First of all, it’s not just another code! This Code, and its Accountability Framework, is designed to provide organisations across all sectors and sizes, with the opportunity to address a very specific challenge.

How to deal with race inequality in the boardroom and senior leadership team.

It is not only a combination of current best practice and thinking around addressing the challenges organisations face in this area, but its unique Drivers provide the refreshing, sometimes radical and uncomfortable solution needed to create lasting and transformational change.

The Code adopts an ‘apply and explain’ approach, meaning organisations are able to describe how, based on their specific circumstances they will achieve the Code's standards. Adopters are required to carry out a self-assessment against the Code requirements, explaining in a robust, transparent and comprehensive manner the outcomes of their practice. Where a requirement has not been achieved, reasons for non-achievement should be given, supported by intended actions to satisfy the requirements.

In essence, this single Code uniquely provides one set of standards, applicable to every organisation irrespective of size or sector, which has been endorsed, robustly reviewed and is ready for immediate adoption and application

Organisations will use the RACE Equality Code 2020 to create transformational, sustainable and lasting change, to achieve a competitive and truly diverse board and organisational senior leadership team.

The Code will be established internationally across all sectors as a marker of best practice.

We will provide a principle-based framework and practical guidelines for organisations of all sizes and from all sectors to follow, providing concrete actions which when applied, will lead to outcomes which effect real change in the area of race equality.

Download The Race Equality Code 2020


Developing a robust education framework that develops the ethical and moral reasoning behind a programme of development for every organisation (using the Principles). Perspectives need to be challenged and prejudices and systemic and institutional practices acknowledged.

Identifying the key indicators that will make a real impact over the long-term, creating tangible differences to the existing landscape around race diversity of the board and senior leadership team. The narrative around what is acceptable needs to change through dialogue, and this may lead to uncomfortable but necessary decisions which the organisation is committed to having, hearing and making.

A list of the measurable actions and outcomes that contribute to and enable a shift in the organisation’s approach to and success in delivering change. Without a set of targets and detailed plans for their achievement, change will not happen, and organisations will not be accountable. 

A clear commitment to be transparent and to disclose required and concise information and updates on the progress of RACE initiatives across the organisation. Openness and transparency for all stakeholders will be valued and actively pursued in order to create the environment for change.


It has long been accepted that boards need to be sufficiently skilled to be able to engage in effective decision making, but how is diversity considered when looking at the composition of the boardroom and senior leadership team?



The responsibility to tackle inequality does not sit with one individual or department but is organisation wide. The tone is set top-down rather than bottom-up, and it is the board which should promote and demonstrate that there is a no-excuses attitude towards discrimination and racial injustice.



Integrity of an organisation is elevated by transparency in processes and reporting and ensuring that its objectives are reviewed, monitored and re-evaluated over time.



Black leaders are not a novelty; increasing the proportion of black representation is not tokenism. Recruiting in a diverse manner does not require the organisation to lower its standards. On the contrary, recognition of ethnicity as a key diversity component will have a positive and sustainable impact for every organisation. Adopters of the Code must value different lived experience and look to integrate and provide space for perspectives, thoughts and practises that may be different but should never be underestimated. 



Introducing policy around race inequality is more than just a moral imperative - doing what is right. It is about working towards creation of a level playing field where, in the context of merit, Black people are not only fairly recruited but thrive.



The regularity of the reporting will be crucial to transparency, ensuring that a balance is met between maintaining the impetus for change and allowing for a proper period of assessment, with meaningful reporting on the results. Transparency requires both an acknowledgement of successes and constructive criticism of shortcomings.  



At a time when there are so many questions regarding the exercise of power, it is for boards to ensure that they are exercising their duties in a socially-responsible way that does not shy away from the key issue of equality and diversity and seeks to redress the balance with fairness and transparency. 


The Code and its detailed requirements are currently being reviewed by a panel of experts consisting of campaigners, academics, practitioners and representatives of other organisations that have published charters and guidelines on race equality.

The Steering Group will consider the first draft of the Code developed by Dr Karl George MBE and after making recommendations and revisions, circulate the draft code together with a list of enquiry lines that will help to produce the first version of the Code at an official launch in October 2020.



Members of the West Midlands Branch of the Governance Institute have carried out research, drafting and revisions to produce the first draft of the Code.


There are 4 other lines of consultation for the code:

  • The West Midlands Focus Group
  • Early Adopters of the Code
  • The RACE Consultants Forum
  • Strategic Advisors


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