Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
In Surrey Heartlands, we value equality and diversity for our staff, patients, and the population we serve. Diversity is about appreciating and valuing differences for the benefit of relationships between the ICB, patients, workforce, volunteers, carers, and the public. We are duty-bound to treat everyone with dignity and respect and value everyone's human rights.
What are Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion?
- Equality is about ensuring everyone is treated fairly and given a fair chance to access opportunities. It's not about treating everyone the same way, as individuals may have different needs to achieve the same outcome.
- Diversity is about celebrating and valuing how unique we all are. This is strongly linked to promoting human rights and freedoms based on principles such as dignity and respect. Diversity is about recognising, valuing and taking account of people's different backgrounds, knowledge, skills, and experiences - where encouraging and using these differences can lead to creating a productive and effective workforce.
- Inclusion is about positively striving to meet the needs of different people and taking action to create environments where everyone feels respected and able to achieve their full potential.
The Public sector equality duty
Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care Board (ICB) became an authorised NHS public body in July 2022. As an NHS organisation we have statutory obligations under s149 Equality Act 2010, the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED).
This requires the ICB to ensure it can demonstrate, in the exercise of its functions, due regard to the need to:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other conduct this is prohibited by or under this Act.
- Advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.
- Foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.
As a public authority, we have legal requirements under the Equality Act 2010 to promote equality with due regard to the protected characteristics of Age, Disability, