The core activity of The Equity Index will be the development and regular updating of an index that measures how equitable UK international development organisations are internally, and in their work with the Global South. We will look at organisational policies, practices and partnerships. The objective is to rank organisations according to their performance against a set of indicators developed through extensive consultation across the sector. The index will be designed to ensure that it is applicable to the broadest possible range of international development actors. This may include:
We will focus on institutions working in the development, humanitarian and peacebuilding sectors.
The index will be comprised of two key components:
1. Internal indicators: A high-level organisational assessment based on available data, information from related indices, case study research, and information requests to development organisations. This will include an assessment of racial and gender equity, as well as several other components related to organisational systems.
Example areas of focus:
a. Existence of pro-active measures to recruit People of Colour, including from the Global South.
b. Existence of internal support groups or programmes for staff from under-represented groups.
c. Staff composition of who the organisation procures services from (for instance through consultants, service providers and sub-contractors)
2. External indicators: Based primarily, but not exclusively, on a crowd-sourcing exercise in the Global South designed to gain input on what truly equitable practices look and feel like, from the perspective of those that directly participate in and experience development activities in a wide range of contexts.
Example areas of focus:
a. Representation of people from the country in which the organisation operates in decision-making structures (for instance boards or advisory committees).
b. The share of the organisation’s financing spent in its headquarters, compared to country programmes.
c. Evidence of gender-balanced Southern leadership in programme development and management (including financial management).
The internal and external indicators will be crafted based on wide consultation.
We recognise that certain indicators have a higher or lower degree of relevance depending on the type of organisation and its mandate. We will therefore develop horizontal equity indicators that measure the same aspects of equity across all different types of organisations and vertical equity indicators that are tailored to organisations in specific parts of the sector, whether it be funding, research, programming, campaigning, and others.
Will we aim for breadth of depth?
There is a delicate balance to be struck between creating an index based on easily available data and crafting more complex indicators that measure deeper, sometimes more meaningful change. Developing a balanced set of equity indicators will be the focus of The Equity Index in its start-up phase. It is unrealistic to assume that there is an objective definition of both internal and external equity, or to believe that equity indicators can be developed in a vacuum based on metrics determined by us alone. Therefore, the indicator development process will be a collective and iterative one, working closely with stakeholders in the Global South who are most often at the receiving end of inequitable practices.