The Blueprint said this had been the most successful round of applications since the launch of the diversity mark in June 2020.
They take the number of agencies with The Blueprint status to four, following Manifest and Stronger Stories, with the number of Ally agencies rising to seven - Cirkle, Ready10, Blurred and InFusion Comms previously secured that status.
The latest contingent secured the marks after completing a 40-question application form detailing their existing commitment to diversity. Awarded agencies sign up to a series of commitments, from publishing diversity data to tackling ethnic and gender pay gaps, aimed at encouraging diversity from work experience to boardroom. Applicants must secure more than 70 points to secure Ally status and 101 points to achieve The Blueprint status.
Among the initiatives and approaches introduced by Hope&Glory were: blind recruitment; compulsory unconscious bias training for all staff; broadened its supplier network to include smaller businesses; launching a speaker series showcasing diverse speakers; offering paid time off to staff to support causes they’re passionate about; and holding focus groups with colleagues from BME backgrounds.
Jo Carr, co-founder and chief client officer, said: “We want an environment where people can bring their whole selves to work each day and don’t feel they have to be someone else when they cross the threshold of the agency. We are humbled to have been awarded full Blueprint status for our efforts so far, but also recognise this is not the end of a journey, but rather the start of living up to our commitment.”
Ketchum UK's recent initiatives have included relaunching its London’s Inclusion Council to drive progress in four areas including client discussions around diversity and inclusion; enhancing its ‘Friends of Ketchum UK’ diversity and inclusion network to include internal and client-facing workshops; and partnering with Future Frontiers in a six-week career coaching programme with 30 students from lower income backgrounds.
It also achieved Silver status in the Creative Equals scheme, becoming the highest scoring organisation in the accreditation’s history, and won the Diversity & Inclusion category at the 2020 PRWeek Best Places to Work Awards.
Ketchum UK CEO Jo-ann Robertson said: “Being awarded The Blueprint is an important milestone for Ketchum UK UK as we seek to deepen our inclusive culture and build a truly diverse business. The Blueprint is recognition for the progress we have made, but more importantly it is a public declaration of our commitment to accelerate our progress for our people and our clients.”
Elizabeth Bananuka, founder/CEO of Blueprinted, which runs The Blueprint scheme, said: “In the midst of the Black Lives Matter backlash, the latest round of Blueprinted organisations gave the judges and I something unexpected, hope. There was so much innovation, deep commitment, great leadership, bold targets, measurable results, transparency and accountability in their applications. We were left with a real sense that Hope&Glory, Ketchum UK, CCgroup, Cowshed and Harvard have done the hard work of looking at themselves, looking at the structural inequalities that may exist in their businesses and sought ways to make meaningful, measurable change that would support the recruitment, retention and promotion of black, Asian, mixed race and ethnic minority pros."
Bananuka, who is also the founder of BME PR Pros, added: "Not all change will make great PR but I believe a lot of changes these organisations have made – far too many to name here – will make a positive difference to the working lives of the people they work with and, bit by bit, the industry. Congratulations to Hope&Glory and Ketchum UK for securing The Blueprint and CCgroup, Cowshed and Harvard for securing The Blueprint Ally status. It’s an honour to have the diversity mark associated with such great inspiring businesses doing good and important work.”
Applications were marked by an independent judging panel: Henry Rowling (founder, Flying Cars innovation agency); Sasha Daly (advocacy and influencing consultant); Olivia Danso (writer and Blueprint project manager) and Nyree Connell (healthcare policy manager and Blueprint strategy advisor).
The scheme has four application rounds a year, with the next deadline on Thursday 4 March 2021. Applications can be requested via the website. It will be open to in-house teams from June 2021.
The diversity mark is part of a series of initiatives to be rolled out by Blueprinted and BME PR Pros over the next two years aimed at promoting ethnic diversity in PR and comms.