Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Progress Report
At Social Investment Scotland, we value and celebrate diversity of people and ideas.
Our mission is to connect capital with communities, to make a real, measurable, and sustainable impact on people’s lives.
Our vision is for an Impact Economy, when social entrepreneurs, businesses, consumers, investors, and government are aligned and focused on delivering impactful actions and meaningful outcomes.
Through our 10-year strategy 2020 - 2030 ‘Building an Impact Economy’, we seek to minimise harm, maximise positive impacts for people and planet, and contribute solutions to some of society’s biggest challenges. This vision encompasses equity of access for all and places DEI as a core element of our work.
We published our DEI statement in November 2022 and laid out our general approach to DEI including our approach to partnership working and how we collect, monitor and understand data.
In this progress report we summarise the key milestones reached in 2022/23 and our key priorities for the next 12 months in line with the seven principles of the Social Investment Diversity Forum Manifesto 2.0.
DEI is regularly discussed by SIS colleagues, leadership team and board. Activities are led by a cross-team working group that research best practice, listen and learn, develop and deliver annual action plans, and respond to emerging needs on a more ad hoc basis. We continually strive to find new ways for people to feel comfortable and confident in bringing their full selves to the workplace, and their relationship and interactions with SIS.
We have made considerable progress in our DEI journey and our cross-team working group has doubled in numbers indicating an increased interest and confidence in DEI matters across teams. We have progressed internal and external work streams with further actions being considered during the coming year – for further details please see the full update linked below.
Areas for improvement include creating more opportunities for peer support, discussion and sharing of good practice, raising awareness and minimising unconscious bias, improving diversity especially for boards and leadership teams embracing all protected characteristics as well as socio-economic backgrounds, and using participatory approaches as the norm.
Questions, comments and feedback
If you have any questions or would like to talk to us about any aspect of our DEI practice please contact Lindsay Wake, SIS Head of Impact at -
A bold new way to address equity, equality, diversity and inclusion in social investment
The Diversity Forum are a collective on a mission to drive inclusive social investment in the UK, through the convening of sector-wide groups, commissioning research, and knowledge sharing.
By working transparently and collaboratively on shared goals and aims, organisations can be held accountable and access support from fellow signatories and the Diversity Forum.
As part of the social investment sector, the Diversity Forum's ambition is to address inequalities and disadvantage in the UK, and promoting diversity and inclusion in its broadest sense should be an important part of this.
Find more about the Diversity Forum here.
Investing in Women Code
A commitment to support the advancement of female entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom
Social Investment Scotland (SIS) is committed to a culture of inclusion and to advancing access to capital for women entrepreneurs. SIS will:
- Nominate a member of the senior leadership team to be responsible for supporting equality in all our organisation’s interactions with women entrepreneurs;
- Adopt internal practices that aim to improve female entrepreneurs’ access to the tools, resources and finance they need to grow their businesses, and review these practices annually;
- Provide to an industry body designated by BEIS a commonly agreed set of data about our organisation’s investing or lending activities and about its own staff and leadership team, together with a case study of our organisation’s work with a woman entrepreneur, on the understanding that they will collate this data and provide it to BEIS on an aggregated and anonymised basis for publication in an annual report.
SIS will make this commitment public.
The activities we are undertaking to advancing access to capital for women entrepreneurs include:
- Working collaboratively with key partners to raise the profile of SIS’s Investing in Women commitment including Women’s Enterprise Scotland and Changing the Chemistry CIC.
- Showcasing successful women entrepreneurs across our external facing materials and at events.
- Ensuring female perspectives are represented across internal Investment Committees.
- Engaging diversity-smart recruitment practices to build diverse perspectives across the SIS team, including a focus on attracting and retaining women at all levels.
HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter
Created to address the gender imbalance across the financial services industry
The Women in Finance Charter commits HM Treasury and signatory firms to work together to build a more balanced and fair industry.
