Exploring ‘Organisational White Privilege’

The Bendigo Reconciliation Committee has developed a FREE resource for mainstream community organisations to explore the issue of ‘organisational white privilege’.

The development of this resource grew out of a Conversation Circle arranged by the Bendigo Reconciliation Committee (BRC) and member agencies during the 2018 Reconciliation Week.  This Conversation Circle was a vehicle for dialogue and reflection between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people on the theme of building and working in partnership. The ‘Exploring Partnership’ Conversation Circle was one of four Conversation Circles organised during Reconciliation Week. (See attached report on the Conversation Circles held in Bendigo during Reconciliation Week 2018.)

In exploring the issue of white privilege as a key barrier to true partnership, the ‘Exploring Partnership’ Conversation Circle also explored the issue of ‘organisational white privilege’ and its impact on the relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and mainstream community based organisations.

Whilst it is commonly recognised that white privilege exists for individuals, the issue of white privilege existing for mainstream organisations is not always recognised, discussed or explored. It was agreed at the Conversation Circle that there was a need for a resource that enabled mainstream organisations to start the process of reflecting on their ‘organisational white privilege’, the benefits that exists for organisations by virtue of this privilege and also supporting actions that addressed ‘organisational white privilege’. Over the past few months the Bendigo Reconciliation Committee has worked on the development of this resource.

Please download the resource ‘Identifying and addressing organisational white privilege’.

The aim of this resource is to support organisations in exploring the nature of organisational white privilege, the circumstances in which it exists and provide some questions that organisations could use to explore their ‘organisational white privilege’ and its impact. It is hoped from these discussions within organisations that this will lead to actions that address the impact of ‘organisational white privilege’.

There are positive outcomes for mainstream organisations in starting the journey of exploring their ‘organisational white privilege’. These include:

  • Building the values base of the organisation.
  • Development of a reflective culture within an organisation on the issues of racism and white privilege and
  • Addressing the organisational issues, practices and culture that inhibit cultural safety for Aboriginal people.

In developing this resource the Bendigo Reconciliation Committee recognises that the exploration of ‘organisational white privilege’ can be a challenging space but it is a space we need to go to.

The resource does not include a detailed process for exploring ‘organisational white privilege’. Its focus is more on exploring the issue and posing questions. In light of this we are keen to link up with any organisation that is interested in exploring its ‘organisational white privilege’ and working with people to develop processes that enable these discussions to occur within their organisation. In the future we hope to gather and disseminate ideas and approaches to exploring ‘organisational white privilege’ within organisations.

For further information on this resource and how it could be used, you are welcome to contact John Bonnice through Innovative Resources.

Any feedback about the resource will be welcomed.

John Bonnice
Co-Chair, Bendigo Reconciliation Committee

Supporting Families – Shared Core Competencies

Loddon’s Children and Youth Area Partnership (CYAP) program finished on June 30, 2019. St Luke’s Innovative Resources is pleased to continue to make available the great work and thinking that took place developing core competencies to drive better outcomes for children, families and young people.

Loddon’s commitment to supporting families

Breaking the link between disadvantage and outcomes for children is complex.  Having high quality, accessible and culturally safe services is key to responding to the needs of children, young people and families who are experiencing vulnerability.  In addition to having a responsive system in place, in order to bring about long-term social change, we need to have strong and shared understanding of the drivers of vulnerability.  This knowledge needs to be widespread, spanning sectors and reaching leaders, practitioners and the community.

As a partnership we have committed to supporting our workforce, and where possible, our communities, to having access to vital information that will create a stronger system to drive better outcomes for our children, young people and families.

Our four areas of focus are:

  • Understanding trauma and brain development: understanding of brain science, and in particular the effect of trauma on brain development and behaviour and the impacts that can last throughout life.
  • Respecting culture and cultural differences: recognise and respect the cultural diversity in our community and is informed by an understanding of cultural history, difference, strengths, and safety and we use this to inform how we work.
  • Promoting social inclusion: including understanding the impact of poverty and other structural barriers to improved health and wellbeing for families, children and young people.
  • Sharing information and integrating our services: commitment to the appropriate and open sharing of information and the coordination of services to prevent harm and deliver optimum support.

Being skillful across the agreed four focus areas will assist us all to do our jobs better now and ensure we are well informed about possible pathways to reduce vulnerability into the future.

The partnership has developed assessment tools for organisations to identify policy and learning needs, along with fact sheets and other high-level information about each of the focus areas.  Information about suggested training and other useful resources is also available.

The information made available here will benefit any organisation or group committed to driving better outcomes for children, young people and families.