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If you are not a TAF member and would like to find out more about joining, take a look at all the great TAF member benefits here or get in touch with us directly and we would be happy to discuss.


Your hands are already full to overflowing with the endless pressures, demands and responsibilities of a workplace where everything needed to be done yesterday. So, it’s unsurprising that you quite simply don’t have time to think about D&I (diversity and inclusion) in your business. Or, you might think it’s for bigger companies with massive resources, and that it doesn’t apply to you at the smaller end of the scale.

In truth, there are many and varied narratives around D&I in small businesses all over the country.

Perhaps you’d love to get fully behind D&I, but you’re too time-poor to make any serious headway. Or, do you fall in to the “Why bother?” camp. You might not yet know enough about D&I to understand the benefits to your businesses and to society. So, you choose to sidestep it.

Do any of these scenarios resonate? If so, you’re in the right place. Read on.

Why D&I Matters So Much

Sitting comfortably? Good.

Take a second and visualise the people who hold power and authority in society. Hold that thought.

Now, take a closer look at them.

  • Which groups are overrepresented and which groups are underrepresented?

Move in a little bit closer still.

  • How many women are in that picture?
  • How many black women?
  • How many gay, black women?
  • How many gay, black women with disabilities are there?

Fact check: This distributional skew isn’t because one group of people is more capable or has a higher IQ than other groups. It’s because conventional systems and structures favour some groups of people more than others, and create more barriers for some groups than others.

It’s the byproduct of historical and structural inequalities and racism. They’ve been ingrained in to society for centuries, at an individual, organisational and structural level, interwoven into our –

  • Systems
  • Processes
  • Policies
  • Behaviour
  • Language
  • Culture

You might be surprised to learn that all of these combined influences make you biased at some level, even if you aren’t aware of it. It’s the result of a lifetime of absorbed stereotypes, culture, gender, society, family and life experiences.

The good news about bias- whether you’re aware of having any or not – is that there’s plenty you can do to mitigate it, because the brain is malleable and capable of positive change.

What’s D&I Got to Do with Your Business?

As a leader, it’s your responsibility to identify any bias that exists and to implement interventions to mitigate it. Otherwise, it’s unlikely that you’re providing equal access to opportunities to everybody. There aren’t any brownie points to be scored for doing it. It’s simply the right thing to do in contemporary and progressive society.

It might be challenging to think about bias in this way. But if it makes you feel uncomfortable or threatens you, it’s probably because you’re used to privilege. That’s why providing equity for others can subconsciously feel like something’s being taken away from you.  

So, how can you shift your mindset?

In truth, levelling the playing field and promoting equity takes a lot more than education. It takes positive and accelerated action. This is 2022, after all! The days are long gone of waiting for those at the top of the tree to wake up and smell the coffee, with a drip feed of improvement from one generation to the next.  

Does this ruffle your feathers or make you feel defensive? If so, that’s not a bad sign. In fact, it’s a plum opportunity to reframe your attitude and consider why you feel like this.

But D&I is so much more than the morally right thing to do. In addition, can supercharge your competitive edge, because diversity of thought and input empowers businesses to –

  • Innovate
  • Be more competitive
  • Boost profitability
  • Enhance employee satisfaction
  • Increase productivity
  • Improve staff retention

There are whole rafts of research that demonstrate how well-managed diverse teams outperform well-managed homogeneous teams. Do a quick Google search on McKinsey, Deloitte or Hall & Partners, and get stuck in!

Or, if you don’t need any further convincing, then stay tuned for my Top 10 D&I hacks coming soon in the next article.

For more information and tips to help you get started with D&I, please contact Shelley Green at EDI Connect.


TAF member-only content

This content is only available to Trade Association Forum members, if you are a member please log in below and you will be able to view the content.

If you are from a TAF member organisation but do not have an account yet, please contact secretariat@taforum.org and we will set you up, or you can speak to the lead contact for TAF at your organisation who will be able to set you up.

