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To wonder why the RNLI needs a full time equality and diversity officer

(80 Posts)
NonSuchFun Wed 13-Jun-18 06:31:22

The RNLI is one of the most loved and respected charities, and clearly needs a professional management structure. However, its core work is done by volunteers who maintain lifeboat stations up and down the country, crewing the boats and responding to emergencies at sea. It is unfortunate that a public spat over the sacking of two Whitby lifeboat men, along with four others who have resigned in protest has coincided with an advertised full time position for an equality and diversity officer, on £40k approx a year.

I have no idea how many core employees the charity has but it surely can’t be that many. So I am left wondering how this new E&D person will occupy their time. It seems to me that if there is a need to bring the organisation up to date in this area that a one year temporary contract could cover it with a brief to set up an online e-learning package, ensure that every lifeboat station has one person designated local E&D representative and to hand the reins over to another person in management for ongoing responsibility. Outside contracts could be used for occasional reviews. Job done. I just can’t see what this person will be doing full time, year on year. My own work requires that I compete annual e-learning as did my previous employer, a large insurance company and as does my DH’s company. Why wouldn’t this suffice for the RNLI?

Many people are outraged at the salary - most of the lifeboat crew members live and work in small seaside towns up and down the country, I imagine they can only dream of such a salary. It takes a lot of tin rattling to bring in £40k a year.

Please enlighten me.

shakeyourcaboose Wed 13-Jun-18 06:36:34

Also interested! As you say particularly when those actually risking life to save others are volunteers. Will a condition of the job be they also go out on the boats?

anotherangel2 Wed 13-Jun-18 06:39:34

I would assume to role would be involve over sight of recruitment and ensuring diversity and support of employees and volunteers.

The job description should tell you more about the role.

Toddlerteaplease Wed 13-Jun-18 06:40:32

What was so offensive about the mugs they had?

Northernparent68 Wed 13-Jun-18 06:44:17

It’s fairly typical of charities, and another angel getting the right person to volunteer is more important than meeting diversity targets.

Theducksarenotmyfriends Wed 13-Jun-18 06:44:21

I'm not sure of the specifics of this situation but it seems to me you're thinking of it as a small,, locally run type of charity run by volunteers. Organising and managing volunteers takes a lot of work and presumably the e&d officer isn't there for just the 2,000 staff but also to cover the 35,000 volunteers - that is a massive job! Also the charity has a nearly £200m annual turnover so £40,000 really isn't that much in the whole scheme of things.

Those volunteers clearly brought the charity into disrepute and could have put a lot of people off from working/volunteering/donating to them. I totally understand why the charity would tackle this in a professional way.

anotherangel2 Wed 13-Jun-18 06:46:09

From their statement

One volunteer was stood down for social media activity which targeted a member of RNLI staff without their knowledge and produced graphic sexual images which went far beyond banter.

“The other volunteer produced a hardcore pornographic image of a fellow crew member on a mug.”

So repeated sexual bullying,

kalapattar Wed 13-Jun-18 06:46:22

What was so offensive about the mugs they had

I think the mugs incident was just the tip of the iceberg...

rnli.org/news-and-media/2018/may/03/statement-on-whitby-situation

"Following an in-depth formal investigation at Whitby lifeboat station concerning social media activity and the production of material of an inappropriate sexual nature, two volunteers have been stood down. These were serious conduct issues which go beyond media speculation around the production and use of offensive mugs.

One volunteer was stood down for social media activity which targeted a member of the RNLI staff without their knowledge and used graphic sexual images which went far beyond banter. As a responsible employer we cannot take this sort of behaviour lightly.

There were also serious conduct issues in relation to content on mugs which again went far beyond banter. The photographs of the mugs portrayed in media articles are mock ups and are not a true representation of the explicit images that were actually in use at the Lifeboat Station. As a result one volunteer was stood down in relation to this issue.

The lifeboat station should be an environment where people are treated with dignity and respect. Our supporters, volunteers and staff expect the RNLI to act in accordance with these values and would rightly anticipate that there would be serious consequences for anybody who fails to meet these standards."