Social Investment Scotland signed the charter in September 2020. We have made and renewed the following commitments: -
- Alastair Davies, our CEO, is our senior executive team member who is responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion.
- As of September 2023, we have 29% female representation in our Leadership Team. Our target was to reach at least 40% by July 2023.
- Each of our Leadership Team annual performance appraisals will include a review of gender diversity targets and commitments.
- The activities we are undertaking to achieve our gender targets include the use of a blind recruitment process and adopting and encouraging flexible working practices. We strive to be an advocate for gender diversity in the social investment sector and commit to monitoring and influencing board diversity amongst our partners, suppliers and of those who we support.
Last updated: 27 November 2023
Find more about the Women in Finance Charter here.
Changing the Chemistry CIC
A charity dedicated to increasing diversity of thought on boards
Changing the Chemistry is a charity dedicated to increasing diversity of thought on boards. They are a multi-talented group from a wide variety of backgrounds who help organisations and individuals.
Changing the Chemistry was established in 2011. At the start of their journey they recognised and celebrated not just gender diversity but diversity of all kinds, and they continue to embrace this through their philosophy of promoting diversity of thought.
Changing the Chemistry was the first organisation in the UK to operate in this field and we remain a UK-wide leader. Headquartered in Scotland, they became a Scottish Incorporated Charitable Organisation (SCIO) in 2015.
Lindsay Wake, Head of Impact at Social Investment Scotland (SIS) -
“Diversity and inclusion at leadership level is crucial in bringing different ideas and perspectives to the table that are representative of our society, as well as promoting equality among the businesses and communities we work within. In recent years, SIS has been working hard to shape a more inclusive environment, with our own practices influencing our customers, investees, and suppliers.
Joining CtC as an Affiliate Member builds on the positive steps we have already taken to make improvements and as one of the first partners, we have had the unique opportunity to collaborate with CtC to share our values and contribute to the development of the membership offering. We are looking forward to engaging with other members and the CtC team to continue our focus on equality and diversity on boards - not only for our own organisation, but for the customers and stakeholders we work with too.”
Find more about Changing the Chemistry here.
Deliver tailored support to ethnic minority voluntary sector and its communities
CEMVO Scotland aims to build the capacity and sustainability of the ethnic minority (EM) voluntary sector and its communities. They deliver tailored support to the sector and work to tackle issues such as race equality, social inclusion, capacity building and civic participation.
Working together with social entrepreneurs, CEMVO and SIS co-designed a social investment programme specifically for social enterprises led by, and reaching, people from across Scotland’s ethnically diverse communities in 2021. Workshops introduced the concept of social investment loans and the opportunity to apply for a grant of £1,000 to £5,000 through a pilot funding stream.
Find out more about CEMVO Scotland here.
Dechomai foster thriving entrepreneurship within Black and Ethnic Minority communities.
Dechomai’s mission is to empower ethnic minority entrepreneurs by fostering success through idea support and enterprise development. Its current focus is on courses and a forthcoming marketplace, aiming to comprehensively empower Black and Ethnic minority female entrepreneurs on their entrepreneurial journey.
The ‘Access’ project is a collaboration between Dechomai, Firstport and SIS, which comprises a programme of events and outreach with ethnic minority communities and Scotland’s social investors to enhance connection and networks, and for the investors to understand needs, perceptions and barriers around accessing social investment.
Living Wage Employer
The real Living Wage is the only UK wage rate based on the cost of living
For organisations wanting to demonstrate their commitment as a responsible employer, Living Wage accreditation is the best place to start. By paying the real Living Wage, employers are voluntarily taking a stand to ensure their employees can earn a wage which is enough to live on. That basic fairness is at the heart of what the Living Wage campaign is trying to achieve and why great businesses and organisations choose to go further than the government minimum. As well as it being the right thing to do, there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the business benefits of becoming a Living Wage Employer.
SIS is both an accredited Living Wage Employer and a Scottish Living wage employer.