Black and minority ethnic senior leaders forum


20 / 08 / 2009

The organisation
What we did and why
How we did it
The results and next steps
Contact details

The organisation

South London and Maudsley NHS Trust delivers mental health and substance misuse services to people in Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and Croydon.  It also provides substance misuse services for Bexley, Greenwich and Bromley and specialist services to people from across the United Kingdom.

Its primary focus is people with severe and enduring mental illness as well as promoting good mental health, early intervention to prevent more serious problems and supporting primary care in dealing with people with less severe problems.  The trust operates from 181 sites and has 4,500 staff. 

What we did and why

In response to the under-representation of some black and minority ethnic (BME) staff at senior levels, the trust launched a BME Senior Manager’s Leadership and Development Forum in 2004.  The forum brings together BME senior managers to enable them to provide support and establish strategies to support BME development opportunities and promote personal and professional development.

The forum has a number of key objectives:

  • to be proactive and contribute to significant change within the organisation.
  • to contribute to the trust’s/NHS objectives for  BME leadership development
  • to develop leadership capacity
  • to promote personal and professional development
  • to act as a vehicle to enable the development of BME staff within the trust.

Additionally, a number of successful local BME networks have also been developed.

How we did it

From early on, the trust was keen to ensure that the forum was included senior BME managers and all those with a trust wide remit, service or borough focus.  The forum was also keen to ensure that they were in a position to contribute to current issues and developments in the organisation.

A planning meeting was held before the first forum meeting so that members could consider a potential work-plan. This included:

  • identifying key issues and themes in the trust and nationally, 
  • key individuals who could be invited to speak or make presentations at  future meetings 
  • mapping development opportunities available to senior BME staff. 

The results and next steps


  • securing a significant number of places on the strategic health authority (SHA) HA leadership course
  • Approximately 11 members successfully completing the SHA leadership programme.
  • the Forum sent an official response on the trust’s consultation document on the trust consultation strategy
  • presentations  and attending national and local conferences including Breaking Through
  • One member successfully completing f the ‘Breaking Through Programme - Aspiring Director’  module
  • The forum is developing toolkit that would further enhance group members career progression/ development
  • the personal experiences shared by group members and the support given/ received
  • A number of senior staff has taken up mentoring roles with other BME staff.

Next Steps

  • to raise the profile of the network across the trust and bring the group to the forefront of the equality and diversity agenda.
  • make an immediate and positive contribution to influencing policy development and implementation so it impacts positively on BME staff. 
  • identify priority work currently in progress at the trust that the network may want to contribute to
  • support further development of the trust equality  diversity (E&D)  and human rights agenda and working with work in collaboration with other trusts in developing their E&D agenda
  • Working in collaboration with Service Directors using gap analyses to address emerging themes or trends) to contribute towards analysing reviews i.e. staff survey findings and developing way forward action plans
  • act as a source for views, opinions and information on matters or affecting BME service users, staff and carers
  • develop a programme of relevant activities aimed at supporting BME staff’s personal and professional development
  • contribute towards reviews in terms of policy  and practice developments where appropriate and feeding back to the board


Sharon Murray. Trust Profile Co-ordinator/Positively Diverse Lead, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust,
Tel: 020 3228 1594 Mobile 07977927250

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