If you are not a TAF member and would like to find out more about joining, take a look at all the great TAF member benefits here or get in touch with us directly and we would be happy to discuss.



The Trade Association Forum in partnership with the Chartered Institute for Public Relations (CIPR) are delighted to launch a new networking group for PR and PA professionals working in Trade Associations.

The TAF PR and Public Affairs Best Practice Forum (TAF PUBCOM) held its first meeting on 22nd September and agreed a remit to:

  • Provide a professional network for PR and PA staff working in trade associations
  • Support trade association PR and public affairs staff to develop their skills and professional careers, including through the provision of tailored training and development and CPD learning opportunities
  • Share best practice, discuss challenges and initiate benchmarking and research into the challenges faced by PR and public affairs in trade associations
  • Provide mentoring and support to those looking to grow and develop their career in PR and public affairs within trade associations
This is a fantastic initiative, which I am delighted to be part of. I am looking forward to developing a community of professionals and delivering a useful and engaging programme which supports our professional and personal development
Tom Reynolds
CEO of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association and Chair of the new TAF PUBCOM
We are delighted to collaborate with TAF to launch this new network to help support public relations and public affairs professionals to meet their peers working in similar organisations and learn from each other.

In times of turbulence and change, the role of trade associations to communicate with and on behalf of their members is crucial. This new initiative will help us develop and build collectively and undoubtedly be a valuable resource.
Alastair McCapra
Alastair McCapra
CIPR Chief Executive

For more information about the network please contact TAF CEO, Emily Wallace, or register for updates below:

We are delighted to launch our 2022 Benchmarking Survey covering salary & benefits and the economic outlook across the UK association sector.

We are once again partnering with leading recruitment consultancy, Ellwood Atfield, to conduct the fieldwork and will be launching the research at an in-person event in London in November.

To give us the most complete picture of our sector we are encouraging all UK associations to complete the survey where possible.

In addition and in response to current member concerns and priorities, this year we have also included: 

  • Financial benchmarking questions to help to better understand the financial resilience of the sector, and the impact of the current economic challenges on the financial health of Associations
  • A section on your experiences of recruitment over the past year,  reflecting member concerns about the challenging labour market
  • Questions relating to flexible working to help benchmark how our working practices have changed post pandemic
  • Additional questions in relation to staff benefits reflecting concerns around the need to better support and retain staff

The survey is for Trade Associations only and the final report will be given free to all those that complete the survey. For anyone else, the report will be available for a fee. This is to maximise and encourage participation and recognise the commitment and time taken to complete the survey.


Alongside our partner the Chartered Institute for Public Relations (CIPR), TAF is launching a Public Affairs & Communications Best Practice Forum (PUBCOMM) for staff in trade associations who are responsible for member engagement, PR and public affairs activity. 

If you would like to be kept informed about PUBCOMM’s work please register below:

Successful Trade Associations are built on excellent communications

There is no doubt that successful trade associations are built on excellent communications, but keeping pace with modern professional communications is an enduring and significant challenge. 

Trade associations are small organisations, almost all employ less than 100 staff, most less than 20 and many under 10. They certainly don’t have the luxury of being able to employ a fully skilled team of communications professionals. 

Instead, individuals take on multiple roles, upskilling themselves and learning on the job. Getting the balance of skills right to be able to take on, PR, public affairs, member engagement, corporate and digital communications is a constant challenge.

Their work really matters, and their communications does too. It needs to help them punch well above the size of their organisations. 

It is only through excellent communicators that associations can properly represent their sector both in the UK and abroad, and with it shape the opportunities for their members and support the growth of the UK economy too.

Their communication with regulators and policymakers is critical. It makes policy workable. Without trade associations, the Government would have a really hard job implementing policy. Not only do associations spend huge amounts of time working on the details of regulation and guidance, but they then communicate it to their members and drive compliance too.

As the voice of their industry there is a huge responsibility to be visible and be accurate, and as member led organisations, trade associations must ensure they represent their views and interests. This means they need excellent channels of communication with members and a strong feedback loop too.

