
Learning and Development
HR Recruitment and retention
Conference, Events and Physical Access
Suppliers and Procurement
EDI Memberships and accreditations
As an employer and professional body, the BABCP aims to enhance the equality of opportunity for all involved in our work, so that there is a felt sense of being supported, valued, respected and enabled. Consequently, we want to ensure the voices of all staff, members and stakeholders are heard and we are working on delivering our Strategic Vision for the coming term of office for our President, Saiqa Naz. We recognise that the CBT workforce is not representative of the populations it serves, and we will make changes to improve that. We are committed to improving access to evidence based psychological therapies for diverse groups within society, and to improve representation of those groups within the CBT professional community. We appreciate the importance of diversity and inclusivity and seek to maximise participation and engagement from all with an interest in CBT, in particular those from under-represented groups. The organisation understands that multiple approaches and divergent opinions are needed to improve inclusivity and will provide fora for debate so we can learn about this better.
As has been demonstrated, we also aim to design our activities, services and decision making processes specifically to encourage and support participation from people who face disadvantage in society, including for example women, PGM people, disabled people, LGBTQIA+ people, and people on low incomes. As part of this process, we are working towards improving the accessibility of our services and resources to fulfil and exceed our legal and ethical obligations. We have agreed to implement Equality Impact Assessments, which will be used to assess proposals for new or revised services, policy and procedure, or significant expenditure, to ensure fairness and consistency for all people who may be affected.
With regards to our external stakeholders, we are working towards building requirements for compliance, whereby we aim to ensure the purchase of goods and services follows our commitments to equality and diversity. This will include our ethical investments as we intend to use suppliers who share our values. We will establish procedures to ensure business from diverse communities have an opportunity on an equal footing to supply goods and services.
As hopefully can be seen by the above, the Board of Trustees of the BABCP are committed to change and to effectively ‘use our voice’ to challenge the status quo. However, we don’t expect the move away from the ‘white perspective’ and towards ‘hearing all voices within the BABCP’ is going to be simple or comfortable. We will make sure that all the voices that should be in BABCP are in fact here. There is an understanding within the organisation that this paradigm shift and structural change will not be created overnight, and it will take time to embed these changes and weave them through what we do. As part of this process, we will strive to be authentic and endeavour to try our very best, but we also recognise there are going to be times when we get it wrong. We understand that with the concept of equity we are going to be unable to ‘please all the people all the time’, but we hope we can respond with transparency, humility and sensitivity when we do make mistakes. We want to take this journey to ensure our Association deserves to be the lead organisation for cognitive and behavioural therapies in the UK and Ireland, and we as a Board intend to lead by example.
Defining the terms: (Available at https://www.york.ac.uk/about/equality/edi-glossary-terminology/)
Ally - a person who uses their privilege to support and advocate for others who may be under-represented or discriminated against, in order to create an inclusive environment
Discrimination - Discrimination is when someone is treated unfairly, in relation to a protected characteristic, in one or more of the following ways:
Diversity - recognising that everyone is different in a variety of visible and non-visible ways, and that those differences are to be recognised, respected and valued.
Equality - Equality is about ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents, and believing that no one should have poorer life chances because of where, what or whom they were born, or because of other characteristics. Equality recognises that certain groups of people with particular characteristics e.g. those of a certain race, disabled people, women, gay and lesbian people etc, have and continue to experience discrimination.
Equity - Equity relates to the proposition that individuals should be provided with the resources they need to have access to the same opportunities as the general population. Where ‘equality’ sometimes indicates uniformity and the even distribution of resources among all people, ‘equity’ tends to represent the distribution of resources in such a way as to meet the specific needs of individuals by acknowledging that some groups and individuals require more or less resources in order to access the same opportunities as other people and groups. Treating everyone equally does not necessarily lead to equality, rather equal treatment often perpetuates existing hierarchies.
