The who, what, where, when & how...

Why does RadHR exist and what are we trying to achieve?

RadHR is about practically applying anti-oppressive ideas to how social change organisations and workplaces organise internally. It offers alternatives to off-the-shelf HR policies and processes, which tend to replicate the very oppressions that our organisations strive to challenge.

In interviews for the site we’ve heard about:

  • Frontline youth and homelessness charities whose ‘Acas-approved’ disciplinary and accountability processes replicate the exclusionary and punitive systems that they oppose;
  • Community-based migrant support groups who have found that standard voluntary sector safeguarding procedures can lead to members facing increased risk of deportation, or having their children take away;
  • Activist groups and campaigning organisations whose recruitment and decision-making processes exclude people from less-privileged backgrounds;
  • Workers’ coops, committed to valuing people equally, whose pay structures end up reinforcing wider societal hierarchies of what and whose work is valuable;
  • Solidarity networks that – due to the urgency of the work and funders’ demands – end up replicating standard 9-5 working structures, which don’t suit members’ needs or acknowledge the different capacities that people may have, especially those at the sharp end of inequality and oppression.

In other words, in the way we organise our work together, many of us—without even realising it—are reinforcing the systems and values we wish to change or abolish.

We need to organise ourselves differently.

Many of us have tried to write some of our own value-driven policies and processes, but it takes a lot of time and it’s too big a job for any one group alone.

RadHR is a place where groups organising for social change can: share alternative policies and processes; learn from each other; and collectively dismantle the inherent oppressions and inequalities of ‘work’ within capitalism.

Collaboration not ‘expertise’

RadHR aims to be a collaboration between any of us who are thinking about how to organise ourselves according to our values.

The team behind RadHR see our role as facilitating the sharing of wisdom between lots of groups and people. We’re starting from the perspective that none of us are ‘experts’ at the work of living our values—the answers need to come from all of us.

The value of RadHR lies in the community surrounding it—sharing procedures that have worked and not worked, feeding back on how others’ processes have worked for us and building and adapting new ways of organising together. 

We hope sharing policies will spark new conversations—through the website and via events—about what it means to be radical in how we work and organise for change.

We imagine RadHR becoming a community for a range of groups, including:

  • Grassroots mutual aid and community groups 
  • Small NGOs and voluntary sector organisations
  • Campaigning organisations 
  • Workers’ coops
  • Unions
  • Direct action collectives
  • Arts organisations

By building on each others’ experiences, learning and understanding, we can figure out what it means to be social change organisations and employers that are truly working to live our values every day!

Register here to start connecting with others who want to transform the ways we organise! 


These are the principles we want to build this community from:


The world is already full of oppression. Our ways of organising—our policies, processes and practices—should be actively counteracting the white supremacy, patriarchy, classism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia experienced by many people in the wider world. As should the ways we engage with each other as a community across this site.


Oppression plays out on many levels: in wider society; in our group practices; and in our individual behaviours (often without us realising). This can make it really hard to challenge effectively—and sometimes even hard to see! In order to live our values, we need to be committed to push for change on all these levels, even—and especially—when doing so pits us against some of those dominant power structures, or forces us to challenge our own positions.


The question of how to really live our values is far too big for any of us to answer on our own! We need each other if we are going to figure out alternatives to the kinds of oppression that have dominated management / HR / organisational thinking for so long.


To collaborate, we need to be able to share what we’ve got and what we’ve learned with others walking similar paths. There can be a vulnerability in sharing our learnings—especially when we’re not 100% sure of what we know (which we never can be with this sort of work)! RadHR aims to create spaces where we can build the trust needed to share effectively with one another.


Organising in ways that radically shift existing power structures and oppressions is never going to be neat and tidy. Or comfortable. If it is, we’re probably not changing that much. So instead of trying to avoid discomfort, uncertainty and untidiness, let’s embrace the mess!


There’s currently three of us getting this project off the ground; below is a bit more info about why we’re so keen on it!

Photo of Liam

Liam Barrington-Bush

Liam has spent the last 2 decades awkwardly moving between grassroots activist groups (Wretched of the Earth), professional NGOs (Greenpeace, People & Planet, London Mining Network), and frontline community organising spaces (Sweets Way Resists, London Renters Union). In each of them he found groups struggling to find ways of working together that aligned with their values and allowed a range of people to engage with them across power and privilege lines. In 2013 he wrote a book about these struggles called ‘Anarchists in the Boardroom.’

The struggles were varied though, between these spaces; the NGOs had modelled themselves after corporations; the activist groups had usually refused most forms of structure, leaving power in the hands of the most privileged; the community groups had typically found that the models available excluded most of their members from being actively involved.

But there were folks in each of these spaces trying to address the same issues, from different perspectives. Liam found himself becoming an informal repository of some of the early radical organisational policies that fill this site, sharing them back and forth between groups and across sectors, based on personal contacts and connections. Chats with Kiran and Rich helped turn this informal practice into a (hopefully!) far-more-accessible project with wider reach!

Photo of Kiran

Kiran Nihalani

Kiran has spent most of her working life in the voluntary sector.  In 2012, disillusioned with the dynamics of top-down services, she helped co-found Skills Network, a South London-based org which aimed to: shift the normal client/practitioner divide by seeing/treating everyone as both a ‘helper’ and ‘helpee;’ and share power, money and decision-making equitably between everyone involved. Initially, she and her co-founders naively/arrogantly wondered why more charities didn’t live their values in this way.

They soon learned, however, that it was HARD to shift internalised hierarchies and learned ways of being/seeing each other – especially within the confines of capitalism and the draconian welfare system many group members were subject to.  But it was also clearly a beneficial way of ‘doing help.’  So Kiran did a PhD as a way to get paid to find out how other similar organisations did it.  It turned out that everyone finds it super hard, and no one has the answers. BUT we all do have bits of answers. So when Liam and Rich started talking about RadHR she was pretty insistent on getting involved.

Photo of Rich

Richard Hawkins

Rich loves organising things, tinkering with systems, getting excited about colours, and working with groups to create systems and processes that work for everyone.

He’s an activist and designer and has worked at PIRC since 2007, through various organisational incarnations, including a flat management structure for the last 7 years. He’s also been involved in several housing coops, helping start one in Machynlleth, and supporting others, especially with policy development and finance.

For many years Rich has wanted to help build a library of more radical, democratic and liberatory organisational policies and practices. Finally, working with Kiran and Liam, their time has come!


Our funding currently comes from the following sources: