Equality and diversity: partnership working


22 / 06 / 2010

The organisation

NHS Warwickshire employs 2160 staff and serves a population of around 533,900 people. Warwickshire comprises five parliamentary constituencies – North Warwickshire, Nuneaton, Rugby and Kenilworth, Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick and Leamington.

What we did and why

NHS Warwickshire recognised that in order to deliver high quality services, it is essential that there is a culture of partnership, participative decision making and collaboration. It also recognised that the last fifteen years has seen an increase in partnership working. This has partly resulted from statutory requirements – notably the Local Government Act 2000, which established Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) with a role in promoting the economic, social and environmental well-being of an area, but also the wider challenges of ‘the need to deliver more seamless services and provide greater choice for service users’.

In response the trust is working closely with:
• the new Local Involvement Networks (LINks).  They came into force in April 2008. LINks is a new organisation run by the local authority via the services of a contracted ‘host.
• the Warwickshire Race Equality Partnership (WREP), particularly in the engagement of black, minority and new and emerging communities.

How we did it

The trust acknowledged that it depends on and supports a range of government bodies, voluntary organisations and community groups to raise the quality of life for its citizens. It therefore placed partnership working at the heart of its approach and identified:
• the partners it worked closely with and relied on the most
• priorities whose success depended on collaboration, for example,  translation.

NHS Warwickshire made sure their role in any partnerships was clear and that the partnership supported priorities and would produce measurable outcomes. By pinpointing gaps or duplication of effort, the trust was able to fine-tune its level of involvement and ensure it had the right skills to make partnerships more effective and results focused.

After looking at priorities, NHS Warwickshire set up an equality and diversity group with internal and external partners, including WREP and local authority representatives. The group is responsible for monitoring the implementation of impact assessments, developing a training package to ensure that community services are appropriate and accessible to all as well as ensuring compliance to legislation.

The Warwickshire new and emerging communities’ strategic steering group was set up by the Warwickshire Race Equality Partnership (WREP).  This  group has representatives from all agencies providing statutory and non–statutory services to new and emerging communities.  Its purpose is to share anonymous data in the form of reports and research projects to identify specific areas in which new and emerging communities require support and information.

The results and next steps

The following results have been achieved through effective Partnership working:
• The trust, together with Warwickshire Race Equality Partnership (WREP),  produced sign-posting information in relation to how to make a complaint, how to register for a GP and what local health services are available in the region and using joint expertise.  They also produced a cultural directory on patient information, thus saving time and resources
• Through membership of the Coventry and Warwickshire widening participation group, funding was obtained to appoint an individual to undertake work around widening the employment opportunities for the long-term unemployed in the community, those who came from diverse backgrounds and people with mental health problems.
• Through shared staff networks and single equality scheme meetings with Warwickshire County Council, the trust has been able to share ideas and good practice.
• Joint Translation services have been introduced following consultation with partners.
• An e-learning tool from ‘out the box’ was secured through Coventry and Warwickshire leadership and management joint partnership group.
• Partnership working contributed to the evidence that led to compliance with the Healthcare Core Standard C7e.

Future developments and next steps include:
• contributing to on going discussion around a public sector single equality scheme
• work with WREP partners, having recently received funding from the Equality and Human Rights commission for a one year project on BME disability. The outcome is to increase the motivation and participation of disabled people within the local decision making processes. It will also identify the needs of disabled people from the excluded and disadvantaged communities and to work with local agencies across Warwickshire
• work with the Council of Disabled People who have received £415,000 from the Big Lottery to develop the capacity of disability forums across the West Midlands.

Further information and contact details

Carol Innes, Head of Recruitment, NHS Warwickshire - Carol.innes@WarkPCT.nhs.uk 

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