Back in November I wrote about the new client/consultancy charter we’d co-created with a handful of our clients. It was just one of the many things we’d either revised or created ahead of our Blueprint submission. And today, I’m thrilled to reveal that CCgroup has been ‘Blueprinted’, having attained ‘Ally’ status.
What does this mean? Well, it means that CCgroup has been recognised as a PR agency where people from diverse backgrounds can expect fair and equitable treatment. It’s horrendous to think that such a scheme should even have to exist. But if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that people of colour, in particular, do not receive the same opportunities as their white counterparts. And that the PR industry is no exception.
CCgroup is now one of 11 UK-headquartered PR agencies to be ‘Blueprinted’. And encouragingly the cohort we’re a part of contains a couple of very large agencies. And, pleasingly, two tech specialists.
In some respects, this is disappointing. There are literally thousands of PR agencies in the UK. But it’s not surprising. Why? Because the Blueprint only launched in June 2020. Because there judging process is time-consuming and robust. And because it is really, really difficult.
I’ll be honest, when Blueprint launched I thought we’d easily make the grade. We’d done quite a lot of work on diversity, equity and inclusion. We’d created policies, conducted a lot of training, made DEI a board-level issue. But when we received the application form, it was clear we had a long way to go.
I’ve said it before, but it bears saying again: the Blueprint is an amazing piece of work. It’s been put together so mindfully, it’s so thorough and it forces you to think really hard about your agency’s commitment to diversity. In short, the Blueprint doing precisely what it set out to do. It’s a proper commitment and every agency that decides to apply will become a better place to work – for everyone - as a result.
So, we’ve been reviewing and workshopping our policies, putting in place objective systems for promotion and training and development, ripping apart our job descriptions to remove unconscious bias, addressing any gender or ethnic pay gaps. We’ve been challenging our suppliers on their commitment to diversity. We’ve been asking our recruiter partners to commit to providing 33% diverse shortlists and making decisions about who we continue to work with and who we don’t. And, of course, we’ve put in place a charter to enshrine our commitments to, and expectations of, our clients.
And now, as Elizabeth told us, the hard work begins. Because being Blueprinted is just the start. In order to retain and develop our status, we have to demonstrate continued progress. We’re being briefed on what, specifically, we need to do in the coming month. But more broadly, all Blueprinted agencies sign up to 23 commitments.
If you are in a position of responsibility in your agency and haven’t looked into the Blueprint yet, then you really must. If you are a client of PR agencies and haven’t looked into Blueprint yet, then you really should. It’s good for the team, good for clients, good for agency businesses and, of course, good for the PR industry. Not to mention the bigger societal impact if more PR agencies and clients made firmer commitments to DEI.
If you’d like to see any of the policies and processes we put in place to get CCgroup ready for the Blueprint, just drop me a line. This isn’t an issue one agency, or in-house team, will be able to fix. It’s going to take real change, from an entire industry. Are you in?