West Midlands Combined Authority recognised as a Leader in Diversity

West Midlands Combined Authority has been recognised as a Leader in Diversity - one of only 38 organisations in the UK to achieve this status.

Lyndsey Roberts, the new scrutiny officer at the Authority, has been in post for a month – but it’s a job she almost didn’t apply for. She said:

“Basically, I didn’t have the confidence. I didn’t think I had the right experience, and I was used to getting on with my work in the background, staying in the shadows.”

Lyndsey’s story is not unique. WMCA’s Leadership Commission, set up by Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, spent nine months investigating why so few senior positions in organisations across the West Midlands were held by women, or people from the black and ethnic minority and LGBT communities.

It found employees from under-represented parts of society avoided applying for promotions due to a lack of confidence and ingrained business cultures which left them feeling excluded.

In June, the Commission produced a detailed report, Leaders Like You, with various recommendations to improve equality, diversity and inclusion in the region – and a challenge for WMCA to lead the way. Lyndsey added:

"When the scrutiny officer advert was posted, I didn’t think I could do it because I didn’t have the confidence to speak up and challenge people. But when I went through the job specification with Deborah (Cadman - Chief Executive Officer at WMCA), she helped me see I’d already gained many relevant skills in my job, or in previous jobs. It was a lightbulb moment.”

Lyndsey was offered the role of Scrutiny Officer on a full-time basis - a role which sees her challenge the Mayor, and the combined authority, to ensure money is being spent properly. Cllr Peter Hughes, chair of the WMCA scrutiny committee and Sandwell councillor, said:

“When you see Lyndsey in action, it’s strange to think she almost didn’t apply due to a lack of confidence. I’m pleased she was given the support she needed to really go for it.”

The Leaders in Diversity accreditation was awarded after a lengthy review process, which saw assessors visit the organisation, survey 245 staff members and rate the authority’s efforts on EDI. The assessor’s report stated:

“WMCA is developing into an exemplary organisation in terms of EDI. I was impressed by the staff, the environment and the overall feel I got from the organisation, and by the value it placed on EDI and the investment undertaken to make WMCA a progressive and inclusive organisation.”


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