The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Reference Group will consist of approximately 15 representatives. These representatives will be drawn from a range of community and voluntary sector organisations operating within the Dorset Council area reflecting a range of diversity.

Representatives will be appointed through an expression of interest process and will provide valuable insight and perspective from their organisation and networks.

The group will:

  • bring local knowledge
  • have involvement in the wider community
  • have strong community networks, connections and lived experience

The role of the group

The role of the EDI Reference Group will be to:

  • act as a critical friend to the council (and other statutory bodies as agreed)
  • assist in the delivery of the council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan/Strategy
  • support and deliver training in partnership with Dorset Council to develop the  knowledge and skills of the workforce
  • provide valuable feedback and insight on wide ranging council consultations, strategies and service development/improvement
  • promote inclusion, equality and the understanding of diversity across the Dorset Council area
  • work with Dorset Council to promote and deliver identified Equality, Diversity and Inclusion awareness events 
  • share results of consultations and support the council in making direct contact with these forums and networks as appropriate

Members will work towards supporting the council to: 

  • positively position itself as a body of influence in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion across the Dorset Council area and beyond
  • champion change to raise ambitions on the equality, diversity and inclusion agendas for residents, communities and the workforce
  • contribute to the delivery of responsive and equitable council services
  • represent their organisation and peers on the Reference Group and feedback the key emerging messages to them as appropriate

All members contribute to the work of the council by: 

  • attending the Reference Group meetings - showing commitment and leadership by attending, (in person or online), at least three of the four meetings per year, as appropriate. Occasional substitution is acceptable
  • possessing a willingness to contribute positively to meetings in a fair and unbiased manner and look beyond personal interests for the benefit of the broader community they are representing
  • providing clear strategic direction, challenge and innovation to the work of the council; providing ongoing insight and a broad range of perspectives
  • providing ongoing involvement, support and strategic direction to the work carried out by Dorset Council
  • championing the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda; engaging the whole system in delivering positive and sustained change
  • ensure links with:
    • community networks
    • forums
    • members

are maintained and  ‘community intelligence’ is used to feed back to the council to help it prioritise and improve outcomes

  • share results of consultations and support the council in making direct contact with these forums as appropriate

Requirements of members

Members have the following requirements:

  • 4 x meetings per annum* (online/hybrid or in person – to be agreed)
  • 2 x development events per annum
  • email correspondence and responding to consultation and strategy documents in-between meetings
  • advising and delivering specific training and awareness in partnership with Dorset Council
  • develop and promote awareness events and assist with evaluation as appropriate
  • contributing to the delivery and evaluation of events as appropriate
  • assisting with the evaluation of the effectiveness of the EDI strategy for Dorset
  • we expect a commitment of 100 hours per annum


We offer a payment of £3,500 for the 15 month period. This is per member organisation to facilitate engagement (£28/hour). This will be offered through a Service Level Agreement with the representative organisation.


Members of the Reference Group will be selected via an Expression of Interest process.

The strength of the Reference Group comes from its members, therefore membership of the Reference Group should reflect, as much as possible, all the protected and local characteristics.

Membership on the Reference Group will be for an initial 15-month tenure, at which point the membership will be subject to full review.

The aim will be to start 1 March 2022. Initial funding will run until 31 May 2023 and will be reviewed during this period.

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