KatyN Wed 13-Jun-18 06:47:56

I used to work for a charity. They are ‘normal’ businesses with a full range of staff. Staff tend to work for under the market rate for their post because they believe in the charity.
So as well as an e and d role there will be an office manager ordering post it notes (I assume) and an it role looking after the servers than run the emails that organise volunteers. These people are not volunteers. One problem with making it a one year contract is they may struggle to recruit a shorter term post, and it slightly belittles the responsibility of the role.

The most interesting thing about working for a charity for me was that every decision was made for the interest of the organisation. So how did it fit into their core beliefs. Then how could fit that into their finances. Corporate businesses in my opinion are the other way round: the decision is all about money with very little strategic guidance.

kalapattar Wed 13-Jun-18 06:51:42

I have no idea how many core employees the charity has but it surely can’t be that many

Do you think that such a large charity runs itself?

It is unfortunate that a public spat over the sacking of two Whitby lifeboat men

Isn't this what your OP is really about? Do you think they shouldn't have been sacked?

Sundance65 Wed 13-Jun-18 06:53:09

Equality and diversity applies just as much to volunteering as to paid employees.

Personally from my experience of working within charities their e&d record is fairly good with employees but the volunteers are very noticeably from particular social groups and this needs much more work.

queenMab99 Wed 13-Jun-18 07:25:15

Obviously, they really do need an Equality and Diversity officer.

Madonnasmum Wed 13-Jun-18 07:32:15

All charities run with a similar business approach to other private businesses. Its how they are able to run. The recent behaviour of the stepped down Whitby crew kind of proves the need for it!
If £40K offends you go see if you can find how much RNLI have tucked away in the pension funds for there employees (and rightly so)
It tickles me how people think charities should be run for free. Who on earth would work for them?

CoughLaughFart Wed 13-Jun-18 07:48:49

Isn't this what your OP is really about? Do you think they shouldn't have been sacked?
I think this pretty much nails it. OP’s post is a thinly-veiled ‘It’s political correctness gone maaad!!’ rant.

kalapattar Wed 13-Jun-18 07:51:58

I am guessing the OP started this after they lost their appeal yesterday.

www.thirdsector.co.uk/rnli-rejects-appeal-lifeboatmen-sacked-explicit-mug-row/management/article/1484749

Media reports have said the mugs featured the face of the crew member superimposed on the body of a naked woman and was given as a secret Santa present, then found in a cupboard at the station.

The other volunteer was dismissed "for social media activity which targeted a member of RNLI staff without their knowledge and produced graphic sexual images which went far beyond banter", the charity’s statement said.

The charity has faced criticism in the media, particularly in The Sun and the Daily Mail newspapers, which both produced mocked-up images of what the mugs "may have looked like" calling them "jokey" and "saucy", with the Mail describing the charity as "drowning in a sea of political correctness".

In today’s statement the RNLI said the mocked-up images looked nothing like the original mug.

"Some newspapers created their own image of a mug, but the actual image produced by the volunteer was so graphic that no newspaper would be able to print it without breaking the law," it said.

It doesn't surprise me that the Daily Mail and The Sun got the wrong end of the stick and didn't realise that it was a graphic image of a volunteer - because 'PC gorn mad' is a much better way to stir up anger and generate clicks.

I wonder what the OP thinks?

flowerslemonade Wed 13-Jun-18 07:56:25

The daily mail and the sun probably didn't get the wrong end of the stick, they probably did that knowingly.

PaintedHorizons Wed 13-Jun-18 08:33:26

The point is we don't know. You can no more say that the DM and the Sun are wrong than that "you" know what the mug looked like.

You can do "PC gorn mad" or a "Daily Fail hate stirring" - but both are based on our own assumptions of the incident not the facts.

KirstenRaymonde Wed 13-Jun-18 08:48:04

The RNLI has an income of £196million and over 2000 staff (as well as 34,000 volunteers) This is a major organisation that needs proper running, that means paying their staff a wage that’s in line with the market. Would you question a person like this being appointed in a business with this kind of income and employee numbers? It amazes me how little people understand of how charities are actually run. Do you think an organisation of this size and responsibility can be run on wishes and dreams?

kalapattar Wed 13-Jun-18 16:00:36

You can do "PC gorn mad" or a "Daily Fail hate stirring" - but both are based on our own assumptions of the incident not the facts

The RNLI statement clearly states that this was a graphic pornographic image which targeted a female crew member.

