Eliminating racism and bias in recruitment and progression

The health care sector must have a workforce that reflects the diversity of their communities. The workforce is not representative at some levels (particularly at more senior level) across the NHS. For example, BME staff makes up 23% (as of July 2020) of our workforce in the Midlands and yet only 9.5% are working at Board level.

There is evidence of lack of representation in both non-clinical and clinical role, including nurses and midwives, medical and allied health professionals.

There needs to be a radical shift for the NHS to ensure that its approach to recruitment and progression is fair and inclusive. As a region, we call for organisations to commit to overhauling and actively de-biasing recruitment and selection processes. This work will be in line with the national priorities outlined in the People Plan.

We must go beyond the minimum standard of anonymised applications and unconscious bias training for recruiting managers, as this has not made the shift we want to see.

Recommendations to eliminate racism and bias in recruitment and progression

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).

We strongly recommend the focus on recruitment takes much more radical positive actions. This work will mean fully utilising the positive action provisions of the Equality Act 2010 so that recruiting managers look for staff that add to the inclusive culture rather than those that fit into the current culture.

  • By June 2021, all organisations will provide an action about how they intend to overhaul recruitment and promotion practices to make sure that their staffing reflects the diversity of their community. (M)
  • Every NHS trust, foundation trust and CCG must publish progress against the Model Employer goals to ensure the workforce represents the overall BAME workforce at every level. (S)
  • System leads need to explore how the WRES and the NHS model employer aspirations apply across social care and primary care sectors. (M)
  • All organisations to meet the minimum national target of 19% of BME staff at all level (or more where BME staff % are higher in organisations) by 2025. (L)
  • Health and social care organisations must identify which BME staff groups are underrepresented. (M)
  • Organisations must work with their WRES Experts, ED&I, and BME leads to research or develop innovative methods of recruitment (taking positive action with the reference within the provision of Equality Act 2010). (M)
  • All Executive’s and senior management’s job descriptions must include essential criteria of knowledge and skills in addressing ED&I issues, focusing on race and assessed using Kark recommendations. (S)
  • Organisations must use value-based recruitment with specific questions related to race, equality and inclusion. (S)
  • Organisations within ICS/STP need to identify BME staff who have the necessary skills, knowledge and competence to take on senior positions at Band 8a (or similar) and above. These staff should get sponsorship to take on senior roles. (M)