Equality and diversity

NHS Providers believes race equality and the wider diversity agenda can and must be a major part of the solution to the challenges facing the health service. It can ensure the NHS is capitalising on the best available talent and drawing on the innovation diverse teams can bring to improve services for patients.

The research on race equality in the NHS workforce makes challenging reading for boards of provider organisations. Evidence shows that if you are from a black or minority ethnic background you are less likely to be appointed once shortlisted, less likely to be selected for training and development programmes, more likely to experience harassment, bullying and abuse, and more likely to be disciplined or dismissed. For these reasons, to enable us to target our resources effectively, our initial focus within the diversity agenda has been on race equality.

Quote mark It is no use saying 'we are doing our best' - you have to succeed in doing what is necessary. Winston Churchill

The race equality opportunity for NHS provider boards

NHS Providers is committed to supporting our members to tackle inequality. Our publication Leading by example: the race equality opportunity for NHS provider boards sets out the business case for change.

The report includes a number of case studies from trusts already taking steps to improve their performance in terms race equality. The featured trusts are:

The Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES)

The publication of the 2015/16 standard contract marked the introduction of the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES).

Quote mark Life expectancy for black people in 1990 was the same as for white people in 1950 - the WRES has to be a long term project. Prof David Williams, Harvard University

The WRES measures nine indicators and allows providers to benchmark themselves against others, and their own past performance, in relation to race equality. The WRES indicators are:

  1. Percentage of staff in each of the AfC Bands 1-9 and VSM (including executive Board members) compared with the percentage of staff in the overall workforce
  2. Relative likelihood of staff being appointed from shortlisting across all posts
  3. Relative likelihood of staff entering the formal disciplinary process, as measured by entry into a formal disciplinary investigation
  4. Relative likelihood of staff accessing non-mandatory training and CPD
  5. Percentage of staff experiencing harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, relatives or the public in last 12 months
  6. Percentage of staff experiencing harassment, bullying or abuse from staff in last 12 months
  7. Percentage believing that trust provides equal opportunities for career progression or promotion
  8. Percentage of staff experiencing discrimination at work from a manager/team leader/colleague
  9. Percentage difference between the organisations’ Board voting membership and its overall workforce

NHS Providers regularly meets with the NHS England WRES team, and we are currently developing a follow up to our 2014 publication, which will include practical tips for implementing the WRES and updated case studies from the trusts listed above, with their reflections on the WRES to date. For more information or to contribute, please contact Martha Everett.

Race equality at NHS Providers events

Race equality featured on the plenary programme at the NHS Providers annual conference and exhibition 2015. Professor David R Williams, Norman professor of public health, Harvard University, is internationally recognised as a leading social scientist. Professor Williams described the complex ways in which race inequality negatively affects people's health and the growing evidence of promising strategies to effectively address this challenge. 

Our breakout session "a leadership that reflects the workforce" explored race equality at the senior leadership level, considering how providers can move build boards that reflect the racial diversity of their staff and the communities they serve. Race equality will also be on the agenda at our annual conference and exhibition 2016 - please check the programme for further details.

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