Skip navigation.

New project to support diversity and equality agenda in England’s National Health Service

News, 10 October 2014

We are glad to announce a major new project to support the efforts of England’s National Health Service (NHS) to improve the diversity of its leadership and equality of opportunity among its staff.

Commissioned by the National Health Service Leadership Academy and Foundation Trust Network, Public World is conducting a survey of every NHS Trust. Trust chief executives received our questionnaire via the Leadership Academy this week. It has two questions:

  • The first asks for data about the self-identified ethnicity of all applicants for jobs, shortlisted candidates and appointees for the last financial year, broken down by pay band if possible.
  • The second concerns the self-identified ethnicity and disability status of Trust Board members as at 1 October this year.

All the data will be anonymous and the numbers for each individual Trust will not published. Our report will provide aggregate data only, by trust type, region and pay band.

Ethnically, the NHS has a highly diverse workforce, but this is not reflected at Trust board level, as our associate Roger Kline reported earlier this year in his Snowy White Peaks report.

Moreover, as our 2013 report Discrimination by Appointment showed in a sample of 30 trusts, black and minority ethnic (BME) applicants are significantly less likely than white applicants to be appointed for NHS jobs even having been shortlisted.

Our report contributed to a significant shift in attitudes to this challenge among senior NHS leaders, and when Simon Stevens took up post as chief executive of NHS England in April this year he was quick to announce his attention of doing something about it.

“Diversity in leadership is associated with more patient-centred care, greater innovation, higher staff morale, and access to a wider talent pool,” said Mr Stevens.

“In my own career, I reflect on the fact that down the years I’ve benefited from having had three black bosses and a woman as my line manager, but in each case that’s been when I’ve been working outside the NHS. That needs to change.”

The new survey will provide some benchmark information as NHS England consults on a proposed Race Equality Standard under which trusts would be required to show year-on-year progress against a number of indicators.

Welcoming the research, Paul Deemer, Equality and Diversity Lead with NHS Employers, said: “We are really happy to support this vital piece of work and will work with colleagues to ensure we get the best possible return for the questionnaire.”

The project is being led by our managing director Brendan Martin, who commented:

“We are glad that our work on diversity and equality has already had an impact in the NHS, and we are now offering a range of services to support the efforts of NHS employers and staff side unions to tackle the challenge.

“There is undoubtedly strong commitment across the NHS to doing so, and as a social enterprise committed to social justice internationally we see it as a privilege to be asked to contribute in this way.”

With any questions or comments about the project please contact us.

Bookmark and Share