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Barbican Centre Board backs inclusivity Action Plan

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The City of London Corporation’s Barbican Centre Board has today approved a decisive Action Plan to tackle racism and all types of discrimination at the arts centre.

The Board also agreed two key senior appointments to drive the plan, which aims to ensure the Barbican Centre becomes a truly diverse and inclusive organisation.

In July, law firm Lewis Silkin LLP was asked by the Board to investigate anonymised experiences and allegations of discrimination at the arts centre which were set out in the ‘Barbican Stories’ publication.

That investigation,an audit of the Barbican Centre’s HR policies and processes, and the City Corporation’s proposed Action Plan in response, were published and shared with all staff last week.

The Action Plan commits the Barbican Centre to a transformation of culture and behaviours, to ensure the organisation looks and feels like the communities which surround it. This includes setting new diversity targets for the workforceand prioritising representation at a senior level, as well as throughout the organisation.

The Boardtoday appointed current Member,Professor Jane Roscoe, to oversee new compulsory anti-discrimination training for all staff, with senior leaders taking part first. As part of the role, Professor Roscoe will guide a new awareness raising campaign for a new Dignity at Work Service and an Employee Assistance initiative, where colleagues can confidentially raise issues, escalate complaints, and receive support and advice.

There will be a new City Corporation HR role at the Barbican Centre, which will work closely with the organisation’s Interim Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Nina Bhagwat, and will be a part of the senior leadership team to embed EDI throughout its HR operations.

The Board has already set up the Nominations, Effectiveness and Inclusions Committee which oversees and drives progress of EDI policies at the Barbican Centre.

And the arts centre now has new Interim joint Managing Directors and a recently appointed Interim Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Under their new leadership, the Barbican Centre has launched an ambitious creative vision which has Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at its heart. Rooted in the many communities that surrounds the arts centre, the vision will build on work already undertaken, to see the Barbican becoming a centre of arts, education and cultural enterprise.

Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Barbican Centre Board, Tom Sleigh, said:

“This Action Plan builds on work already started to ensure that the Barbican Centre becomes a fully inclusive organisation.

“Staff are the Barbican’s Centre’s greatest strength and as we move forwards together, we are in full support of the Barbican’s new management team who will deliver a working environment that issafe and welcoming.

The Lewis Silkin investigation made recommendations on how to take forward a number of allegations of discrimination as cases for further investigation, which will be pursued by the City Corporation’s new Interim Executive Director of HR, with disciplinary action taken where appropriate.

In addition, staff awareness campaigns to encourage a safe and open environment will be launched and formal meetings will happen after people raise whistleblowing issues, along with increased support for those who raise concerns through grievance or bullying and harassment policies.

There will be targeted action to support internal staff promotion and a new project led by the City Corporation’s Interim Executive Director of HR into the Barbican’s Centre’s working culture so that all staff have a shared understanding of behaviours which foster a positive and inclusive workplace environment.

The Barbican External Review, HR Audit and Action Plan is available here

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK –

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