Make this a national priority and as part of the national scorecard, which is visible, measured and hold boards to account for achieving these priorities.

Chief Executive    Acute trust

There was a consensus that the national bodies such as NHS England and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) could do more to help boards take effective action on race equality. Chairs in particular stressed that national bodies must lead by example and clearly prioritise and promote work on race equality.

One chair said what was needed was: "strong, consistent and meaningful messaging with demonstrable initiatives that genuinely bring leading by example rather than the risk of mere lip service."

Echoing the support needed from NHS Providers, many of the respondents mentioned that sharing best practices, resources and high impact interventions would help their boards, for example: case studies of what works and what has not worked, a central reference library resource, including equality and diversity matters in every publication, encouraging debates and sharing of good practice at all events. Many respondents stressed the importance of trusts boards and ICSs being held accountable and challenged for further progress to be made.

Challenge boards directly to “Do the work of challenging themselves, personally and collectively, constantly rehearse their ‘Why’ to avoid tokenism and box ticking.

Chair     Acute trust

NEDs highlighted the importance of making race a key performance indicator and setting specific goals or targets to achieve good outcomes. They felt the CQC had a specific role here:

CQC should include progress/the status of a trust’s race equality work in their scoring framework. NHS England and NHS Improvement should rework role descriptions and appraisal documents to include goals and targets on race equality for chief executives, chairs, NEDs and governors.

NED    Acute trust

Just under half of respondents (42%) said they have used external consultancy support for their work on race equality. These members felt it was important to have external challenge and expertise on race, but consultants needed to be carefully selected and managed.

I think external challenge is valuable. It has also enabled staff to feel safe being open and challenging. But eventually it’s about what we do with what we hear.

NED    Combined mental health, learning disability and community trust

The use of specialist commercial consultancies was highlighted, alongside accessing NHS offers such as the NHS Leadership Academy.

Leaders mentioned the positive work that the Seacole group does to support the recruitment of more diverse NEDs and the work of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in advancing diversity in mental health provision. Some trusts also drew upon support from academia such as using external speakers from universities to talk about slavery and the black experience or collaborating on a senior management reverse mentoring programme.

However, despite knowing that there were a range of offers available one of the main barriers described was the work required to "find what suits the needs of our organisation."