Date of release: 7 October 2021
The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) has become the first NHS trust in the Black Country to have secured the Race Code quality mark in recognition of its improvement in race equality and ability to tackle discrimination in the workplace.
The RACE Code – which stands for Reporting, Action, Composition and Education – was established in 2020 by Dr Karl George MBE, a governance consultant working in the West Midlands, to help organisations improve race equality and to tackle discrimination within the workplace. Inspired by the global Black Lives Matter campaign, George describes the code to be about tackling race inequity in senior leadership / management positions and enabling opportunity.
The code is based on current laws, reports, charters and pledges, meaning our action plan is formed upon recommendations of best practice. It is designed to challenge managers to identify ways in which they could improve diversity and race equality within their services – ensuring our staff and service-users feel both valued and understood.
To be awarded the mark, the organisation had to go through an in-depth assessment, looking at how inclusive we are of staff and patients and develop an action plan for further improvement.
In recent years the Trust has strengthened its commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion within the organisation by appointing Balvinder Everitt as Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, whilst a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Employee Voice has been established. Staff across the organisation are currently marking Black History Month by sharing their stories and photographs on social media – highlighting why they are proud to be of African / Caribbean heritage and raising awareness of their own cultures.
Alan Duffell, Chief People Officer for RWT, said: “I’m incredibly proud of what the Trust has achieved so far and I look forward to seeing how the code positively impacts on both our workforce and service users.
“We had to show we meet the standards for each of the RACE principles. So, for example – do we efficiently report on concerns and act upon them, do we use considerate terminology, have we tried to educate staff on cultural issues etc.?
“We then created a framework on how we plan to make positive changes – including improving human resources (HR) practices, increasing diversity at senior levels and creating an inclusive culture across the organisation.
“I’m aware the organisation is at the start of its equality journey, and there is still much work to be done as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, however this achievement marks an important step for RWT in its approach to pursuing race equality and creating sustainable change.”