The equality objectives for NHS England and NHS Improvement for 2022/23 and 2023/24 and the equality targets for 2022/23 address our role as an NHS system leader, commissioner and our own role as an employer. The eight overall objectives are set out below.
Updated equality objective 1 [COVID-19]
To ensure that the equality and health inequality impacts of COVID-19 and key lessons learnt are fully considered and that clear strategies are developed and implemented for the NHS workforce and patients of all ages as the NHS moves into and beyond the recovery phase. To ensure that patient and workforce focused strategies reflect this and make an effective contribution to advancing equality for people of all ages by reference to protected characteristics and to reducing associated health inequalities.
- To ensure that operational, planning and associated guidance to systems considers how to address and reduce the adverse equality impacts of COVID-19 and provides strategic guidance to the NHS.
- To work to ensure that key NHS England and NHS Improvement patient and workforce strategies consider the lessons learned from COVID-19 and how to address and reduce the adverse equality impacts of COVID-19.
- To continue to develop and implement strategies in elective recovery including people of all ages to reduce the adverse equality impacts of COVID-19 as the NHS moves into the recovery phase.
Updated equality objective 2 [Capability]
To improve the capability of NHS England’s and NHS Improvement’s teams to understand and address the PSED’s legal obligations and the separate health inequalities duties and associated requirements as they develop.
- To improve and develop the in-house capability programme for NHS England and NHS Improvement staff.
- To respond to the priorities identified by NHS England’s and NHS Improvement’s Boards to address patient equalities and associated health inequalities.
Updated equality objective 3 [Information]
To improve the mapping, quality and extent of equality information to better facilitate compliance with the PSED in relation to patients and NHS service-users of all ages, NHS service delivery, and the NHS workforce.
- To establish a Unified Information Standard for Protected Characteristics (UISPC) Publication Steering Group to identify which of the UISPC’s recommendations should be taken forward.
- To work with the UISPC Publications Steering Group to identify how best to carry forward and oversee the work of the UISPC Project.
- To identify what options there are for the UISPC programme to inform how to undertake mapping by reference to health inequalities.
Updated equality objective 4 [Internal workforce]
To improve, by reference to protected characteristics, the recruitment, retention, progression, development, and experience of the people employed by NHS England and NHS Improvement to enable the organisations to become inclusive employers of choice.
- To maintain the 19% aspirational target of BME representation at all levels of our organisation.
- To continue increasing declaration rates of under-represented groups in our workforce including disabled colleagues.
- To undertake a change programme on our recruitment and promotion, further enabling the organisation to become an employer of choice and a workforce that reflects the communities we serve.
- To reset our EDI strategy, for the new NHS England, creating opportunities to refresh our targets to ensure they are reflective of our EDI values, local labour markets and accommodating the rapid growth of a merged workforce.
Updated equality objective 5 [Patient access and communication]
To improve access and reduce communication barriers experienced by individuals and groups of people of all ages, by reference to protected characteristics, who need NHS services.
- To complete the review of the Accessible Information Standard (AIS) and publish the revised standard together with guidance to support compliance.
- To ensure that the expectations placed on key stakeholders are clear and processes are in place to assure compliance with the AIS at a local and provider level.
- To ensure relevant NHS England and NHS Improvement policies use language that is inclusive of LGBT+ people.
Updated equality objective 6 [System workforce]
To improve, by reference to protected characteristics, the recruitment, retention, progression, development and experience of staff in the NHS workforce.
- To increase the proportion of staff in senior leadership roles who a) are from a BME background b) are women c) disabled, in line with the NHS Long Term Plan commitments.
- To publish a workforce EDI strategy for NHS staff, including LGBT+ staff, aimed at establishing areas of focus for systems and organisations to improve the experience of LGBT+ staff in their workplace.
- To increase the representation of disabled people on NHS trust and NHS foundation trust boards, in line with the NHS Long Term Plan commitments.
- To continue the rollout of the six high impact actions to progress inclusive recruitment and promotion practices across the NHS.
- To launch 38 new supported internship programmes during 2022/23 and 2023/24 with NHS organisations offering between 304 to 380 new supported internship places for young people aged 18 to 24 as part of the DFN Project SEARCH programme funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement and Health Education England.
- To implement a framework for monitoring the number of volunteers across the NHS by reference to protected characteristics and any other relevant characteristics.
New equality objective 7 [Integrated Care Boards]
To work with Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) to support their, and their systems, compliance with the Equality Act 2010’s Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) and the associated Specific Equality Duties (SEDs).
- To publish guidance on compliance with the PSED and the SEDs.
- Working in partnership with the National Healthcare Inequalities Improvement Team to identify a named Executive Board level lead with oversight for meeting the requirements of the PSED and the SEDs.
- To deliver a programme for ICBs to support PSED compliance using the Equality Delivery System and other relevant tools, as part of a wider offer from NHS England and NHS Improvement.
New equality objective 8 [System landscape]
To ensure that the equality objectives for NHS England and NHS Improvement address the relevant statutory functions, duties, powers and responsibilities of NHS England created by the Health and Care Act 2022.
- To identify the existing arrangements within HEE and NHS Digital for securing compliance with the PSED and the SEDs and agree how to harmonise the differing arrangements.
- To establish a process for reviewing whether the equality objectives developed for NHS England and NHS Improvement for 2022/23 and 2023/24 appropriately address the overall statutory functions of the new NHS England.
Read our full report on Specific Equality Duties (SED) compliance for 2021/22: NHS England and NHS Improvement: Equality objectives and information as at 31 March 2022
Read our full report on our future equality objectives: NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Equality Objectives for 2022/23 – 2023/24
Please note, we will be publishing information on our approach to consultation and engagement on the equality objectives in the summer of 2022. A link to the relevant pages will be provided on this page in the summer.