The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has published the results of its Inclusion, Diversity and Equality Review ahead of its annual Members’ Weekend, AGM and Conference, this year taking place from 21-23 April at The Octagon Centre, Sheffield. The report is the culmination of two years of research into identifying areas for improving inclusion, diversity and equality within the organisation, undertaken by a dedicated Review Group.
The Review came in response to discussions of discrimination and harassment in the wider beer and pub industry that took place throughout 2021-22 and was set up to look at how CAMRA could become more inclusive and welcoming. The Review Group was tasked with analysing existing policies, regional and national festivals, communications with members and non-members, disciplinary and complaints processes and procedures, and training requirements.
Thousands of CAMRA members and those in the wider industry gave their views, and the Group have now set out a number of recommendations in response to their findings, all of which have been accepted by the Campaign’s National Executive.
Recommendations from the Review include:
• Establishing a dedicated group to review CAMRA’s complaints and disciplinary processes, including introducing greater transparency and independence into the system
• Increasing support for local branches to recruit and activate new members
• Expanding training opportunities for volunteers, including on creating welcoming and accessible events and festivals
• Taking a collective approach to tackling discrimination, bullying and harassment, as everyone stands to benefit from increased inclusion within the Campaign
CAMRA has already begun to take action to create a more inclusive and welcoming experience for customers at festivals, this year launching a dedicated Festival Code of Conduct. It ensures that attendees, staff and volunteers at all CAMRA festivals know where they can raise feedback or get assistance if they need it. Alongside the Festival Code of Conduct, CAMRA has also improved its Feedback and Complaints procedures to make them more accessible.
CAMRA Vice-Chair, People Director and Review Group Facilitator Abigail Newton said: “This report is a statement from CAMRA to say that all people are important, all of our members are important, all visitors to our events are important, so we need to ensure that everyone that interacts with the organisation is made to feel that way.
“And, if something does go wrong, or if anything isn’t quite right or as they expected, we want people to feel that they can raise issues easily and know that we will deal with issues fairly and professionally. To put it simply, there’s no place for discrimination in the Campaign.”
CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona said: “This report is the result of the biggest consultation exercise with members and the wider industry since 2017. The findings highlight the recognition of where we haven’t got things right, learning from mistakes and putting new systems in place to prevent things going wrong again.
“Following the media coverage concerning The White Hart in Essex, it’s clear there was an issue with communication through different levels of our organisation, where policies have not been implemented properly. That’s something we all have to take responsibility for, and I’m pleased to be able to say, despite the sting that comes with the open press and social media discussion and criticism, we have responded robustly and will learn and emerge stronger as a result.”