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Football Foundation
Football Foundation
Diversity commitment

Diversity commitment

Message from our Chair

The Football Foundation (Foundation) values excellence in everything we do; from the facilities we develop, to the people we employ. We value diversity because we recognise that in being able to share ideas and solutions with people from different backgrounds, skills, experiences and perspectives, can lead to greater creativity and problem-solving, improved decision-making and increased organisational performance – and in the end, a better outcome. Putting diversity high on our agenda, will, therefore, not only help us to attract and develop the best talent available, but will help to secure the Foundation’s success.

Nonetheless, we know that there is much work to do in this area; not only at the Foundation, but in our sector generally. Statistics show that women, black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, and those with a disability, are significantly underrepresented in official positions across all sports organisations. While we appreciate that there are no quick fixes in tackling this, the Foundation is committed to play our part in driving the agenda for greater diversity, and helping to create lasting change in the sector.

Our diversity commitment is to develop a fully inclusive organisation, which recruits and attracts candidates from all sectors of society, and where all employees can develop and achieve their full potential. Specifically, for the Board, we are adopting a target of having a minimum of 30% of each gender on the Board, as well as progressing towards greater gender parity and diversity. Achieving these commitments will take time, and it will mean doing everything we can to attract a more diverse range of applicants, so that the Foundation is not only more representative of the wider society, but reflects the broad constituency we are trying to support.

The Foundation recognises that it has considerable work to do in achieving this, so we have created an action plan that sets out the steps we will take over the next 18 months. This plan is structured around three strategic, coordinated goals: effective recruitment, engagement and progressing talent from within. The associated steps we have identified will help us move towards our objective of developing a more diverse organisation, at all levels.

Valuing individual difference and the diversity this brings, is a belief that is strongly supported by the Foundation Board and Executive Team. Through our action-focused approach, and the commitment and focus this will bring, we hope that the Foundation will emerge, over time, with a greater diversity of thinking, broader perspectives, and a stronger and more resilient organisation.

Gary Hoffman
Independent Chairman
Board of Trustees

Progressing towards greater diversity

The Foundation Diversity Action Plan was created in October 2017 and this progress report summarises the progress made to date against the three strategic goals identified in the Chairman’s statement and referenced in the plan: effective recruitment, engagement and progressing talent from within.

It is recognised that there is still much more work to be done, but progress to date demonstrates that the Foundation is wholly committed to achieving greater diversity.

Effective recruitment

In mid-2017 the Foundation adopted targets of achieving a Board of Trustees that has a minimum of 30% of each gender and with at least 25% of Trustees being independent.

In May 2018 the Foundation recruited an additional, female independent non-executive Trustee, through an open, publicly advertised recruitment process. The Foundation Board now comprises eight trustees, of which three are female (33%) and two are independent (25%). Accordingly, the Foundation Board has achieved its minimum targets and will seek to achieve greater diversity in due course.

In addition, the Foundation has adopted a maximum term of office for non-ex-officio and independent Trustees to ensure that membership on the Board is reviewed and refreshed periodically, which is widely accepted as being good practice in corporate governance. This has resulted in three long-serving Trustees standing down, to be replaced by new Trustees, two of whom are women.

Our Grants Panel underwent a significant refresh in January 2018 to ensure that there was an appropriate balance of skills, experience, independence, knowledge and diversity. Three new members were appointed as part of this process, two of whom were women and one of whom was BAME. Further turnover will take place over the coming years, which will provide the opportunity to enhance diversity even further.

More broadly, steps have been taken across the Foundation to progress towards a more diverse Executive team. We have widened our recruitment, moving beyond sector-specific channels to reach new and diverse talent. We have also updated our recruitment materials to be more explicit about our ambition to develop a workforce that is more reflective of the broad, diverse national constituency that we aim to support, and which provides for the broadest range of opinions. We actively encourage candidates from all walks of life and backgrounds to apply to work for the Foundation.

Although it is still too early to assess the impact of these changes in our approach, we will continue to monitor the diversity of applications to join the Foundation and the success of our recruitment campaigns, to identify where further improvements could be made.


Our approach in this area has involved updating a number of our internal policies. This has included refreshing our equality and diversity and recruitment policies, as well as updating the Foundation’s family-friendly policies, to demonstrate that we are a flexible, family-friendly employer.

We have been raising awareness across the Foundation around the theme of unconscious bias, particularly with our line-managers and those involved with recruitment decisions, and will shortly be introducing a new equality and diversity module for all staff.

The Foundation is also looking to commission a training session for the Foundation’s executives and management team later in the year, to challenge perceptions about what diversity means in its broadest sense, i.e. beyond race, gender, or sexual orientation, and to continue to drive the agenda for greater diversity.

Progressing talent from within

We have reviewed our annual pay review process (salaries and bonus payments) for fairness and objectivity and changes have been made to address deficiencies in the process. Our process is aimed at identifying, and subsequently rewarding, our most talented individuals.

Furthermore, to ensure that staff salaries remain in line with the external market an external job evaluation for all roles is planned, and is likely to be commissioned between October and December 2018. 

This exercise will involve a comparison of roles that are deemed similar in terms of areas such as responsibility, autonomy and decision-making and matching this with the external market. This provides assurance to the Foundation, and its staff, that salary levels are both comparable and competitive with similar roles externally. It will also inform the Foundation’s compensation review process, and support the Foundation to make adjustments where necessary.

May 2018

Football Foundation