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Primary Eyecare Services Makes Not Just One Big Promise – But Two

Race Equality Week 2024 logo

9 February 2024

After conducting extensive 1-2-1 and group workshops across their networks, the leading national EDI not-for-profit advocacy body, Race Equality Matters (REM) discovered a recurrent observation among ethnically diverse employees – the perceived lack of meaningful change despite organisations proclaiming their commitment.

Common issues reported included virtue signalling, paying lip service and a general failure to secure executive buy-in or sponsorship.

Pledges That Matter – A Clear Commitment To Positive Change

REM’s response was to launch an initiative called The Big Promise. An integral part of their annual Race Equality Week campaign, The Big Promise ensures that UK organisations and leaders move beyond the usual ‘tick box’ exercises and publicly pledge to take new, specific steps that lead to real impact.
Polls recently conducted by REM revealed that 69% of respondents believe The Big Promise will significantly impact race equality in their organisations. Furthermore, some 78% feel it will help make race equality everyone’s business – with 66% deeming it ‘effective’ compared to other initiatives.
Helen Pedley, a participant in the Race Equality Week Big Promise in 2023, shared her organisation’s views on the experience of making a powerful pledge in the public domain, saying:

‘The Big Promise was a real success for us. It has created a safe space where staff feel able to speak up.’

Taking Action To Achieve Measurable Results

The Race Equality Week promises are carefully designed to bridge the gap between lived experience, investment and decision-making. Each participant selects at least one promise to commit to, measure and share.

Race Equality Week 2024 promise

This year, Primary Eye Services are embracing two promises, and will be taking practical steps over the next few months to bring them to fruition.

Our promises are as follows:

  • To ensure all elements of reward and recognition, from appraisals to bonuses, are fair and reflect the racial diversity of the organisation
  • To participate in Safe Space Plus – a two-hour facilitated conversation between board members and ethnically diverse colleagues carried out in a protected environment. Action focused, the session aims to address issues that are guided by lived experience. We are also seeking to implement two other Racial Equality Matters initiatives in the near future – Tea Break and #MyNameIs – and monitor the outcomes

Both these promises are measurable, ensuring accountability, and we hope that by announcing them on Day 5 of Race Equality Week 2024, we are demonstrating to the eye care sector how committed we are to achieving tangible improvements across our organisation.

Race Equality Week 2024 promise

Speaking on why Primary Eyecare Services selected these two particular pledges, Rupesh Bagdai, our Equality and Diversity Lead, commented:

‘Endorsing a Big Promise demonstrates a commitment to driving change, showing colleagues, peers, patients and partners that this starts from the top of the organisation.

It is also important to say that participating in The Big Promise is not just a commitment – it is a significant indication that Primary Eyecare Services is serious about tackling racial inequality and is taking concrete action to bring about meaningful change.’