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Success factor 3: Staff equality

This is a basis for quality improvement.

It includes work to develop an open and inclusive culture and action to tackle specific workforce inequalities.

Implementing the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) effectively

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, serving people across the county.

The trust has improved recently on several WRES indicators. Their established and accessible BME network supports staff and patients. The trust runs a reverse mentoring scheme and staff focus groups.

Three key areas are important:

  • Co-production - helps understand and address the real issues. This also improves trust between staff and senior leadership.
  • Leadership - the chief executive led the equality steering group. Senior leaders scrutinise future action plans.
  • Right culture - this improves the workforce experience and, in turn, outcomes for patients.

These improvements lead to:

  • A better recruitment process and feedback system supported by career development workshops. These equip staff with the skills to plan their career.
  • Supporting staff to work on national programmes, such as WRES experts, to gain new perspectives on improvements.
  • Using WRES as a template to support staff with other protected equality characteristics. Also planning work with external partners to improve workforce experience further.
  • The ‘Moving ahead’ project for patients. This looks at the challenges faced by the local community and how to address them.
  • A more engaged workforce improved patient experiences and outcomes.

Staff recognise that their journey to improvement is an ongoing one.  “What’s really important for us is that we’re not comfortable with where we are... Yes, we have made improvements, yes, we have started to improve the experience; but we’re not finished yet. There’s still a lot of work to do to get some equality coming through to the experiences of all colleagues with protected characteristics.”

Read more about how Northampton Healthcare NHS trust implements the WRES.

Modelling flexible and supportive employment

First Community Health and Care CIC provides services in a hospital and in the community to 178,000 people in south east England. It is a staff-owned social enterprise employing 450 people.

The entire board is committed to running an organisation that has equality for staff and patients at the heart of how it delivered services. They:

  • appointed a part-time CEO – who is a role model for work-life balance. This provides a strong message to staff about equality in the workplace.
  • employ two administrative staff with learning disabilities on the same terms and conditions as other staff. They are given high levels of support to fulfil their roles. One of these staff told us the job “transformed their lives and was the best job ever”.

We heard many stories and met many staff who told us how the CIC enabled them to continue working or supported professional development when they were in challenging circumstances.

Strategy in action

Dimensions Kent, service supporting 15 people with complex needs in their own homes.

Dimension Uk's national equality and diversity strategy has an impact on workforce equality at a local level:

  • Respect for diversity and consideration of equality for every person they employ and support leads to outstanding support
  • Staff praised the culture, with opportunities for personal development and to contribute to quality improvement

Using national equality programmes well

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, specialist cancer centre.

NHS schemes provide a framework for monitoring and improvement:


Last updated:
15 October 2019


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