A collaborative approach across systems

NHS organisations have mainly focused on the annual WRES data collection to measure progress re workforce race equality. Whilst the collection of data will remain important, it is ignoring the lived experience of staff. We have developed this strategy to include staff voices in measuring progress and influencing decisions.

The recent development of STPs and ICSs brings both new challenges and opportunities to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion issues are at the forefront of designing new services.

It will be challenging and exciting to work across sectors to co-design and co-deliver joined-up health and social care services. But these changes will be essential to the delivery of high quality, effective, and inclusive service to our local communities. A system approach will require organisations to work together to understand the racial inequalities (as well as other wider equality issues) experienced by the workforce and the community that it serves. A system approach must drive any action taken to improve racial equality.

With a greater focus on ICSs/STPs, systems need to be accountable for the progress of race equality and inclusion. Systems will need to oversee any equality initiatives and ensure they implemented and play a key role in holding organisations to account when they make agreed measurable progress.

Systems will have an opportunity to develop the right structure, the right governance arrangements, the right measures (building on the WRES and the WDES) supported by leaders competent in addressing inclusion issues. There will also be opportunities for trusts and other organisations to consider recruitment, retention and talent development across different sectors. All these changes will give us an unprecedented opportunity to address race inequality at a system level.

The Midland People Board must consist of senior members with inclusive leadership skills and represent the diverse communities they serve. The board recognises that it is not representative and will develop a plan to ensure it has the right membership and representation within the next 6 – 12 months to give confidence to our region.

The Midlands People Board

The Midlands People Board was established in September 2020. Its purpose is to agree and implement priorities to help the Midlands build a future workforce that:

  • Is diverse at all level across the health and care sector
  • Is redesigned and transformed its ways of working
  • Develops and trains the workforce to be inclusive
  • Improves the leadership culture by supporting and challenging systems with care and holding them to account
  • Ensures that STP/ICS People Boards also reflects the diversity of their workforces

The proposed establishment of an Independently chaired Race Equality and Inclusion Panel would ensure accountability at a regional level.

The panel will:

  • Work with the principles of challenge, educate and support and will be given the power to hold the regional people board to account by acting as a critical friend
  • Identify and celebrate good practice and encourage collaborative learning
  • Work with a fully constituted ED&I subgroup that represents the 11 STP/ICS systems

Each system People Board needs to be representative of the population they serve. And they also need to consider the development of an Independent Race Equality and Inclusion Panel to act as a critical friend to their local People System Board.

These recommendations are for short term goals for 3-6 months (S), medium term goals for 6-12 months (M) and long term goals for 12 months (L). STP/ICS’s equality and inclusion approach:

  • Each STP/ICS will appoint a Director of ED&I to provide support and leadership for all equality matters. (M/L)
  • Each STP/ICS will develop a system-wide staff network starting with BME staff to ensure a cross-system engagement and that staff networks are involved in decision-making and act as a critical friend to the people board. (S)
  • An ED&I sub-committee will be established at system level to build a collaborative approach within each STP/ICS. Each sub-committee will:
  • Provide oversight and progress against the regional and national ED&I activities
  • Identify and celebrate good practice and encourage collaborative learning