Specialist culture and entertainment agency Riot Communications has become the latest agency to secure The Blueprint diversity mark.
The Blueprint diversity mark aims to promote racial diversity in PR and communications. Awarded agencies sign up to a series of commitments aimed at encouraging diversity from training to boardroom to staff culture to recruitment and retention.
Riot became the sixth agency to achieve the highest recognition for their diversity and inclusion work, gaining full Blueprint status after completing the 40-question application form. Riot’s submission was marked by an independent panel of judges: Henry Rowling (founder, Flying Cars innovation agency); Sasha Daly (advocacy and influencing consultant); and Nyree Connell (healthcare policy manager and Blueprint strategy advisor).
Founded in 2008, Riot Communications exists to create a better world through the promotion of culture and entertainment. The agency, with a 30% Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Ethnic Minority (BME) workforce, has a longstanding reputation for creating inclusive work and promoting D&I in the cultural sector.
The agency’s Blueprint application revealed a deep and broad commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion and a high level of diversity literacy. In the last year, the agency overhauled their recruitment policies and procedures to directly speak to a diverse audience; updated their diversity strategy; updated staff contracts and handbooks to strengthen the D&I focus and went through the Investors in People certification securing a ‘Gold’ standard with diversity cited as a key strength. Furthermore, staff at Riot Communications attended extensive training courses aimed at promoting inclusive work and an inclusive workforce, and senior management have played a crucial role in promoting diversity and inclusion across the industries they work including hosting a cross-sector roundtable for senior leaders on improving access to culture.
Led by co-founder Preena Gadher, Riot Communications is the first BME-owned agency to become Blueprinted and the only agency to be successful in the latest application round.
Elizabeth Bananuka, Founder, BME PR Pros; Founder/CEO Blueprinted, said: “Riot Communications’ Blueprint application was a sheer joy to read. One of the smallest agencies to ever apply for The Blueprint, their size belies the incredible work the team do to promote diversity, equality, and inclusion in their workplace, in PR, in culture and entertainment. Aside from the number of policies and procedures the agency has put in place and the creative solutions they have found to make a big impact with a tiny workforce and limited budgets, what impressed the judges more than anything was the level of diversity literacy. They set a gold standard. A group of people that completely understand the invisible systemic barriers and inequalities that can impact the careers of talented BME PR and comms pros, and they are committed to dismantling each one. It’s an honour to award Riot Communications The Blueprint diversity mark.”
Preena Gadher, Managing Director said: “I am beyond thrilled that Riot has been awarded Blueprint status. The process has been stringent (rightly) and the excellent framework that Elizabeth and her team have created for the accreditation has been an invaluable tool. I had a sense Riot was already thinking along the right lines when it came to D&I, knowing first-hand what it is like to not belong, but the process has really challenged us to be more robust and pushed us to be more innovative in our practises. Blueprint accreditation for us, means the continuation of an on-going journey to be ever better.”
The Blueprint diversity mark has four application rounds a year and applications are judged by an independent panel who have taken part in a Blueprint diversity workshop. The deadline for the next round of agency applications is midday on Thursday 3 March 2022. Applications can be requested via the website.
The diversity mark will open to in-house teams in 2022.