In February 2023, ALDCS held their annual London Children’s Services Summit. In the workforce workshop undertaken as part of this event, Teresa Hills, Head of Family Support/Safeguarding, Children with Disabilities, SWIS & Workforce Development at London Borough of Merton and Member of the Leadership in Colour Reference Group and London Workforce Steering Group., spoke powerfully about the impact of the Leadership in Colour Programme and offered vital takeaways for systems leaders to address anti-racism as London continues to work together in it’s collective ambitions for London’s children’s services workforce.
Anti-Racism Takeaways for System Leaders
Teresa Hills, Head of Family Support/Safeguarding, Children with Disabilities, SWIS & Workforce Development at London Borough of Merton and Member of the Leadership in Colour Reference Group and London Workforce Steering Group.
“This space has been for us a safe space to draw on wider experience, we are not alone, a space where we truly belong and our difference is the norm and form our own network.
Takeaways for system leaders:
- Include Global Majority colleagues at your top table, not as a token, and truly engage with difference as you will see the ripple effect in your organisation. You will see problems and solutions from a varied lens. Remember the golden thread of disproportionality in outcomes for our children.
- Pound the table for Global Majority colleagues, use your social networks and name drop for them or agencies will. The real need for a thriving permanent workforce that is valued and elicit loyalty.
- Walk the difficult path, be authentic, credible and intentional about inclusion and equity (its not just about shoes for all, but shoes that fit- for all). Racism is real. (please don’t let the fear of getting it wrong get in the way). Clumsiness will happen, allow for vulnerability and please allow the same for your global majority colleagues as this allows for psychological safety in organisations. The link to staff well being when we move away from blame.
- As System Leaders, share your good examples, use the Leadership in Colour reference group as your critical friends, lets learn together and please attend those twilight sessions. Please go above and beyond coaching and mentoring- start sponsoring! The link to reshaping the system, challenge the status quo rather than locating it in individuals- esp Global Majority to fit into the system.
We are increasingly aware of the need for love in our work with children. The importance of nurturing loving relationships and making love the core of our decisions for our children. That love must extend to our colleagues. We need to be loving and compassionate in our intentions and interactions with each other. As once we start operating from that space, we naturally become more inclusive and connected allowing each of us to be our best and most powerful.”
A huge thank you to Teresa Hills, the Leadership in Colour Reference Group and all those who contributed to the Workforce Workshop at the ALDCS Summit, where all suggestions are being reviewed by the London Workforce Steering Group for incorporation into London’s workforce programme.