27 / 01 / 2009
NHS North West
Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust was established in April 2002 and achieved FT status in December 2007. The trust provides mental health services for adults and older people, and substance misuse services for around 1.4 million people in Lancashire. The trust also provides a range of other services such as psychological therapies, low and medium secure care, forensic services and child and adolescent services. The trust employs around 3,000 staff across 70 sites.
The Trust has developed a number of initiatives to support its work on sexual orientation:
- joined the Navajo project which is a lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) peoples' project that aims to involve and serve the LGBT community across Lancashire. The Navajo comprises different elements including the Charter Mark scheme, sexual health projects and training
- developed an 'understanding sexuality train the trainer course' to develop skills of people in both the trust, and other organisations/communities, in this diversity area
- developed an LGBT working group involving both HR staff and clinicians - this group is also open to service users and carers
- committed to working with diverse partners on the development of LGBT issues across Lancashire
- Navajo Charter Mark - the trust was awarded the Navajo Charter Mark. The Mark's application required an evaluation of the organisation's ethics, with on-going evaluation to ensure that the trust continues to meet the criteria. It also enabled the trust to benchmark its performance against other private, public, voluntary and community sector organisations.
- Training and education - the trust developed an 'Understanding Sexuality' course that is accredited by City and Guilds. Training course attendees are taken on a 'journey of experience', learning about breaking down stigma and discrimination, oppression and internalisation of feelings, and about sexuality in the context of equality and diversity. During the five-day course, participants have an opportunity to practice their learning and receive feedback from the trainer and other participants. Following its accreditation, the trust now delivers the course to other organisations, including the Probation Service.
- LGBT working group - this cross-representative group supports the trust's work with LGBT communities. .. The group is used to disseminate information about equalities, raise awareness of key issues and support the delivery of the trust's single equality scheme (SES). To complement this work, the trust is now developing 'equalities champions'.
- Working with partners - partnership working underpins all the trust's activities and it has established local strategic partnerships across Lancashire. These partnerships have enabled the trust to engage community organisations in corporate planning processes such as developing its SES, including those from LGBT communities.
The trust's work has achieved a number of successes and progress in the following areas:
- The Navajo Charter Mark established a baseline to measure progress. This contributed to the equality proofing of all the trust's policies and practices to test their impact on LGBT equality.
- Building trust with LGBT people and their communities. This was supported by active and open communication with these groups including research with local residents to inform the work and to recruit volunteers who wanted to support the trust in taking forward the agenda.
- Developing the trust's expertise through customised bespoke sexuality training for staff acting as liaison points (eg. equalities officers) and spokespeople (eg. senior managers), and sexuality awareness training for all staff. This supported the trust's recruitment policies, to ensure it is an 'employer of choice' for all communities including LGBT people
- Embedding organisational support - senior commitment from leaders and other staff helped ensure sustainability so that initiatives were developed with full managerial support
Moving forward, the trust plans to:
- Develop performance indicators - the trust is committed to measuring implementation of employment policies through equality impact assessments, to ensure that employment and services meet the needs of LGBT people
- Other proposed performance indicators are likely to focus on the use of inclusive and non-discriminatory language, confidentiality policies and practices and support for LGBT groups
Clive Taylor, Equality and Diversity lead, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust