We are implementing a comprehensive and reinvigorated plan of work to improve, update and embed the charity’s approach to equity, diversity and inclusion.

Group of women


We are committed to zero discrimination both internally and externally regardless of visible or invisible difference such as sex, sexual orientation, age, race, ethnicity, disability, impairment, learning difference or long-term condition, religion or belief, gender identity, economic class, marital/civil partnership, family status including single and all parents, socio-economic background and pregnancy and maternity.   

We know that to meet this commitment and to drive real change, we need to face into the reality that inequality, discrimination and racism are systemic. We have a responsibility to our people and to our charity beneficiaries to examine our own culture, practices and policies. We also have a responsibility to highlight inequalities, influence externally and to work with others to bring about better experiences and more equitable outcomes. 

We are partnering with the social justice charity brap to affect a major culture shift in our equity, diversity and inclusion practices. Together with the formation of a charity-wide Diversity Network, brap are supporting us to implement a comprehensive and reinvigorated plan of work to improve, update and embed the charity’s approach to equity, diversity and inclusion. 


NCT has a proud heritage of campaigning for social justice and driving positive change for pregnant women and new parents. Persistent inequalities exist in outcomes for women, babies and families, and there is clearly much more to do to ensure truly inclusive services and support.  

In their 2020 report, MBRRACE-UK highlighted a constellation of biases demonstrating that our health and social care system does not work well for women with multiple and complex problems. Women living in the most deprived areas are three times more likely to die than those who live in the most affluent areas, demonstrating the need for broader action across community and public health, in addition to maternity services.   

Evidence from MBRRACE-UK has also shown stark inequalities for women in relation to ethnicity. Black women are four times as likely to die during pregnancy or after birth compared to white women, while mixed-race women are three times as likely and Asian women are twice as likely to die.  

The inequalities and persistent disadvantages faced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic pregnant women and new parents in the UK have been brought into sharp relief by the coronavirus pandemic. Analysis has found that black pregnant women are eight times more likely to be admitted to hospital with coronavirus, while Asian women are four times as likely. 

At NCT, we have an important role to play in highlighting inequalities and working in partnership with others to bring about better experiences and more equitable outcomes. We recognise that we have more to do to become an open, inclusive and diverse charity so we can support all parents, whatever their situation, background, ethnicity, community or needs.  

NCT’s approach to equity, diversity and inclusion

During 2020, we set out to develop a comprehensive and reinvigorated plan of work to improve, update and embed the charity’s approach to equity, diversity and inclusion.  

The first stage of action taken focused on three things:   

  1. Appointing an external inclusion adviser. During 2020, we appointed brap, the social justice charity, to act as a critical catalyst for reflection, learning, collaboration and change. brap have undertaken listening activity across the charity, holding a range of facilitated workshops with our community, and what they've learned and shared with us is informing our plans and priorities. 

  1. Increasing the diversity of our Board of Trustees. During 2020, we took positive action to increase the diversity of our Board of Trustees, and build our capacity in terms of skills and lived experience. At our 2020 AGM, we welcomed Franciane Husbands-Chevot and Chi Evi-Parker to our Board as Trustees. We also introduced three new independent Committee members to support the work of our Board, Salima Shariff, Ema Ojiako and Faran Johnson. Trustees have since appointed Ema to the Board as a Trustee. Together, they bring a wealth of professional and lived experience to our Board and Committees. 

  1. Establishing an NCT Diversity Network. During 2020, we invited our community to join a newly formed Diversity Network, to provide a safe space to explore issues, identify opportunities, learn together, co-produce work and policies, and to build a community of consultees and champions for equity, diversity and inclusion at NCT. Over 40 people have joined the Network so far, and we are supporting the Network to get established and extend their engagement and influence. The Network recently elected four Co-Chairs, representing our staff, student, practitioner and volunteer communities to provide the cross-charity leadership to take forward the Network’s next phase of work.

The next stage involves further detailed work across specific aspects of our culture, work and practices. We are investing in a programme of work over the next year with a focus on:   

  1. Strengthening our People directorate with new senior and specific appointments focused on culture and inclusion. We have appointed a Director of People, Education and Inclusion and are committed to building our skills, capabilities, policies, and processes to build a diverse, open and inclusive workforce and culture. 

  1. Developing and undertaking a baseline diversity survey for our volunteer, practitioner, student and staff teams. The results of this survey will be used to inform our future workforce and volunteer recruitment and development plans.

  1. Conducting a root and branch review of our recruitment and induction practices, and taking positive action to increase the diversity of our volunteer, practitioner, student and staff teams.   

  1. Developing The Affinity network, a support network for NCT’s Black and Brown practitioners, students and staff, led by experienced Senior Practitioners voluntarily. It was created in July 2021 and is a safe space where issues of racism and discrimination can be shared and discussed with a higher degree of understanding, sensitivity and trust. This may consist of respectful and confidential discussion on WhatsApp, online or face to face, focussing on supporting each other by sharing experiences. The network works with the Diversity Network to collaborate with NCT and improve the organisation’s understanding of discrimination in areas such as assessment, teaching, learning, recruitment and career progression. Contact chaya@positivebirth.org if you'd like to find out more.

  2. Undertaking a holistic review of our parent feedback and quality review processes and approach, to reduce the risks of bias and discrimination. We wanted to learn from best practice and look at our approach through an EDI lens. As a result, we are launching a new approach to parent feedback, practitioner assessment, quality support and peer review. We have also committed to a continuing programme to tackle bias through learning and development for the teams involved in this important work.

  3. Developing a programme of CPD, learning and development for our staff, practitioners, students and volunteers, including anti-racism and anti-discriminatory practice, as well as work to support wellbeing in the workplace.   

  4. Designing our new model of education to include specific modules which equip future practitioners in terms of cultural and social competence, including anti-oppressive practice. In the academic year 21/22 we will pilot a new dedicated module on anti-discriminatory practice, which we have co-produced with brap, for all our new Cert HE students and their mentors. Diane Rutherford from brap will join us as an Associate Tutor to deliver this aspect of our new perinatal education course. 

  5. Ensuring a focus on diversity and inclusion is embedded in every workstream within our plan for the years ahead, including our content and communications, volunteer and practice support, service delivery, quality assurance, campaigning and influencing, and complaint handling.   

Externally, we are supporting the call for evidence for the inquiry into racial injustice in UK maternity services led by Birthrights and have joined the RCOG Race Equality Taskforce. We continue to raise awareness of key Black maternal health campaigns including those led by FiveXMore and The Motherhood Group, which are bringing vital attention to the inequalities in outcomes experienced by Black women. As a charity with a proud heritage in campaigning for social justice, we are prioritising this external work to bring about better experiences and more equitable outcomes. 

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