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Equality and diversity

NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG reviewed its performance on equality and diversity across the organisation in 2013.  We held a public event on 6 September 2013 with our Community Engagement Partnership, other interested community groups and members of the public to look at equality and diversity issues that affect patients and the public.  We also asked our staff and unions how they thought the organisation was doing with equality and diversity.

This has resulted in a grading of performance across all 18 outcomes of the NHS Equality Delivery System to help us highlight areas of strength and weakness across the organisation.

As a result the CCG has developed two equality objectives it will focus on, for at least 2013/14:

Objective 1:

To embed a systematic process for collecting data and engaging organisations representing protected groups in order to establish need and develop responsive services which address inequalities.

Objective 2:

Senior leaders and other line managers provide leadership, support and motivation for their staff to uphold the CCGs’ value of equality of opportunity to improve the health of those most in need

 

Health care services for everyone - The NHS is available to all, free at the point of delivery.

Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is committed to buying fair, accessible, appropriate and sensitive health services for all. We are also committed to being a fair, inclusive and diverse employer.

To support this commitment, we have developed the Equality and Diversity Plan 2012-15 to outline our commitment and approach to equality and diversity work.

Equality objectives

We have adopted the three equality objectives, previously agreed by NHS Suffolk in April 2012 on an interim basis.  Our current equality objectives are:

  • Changes across services for individual patients are discussed with them, and transitions are made smoothly
  • Patients, carers and communities can readily access services, and should not be denied access on unreasonable grounds
  • Senior managers and other line managers support and motivate their staff to work in culturally competent ways within a work environment free from discrimination

A grading exercise with staff, community groups and members of the public was carried out in March 2013 to determine progress made against these three objectives by NHS Suffolk in 2012/13.  This resulted in new grades for some of the objectives.  You can view the grading and information about the progress that has been made here

In line with guidance from NHS England, we will review, prepare and publish at least one equality objective by 13 October 2013.

 

Equality and diversity duties - Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 was introduced in October 2010 to bring together and strengthen all previous anti-discrimination law. The Equality Act protects people with the following nine ‘protected characteristics’ from discrimination:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion and belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Public sector equality duty

A major part of the Act is the public sector equality duty. There are two parts to this: the general equality duty and the specific duties.

The general equality duty requires public bodies in the course of developing policies and delivering services, to have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimization and other conduct prohibited by the Act
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not

The term ‘having due regard’ means:

  • Removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics
  • Taking steps to meet the needs of people from protected characteristics where these are different from the needs of other people
  • Encouraging people from protected groups to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low

The specific duties help public bodies meet the requirements of the general equality duty. With that in mind, NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG will:

  • Publish equality information every year to demonstrate our compliance with the general equality duty: including equality information on Ipswich and East Suffolk’s communities and our staff
  • Prepare and publish one or more equality objectives every four years, to prioritise our work on equality and diversity

Equality analysis

Understanding the effect of our policies and practices on people with protected characteristics is an important part of complying with the equality duty.

One such process is to embed the process of equality analysis (formerly known as equality impact assessments, or EqIAs). We need to understand the impact of our functions on people with protected characteristics for new and existing:

  • organisational policies and functions
  • key decisions, and
  • policies that set criteria or guidelines for others to use

Assessments should start early in the policy or service development process, or at the early stages of a review.  Our toolkit for equality analysis is available here.

NHS Equality Delivery System

To help us meet our requirements under the Equality Act 2010 and public sector equality duty.  We have adopted the NHS Equality Delivery System.

This is a national performance management tool designed to support NHS authorities to improve equality performance and embed equality into core NHS business.

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