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When I run a meeting are people from black and minoritised ethnic backgrounds likely to share their opinions freely?

Does my organisation find it hard to engage with marginalised communities, whatever we try?

Do I notice that white colleagues get more ‘air-time’, but don’t know what to do about it?

Do I hold all those who engage in racist behaviours to account?

Do I notice when I feel uncomfortable coaching and providing feedback to employees from a different background to me?

These are the sorts of questions we explored through the PACT pioneer programme in 2021. PACT Pioneers are a group of leaders from across civil society who have come together to explore how to develop leaders’ equitable and effective use of power and to progress anti-racism.

In Autumn 2022 we are running a new programme with a new cohort of PACT Pioneers. If this sounds of interest to you please read on…..




The Civil Society Futures Inquiry was a unique inquiry which took place between 2016-2018. The inquiry found that across our country - and in civil society - too many people feel unheard, ignored, frustrated. Imbalances in power are often at the heart of the issue: who gets listened to, who makes decisions, who is in control.

In order to address this, the Inquiry’s recommendations argued that the pace of change in society can be supported by civil society leading the way for society and for other sectors - reflecting on its own practice and using power more equitably.

The Inquiry recommended a shared ‘PACT’ (focused on Power, Accountability, Connection and Trust) developed by civil society for civil society. A direction of travel for how civil society wants to be now and in the future. The Inquiry’s work focused on promoting anti-racism within civil society too to address power imbalances that are echoed in our wider society.


The PACT Pioneer programme responded to the Inquiry’s recommendations by creating with civil society leaders a practical framework for developing leaders’ equitable and effective use of power. This framework was piloted with the PACT Pioneer learning cohort (leaders from UK voluntary and community sector organisations and networks).


  • Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO)

  • Breastfeeding Network

  • British Red Cross

  • Greenpeace

  • HEAR Network

  • House of St Barnabas

  • John Ellerman Foundation

  • Make a Wish

  • More in Common

  • Oxfam GB

  • Peel Institute

  • South Yorkshire Housing Association

  • St Luke’s Community Centre

  • The Active Wellbeing Society

  • Toynbee Hall

  • Two Ridings Community Foundation

Here are some of the comments from three pioneers about what they found useful:

Understanding of the different elements of power …. has been really useful for me in my relationships as well as being able to share the learning and theory with colleagues in a coaching/developmental capacity… Relationships are probably more honest and balanced as a result and I have better boundaries.
The principles of the PACT programme are precisely aligned with my own view of how the sector, and leadership within it, needs to develop. The gap between these principles and today’s reality is significant. However, being part of this group has given me an appetite to play a role in moving these principles forward across the sector. This is about delivery of results through the application of these principles – something I believe I will be doing a lot of over the next couple of years...
Our discussions around accountability also helped a lot. I think I have been more open (and perhaps more demanding about) our challenges on improving the way that accountability works in our organisation.



We are currently inviting applications to the second round of the PACT Pioneer programme with a whole new cohort of individuals, organisations and networks working within civil society. We have space for 20 leaders and are calling for courageous leaders who are interested in exploring the application of anti-racist practice in their work. This programme is for those in a leadership role – both paid and unpaid within civil society (such as charities, community groups, networks, social enterprises, charitable trusts and foundations).

Participants will have an opportunity to develop their awareness and practice around the following themes:


  • Awareness of different types of power and privilege

  • Understanding the impact of power on me and others

  • Approaches to using my power effectively to progress anti-racism


  • Improving my ability to gain high quality feedback on my leadership from others

  • Developing approaches to accountability based on mission and purpose


  • Exploring my racialised positioning and how this affects my connection with others

  • Understanding how to engage effectively with power dynamics, difference and conflict in order to promote inclusion


  • Identifying areas of personal development and growth that will help me to build trust and achieve my anti-racist goals

  • Developing strategies for disrupting beliefs and behaviours that perpetuate racism in your work

The programme is made possible thanks to funding from Barrow Cadbury Trust and is offered to participants free of charge. We request that participants arrange and pay for their own travel for face-to-face sessions (though we don’t want this to be a reason for non-participation and can discuss support if needed).

The programme will be held across Autumn-Winter 2022 through a combination of in-person learning sessions and video-conferencing sessions via zoom. The scheduled dates for these sessions are:

Session 1


Birmingham (venue tbc)


Thursday 20 October 2022, 10am-4pm

Session 2


Online (Zoom)

When? Thursday 3 November 2022, 9.30am-12.30pm

Session 3


Online (Zoom)


Thursday 17 November 2022, 9.30am-12:30pm

Session 4


Birmingham (venue tbc)


Thursday 1 December 2022, 10am-4pm

If you would like to apply please complete this application form which includes a short set of questions to understand your interest in the work, your organisation, the and context you work in. We aim to select a group of participants from a range of backgrounds and who work in a range of fields and with a clear sense of the potential to apply learning from this programme in their work.

Deadline for applications is 5pm on 9 September 2022.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this opportunity further, please contact Asif Afridi at brap here.

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