Equality and diversity
What is equality and diversity?
Equality is about making sure everyone is treated fairly and given an equitable chance to access opportunities. It is not about treating everyone the same way as they may have different needs to achieve the same outcomes.
Diversity means ‘difference’. When it is used in the same context as ‘equality’, it is about recognising and valuing individual as well as group differences. It also means treating people as individuals and placing positive value on the diversity they bring as a result of them belonging to a certain personal protected characteristic or their cultural background.
Public Sector Equality Duty and the Equality Act 2010
Equality is a legal principle to eliminate discrimination and promote equality of opportunity to people and groups. The Equality Act 2010 defines this protection based on protected characteristics.
The Equality Act 2010 brought with it a new, legal, Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). This is made up of a general duty and specific duties. The general duty is the main part of the legislation with the specific duties supporting public bodies to demonstrate performance and compliance.
The PSED requires public bodies to declare their compliance with the duty on an annual basis.
For the general duty we need to show how we are having due regard with the need to:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010
- Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it
- Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
Protected characteristics – in the context of the PSED – are defined as:
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
- Gender reassignment
Under the specific duties of the PSED we are required to:
Publish information to demonstrate compliance with the general duty annually, including data on those with a protected characteristic who are:
- Our employees
- Those affected by our policies and practices
Publish one or more equality objectives covering a four year period.
Our PSED report for 2017 can be found here.
Under the specific duties of the PSED we are required to prepare and publish one or more specific and measurable equality objectives which will support us to achieve the aims of the general duty.
The purpose of the objectives is to help the CCG better perform the general equality duty, focusing on the outcomes achieved. They will focus attention on the priority equality issues for the CCG in order to deliver improvements that can be measured and reported against. Find our Equality Objectives for 2013 – 2017 here.
Equality Delivery System
With a refreshed version released in 2013, the Equality Delivery System (EDS) is a tool-kit designed by the Department of Health that can help NHS organisations improve the services they provide for their local communities, consider health inequalities in their locality and provide better working environments, free of discrimination, for those who work in the NHS.
The EDS has four goals, with 18 specific outcomes. NHS organisations need to listen to and engage with patients, carers, voluntary organisations and people who work in the NHS in order to grade their equality performance, identify where improvements can be made and act on their findings.
The EDS goals are:
- Better health outcomes for all
- Improved patient access and experience
- Empowered, engaged and included workforce
- Inclusive leadership at all levels
They are rated on a coloured scale as follows:
- Purple – excelling
- Green – achieving
- Amber – developing
- Red – undeveloped
For more information see the NHS England website.
Our EDS2 report for 2015 can be found here.
Workforce Race Equality Standard
The Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) was introduced in April 2015 to drive improvements in workforce equality by ensuring that employees from black and ethnic minority (BME) backgrounds have equal access to career opportunities and receive fair treatment in the workplace. The WRES requires all NHS organisations to demonstrate progress against a number of indicators of workforce equality, including a specific indicator to address the low levels of BME Board representation.
Our WRES return for 2016 can be viewed here. A full report and action plan will follow shortly.
NHS England has produced an animation about the WRES which can be viewed here.