Role description: Staff network sponsor

Role overview

A staff network sponsor plays an important role to help drive forward and embed equality, diversity, and inclusion by providing visibility and leadership across the organisation relating to the protected characteristic they sponsor and being a role model through their lived experience or as an ally.


  • Provide commitment, accountability, visibility, and leadership to staff relating to the sponsored protected characteristic.
  • Value and promote diversity, equality, and inclusion, acting as a role model or ally in how they behave towards others.
  • Help to champion and implement the actions of the NHS equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) improvement plan, including board and executive team members having equality, diversity and inclusion objectives as part of the appraisal process.
  • Attend staff network meetings and meet with the network chair and network executive/leadership team when required to discuss priorities, events, topics, and issues.
  • Provide strategic updates to the board and use their influence to champion the network.
  • Help with business planning where required.
  • Attend national diversity events linked to staff network.
  • Be an encouraging and visible leader who spearheads equality, diversity, and inclusion initiatives.
  • Sponsor and mentor others, such as network chairs, to be visible, active and representatives of their networks.
  • Offer support to chairs/newly established networks, acting as a critical friend, provide reassurance that their interests are supported at board level:
    • use professional and personal networks to support staff networking opportunities and activities
    • use available insights (qualitative and quantitative) to monitor and assure the progress of staff network.
  • Collaborate with other senior leaders across organisation and wider NHS to create a more diverse and inclusive NHS.
  • Work in partnership with employee networks and others to raise awareness and understanding of diversity and inclusion issues and to address misconceptions/ misinterpretations.
  • Show empathy, a clear understanding of the network’s issues and needs, being receptive to the sensitivities relating to that protected characteristic.
  • Be approachable and engage with employees at all levels to better understand lived experience.