Promoting and developing leadership capacity around equality and diversity


17 / 11 / 2009

The organisation

The regional West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (WMAS) encompasses the previous West Midlands and Shropshire, Coventry and Warwickshire, Hereford and Worcestershire, and Staffordshire services and was formed on 1 July 2006.
The trust covers a population of approximately 7 million people in an area of approximately 6,000 square miles. It employs approximately 4,000 staff and operational staff make 450,000 emergency responses every year.


What we did and why

WMAS recognised that the successful delivery of the equality and diversity agenda was dependent on leadership that had the confidence and knowledge to work with partners inside and outside the organisation and at the same time be able to demonstrate leadership around the diversity agenda.
The chair, chief executive and HR director have set an example through actively pushing the equality and diversity agenda and ensuring that equality and human rights is core business for the trust.
The organisation developed a single equality scheme. The trust’s chair and chief executive outlined their personal commitment to the promotion and progression of equality, diversity, and human rights in the foreword. The action plan also outlined the importance of building capacity within the leadership of the trust to ensure local communities have confidence in those managing their ambulance service.
In addition, key leaders within the trust pro-actively demonstrated it is an inclusive, fair and transparent organisation that values the importance of equality and diversity.

How we did it

 Contact details

The trust will develop ongoing communication about diversity with staff at all levels.

Diversity will become part of competency and personal objectives for leaders all level and they will be assessed against them.

The trust is an associate site for the Department of Health pace setter pilot programmes around service delivery and recruitment.

The trust is looking and improving its self assessment process on equality and diversity and is considering a leadership charter on equality and diversity for all leaders. In addition a new equality and diversity learning and development strategy and annual plan are being developed.

The trust will use leadership development programmes to help translate these values into strategic planning and action to reduce inequality within the organisation and its work.

  • A corporate single equality scheme is in place with clear measurable action for leaders.
  • The trust is now in a position to use the findings of community engagement and consultation to inform key strategies and policies, to inform service design and delivery.
  • The trust is reviewing equality and diversity learning and development programmes to ensure that they meet the needs of its leaders.
  • Leadership at all levels are aware of the importance of actively promoting diversity inside and outside the trust.
  • Feedback revealed that leaders understand, are committed to and involved in the effective management of diversity.
  • Progress has been made to ensure processes are systematically designed, reviewed and improved to manage stakeholder diversity and generate increasing value.

The results and next steps

Workshops were delivered to provide the board with the knowledge, skills and confidence to implement and progress equality, diversity and human rights in their work.
The trust was a national pilot site for the NHS Constitution.  The chair sits on the national ambulance diversity forum and chairs the sub group on leadership, commitment, and diversity.
The equality impact assessment training has been reviewed and improved to enable leaders to assess the impact of strategies, policies, procedures and functions. This ensures there is no adverse impact on equality and that policies and procedures are compliant with the Human Rights Act.
The trust is in the process of improving the collection and use of equality data to underpin the impact assessment process to aid leaders in their decision making.
Senior leaders have held events on trust premises and in the community. They also attended the descendents diversity celebration at Villa Park in 2009.  These events generated useful feedback and were excellent opportunities to communicate the trust’s vision and aspirations for foundation trust status.

  • equality and diversity group (chaired by the HR Director, and attended by trust chair)
  • equality and diversity implementation group
  • equality support network
  • membership of the ambulance diversity forum (chair member and lead)
  • membership of the national ambulance BME committee.

The groups include:
To re-enforce this commitment, a number of groups have been set up whose role includes discussing equality and diversity concerns, providing feedback to inform progress, reporting on progress and having oversight of the action plan. 
 The trust recognised that strong leadership is critical in delivering outcomes for equality and diversity. Strategic accountability for equality and diversity rests with the Trust Board, the chief executive and the senior management team. They are firmly committed to this area of work and each directorate has responsibility for key actions.Sir Graham Meldrum
(01384) 215555


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