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A holistic and effective approach to organisational integrity

the need

A just society needs

organisations to embody integrity

 

We are witnessing a fundamental shift in society of increased awareness and sensitivity about abuse of power and imbalance. With this, is a recognition of how organisations’ can contribute to or perpetuate these injustices.

A closer look

To read more about the relationship between integrity issues and power analysis see our power blog post: The Power Behind Organisational Integrity.

An inclusive and safe work culture, anti-racism, equality, diversity, anti-corruption, sustainability, and safeguarding: many organisations are struggling with how to prioritise and address these complex and often highly sensitive issues. Because they often evolve in separate parts of organisations, these areas often remain siloed – including at board level. Without a holistic, systems-based approach, many organisations fail to see opportunities where they could do better.

Power & Integrity (P&I) believes that understanding the underlying power dynamics creates a solid foundation to develop a more integrated, effective, and impactful approach.

Power analysis is not new. Nonprofits have applied it to inform programmes and campaigns addressing inequality for years. They view systemic power structures, such as colonialism, patriarchy, and racism, as intersecting. These structures underpin devastating behaviours including saviourism, sexism, racism, bullying, harassment, abuse, corruption, and social and environmental exploitation.

But non-profits have only just started to apply power analysis internally to address the injustices that result from their own ways of working. Where it is applied, it is only to a few key areas such as safeguarding, leadership and/or de-colonisation. We want to unlock the full potential of the more effective, holistic, and coherent approach that power analysis enables.

We are starting our work with the non-profit sector because we believe it has a moral duty, given its purpose-driven objectives; it understands the value of power analysis; and because we recognise a critical need for support right now.

“I think power & integrity’s proposal to develop a charity-wide approach to addressing power dynamics and integrity is very timely and much needed.”

Rosie Chapman

Charity Governance Code Chair, commenting in a personal capacity

OUR INITIAL RESERACH

Is current practice power-sensitive?

We have been asking nonprofits if they take a power-sensitive approach to managing integrity issues.

A key finding is that a small percentage are seeking to understand power dynamics and only for a few aspects of organisational integrity.

We asked: Does your organisation seek to understand the realities of how power works internally?
  • Yes for diversity and inclusion 23% 23%
  • Yes for safeguarding 10% 10%
  • Yes for bullying 9% 9%
  • Yes for decolonisation 6% 6%
  • Yes across a range of areas 4% 4%

Figures are from 45 respondents at the UK Charity Governance Institute 2021 Summit. We also ran polls in 2021 with similar findings at the Bond Conference, the INGO Good Practice Network and the CHS Alliance Exchange.

Hands and cogs

What role will we play?

Cultivating integrity practice

We see integrity practice as a continuous learning process. This benefits from diverse perspectives shaping a shared understanding. We will contribute by:

  • being open-source to enable accessible resources for all non-profit organisations,
  • focusing on supporting shared understanding of and approaches to integrity practice,
  • working directly with leaders at executive and board level, given their impact and role,
  • Evolving our understanding and approach in response to emerging needs and new knowledge.

Spreading the word

P&I News

We’re starting to explain more about P&I at events and via blogs and other media channels.

Events

September 16

Charity Governance Institute Summit
Fireside chat with Srabani Sen, Chair of ActionAid UK

What role can you play?

We’re seeking participants for our discovery phase

Our discovery phase is due to start in early 2022. We’re now looking for partners to take part in our Power Analysis for Organisational Integrity Lab, and for participants in our strategy labs to enable sector level coherence on power and integrity.

Discovery Phase funding

We are a nonprofit seeking funding for the discovery phase. Contact us to explore funding partnerships which include sponsorship communications, bespoke workshops, and other valuable opportunities to be part of this cutting edge yet until recently, largely overlooked area of work.

For more details, email Alex Cole-Hamilton.