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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Our Ambition: Our health and care workforce in Suffolk and North East Essex experiences a fair, equitable and inclusive culture, where they are truly valued and can fulfil their potential.


Equality: means equal job opportunities and fairness for employees and job applicants. The Equality Act 2010 protects employees, job applicants and commissioned self-employed people from discrimination on the basis of their (or someone they are associated with) ‘protected characteristics’. Discrimination may be direct or indirect, and includes harassment and victimisation. The Act also provides for positive action where people or groups are at a disadvantage, are under-represented, or have particular needs.

Diversity: is the range of people in your workforce. For example, this might mean people with different ages, religions, ethnicities, people with disabilities, and both men and women. It also means valuing those differences.

Inclusion: in the workplace means everyone feels valued at work. It lets all employees feel safe to come up with different ideas; raise issues and suggestions to managers, knowing this is encouraged; and try doing things differently to how they’ve been done before, with management approval. Inclusive employment practices can reduce bullying, harassment and discrimination.

Source: ACAS

The Story Behind the Ambition

Lived Experience


Caring about our workforce

Recruiting to healthcare


On The Front Line

A report by Healthwatch Essex outlining findings of the conversations initiated with front line workers about their mental health

Click here

Published Evidence

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion means better health and care services


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Fitness to practice

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Our approach in Suffolk and North East Essex ICS to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

In May 2022 we held an online event to explore ‘Thinking Differently Together about… What will it take to create a genuinely equal, diverse and inclusive workforce in health and care?’

The report of the event concluded that ‘Everyone in our health and care workforce who is minoritised and marginalised should:

  • Feel confident to challenge and report discrimination and prejudice when it happens.
  • Feel safe to share their true selves without fear of consequences.
  • Have allies who understand their privilege, who will challenge discrimination and prejudice, and who will support those impacted.
  • Have a voice at all levels of the organisation they work for, and the wider health and care system.’

You can read the full report HERE

In November 2023 our Integrated Care Partnership held the first of three Uncomfortable Truths events, where system partners explored WHY we need to address culture in our health and care system to improve access, experience and health outcomes for local people. The event included discussion of how fair and inclusive our health care system is for our workforce, focusing on inequalities in fitness to practice processes, experiences of incivility and harassment, and the impact of Covid-19 and the cost of living.

You can read the report of our event HERE and the data pack that supported our event can be read HERE.

We will hold two further events on HOW we can learn from experts and best practice to devise our plans, and WHAT we will do to improve culture in our system. You can read more about our Uncomfortable Truths programme HERE.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the NHS in the East of England

The East of England has the second-most ethnically diverse NHS workforce in the country, but the 2022 NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard study indicated that the region continues to struggle with workforce race equality. East of England’s performance on this agenda, the disproportionate number of ethnic minority personnel in front-line jobs, and ethnic minority staff’s Covid-19 mortality and morbidity have necessitated a racial equity review in the healthcare sector. The NHS East of England Antiracism Strategy, launched in July 2021, outlines a strong antiracism framework to achieve race equality. It describes the difficulty of tackling race inequality in the East of England and gives a framework to make NHS employers antiracist.

In 2023 NHS England published two key documents which set out ambitious directives on the improvement of staff retention and growth of the one workforce, including outline the reporting mechanisms for Health and Social Care. These are:

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in local authorities

The Equality Framework for Local Government (EFLG) helps organisations, in discussion with local partners including local people, review and improve their performance for people with characteristics protected by the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Framework for Local Government 2021 is intended to help councils:

  • Deliver accessible, inclusive and responsive services to customers and residents in their communities including those from under- represented groups.
  • Employ a workforce that reflects the diversity of the area they are serving.
  • Provide equality of opportunity for all staff.
  • Meet the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty and support any aspirations to exceed these.

The EFLG references the nine legally protected characteristics and encourages councils to consider other issues that might be affecting their staff such as caring responsibilities as well as issues affecting communities like socio-economic inequality and isolation including rural isolation. The EFLG supports the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s six domains of equality measurement in the areas of life that are important to people and that enable them to flourish: education, work, living standards, health, justice and personal security, and participation.

You can read more about EDI in Essex HERE
You can read more about EDI in Suffolk HERE

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in charity and voluntary sector boards

Data shows that the boards of charities tend not to reflect the communities they serve. The Taken on Trust report in 2017 found trustees were:

  • 62% male
  • 92% white
  • Average age 60-62; over 8,000 boards having an average age over 75 years
  • 75% earned above the national median income

The Charity Commission highlights that ‘the governance of charities will be improved where trustees are recruited from a wide range of backgrounds. This includes trustees from parts of the community which have traditionally not played a large part in charities, such as young people, people from minority and ethnic communities and people with disabilities. Creating a diverse board can also help to increase accountability and public confidence.
NCVO provides an overview of EDI in the voluntary sector and guidance on developing an EDI approach.

Further Information

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Last Updated on 28 March 2024

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