Equality, diversity and inclusion

NELFT NHS Foundation Trust has set out our long-standing commitment to ensuring our services and employment practices are fair, accessible, and appropriate for the diverse community we serve and the workforce we employ. Equality and diversity is enshrined in our ‘vision and values’ which can be found here.

Equality, diversity and inclusion is important to us

  • We want to make it easy for people to access our services
  • We want to recruit and retain our staff from all diverse communities
  • We want to our staff and those who use our services to be valued and respected as individuals
  • We want to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and honestly.

EDI statement

NELFT as an organisation is proud of its diversity and the richness our colleagues bring to our Trust and the diverse communities we serve. NELFT is a place where we want all staff to feel safe, protected and listened to. Everyone in our workforce represents different age groups, socio-economic backgrounds, faith and beliefs, therefore brings their own unique perspectives.

NELFT has a commitment to ensure that equality, diversity and inclusion are integrated at the core of its business and respond to the needs of our staff, service users and carers, and fosters a level playing field for all.

A growing dedicated EDI team provides a broad scope of initiatives that responds to the evolving needs of staff, patients and the local community. Through strategic work our collaborative action aims to create a fair environment that gives our staff access to the same opportunities. We do not tolerate unlawful discrimination and staff are supported to reach their full potential without fear of harassment and prejudice.

The Equality Diversity and Inclusion strategy at NELFT is an integral part of our compliance to national standards and drivers for fairness and inclusivity. Founded on the principle that diversity includes everyone, it supports an open culture that provides opportunities for people to develop their skills and progress their career.

Under the Equality Act 2010 and Public Sector Equality Duty, NHS organisations must ensure equal treatment of staff in relation to the nine protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, marital status, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. This must be achieved through the following actions:

  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by the Equality Act
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and people who do not share it
  • Foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not share it.

The Equality Delivery System (EDS) was commissioned by the national Equality and Diversity Council and launched in July 2011 to help NHS organisations improve the services they provide for the local communities and provide better working environments that are free of discrimination for those working for the NHS. The system helps the NHS meet requirements of the Equality Act 2010. EDS2 is a streamlined framework to support local NHS organisations to engage with local communities for continuous improvement of performance for people in relation to all protected characteristics. Though using the EDS2, NEFLT proactively delivers on Public Sector Equality Duty.

At NELFT there are currently nine staff networks, offering a wide range of opportunities for staff to communicate their experience and resolve issues around inequity. Each network either has their own strategy with executive sponsorship or is on a pathway to developing a strategy for focused inclusion efforts. These include the following:

  • Disability Staff Network
  • Dyslexia and Specific Learning Difficulties Network
  • Ethnic Minority Staff Network
  • Hearing Impairment Staff Network
  • Interfaith Staff Network
  • LGBT+ Staff Network
  • Mental Health Staff Network
  • Parent and Carers Network
  • WoMen’s Staff Network

The Ethnic Minority Network  has a substantial strategy to support equity for the Trusts 39% BME staff and other minority groups. The LGBT+ strategy aims to improve the lives of staff and patients irrespective of gender identity or sexual orientation ensuring all LGBTQ+ staff are free to be themselves in the workplace.  The Disability Staff Network strategy has supported the Trust to achieve Level 2 in the Disability Confident Scheme and aims to achieve Level 3 by the end of 2021. At NELFT we are working to address the gender pay gap, and plan to examine race and ability pay gaps at the Trust.

NELFT in terms of staff and patients/carers represents different identities which means that colleagues have multiple layers, and they may face further injustice as a result. Understanding and responding to the impact of these intersections helps us to achieve better outcomes for both staff and patients. Research shows that the extent to which an organisation values its minority staff is a good barometer of how well patients are likely to feel cared for.

Diversity includes everyone. Our mission is to understand and embrace Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Our commitment to this strategy will ensure that diversity includes everyone. It will enable us to tackle prevalent issues and remove cultural barriers at the workplace and allow each one of us to develop our potential and achieve our goals.

NELFT NHS Foundation Trust is Disability Confident Committed

The Trust has signed up to be a Disability Confident Committed employer and we have committed to the following:

  • Ensure our recruitment process is inclusive and accessible
  • Communicate and promote vacancies
  • Offer an interview to disabled people
  • Anticipate and provide reasonable adjustments as required
  • Support any existing employee who acquires a disability or long-term health conditions, enabling them to stay in work
  • At least one activity that will make a difference for disabled people

There are currently three levels of the Disability Confident Commitment, of which NELFT has achieved Level 1.

NELFT disability staff network is able to offer advice or support for those with a disability applying for posts in NELFT. For staff currently working in NELFT who may seek advice, support or want to engage or be part of the Disability Staff Network in NELFT, contact the team via email on disabilitynetwork@nelft.nhs.uk

You can also contact the equality and diversity team via telephone on: 0300 555 1201 ext: 65076 or 55993 or 64231.

We shall publish the action plan for the Disability Confident Commitment in due course, and give you an update on what actions have been achieved.