Case Study: the Kusaidia Community Project

Kusaidia Community Project provides advice, training and support for local black and minority ethnic people in the local area, with a particular focus on Swahili-speaking African communities. The project relies mainly on volunteers, but has three full-time paid workers and some sessional workers.

One of the posts was funded by the Local Authority to provide help and advice on accessing public services. It fell vacant three times in a four year period, and Kusaidia found it difficult to recruit and retain suitable workers.

The Management Board were active in the running of the organisation and have good skills on equality and human rights. They decided to review the recruitment process before advertising.

The Management Board looked more closely at the job description, person specification and application form. They saw that the wording could create barriers for people wishing to apply. As well as the necessary criteria for doing the job, a number of ‘standard’ criteria had been used – like having a full, clean driving license, community development experience and being able to work evenings and weekends. In reality, travel and out-of-hours work were only needed occasionally, and it wasn’t important for the post holder to have a driving license or community development experience.

They changed the application pack to match the actual needs of the post.

This made it possible for a broader range of people to apply – and Kusaidia had almost twice as many applications as before.

The successful candidate would not have met all the original criteria, but was the best person for the job. He settled into his role quickly and stayed with the organisation in the long-term, building up a great relationship with colleagues and service users.