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Bridging the Gap - Tender Opportunity

Increasing BAME recruitment to Lived Experience Leadership opportunities at Mind

The Project

At Mind We have identified a discrepancy between the ethnicities of those that apply to take part in lived experience leadership roles and those that are shortlisted and interviewed.  We recognise that our own structures and practices must be improved and we must be proactive in challenging ourselves to recognise and address racial bias.

To address these issues we are looking for an organisation who can involve people from Black, Asian and/or mixed heritage communities in an ongoing co-productive process to explore the issues and develop a co-designed ‘static product’ to help bridge the gap between application and shortlisting. 

The project must be carried out in line with Mind’s Lived Experience Influence and Participation policy. Mind will make participation payments to people with lived experience taking part.

The work will take place in two phases between November 2020 – April 2021

The total budget available for the project is £8,500 inclusive of VAT


Mind is the leading mental health charity working in England and Wales. We work hard to understand the needs and experiences of people with mental health problems. This drives everything we do, and, wherever we can, we actively seek opportunities for people with lived experience of mental health problems to get involved with our work and share decision making.

Mind defines ‘lived experience influence and participation’ as: 

“The development and promotion of opportunities in order that a diverse range of people, with lived experience of mental health problems, influence and participate in our work. This recognises that people want to take part in a variety of different ways and there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach.” 

You can read more about Influence and Participation in our toolkit on Mind's website. 

Project Scope 

As a charity that puts people at the heart of its work, we want everyone to be able to take part and influence what we work on and how we go about it. Last year almost 18,000 people influenced our work, of these, 13.7% identified their ethnicity as Black, Asian or mixed heritage. Although we appreciate that these figures are quite close to being reflective of the ethnic diversity of the U.K. population, we also know and acknowledge that marginalised groups tend to have higher rates of mental health problems than the general population.

Percentage experiencing a common mental health problem in any given week by ethnicity:    

  • White British              17% 
  • White Other               14% 
  • Black & Black British  23% 
  • Asian & Asian British  18% 
  • Mixed & other           20%"     

In addition, people from these communities often face individual and societal challenges that can affect access to healthcare services, and more generally, affect their mental and physical health.

More information about our work in this area can be found here.

We have noticed the following: 

  1. Unsuccessful applications often lack detail or do not demonstrate how candidates meet the criteria
  2. Candidates with relevant skills, qualifications and experience often don’t make it past the shortlisting stage because of the above
  3. Typical shortlist profile is white, female, university educated and aged 45 - 54 
  4. Existing recruitment process may unwittingly be perpetuating institutionally biased assumptions and practices that are unfair to BAME communities

Note: We have noticed a similar trend with people identifying as LGBTQ+ and/or having a disability, these areas will be explored at a later stage. We also understand that each of these issues has a different cause. Some are society-wide systemic problems and others may be a result of Mind’s reach, internal systems and processes.

At Mind, we follow a fair recruitment process, widely used in the charitable sector, which requires applicants to demonstrate how they meet essential and desirable criteria for roles via an application form. This process is used for jobs and many lived experience roles. This project is intended to focus on lived experience roles, exploring the reasons behind the discrepancies and to identify the action(s) that can bridge the gap. For Lived Experience roles, the project managers are the ones who select via applications and make shortlisting decisions. However, the learning from this project will be shared with our Human Resources team to be considered for application to recruitment on a wider scale as appropriate and applicable.


Phase 1

Scoping/review stage – This involves looking at current learning and practice in the sector followed by the recruitment and setting up of a co-production group of up to eight individuals from Black, Asian or mixed heritage backgrounds. 

The facilitator will conduct 3 – 4 online workshops to explore the issues identified; including why we are seeing this pattern, internal processes contributing to this, potential solutions and any other areas relevant.

Scoping will be carried out with direction from Mind and will identify relevant activity that has looked at or used alternative fair recruitment approaches (inside & outside charitable sector) to ensure equity in recruitment practices for candidates from Black, Asian or mixed heritage backgrounds. The intention is to identify learning and good practice that may inform future processes.

Learning must be analysed and presented to Mind in report form (formatted in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint) 

Phase 2

This phase involves working with the lived experience group to co-design, test and evaluate an approach to bridge the gap in our current recruitment practices to Influence and Participation roles. The format of phase 2 will be agreed in January 2021 and will be dependent on the findings in phase 1 and social distancing rules. 

The approach should include a pilot phase to take place in March 2020, delivery of this will be supported by the Lived Experience Leadership Team and Equality Improvement Team. 

Expressing an interest

To be considered for this contract you will need to submit an expression of interest.

Organisations wanting to be considered must submit the following by the deadline specified: -

  1. List of key stakeholders that could potentially take part – people and organisations
  2. Your estimation of the number of days required to undertake the project.
  3. A project plan with an indicative budget
  4. CVs for consultants carrying out the work
    This should demonstrate experience of the following:
    1. Experience of working with and facilitating groups and workshops
    2. Experience of collating and analysing qualitative data and developing clear recommendations
    3. Understanding of structural racism and inequality
    4. Understanding of Equality legislation and its impact on recruitment processes.
  5. Two references that could demonstrate the organisations ability to do this work. These will only be contacted should you be selected to carry out this work.

Please also respond to the following questions (max 250 words per question):

  1. What are the principles of co-production? How will you embed them in this project?
  2. Describe a project you / your organisation has carried out analysing qualitative data and developed recommendations as a result
  3. How will you demonstrate you value peoples’ time and skills?

We are aware that an understanding of recruitment practices and an appreciation of mental health problems and services will be important for this project. As a result, while bearing in mind the budget for this project, we are open to this being a collaborative project between a number of organisations with different specialisms.

Deadline for expressions of interest: 9am Wednesday 11 November 2020

Send your expression of interest to: [email protected]

The project team will shortlist the expressions of interest received and inform organisations of next steps. Shortlisted organisations will be expected to present their plan on the week commencing 16th November.

If you have any queries about this tender please contact Chris Rowland [email protected].

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