1. Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion
  2. Our commitment to being an anti-racist organisation
  3. The Halo Code
  4. Our commitment to the LGBTQ+ community
  5. Gender pay gap
  6. Living wage employer
  7. Other work on protected groups

Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion

Following the murder of George Floyd, we - like many other organisations - were forced to take a hard look at our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.

In doing so, it became clear that the values that we aspire to were not matched by our actions, particularly when it came to being anti-racist organisation. We know that we have to do better, not just as an anti-racist organisation, but as an organisation that actively supports all communities who have experienced discrimination, exclusion and violence.

In September 2020, we started working with an external provider on a two-year programme to create and deliver a comprehensive and sustainable strategy to embed equity, diversity and inclusion in all our policies and practice.   

The process has already begun and we have started making changes in some important areas of our work.

We know these are only first steps, but we are determined that our commitment to EDI will help us shape an organisation which is enriched by diversity, and which will be better placed to meet the needs of the children, young people and families we aim to serve.

Our commitment to being an anti-racist organisation

We recognise that racism is deeply ingrained in the UK’s cultural and social systems and has a major impact on the lives and mental health of children and families.

We realise that to address this issue, we need to look at ourselves first, so that we can become an authentic anti-racist organisation. Our EDI programme is developing and is our first significant step on this journey.


We owe it to those who have suffered racism and the children and families we serve to become a more diverse organisation. We need to listen to them, learn from them and understand them if we are to meet their needs. George Floyd’s legacy must be that all organisations should recoil from complacency and be vigilant, and acknowledge their responsibility to fight racism, discrimination and promote equity. We have been complacent. We know that we can, and must, do better.

Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive, Anna Freud Centre

What we are now doing:

Increasing capacity:

  • We are recruiting an EDI Lead to support the development and implementation of the Centre’s EDI strategy.

Including diverse communities:

  • We have started a bursary programme for staff and trainees from minoritised communities which we will develop into a comprehensive programme.
  • We have signed up to the Halo Code, the UK’s first Black hair code which champions the right of staff and protects employees who come to work with natural hair and protective hairstyles associated with their racial, ethnic, and cultural identities.

Building knowledge:

  • We have reviewed our library and are selecting anti-racism, diversity and inclusivity books and resources.

Opening dialogue:

  • We have established a staff Anti-Racism Working Group to inform our strategy. This will report directly to our Board of Trustees.

Improving and sharing resources:

- We have started to develop and share new resources for schools to promote anti-racism in education.

The Halo Code

We champion the right of staff to embrace all Afro-hairstyles. We acknowledge that Afro-textured hair is an important part of our Black employees’ racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious identities, and requires specific styling for hair health and maintenance. We celebrate Afro-textured hair worn in all styles including, but not limited to, afros, locs, twists, braids, cornrows, fades, hair straightened through the application of heat or chemicals, weaves, wigs, headscarves, and wraps. In our workplace, we recognise and celebrate our colleagues’ identities. We are a community built on an ethos of equality and respect where hair texture and style have no bearing on an employee's ability to succeed.

Our commitment to the LGBTQ+ community

We recognise that young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and other communities, are roughly two-and-a-half times more likely to have a mental health problem than young people compared to young people who identify as cis-gendered or heterosexual.

LGBTQ+ young people also report higher rates of suicidal ideation, suicidal behaviour, mood and anxiety disorder symptoms, as well as emotional distress when compared to heterosexual young people.

We know that much of this distress is caused by rejection, or fear of rejection, and discrimination.

Some actions we have taken

  • We have set up a staff LGBTQ+ Working Group to feed into our EDI review.
  • We have developed and shared resources and toolkits with thousands of schools on supporting LGBTQ+ children and young people.


There is no question that the way we, as a society, respond to the sexuality or gender identity of others is often detrimental to their mental health. It is profoundly wrong that people we know and love fear rejection from their friends and families, from their colleagues and workplaces, and feel vulnerable to abuse and fear violence, simply because of their sexual identity.

Being accepted is a human need. It is not a privilege to have that need met, but a basic right, one from which all other opportunities flow. When we can all assert our individuality and flourish, and when we have the respect we need to feel proud of who we are, we will have a fairer society.

Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive, Anna Freud Centre

Gender pay gap

While the Centre's gender pay gap compares favourably with that of organisations across the whole UK economy, we are committed to further reducing the gap. With this in mind, we continue to provide:

  • a family friendly workplace that gives equal opportunities to all employees irrespective of gender;
  • enhanced occupational maternity pay of eight weeks at 100% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, followed by 18 weeks at 50% of their average weekly earnings, with the last 13 weeks of paid maternity leave at the statutory rate; 
  • enhanced flexible working policies, extending flexible working requests to all staff, rather than just those with the statutory requirement of a minimum of 26 weeks’ service;
  • a high number of part-time roles. In April 2019, 66.35% of our roles were part-time and 81.39% of these were occupied by women. In April 2020, 74.9% of our roles were part-time and 79.36% of these were occupied by women.

Gender Pay Gap report 2019/2020

Living wage employer

The Centre is a Living Wage Employer proudly working with the Living Wage Foundation to promote the real Living Wage. The real Living Wage is higher than the government’s minimum, or National Living Wage, and is an independently calculated hourly rate of pay that is based on the actual cost of living. It is calculated each year and is announced by the Living Wage Foundation as part of Living Wage Week. It is currently £9.50 in the UK, with a higher rate of £10.85 for London, reflecting the higher costs of living in the capital. We exceed this by offering a minimum rate of £13.46 to our employees. This commitment applies to not only directly employed staff but also to our third party contracted staff. We ensure that all our third party contracted staff, such as our cleaners, are paid this enhanced rate.

The Centre's Living Wage commitment applies to not only directly employed staff but also to our third party contracted staff. The Centre has ensured that all our third party contracted staff, such as our cleaners, are paid the real Living Wage.

Discover more about the Living Wage.

Other work on protected groups

We have established two new working groups on neurodiversity and people who self-identify as working class.

We are developing our plans on all protected characteristics including age, disability and faith, and those unprotected in law but identified as a priority.

Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion will embrace marginalised and minoritised groups of people so that our work and our lives can be informed and enriched by their experiences.

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