Harassment - harassment is unwanted behaviour relating to a protected characteristic that has the purpose or effect of violating someone's dignity or which creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
Harassment may occur where an individual or group is targeted on the grounds of:
Harassment may be a single event, sporadic events or a continuing pattern, and can include behaviour via any means including verbal, non-verbal, physical, written or by means of electronic communication including social media. Harassment (or bullying) may not be deliberate or intentional. In some cases the person being accused of the harassment may be unaware that their behaviour is having a detrimental impact on another person, has caused offence or has been interpreted in a particular way.
Inclusion - concerns the active creation of a learning, working and social environment that is welcoming, which recognises and celebrates difference and is reflected in structures, practices and attitudes
Intersectionality - the theory of intersectionality was originally coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, an American civil rights activist, and was used to describe the specific inequalities faced by African-American women. The term is now used more broadly to refer to the idea that an individual’s identity consists of various biological, social and cultural factors, including their race, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual orientation etc, and that each of these contributes to their overall identity and to who they are as an individual. As such, it is important to note that a single person may experience multiple forms of discrimination and systematic social inequality as a result of belonging to more than one social category simultaneously. It may also mean that they experience either privileges or disadvantages on the basis of differing aspects of their identity, and they may experience barriers or even be excluded from one particular group as an indirect result of their identification with another.
Microaggressions - these represent daily verbal and non-verbal indignities that occur in the form of subtle insults or demeaning comments, whether intentional or unintentional, that amount to a form of abuse. Microaggressions are often, but not always, associated with racial abuse and have been described in the following way:
Microaggressions provoke distress because they dismiss a person of colour, leading to isolation, perplexity and a lack of belief in oneself. They are subtle forms of racism and more challenging and difficult to identify because they operate against the typical understanding of racism as something that is easily identifiable and blatant. As such, the vague nature of subtle racism makes it less recognisable and more insidious.
Tokenism - Tokenism is the practice of making only superficial or symbolic gestures to appear inclusive of members of underrepresented or minoritised groups. For instance, by recruiting people from minority ethnic groups an organisation may attempt to give the appearance of racial integration or balance within a workforce, but may make no further efforts to invest additional resources into exploring the root cause of such imbalance, or to improving the experiences of minority groups once they are part of the workforce.
Unconscious Bias - refers to the unconscious associations and beliefs that are said to form outside of our own conscious awareness, which lead to positive or negative inclinations towards or against other people, groups or communities. Unconscious biases can lead to stereotyping and interfere with impartial judgement and decision-making and have been shown to influence recruitment and selection decisions, as people tend to form positive associations for those who are like them, which leads to more negative outcomes for those people who are not like them.
Victimisation - treating someone less favourably because they have taken or intend to take action under a particular policy or procedure, or because they are supporting someone else who is taking action.
We are very grateful for the work undertaken by the Equality & Culture SIG and the Women’s Equality and Gender Diversity (WOMGEND) SIG and wish to publicly acknowledge the significant contribution they have made to facilitating much-needed change. These two SIGs have put a huge amount of time, effort, reflection, and commitment into advocating for positive change, as well as sharing developing much needed training resources, including the BAME IAPT BABCP Positive Practice Guide, and the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Member Resources. The involvement of the WOMGEND SIG was instrumental in encouraging the BABCP to become a White Ribbon Supporter organisation. The BABCP condemns all forms of gender-based violence.
We are also grateful to the University of York for permission to publish their excellent EDI glossary.
The Board of Trustees would also like to acknowledge the help of the following in drafting this document:
Professor Sally Munt
Professor Shirley Reynolds
Members of BABCP EDI Committee
Burnham, J. (2013). Developments in Social GGRRAAACCEEESSS: visible-invisible, voiced-unvoiced. In I. Krause (Ed.), Cultural Reflexivity. London: Karnac.
Edwards, A., Santhosh, S., & Kunorubwe, T. (2022). Cultural Change in IAPT - A Work in Progress. CBT Today, 50 (2).
McKinsey & Co. (2020) Diversity Matters (available at https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/diversity-wins-how-inclusion-matters). Accessed 18/10/22