Sharing our diversity data and EDI action plan – reflections and next steps

CEO Seb Elsworth reflects on our progress in relation to equity, diversity and inclusion over the last year and our priorities for the year ahead.

This includes how we have gone about collecting and publishing our team diversity data for the first time, and the work we have done to develop our equity, diversity and inclusion policy and action plan. 

Where we want to be

Over the last 18 months, Access staff and trustees have met regularly to consider our approach to equity, diversity and inclusion. In addition to this internal reflection, we have been listening to and learning from developments across the voluntary sector – particularly those leading the way including funders such as Esmée Fairburn and those within the social investment space such as the Diversity Forum.

This has helped to crystallise our perspective on the role we can play in driving equity, diversity and inclusion We have thought carefully about the boundaries of our influence and our role in driving change across the social investment market, as well as the things we needed to address within our own organisation.

Levels of EDI Impact

Levels of EDI Impact


This is not always straightforward as we need to balance our role as a distributer of significant sums of money into the social investment sector (and the influence and power this entails) with an awareness that we are still in the early stages of our journey.

We know that there will be things we haven’t got quite right as yet but remain committed to learning in the open. We think that our leadership role means being open about what we want to achieve and how we will achieve it, and sharing what is working and what is not.  

Where we are

For the first time, we have collected and published our diversity data – which looks at the make-up of Access’s decision-makers and staff team.  

This work stems from the development of our equity, diversity and inclusion policy and action plan. Co-created by a working group of staff and trustees, and supported by external partners,  the policy sets out our vision of a truly equitable, diverse and inclusive social investment market and the action plan sets out the steps we think are necessary to deliver this vision. We have pulled out 10 priority commitments to ensure we are transparent and accountable, and you will see there are areas where are not yet where we want to be. It is worth noting that green doesn’t mean ‘done’ and red isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm – we have plans in place to address each measure and have set a direction of travel but are using the traffic light rating to rate where we have made tangible progress. 

This builds on a number of existing strands of work, including both the equalities and black and minoritised community strands of the Enterprise Development Programme, and continued improvement in how we gather and benchmark data on the leadership of the organisations which are supported by our programmes.

Where we go next

We know that striving for equity, diversity and inclusion is not a tick-box exercise and something that requires ongoing commitment, attention and resource. We will continue to listen and learn from others as we invite feedback and learn as we go. We will also continue to openly share our progress on these goals via our blog, our dashboard, and with our partners.