Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust. Equality Act Equality Delivery System Equality Objectives April March 2016

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1 Introduction Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust Equality Act Equality Delivery System Equality Objectives April March 2016 The Public Sector Equality Duties require that public authorities such as CHUFT prepare and publish their equality objectives, with a deadline for these to be produced by 6 April This builds on work already undertaken on publishing information on how CHUFT has demonstrated its compliance with the legislation: which was completed 31 January As context it should be noted that CHUFT has already developed a range of initiatives on diversity and equality (including for example, our single equality scheme); reflecting the priority the organisation had given to this subject in recent years. We intend to build on this in the future. We aim to be a leader in this field, using the progress made in this area to inform all of our activities. In undertaking this work, we have utilised the Equality Delivery System (EDS) framework developed by the NHS, and have worked with other Essex NHS organisations, namely the Essex Equality Delivery System Implementation Group. A framework has been developed that incorporates the EDS goals and outcomes and a report of this was submitted to the Trust Board in January of this year. In preparing the objectives below, we have taken account of the Single Equality Scheme and Action Plan and also linked this to the EDS goals and outcomes document. The aim has been to begin to pull various strands of work together into one overall package that is accessible and that can be added to and further developed in the coming months. It should be noted that the objectives are meant to be set for a period of four years, but these can be reviewed and amended over time. We intend to retain flexibility in the approach we take so that we can react to circumstances, and also change our approach in the light of experience gained and lessons learnt. 1

2 An integral part of the approach has also included the need to consult and engage with staff, patients, the communities we serve and relevant stakeholders. Hence, for example, during the Autumn of 2011 and January 2012 we carried out some extensive community engagement programmes. This will form a continuing programme of work in this area and builds on work already undertaken. Being part of the EDS programme has helped us to prepare our equality objectives as required by equality legislation. In doing this we have taken account of the guidance recently produced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and also the EDS framework and its attachments. The driving force of the EDS framework is that these equality objectives should be seen as part of mainstream business plans and are supporting the delivery of these. As referred to above, our review of progress made to date undertaken in January 2012 along with the first engagement programmes we have been involved in, have helped us to identify our organisation s objectives. A key factor is the group of requirements of the legislation which require us to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation, to foster good relations and to advance equal opportunity across all our policies, service delivery and employment functions, including the functions that we procure. It is up for us to decide how many equality objectives we should have. The difference between the previous legislation and arrangements and now is that organisations have more scope to decide what they do and how they do it, based on local circumstances and their own experiences. In developing our objectives, we have taken account of guidance from both the EHRC and the EDS framework (Setting Local Objectives and Priorities). Hence, we have based our equality objectives around EDS four goals and have expanded and developed from these, based on information we have collected and feedback we have obtained. In prioritising our objectives, we have used criteria such as: Does information at a local and national level highlight this as an important equality issue? Are these priorities for staff and service users themselves? Would this objective stretch the organisation to perform better on equality issues in key areas? How would achieving this objective improve the experience for people with a relevant protected characteristic? 2

3 How does this objective contribute to the aims of the general Equality Duty? What are the views of our stakeholders? How many people with relevant protected characteristics are affected by the issue and what is the severity of the effect? These types of factors have informed our early consideration of objectives and will continue to be the issues we will be taking account of in the future as our programme of work is progressed. Underpinning the approach to be taken on setting objectives is the need to ensure that they are specific and measurable, reasonable and, most importantly, achievable. In developing our objectives we have also provided a short background rationale. The legislation talks about protected characteristics and these include nine strands: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnerships, pregnancy and maternity, race including nationality and ethnicity, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. It should be noted that in relation to the protected groups, there will be greater priority addressed to some rather than others at various times, and this will be reflected in our work on equality and diversity in the coming years. Hence the EDS framework makes the comment: Deliberately choosing equality objectives so that all protected groups are covered at any one time, irrespective of need and urgency, can lead to tokenistic unrealistic plans. Backed by evidence, and working with local interests, the EDS analysis should reveal the most pressing needs and help Boards to undertake a rational and carefully documented process of prioritisation, which takes account of all relevant facts and matters and which, if challenged, can be justified. In setting objectives, both EHRC and EDS recommend that these should be limited, with a maximum of around three or four. We have set four objectives, and these relate broadly to the EDS goals. Finally, it should be noted that part of the recent legislative changes on equality are being driven by the need to simplify the process of delivering equality and diversity in practice. The aim has been for there to be less paperwork and more achievable actions, greater transparency to service users, the public and staff, and a concentration on outcomes. For the health services, there is also the EDS framework and we have attempted to effectively combine this, the new legislation, and the 3

4 Single Equality Scheme. We have incorporated many of the Single Equality Scheme actions into the objective areas for example. It is suggested that over time these equality objectives will form the main part of our approach to equality and diversity. Our aim however should be to keep what we do in this area as simple and clear as possible, concentrating on results and outcomes rather than just process. 4

