In the next stage of continuing work to increase inclusion and diversity through its Inspiring Generations strategic plan, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) today announced a series of further measures to help make cricket a game for everyone.
These new steps were approved by the ECB Board yesterday (24 Nov) and will form part of a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan which will be rolled out over the coming months, to make the game more representative and drive out discrimination of any kind.
The three measures announced today are:
- A new independent Commission for Equality in Cricket: to assist the ECB Board in assessing the evidence of inequalities and discrimination of all forms within cricket, and the actions needed to tackle these issues. This will be led by an independent Chair and will have independent members. The members will be selected to bring a diversity of thought and experience to provide constructive input and challenge to the ECB and the wider game.
- A Forum for Race in Cricket: to provide a confidential, safe space through which the ECB can listen to, and learn from, the lived experiences of people from across the game. Building on work done this year and through our South Asian Action Plan, the Board has agreed that it is critical that we continue to listen and learn from these lived experiences, so that we can assess the future action required.
A new Equality Code of Conduct: to be adopted and enforced by all cricket organisations operating under the ECB’s jurisdiction, enabling discriminatory behaviour to be sanctioned through disciplinary processes. The Code is now being finalised in consultation with the wider game for implementation before the 2021 season.
These measures build on steps the ECB has taken in recent years to become a more inclusive game, including delivering a South Asian Action Plan, Women and Girls’ Action Plan, and County Governance Framework, as well as a range of steps through our Diversity Action Plan 2018-20.
They also follow action undertaken this summer to broaden the strategy further, including introducing bursaries for underrepresented groups in coaching, committing to increased diversity in leadership across the game, and providing funding to help expand the ACE programme which was established by Surrey CCC to increase opportunities for young black cricketers.
The full Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan for 2021-24 will be launched next year and will guide the ECB and the wider game in making changes around leadership, governance and education and increase visibility and opportunity. It will help the ECB achieve the goal of making cricket a game for everyone whatever their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, social background or whether they have a disability or not.
The Board has agreed that this work will be driven by the ECB’s Senior Independent Director, Brenda Trenowden, a specialist in the field of inclusion and diversity. The ECB Board will have regular oversight over this essential agenda, which will form a standing item at every ECB Board meeting.
Ian Watmore, Chair of the ECB, said: “The primary aim of the ECB’s Inspiring Generations strategy is to make cricket a game for everyone and many actions are well underway and helping to make cricket more diverse and inclusive. While continuing with this work and increasing its impact, we are equally clear that all discriminatory behaviour is unacceptable, and are committed to drive it out of the game through better governance, education, training, role modelling and behavioural change, but also through disciplinary action when necessary. Continuing to listen to the experiences of people, whether positive or negative, and engaging with independent expertise will help to inform, strengthen and challenge our thinking and plans as we move forward. Taken together, these steps will ensure that the ECB achieves lasting change.”
Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer, added: “This year we have listened to many people from across the game and beyond, to understand where we must be better in making our sport inclusive and diverse, and tackling discrimination. The measures we have announced today, and the broader Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan we will launch, build on and accelerate the work we have already done in recent years. We will continue to learn how, as a game, we become more representative of the communities we strive to serve.”
Notes to editors
1: The Board also agreed the Terms of Reference for the new Environment, Social and Governance sub-committee, which will be chaired by Brenda Trenowden and bring together internal and external expertise to help deliver greater equality, inclusion and diversity across the game alongside its wider responsibilities.
2: Independent Commission for Equality in Cricket
This will be led by an independent chair and have independent members.
Its terms of reference will be to examine issues relating to equality in cricket and make recommendations on how to ensure cricket is a game for everyone.
The Commission will:
- Consider the evidence of historic failings in relation to ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion in cricket;
- Examine the lived experiences of people who have experienced discrimination in cricket, including those collected through the Forum for Race in Cricket;
- Check, challenge and inform the ECB’s EDI Action Plan as it rolls out over the next 12 months; and
- Provide recommendations on what further action the ECB needs to take to make cricket a game for everyone.
It is hoped the final details of the Commission will be agreed at the ECB Board meeting in January, so it can begin its work early in the new year. The Commission is expected to operate for an initial 12-month period, with an interim report expected after six months. Consideration will then be given to the need for the Commission continuing on a time-limited or permanent basis.
3: Forum for Race in Cricket
The objective of the FRC will be to:
- Increase our knowledge base and understanding of people’s lived experiences within cricket.
- Provide a safe space where people can share their experiences and tell their stories.
- Identify common themes and areas where ECB should focus their efforts.
This work will report internally to the ECB Board, Executive Management Team and ESG Committee, to inform them about the overall picture of race in cricket, both positive and negative experiences, common themes, examples of best practice, and areas of concerns.
This information is intended to help shape future initiatives and focus areas within the Inclusion & Diversity Action Plan. High level findings would also help ECB staff and the network improve their understanding of race in cricket and the role they can play in driving change.
4: Equality Code of Conduct
The ECB Equality Code of Conduct aims to ensure that no individual or group of individuals suffer from discrimination by prescribing discriminatory offences, in line with the Equality Act 2010, that will lead to sanctions if carried out by individuals or organisations including County Cricket Boards, First Class Counties, leagues and clubs under the ECB’s jurisdiction. It will ensure consistency with regards to the standards of behaviour required from individuals and organisations across cricket in England and Wales.