NHS Providers has made tackling race equality a key strategic priority.

We acknowledge that in order for this to be a meaningful commitment, we must start with ourselves. Now is the time to be really clear on our ambitions and what we think is the task ahead. We know it requires us as white leaders to not just understand and acknowledge our privilege, but to be proactive in how we interrogate structural racism and strive for racial justice.

We are in the process of developing an anti-racism statement to set out what good looks like on race equality for us as an organisation as a key means of publicly demonstrating our focus on this agenda and our willingness to be held to account.

We are also in the process of developing an internal action plan to ensure we are hard-wiring a focus on race equality throughout all that we do – from our policy influencing and media commentary to our member networks, events and board development offers.

We know from our member interviews that genuinely mainstreaming a focus on race through our existing offer will be a major part of our contribution to addressing racial injustice. But we also know there is appetite from members for us to develop a specific programme to support our members to make further, faster progress on this agenda. We will use the findings in this report from our scoping research to inform the key elements of that offer, to ensure it genuinely meets the needs of trusts.

Our offer of support to our member trusts will be tightly focused on the strategic leadership role of boards and on what has had the greatest impact. It will ensure we’re using our convening power to encourage the honest and often challenging conversations required to really change hearts and minds with a strong focus on self as an instrument of change, as well as our ability to share evidence based good practice about what works and why in very different trust contexts.

It will ensure our focus is on not reinventing the wheel, but working in partnership wherever we can and amplifying and signposting to the work of others where this has had proven impact. It will look at how we can improve understanding of the lexicon of race, anti-racism and racial justice, the links between race, intersectionality, and the wider EDI agenda, and between race and health inequalities. And crucially, it will be based on the principle that the responsibility of leading work on race equality should not be placed on ethnic minority board members but focus on white leadership and promoting effective and authentic allyship.

We know for many of our members and staff that real, meaningful change has been a long time coming! We acknowledge with this report that past actions have just not have gone far enough. There is an opportunity now to engender a much greater sense of accountability and personal responsibility, a real hearts and minds commitment to creating workplaces and services that are fair for all, and where race equality is genuinely prioritised. Our colleagues and members will be the ultimate judge of whether this opportunity for real change has been seized.