Leadership and board involvement


27 / 01 / 2009

  • SHA region
  • The organisation
  • What we did and why
  • How we did it
  • The results and next steps
  • Contact details and further information
  • SHA region

    NHS South West

    The organisation

    Devon Partnership NHS Trust was established in 2001 and provides mental health and learning disability services across Devon and Torbay. It employs around 2,500 staff and has 100 staff assigned to the trust from Devon County Council and Torbay Unitary Authority. The trust serves a large geographical area with a population of more than 850,000 people. It works closely with health and social care providers across the county to deliver services in seven areas: adults of working age; eating disorders; older people; people with alcohol and drug problems; people with a learning disability; people who need forensic or secure mental health services.

    What we did and why

    The trust worked on the following areas to embed its SES within the fabric of the organisation:

    • Leadership: through engagement with the trust board, the trust ensured the commitment of leadership at all levels to promoting diversity, so it becomes part of the organisational culture and philosophy.
    • Values: the organisation's 'core values' provides the basis for the overarching SES equality and human rights statements, which support all the trust's policies and services
    • Systems and processes: systems and processes were put in place to support equality impact assessments and a cross cutting work plan covering all the diversity strands
    • Living document: the trust is committed to regularly reviewing its SES to ensure it considers feedback and continues to be legally compliant.
    • Partnership working: alongside other health providers, the trust worked closely with Devon County Council (see their commitments outlined in 'Fair for All' at www.devon.gov.uk).

    How we did it

    Trust board - vision and values

    The trust board ensured that the organisation's values had a strong and identifiable equality and diversity dimension. The task was given to the board members, including the chief executive, to initiate personally.

    The trust's vision is outlined it its service development strategy (2006-2009): to be a progressive organisation that inspires confidence in the people who use our services, our staff and other stakeholders.

    The service development strategy also sets out six key values to deliver this vision that were endorsed by the board:

    • Valuing people - we value the opinion of all our service users, seeking close involvement in decision making and improving services. We will overcome the prejudice in society which dismisses the views of our service users
    • Providing leadership - our trust board and senior management will lead by example in tackling issues of discrimination such as racism or homophobia. This leadership is a vital part of the culture of the organisation
    • Working together - as a partnership trust, much of our work can only be achieved through partnership with others. Active relationships with bodies such as the Devon Racial Equality Council will inform and challenge us
    • Providing the highest quality service - equity is an essential feature of high quality service provision, which means going beyond 'one size fits all'. In planning our services, for example, we will ensure the different needs of men and women are better met
    • Being inclusive - we will be inclusive by removing whenever possible all the artificial boundaries that have developed between services. We will make sure disability or age does not exclude people from receiving the best care
    • Promoting recovery - we are committed to the recovery, in its wider sense, of each service user. We will take religious, spiritual and cultural needs seriously in care planning and service delivery

    The results and next steps

    • Using the vision and values of the development strategy, ensures that diversity is not distinct from mainstream work
    • Involving and working with the trust's leadership ensures that the top team is fully engaged and its role in the effective management of the SES is recognised
    • Partnerships and resources have been clearly identified and deployed to take into account the diverse needs of all stakeholders
    • Processes such as work plans/impact assessments have been systematically designed/reviewed and improved, to manage stakeholder diversity and generate increasing value

    Next steps:

    • Develop the work of the Equality & Diversity Implementation Group
    • Look at improving monitoring and reviewing equality impact assessments
    • Build on community consultation
    • Support staff networks

    Contact details and further information

    Dr. Simon Harrison, Equality and Diversity Advisor, Devon Partnership NHS Trust


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