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Strategy, News, Insights

“If this were easy, we would have solved it years ago…”

How do you create and maintain a culture of diversity and inclusion in your own organisation and others you work with? We spoke to Mike Franklin, Non-Executive Director at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, for his advice.

Fostering a culture of equality, openness and belonging is always an ongoing process at any organisation, which is why we host regular Diversity and Inclusion Forums to discuss what we can do better and how we can help our clients do better too.

At this month’s forum – themed on ‘reducing inequality’ - we were thrilled to welcome our guest speaker Mike Franklin, a Non-Executive Director at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and a Diversity and Inclusion Champion.

It was inspiring to hear Mike’s experience promoting D&I in his various roles in the NHS and the police. Mike led members of The PSC in a session considering how we can reduce inequalities both internally, and externally as we work alongside our clients in the planning and delivery of public services to diverse communities across the country.

“If this were easy, we would have solved it years ago…”

What did we learn from speaking to Mike?


  1. We have to recognise barriers to change

We must recognise structural barriers to change and progress in representation - from identifying unconscious bias that traditionally exist in an interview process to structural barriers that may exist for promotion. We need to be open to learning from others to acknowledge our blind spots. 


  1. We must ask difficult questions – and it could get uncomfortable

To make real progress on these topics, we need to ask difficult questions and have conversations that we may not be used to. But in doing this, we’ll have richer and more meaningful conversations as a company on leadership, responsibility, explicit and implicit discrimination and how we can truly care for each other’s experiences and making progress on equality. As Mike reminded us, ‘if these things were easy, we would have solved them years ago!’


  1.  We need to identify what success looks like – and be proactive in aiming for it

An open and transparent culture will be critical to define what success looks like for many of these issues. We need to continue to refine what this looks in all aspects of our business– from recruitment, to project kick-offs, internally and on client site. We need to continue to listen to the diversity of experience within our teams, and to listen to and act on feedback to refine this further.


  1. Finally – we can all be, and should be diversity and inclusion champions

At The PSC, we have already made steps to recognise and remove structural barriers to equality. For example, we have partnered with Applied to foster a fair and transparent recruitment process, involving ‘blind’ reviewing candidates online, using skills-based assessments and removing bias to find the best possible candidates for the role.

However, there is so much more to be done. We are committed as individuals and as a company to continuing these challenging conversations, and taking action to champion Diversity and Inclusion here at The PSC, and with our clients.  As we continue, we’ll keep Mike’s call to action in mind to ‘Listen with humility, act with humanity!’


We would love to hear from you if you have themes you think we should discuss or any speakers you would recommend for our next Diversity and Inclusion forum. Get in touch at




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