5 Objectives Background/rationale Actions i) Better health services provided and outcomes for all: which of course includes all diverse groups* with specific needs being effectively addressed, consistent high quality services being delivered, patient safety assured and the narrowing of any health inequalities. * The Trust has used the word diverse groups rather than those described legally as the nine protected characteristics. Our aim is to achieve continuing improvements in patient and public health and patient safety. Our work in this area is based on the information and data we have collected and the feedback we have obtained through the engagement process. This source of information feedback will be added and extended where needed on a continuing basis. Working with partners and relevant stakeholders we will gather and share information on the experience of patients, taking account of the needs of diverse groups. The diversity dimension will be included in any survey/feedback emerging from work with patients and the collection of demographic data. Continue our patient and public stakeholder initiatives to ensure that the needs of diverse groups are identified and are being addressed. This includes the identification and continuing updating of representative and hard-to-reach groups and communities as part of a continuing approach. Complaints will be dealt with effectively and sensitively and monitored and evaluated in respect of any diversity issues, including patient safety concerns. Continue to work with the Essex Equality Delivery System Implementation Group as well as our own Equality and Diversity Group, sharing knowledge in this area and taking appropriate action in the light of information and data obtained. We will continue to maintain an emphasis to be placed on developing and sustaining engagement with diverse groups in the local community. The current priority is the LBGT Group, where work to date is underdeveloped, and the identification of any particular needs. Another priority is our work on mental health and ensuing that we are meeting the needs in this area as well as ensuring that our staff are briefed and trained on relevant issues. Ensure that staff, and front line staff in particular, are 5

6 ii) Ensure effective access for all, including diverse groups, with work undertaken to increase awareness of the range of health services available, with specific needs being addressed when accessing the services. Ensuring that information is provided effectively about services that are available, relevant formats produced, taking account of the needs of all patients, including targeted provision for particular diverse groups where needed: key to this area is the aim of ensuring that the patient experience is a positive one in respect of the services provided, including ensuring that patients are kept fully informed, aware of diversity issues and the need to take account of particular needs, along with asking the right questions and communicating with sensitivity. Ensure the interpretation service provides sufficient access for those who need it and that where possible this is pre-planned. We will monitor the impact and use of the interpretation service. Undertake a service audit to gain a better understanding of what is being done by each team/service, to ensure that specific needs of people from diverse groups are being addressed. Maintain and further develop readily accessible contacts, through and with other organisations and relevant diverse groups, which can provide input and help to communicate CHUFT services. Monitor and make sure we are aware of any deficits in opportunities for patients accessing services, based on general clinical need and not particular diversity characteristics. Continue to keep under review and amend where required all patient information leaflets and electronic information to ensure that information we provide is in an easy to read format, with appropriate language and addressing the needs of particular diverse groups. In developing this work we will ensure that we engage with representatives of diverse groups, who will inform us of any particular issues and needs. Ensure the continuous development of the directory of all health services on our website and consider other ways of disseminating this information effectively. Relevant training and briefing will continue to be 6

7 iii) Ensure we have a motivated, well supported and engaged workforce that reflect the diverse communities in the area we operate and who are knowledgeable and sensitive to the needs of patients, the public and relevant stakeholders. can exercise choice and are treated with dignity and respect. We want to ensure that CHUFT is a positive and rewarding place to work, with good staff morale, effective and supportive management, where diversity is understood and respected and where we both comply with relevant employment and equality legislation as well as reflecting best practice in all that we do. As part of our delivery of work in this area, we will continue to monitor and evaluate workforce information. provided to ensure staff effectively communicate with patients and carers. Review and ensure complaints are dealt with effectively and also respectfully: keep and monitor relevant diversity data as part of the continuing assessment of impact in this area. LEAPS (learning action plans) Continue to monitor and evaluate diversity employment data (on a quarterly basis) and also address any gaps in the data collection: part of this will include the further development of the collection of data on sexual orientation in a caring & sensitive manner. Keep under review relevant policies and procedures to ensure that they are up to date and reflect best practise: immediate task is to review and update the Equal Opportunities in Employment Policy. Continue our programme of blended equality and diversity briefings in training, including the evaluation of impact (including induction). Keep equal pay and relevant data under review (annually). Keep the Bullying and Harassment Policy under review, providing relevant feedback into the Board Explore developing and implementing a plan to adopt the Competency Framework for Equality and Diversity leadership, to include the appointment of relevant leads for the project and exploring incorporating the Competency Framework into our equality and diversity training. 7

8 March 2012 iv) Effective delivery of our programme of equality and diversity over the next four years: this will include learning lessons and amending our approach where required, building on progress made and being accountable to our patients, the public, our staff and relevant stakeholders. There are a number of process steps we need to take to ensure that our four year programme is delivered. We want to ensure that we do not get over-burdened with process and retain a focus on tangible action, clear outcomes and being transparent and accountable in our delivery of services and in supporting our workforce (paid and volunteers). This includes the leadership we provide in this area; how we mainstream equality and diversity as part of our business plans; how we monitor and assess our work in this area; how we communicate our message(s) and how we outsource and procure services. Integrate the equality and diversity objectives and action where relevant into the organisational business plan, reflecting this work throughout the organisation, with the active involvement of management at all levels, including staff and patient customers engagement initiatives. Provide leadership at the most senior level with a champion(s) identified to help drive through the programme of work. Support the continuing work of the Equality and Diversity Group and the Essex EDS Implementation Group in driving, facilitating and communicating our Equality and Diversity Strategy and Action. Undertake equality analysis where relevant to assess potential impacts of policies and approaches in relation to equality and diversity. We will ensure continuing monitoring and evaluation of relevant service delivery and staffing areas with accessible and user friendly reports prepared and published. Communicate with and involve relevant staff/patients/communities in the equality and diversity approach developed at CHUFT as it is progressed. Ensure that equality and diversity issues form part of the procurement process. Ensure effective communications and accessibility of all equality and diversity information, including, for example, ensuring our goals and objectives are reflected in information on the website. 8