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Happy leaders - Happy leaders
Last updated September 2019

Number of BAME charity leaders doubles in a year

There are more charity names on the BAME 100 Business leaders list than before, but the organisation that puts the list together says more should be done

The number of charity leaders on a list charting the top 100 black and minority ethnic leadership figures in the UK has more than doubled in the past year. The BAME 100 Business Leaders list for 2019, which throws the spotlight on leaders across the private, public and third sectors, shows that the charity sector is scooping up a greater proportion of the top BAME leadership talent than in the past two years.

But Green Park, the executive recruitment company that compiles the list, warned that organisations were still failing to take advantage of the expertise available to them at board level, with BAME board recruitments across all sectors flatlining over the three years the index has been running.

In the 2017 index, 11 of the leaders featured were identified as having their main role in the charity sector, and in 2018 it was just seven, although many other people featured in the list performed additional voluntary roles for charity. By comparison, on this year’s list 20 were identified as leaders primarily in the charity sector.

But a statement accompanying the list said: "Green Park found that Britain’s major organisations are making little or no progress in appointing more ethnic minority leaders to their boards."

Since the first BAME 100 index was launched three years ago, only 15.7% of leaders shortlisted have been appointed to new board roles across the private, public and third sectors, the statement said. And when the number of board members who have stepped down from their roles, moved abroad or died are taken into account, there has been a net gain of just one new British BAME board member in that time, the statement said.

"This suggests that the UK’s boards are either failing to take a rigorous, wide-ranging search for diverse candidates or are actually averse to appointing more than a consistently small minority of BAME directors," the statement said.

Kai Adams, partner and head of the charities and social enterprise practice at Green Park, said that in the existing climate of public scepticism, scrutiny and falling trust, being accountable and representative was vitally important for charities.

"Good intentions are no longer enough," he said. "Boards and recruiters alike need to close any gap between what they are saying and what they are doing. The old excuse of not being able to find diverse and suitably qualified talent does not hold water. If they are to plug the gap, charities must address their talent strategy, processes and suppliers, or risk losing relevance with the communities they serve."

Read: Third Sector - Number of charity leaders on BAME index more than doubles in a year