More than half the charities in England and Wales do not have trustees from a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background, according to new research by campaign group Inclusive Boards.
The study of the Charity Commission’s register of charities reveals that 57.4 per cent of trustee boards have no BAME trustees, while just 379 (6.3 per cent) of trustees from the top 500 charities are from a BAME background.
Nearly a quarter (22.6 per cent) of the top 500 charities had between just 1 and 10 per cent of BAME representation on their boards.
The research analysed data looking at 5,988 trustees across England and Wales. Some of the largest charities with no BAME trustees include Cancer Research UK, the Lloyd’s Register Foundation and Nuffield Health.
'Government should set a target to double number'
Inclusive Boards is calling on the government to intervene.
Samuel Kasumu, founder of Inclusive Boards, said: “It is simply unacceptable that there is such a clear lack of BAME representation on the UK’s charity boards. While this remains a cross-sector issue, the third sector has been far too slow to address this challenge and there is very little evidence of a coherent strategy going forward.
“Considering that many end users are likely to come from marginalised and underrepresented backgrounds, it is worrying that charities do not represent the diversity of the people they seek to support. We’re calling on the government to set a target of doubling the number of BAME trustees to 12.6 per cent by 2020.”
International charities lead the way
Charities with strong BAME representation are those with an international focus or those that work with people from minority backgrounds, the research revealed. Half of BAME trustees at the top ten charities are female.
According to the last UK census, some 14 per cent of the UK population identifies themselves as having a non-white background.
Inclusive Boards is an agency that exists primarily to support the third and public sector with their efforts to attract more black, Asian and minority ethnic leaders at board and executive level. It is currently calling for the government to review policy and legislation to address the lack of diversity within charity governance, to put it on a par with public sector requirements.
- The January 2017 edition of Governance & Leadership magazine is the Diversity issue – subscribe now to make sure you get your copy.