On Thursday 28th February, Creative Oceanic held the Scottish Diversity Awards 2019 at the Trades Hall in Glasgow.
It was a wonderful awards ceremony attended by over 100 people across all sectors, where individuals and organisations were awarded for their commitment to creating inclusive work environments and promoting the importance of diversity in Scotland.
The fact that it was a great success is arguably an impressive feat, given that the Scottish Diversity Awards 2019 were target of a relentless tirade spanning 3 different articles and 9 separate tweets (as the awards were taking place) by Third Force News – a media company owned by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO). Not only did their articles spread misinformation, they actually encouraged people to disengage with the awards and warned charities their involvement with the Scottish Diversity Awards could affect their funding!
One must question why the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations were so steadfast in their campaign against the Scottish Diversity Awards, particularly when the awards in question had such positive aims and exist to celebrate and drive a culture of openness, understanding and inclusivity in Scotland by a small and diverse organisation.
A few Third Force News commentators shared their thoughts:
“Seem to be really similar events to me? Poor to bring down other events that are also recognising some fantastic people in the sector.”
“Really poor from SCVO and Third Force News. As the other comment stated this only seems to interest your agenda because you have a similar awards ceremony.”
Yes, you may have guessed that SCVO run the Scottish Charity Awards and have been doing so for 13 years. They used Third Force News as a medium to not only tarnish the Scottish Diversity Awards (thankfully to little avail) but to market their own Award ceremony, which they actually encouraged people to attend in their articles.
Many of the organisations nominated and even the purpose behind the Scottish Diversity Awards are quite separate to those of the Scottish Charity Awards which makes it both disappointing and disempowering to witness SCVO vilify the Scottish Diversity Awards to the extent they did in their attempt to dominate the agenda. The invite extended to SCVO for dialogue around how both organisations could work collectively to promote and support diversity in Scotland went happily ignored.
One might assume SCVO themselves have a diverse workforce so their argument has a bit of credibility. SCVO are a national membership organisation for Scotland’s charities, with over 2000 members. With there being at least 100 charities in Scotland that either exist to service ethnic minority groups or have an ethnic minority client base, it’s surprising to see not a single ethnic face on their board of trustees and very few ethnic names in their staff team:
Another commenter (a past tenant of SCVO) shared some interesting insights in one of their articles – the level of SCVO’s commitment to equality and diversity really speaks for itself:
Perhaps it’s time for SCVO to spend less of their time and resources attacking a small (and proudly diverse) company trying their best to promote diversity and inclusivity in Scotland and look inward to address why there’s such a lack of representation in their organisation. SCVO have recently been asked for their diversity statistics on multiple occasions and have failed to provide them. It’s no wonder that some of Scotland’s main charities that service ethnic minority communities are not members of SCVO – an organisation which is neither representative of Scotland’s diverse communities nor willing to engage in dialogue over how best to promote inclusion and diversity in Scotland’s workspaces.
As part of our legacy from the Diversity Awards, Creative Oceanic will be publishing a list of the top Scottish employers with a commitment to inclusion and diversity in the workplace and fair recruitment processes in the coming year. Creative Oceanic look forward to delivering the third Scottish Diversity Awards in 2020 and can only hope SCVO will be a bit more supportive of the campaign – we believe collaboration, partnership working and open dialogue are the best ways to achieve a fairer and more equal Scotland for all.