Trade associations also deliver essential communications to ensure industry standards are understood and adhered to. They put in place accreditation programmes, run regular training sessions, develop routes to entry through apprenticeships and vocational learning, support continued professional development, share best practice and reward excellence. 

These communications make us all safer by protecting consumers and businesses and supporting public sector inspection regimes.

There is no doubt that investing in the skills and resources needed to have a professional communications capability is critical for associations. 

This is why TAF has teamed up with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations to work together to ensure that Associations have access to the best professional development opportunities, and why together we are looking at how to build networks and develop best practice specifically for Associations. 

If you are interested in finding out more or getting involved, we would love to hear from you. 

CIPR announce new Partnership with the Trade Association Forum

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is delighted to announce a strategic partnership with  The Trade Association Forum to support the development of networks, discussion forums and best practice guidance for all those working in communications roles in UK Trade Associations.

Trade Associations are built on good communications, often the voice of their sector, they have small teams that rely on excellent communications, with members, with their sector, with the media, regulators and policy makers.

Working together the CIPR and TAF will look to improve the training and development offer for those working in communications in trade associations. 

The partnership will also promote the importance of  investing in professional communications to support Trade Associations across all of their communications activities, from PR to member communications, to marketing and public affairs 

TAF Interim CEO Emily Wallace said: 

Trade Associations are small organisations that need to punch above their weight with their communications. I am delighted to be working with the CIPR to support TAF members to learn about the value of investing in their communications capabilities. ”

Alastair McCapra, Chief Executive of CIPR stated: 

“Trade Associations are built on good communications. Often the voice of their sector, they have small teams that rely on excellent communications, with members, with their sector, with the media, regulators and policy makers. This partnership will support members of both bodies in sharing best practice and by providing networking opportunities.


The Trade Association Forum is the association for association in the UK, representing more than 140 trade associations who in turn represent more than 135,000 businesses from all sectors of the economy.

CIPR is the world’s only Royal Chartered body for public relations professionals. We are committed to professional standards and lifelong learning, supporting careers of members and building public understanding of public relations. 

For more information please contact: 

TAF: Emily Wallace, CEO – ceo@taforum.org 

Darren Caplan is the CEO of RIA. He joined us to discuss who RIA are, what their priorities are, how TAF helps them achieve their goals, and the awards won by both RIA and Darren at the 2022 TAF Awards.

Trade Association Forum and Institute of Association Leadership join forces to develop new leadership programme and resources for trade associations.

The Institute of Association Leadership and the Trade Association Forum have announced that the two organisations will be merging.

The Institute of Association Leadership is the professional community for current and future chief executives and c-suite professionals who lead within the unique environment of the membership sector.

The Trade Association Forum is the leading representative body for associations in the UK, helping associations to engage, improve and lead their sectors.

The merger will see both organisations combine their resources to form a strengthened leadership and development offer for the association sector. 

The integration of resources and collaboration around the development of a new leadership programme will start with immediate effect. 

From January 2023, the Trade Association Forum will take full responsibility for the leadership and development programmes currently delivered by both organisations. 

Simon Forrester, Director of the Institute of Association Leadership said: 

“After careful consideration by the IAL Collective, we approached the Trade Association Forum to discuss how we can work together to further support those operating in or seeking an association leadership position. We quickly realised the natural home for association leaders is within a single, stronger body dedicated to best practice in this sphere. This merger of the two organisations will deliver significant benefit to both TAF and IAL members, and further promote the development of the Compass competency framework.”

Gaynor Pates, Chair of the Trade Association Forum said:

“The Trade Association Forum exists to support the development of best practice amongst associations to enable them to champion and support businesses across all sectors of the economy. 

“We are delighted that this merger with IAL will allow for the development of a new and strengthened programme for leaders and future leaders of trade associations. 

For more information contact: 

Emily Wallace

Chief Executive, Trade Association Forum


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