Personally speaking, I am more inclined to believe that statement from a respected charity than I am to believe the Daily Mail or The Sun's version of events.

DesignStatement Wed 13-Jun-18 21:38:59

Glad the RNLI took the issue seriously and stood the perpetrators down. Nobody should be able to ridicule and humiliate a co-worker for their purile amusement.

AsTheMilesTheyDisappear Wed 13-Jun-18 21:45:21

It makes good sense with respect to their charitable objectives to employ an E and D officer amongst their 2,000 staff.

I respect their decision with regards to standing down the volunteers for misconduct. It shows strong leadership.

A charity as successful as RNLI doesn't become that way without good strategy and delivery.

lljkk Wed 13-Jun-18 21:47:42

pfffttt... who are these "many (outraged) people" of whom OP speaks? How does OP know these pearl-clutchers?

Tanith Wed 13-Jun-18 21:48:17

This is the statement released at the end of May. Definitely not “PC gone mad”!

You may have read a story about the RNLI in the Daily Mail on Saturday 12 May, which gave a one-sided and inaccurate version of recent incidents at our charity. We have been compelled to stand down a small number of volunteer lifeboat crew members, and the article suggested that this is the result of staff at our headquarters becoming disconnected with our volunteers on the coast.

Now, I expect our organisation to be held to account by the media. In fact, I welcome external scrutiny. But that scrutiny should be fair and balanced. This article was not fair and balanced. It included comments from a small number of former crew aiming to discredit the RNLI, as well as unattributed quotes that can’t be verified. What was not reported in this article – or in other similar reports – is our side of the story. As an emergency service, we must adhere to the very highest standards of safety and behave in a way that would be expected of a modern emergency responder. And as a charity, we take our ethical and legal responsibilities very seriously. The examples mentioned in the national press recently have involved serious incidents that we were duty-bound to challenge.

We do not stand volunteers down lightly. We recognise the years of dedication and the skill involved in becoming a crew member, helm or coxswain. We fully understand and respect the close bond and camaraderie of our crew and other volunteers.

But there are some behaviours we will not tolerate. We simply cannot allow lifeboats to be taken for joyrides in rough weather without full crew. We don’t accept that hardcore, graphic pornography has any place at a lifeboat station. We will not tolerate threats of violence towards our volunteers or staff. And we will not stand for bullying or aggressive behaviour.

I am relieved to report that such incidents are comparatively rare. The recent issues involve less than 1% of our 6,000 operational volunteers. We are proud of our brave, decent men and women dedicated to saving lives and committed to acting with integrity.

We are also proud of using the donations we receive in the right way. It costs £180M a year to run the RNLI and the Charity Commission advises that, if fundraising stopped today, we should have enough in the bank to keep running our crucial service for between 6–12 months. We also need to ensure we have enough surplus funds for planned capital expenditure over the next few years – the ongoing upgrade of our fleet and the provision of new lifeboat stations.

So I want to assure you that we continue to be a charity that can be trusted to do the right thing – whether that’s rescuing those in peril, keeping our volunteers safe, or making sure that supporters like you are welcomed and valued. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, we’ve aspired to be a decent, honourable charity that is respectful of others. I don’t think we should settle for anything other than that.

I hope you agree and I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read our side of the story. Please do share it with your family and friends so that they get a balanced view. It’s been a tough week for the RNLI, but with the courage and support of our people – people like you – we’ll continue to save lives, just as we always have.

Paul Boissier
RNLI Chief Executive

kalapattar Wed 13-Jun-18 21:55:42

It's beyond contempt that many of our national 'papers' would try to discredit a valuable charity like the RNLI in order to get advertising clicks from such a misleading story which is bound to generate controversy - except it is totally untrue.

I hope the RNLI hasn't suffered any reputational or financial damage.

Allegorical Wed 13-Jun-18 22:08:19

Sorry but An equality and diversity officer does not deserve a wage of £40k, especially for a charity. What a waste of money for what is essentially a tick box job and not one that needs many qualifications or skills. I earn that as a professional with 6 years worth of study for qualifications in a clinical role that is actually essential.
I won’t be giving any more money to this charity. It really annoys me how many ridiculous over paid jobs there are when people with actual skills are so underpaid.
Mind you I think I have been put of donating my money to most of the big charities recently. So much waste.

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