LONDON — Specialist culture and entertainment agency Riot Communications has become the latest agency to secure The Blueprint mark, which promotes racial diversity in PR and communications.

Co-founded by managing director Preena Gadher (pictured) in 2008, Riot is the sixth agency to achieve full Blueprint status for its work on diversity and inclusion, and is the first Black, Asian, mixed race and ethnic minority-owned agency to secure the mark since it was introduced in 2020. It was the only successful agency in the latest application round.

Riot joins 11 other UK agencies in currently holding the Blueprint mark: Manifest, Blurred, InFusion Comms, Stronger Stories, Cirkle, Hope&Glory PR, Ketchum UK, CCgroup, Cowshed, Harvard, and PrettyGreen.

In the past year, Riot, which has a 30% Black, Asian, mixed race and ethnic minority workforce, has overhauled recruitment policies and procedures to directly speak to a diverse audience; updated its diversity strategy; reviewed staff contracts and handbooks to strengthen their focus on D&I and gained a gold standard in its Investors in People certification, with diversity cited as a key strength.

The agency team also attended training courses aimed at promoting inclusive work and an inclusive workforce, and senior management have promoted diversity and inclusion, including hosting a cross-sector roundtable for business leaders on improving access to culture.

Blueprinted CEO Elizabeth Bananuka, the founder of BME PR Pros, 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.”

Gadher added: “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 has four application rounds a year and applications are judged by an independent panel. The deadline for the next round of agency applications is 3 March. The diversity mark will open to in-house teams in 2022.