Networks organising for success

A look at some of the recent work of the CSP diversity networks.


At the heart of engaging members, informing strategy and activity, and helping to hold CSP Council to account, are the three CSP diversity networks: BAME, DisAbility and LGBT+. Bringing together as many as 1,200 members from across the country, the diversity networks inform internal policy through, for example, the Annual Representative Conference, and wider policies through attendance at the annual TUC conferences.

As much as influencing decision-making, these and other events such as Pride raise the profile of BAME, disabled and LGBT members, and ultimately, the CSP as a whole. But the networks do much more than that.

In face-to-face meet ups, and in private interactive CSP networks and WhatsApp groups members provide mutual support and self-organise to overcome discrimination and barriers to career progression in the workplace and the profession.

This coming year, the BAME network is launching a mentoring scheme, tapping the experience of more senior physiotherapy staff to assist other members in advancing their professional lives.

Network members will also be cementing links with students, in a bid to build awareness of equality and diversity among a new generation of members, and to encourage them to take an active role in championing equality and diversity. ‘The diversity networks are looking forward to working more closely together with students and educators,’ says Mohammad Shoiab, co-convenor of the BAME network.

Closer links with stewards are also planned in order to take forward the promotion of diversity network membership and to enhance support to members facing discrimination at work, he adds. ‘The profession’s diversity is its great strength. By sharing knowledge and taking action together, CSP members can make the most of it.’

Lack of awareness of the networks remains a challenge, and so improving communications was a key theme addressed during a day in CSP headquarters in November where members of all three networks came together. A workshop led by CSP corporate communications manager Lucie Culkin guided delegates in developing messaging and strategies to effectively engage with members and the wider world.

Addressing difficulties disabled members face accessing different digital and print communications will remain a focus of work for the DisAbility network, explains co-convenor Erin Power. ‘We will also be continuing to raise awareness of neurodiversity and other hidden disabilities – and supporting members who present as such,’ says Erin. Both the DisAbility and LGBT+ networks will be collecting and sharing personal stories and examples of (and solutions to problem) issues in the workplace too.

The gathering in November was an opportunity to take stock of the recent achievements and activity of the networks. These included: promoting equality and diversity in the workplace; contributing to new CSP resources on equality and diversity; providing advice to each other through the diversity networks’ private networks; increasing understanding of how CSP Council works and developing personal links with council members, through a shadowing scheme; and, as every year, influencing more widely and making connections by participating in London Pride and the TUC Black Workers’ and Disabled Workers conferences.

Like his BAME and DisAbility network convenor counterparts, LGBT+ network lead Ian Scrase is keen to widen and deepen network participation: ‘Network members I speak to are all motivated by a desire to promote equality and diversity, to network, access and give support, and to learn and grow. My own experience is that I’ve gained a host of useful new skills. So, if that sounds like you, get involved!’

Five things you can do

  1. Find out more about the diversity networks and join
  2. If you are already a network member, share your experiences and promote our network in your workplace and professional networks
  3. Get more active in your diversity network(s) by engaging with other members on iCSP / WhatsApp
  4. Attend network events: the next joint diversity network session is November 11, 2020, at CSP headquarters. Dates for events run by individual networks will be announced shortly
  5. Update your member profile with equality and diversity info – this helps ensure CSP decision-making reflects the diversity of its membership

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