23 / 6 / 2015 12.49pm
The first meeting of the Equality and Diversity Partners programme 2015/16 was held on 17 June 2015, with over 40 delegates representing 25 different organisations present.
The first of four meetings focused on the theme 'Relationship Building'. The aim of the meeting was to provide the participants with a strong policy input, provide personal development, network and share good practice.
Welcome and introductions
Paul Deemer, Head of Equality and Diversity, NHS Employers, welcomed the partners to the first meeting of the 2015/16 programme. He outlined the theme of the meeting ‘Relationship Building'.
As part of the introduction process he asked all participants to choose a letter used as part of the scrabble word game. Each member chose a word and explained how they felt in line with the word chosen. Letters chosen led to the following words being created: 'I speak because diversity counts'. This was therefore adopted as the Partners' motto for the year.
Jabeer Butt and Bernadette Rhoden from the Race Equality Foundation spoke first about 'Building Key External Relationships & Engagement Activities’ and facilitated two highly interactive exercises which allowed the audience to explore some of the key barriers identified by the public who have been involved in public engagement exercises. Some of the common barriers that were highlighted included the lack of information, and the use of inappropriate methods, including reliance of written material.
They emphasised that for effective engagement to work trusts need to recognise and appreciate the value of voluntary and community organisations to help NHS trusts co-produce the equality delivery system ratings but also develop long term relationships to help reduce health inequalities.
During the meeting a consultation document looking at an ‘Accessible Information Standard’ was highlighted. The standard will be implemented across health and social care in April 2016.
They concluded by highlighting Race Equality Foundation, in partnership with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Foundation, Disability Rights UK and Men’s Health Forum, have been funded by NHS England to produce a best practice guide for engaging with the community and voluntary sector in Equality Delivery System 2 (EDS2) implementation. The exercises undertaken with partners would be a useful means of supporting the production of the guidance.
Wendy Irwin, Head of Equality from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) shared with the audience how the RCN through partnership working have tackled bias and discrimination in the workplace to help build effective relationships. The RCN work closely with NHS trusts to develop the capacity for their representatives and the organisation they serve to deliver model employment practice.
She highlighted how the RCN realised the need to work with partners and ‘changing the conversation about workplace discrimination’ and in doing so fostering openness, appropriate safe conditions, purpose and genuine congruence between values and actions. She shared with the audience how the RCN, through partnership working have tackled with bias and discrimination in the workplace - 'Building Better Partnerships through Relationships, Is that Discrimination
In summary the three keys stages of the project was highlighted:
- Phase one ‘enhance capacity’ focused on building the capacity of RCN caseworkers to identify and challenge workplace discrimination.
- Phase two ‘enhancing performance’ aimed to influence employer behaviour into adopting and shaping good practice through effective partnership working.
- Phase three ‘raise awareness’ focused on raising member awareness and understanding of what discrimination is and their routes to accessing appropriate solutions in the workplace.
The final part of the meeting focused on introducing some useful personal development for the partners. Tony Belgrave from Positive Deviant Limited highlighted his extensive experience of change management both in the public and private sector. Through several interactive exercises he introduced the concept of positive deviance and the importance of positive deviants within organisations - 'Being a Positive Deviant Mindful of Relationships – An Interactive Experience
He took participants through a short journey using the four principles and the building blocks of Positive Deviance (PD) - congruence, connectivity, consistency, and courage to help us build effective relationships clear pathways to success and motivation to deliver. He highlighted how PD could be used as a tool to support change management and within the context of the partners meeting ‘Building Relationships’.
Diversity Conference 26 June 2015 – Southampton General Hospital
A key requirement on being selected to become an NHS Employers Equality and Diversity Partner is a commitment to providing support and sharing good practice.
One of the partners Southampton General Hospital invited all fellow partners to their Celebrating Diversity Conference, held on 26 June at Southampton General Hospital. They highlighted that the conference would focus on the protected characteristics of gender, race and transgender. The day also included patient and staff stories, breakout sessions on discrimination cases, human trafficking, overseas visitors, the language and culture of immigrants to the UK and a look at the patient pathway through the eyes of transitioning patients.
In addition, two key speakers would include Rikki Arundel (motivational speaker specialising in gender issues and identity) and Rageh Omaar (currently ITV journalist and documentary maker). All partners were invited to the conference.
The next partners meeting will be held on Wednesday 16 September 2015.