The Assistant Director of Workforce at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust reflects on the work, achievements and progress being made on the diversity and inclusion agenda:
There is so much great stuff happening at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, but I want to focus on key areas which have enabled and encouraged the progress we have seen.
I want to start with the wider infrastructure, and inclusive leadership. Senior level buy-in has not been a challenge at Morecambe Bay, and this genuine commitment has enabled us to develop and build our approach and ambitions.
Each of the executive directors is proud to be the sponsor of an associated inclusion network, and there is a level of interest which sees the directors both attend and participate in the operational network meetings, and supporting actions or ideas as they develop.
Next we have partnerships one of five key organisational pillars. This has been one of the critical success elements, as we recognise that we need to engage with external partners and experts to get this right. The organisation has been clear on the value of that, demonstrated through investment in the various memberships we hold, with for example Stonewall, enei, BAPIO, and the NHS Equality Partners Programme.
Engagement is another of our key success factors. We have clear lines of engagement which are regularly considered and reviewed. Communication is a key element of our engagement and we have a number of communication channels to support this work, including regular reference to inclusion work by the Chief Executive, and a monthly inclusion publication called Network News which is distributed to around 200 staff Personal Fair Diverse (PFD) champions, network members, respect network colleagues, Joint Working Party (anti-bullying group) and any other staff member who has expressed an interest.
The executive team and staff at Morecambe Bay are driven and ambitious which is demonstrated through a clear improvement focus. They strive for continuous improvement, with the ultimate aim of achieving a CQC rating of outstanding means we constantly review assess and improve our approach. One of the ways in which we can do this is using the staff survey results and action planning which we are looking to better connect with our inclusion work.
Our improvement focus naturally leads into our annual planning – which is about to take place for this year as we look back at what we have delivered and achieved, and then look forward at what we’d like to deliver in the next period in order to build on our progress. Each year an update on the inclusion strategy (Towards Inclusion 2016 – 2021) is formally presented at Board, which fits neatly with the next point.
We have a clearly formed infrastructure and governance arrangements behind that. The Inclusion & Diversity Steering Group reports into the Workforce Assurance Committee, a sub-committee which is chaired by a Non-Exec Director. The IDSG takes place every two months. Each of the network chairs attends the IDSG.
We have a whole raft of actions and deliverables which support this work, so taking action is another of our key success factors. Each of the networks has an action plan, there is an overarching plan, there are various linked initiatives which each have action plans. Our people strategy has a number of offerings and actions – of particular relevance is the inclusive leadership programme, and finally our local approach to the Equality Delivery System (EDS2). We see this as a really valuable structure to engage, inform and monitor our progress.
Our Behavioural standards framework has been mentioned already and it really has been our tool for cultural transformation, the ongoing implementation of the BSF supports the principle inclusion is everyone’s responsibility. Now into its third year, one of the key developments this year has been the launch of an online training package which has been developed in house and is job essential for all staff.
To finish our approach, a final point is about maintaining the momentum. We are committed to keeping pace with our Trust’s progressive aspirations, and examples of current activity include:
- BSF – ongoing programme of activities and monthly themes
- Annual ‘Towards Inclusion’ conference (which launched EQW 2018) – this year focussed on a number of themes intersectionality, homelessness and dementia and secured participation and from our local police, fire NHS and third partners
- EQW2018 saw a whole programme of activities including an international food fayre, an inclusion film night (social), lunchtime lectures across our sites, games competitions and an international focus from our 3 hospital restaurants, finishing with Lancaster Pride which we both sponsored and attended.
In 2017 we were nationally recognised in the UK’s most inclusive employer, climbing from 11th place in 2016 to 8th place in 2017 and the top NHS organisation. In summary UHMBT has made great progress in recent years on this and many other agendas.
Our ultimate goal is to be A Great Place to be Cared For; A Great Place to Work.