26 / 01 / 2009
NHS North West
Halton and St Helens Primary Care Trust was established on 1 October 2006, bringing together Halton PCT and St Helens PCT. It provides healthcare services for around 300,000 people using across primary and secondary care.
The PCT employs around 2,000 staff, many of whom are in frontline roles such as district nurses and health visitors.
Halton and St Helens PCT recognised that an effective Single Equality Scheme needs reliable workforce data to enable detailed analysis of the workforce and the impact of its equality and diversity policies.
The duties covered in an SES are explicit. They include monitoring the workforce and employment processes across the six strands, publishing the results and taking any necessary steps to cover specific inequalities.
The trust carried out a data cleaning exercise to comply with the Specific Duty and the General Duty outlined in the trust's SES. This established a dataset that the trust could use to:
- to identify if there is any apparent unfairness
- use as a basis for monitoring the impact of measures to achieve greater diversity
In addition to statistical data, the trust also considered options for gathering qualitative research for example exit interview data.
The trust recognised the need to secure the buy-in of key internal stakeholders in this work who needed to understand their legal obligations and personal responsibilities.
Active staff engagement was central to this to ensure that good quality data was collected on a regular basis. The trust developed the following approach:
- Communicating to staff exercise - this aimed to explain to staff and managers:
- why the trust was collecting the data
- the trust's legal responsibilities
- what they needed to do in practical terms to provide the trust
- with any additional information required
- what the outcomes of this work may be
- key support contacts at the trust
- Using existing data sources - the trust's first step was an audit of existing staff data and its accuracy to assess whether existing data sources could be used or developed. This data was then sent to staff to verify
- Adverse impact - to comply with legislation, the trust then analysed the data to see if there were any patterns of inequality across the six strands
- Acting on the results - the analysis revealed justification for 'positive action' to promote equality of opportunity around training and recruitment for both disabled and ethnic staff
- The data cleansing exercise was developed and successfully implemented with clear leadership commitment and support
- Those involved had an understanding of how monitoring could contribute to high quality recruitment and staff development programmes, a willingness to introduce new data collection systems when required and identified gaps in data
- Legal compliance and legal risks were addressed
- Key messages communicated across the organisation on the legislative requirement for fair employment practices and a diverse workforce that reflects the community we serve.
- Identified gaps in practices around recruitment and retention and subsequent action undertaken (Positive Action and Disability Initiative)
Carl Dixon, Human Resources Manager at Carl.Dixon@hsthpct.nhs.uk