The Equality and Diversity Council (EDC) works to bring people and organisations together to realise a vision for a personal, fair and diverse health and care system, where everyone counts and the values of the NHS Constitution are brought to life.
The Council provides visible leadership on equality and diversity issues across the health service. Its purpose is to shape the future of healthcare – to help improve the access, experiences and health outcomes for all patients and communities, and to support the NHS to become a more inclusive employer by making full use of the talents of its diverse staff and the communities it serves.
The Council does this by establishing and sharing a clear evidence-base to understand and address key and emerging issues, by strengthening opportunities for Council members and its networks to participate in challenging and strategic conversations to influence change, and by raising awareness of its vision among patients, communities and the workforce.
The Council is co-chaired by Simon Stevens Chief Executive of NHS England and Joan Saddler from NHS Confederation; with a diverse membership (Link to membership list) made up from across the NHS, partner organisations, as well as from patient, carer, and staff groups.
The EDC has undergone a recent review of its form, function and impact. A key aim was to ensure that the work of the EDC going forward would be more aligned to the objectives set out in the Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View. The first meeting of the refreshed EDC took place in July 2017, where members agreed the following three high-level themes for the EDC work programme:
- Enabling leadership capability and capacity – externalising asset; growing new leaders; setting core local objectives and priorities and focussing upon bold aspirations; a diverse and representative workforce being one of the key enablers.
- Embedding levers and accountability – developing and embedding enablers to help facilitate continuous improvements on equality, linking with the overarching concept of ‘quality’ and including a focus upon:
- Drivers for NHS (key objectives in the Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View);
- Influencing metrics and links to policy levers e.g. Quality Accounts.
- Supporting the system architecture (cross-cutting theme) – mainstreaming equality and diversity into the new healthcare architecture (STPs, ACSs) – highlighting the ‘enablers’ for leadership and levers/accountability:
- Better use of equality data and intelligence (EDS2)
- Role of Healthwatch – co-production and meaningful engagement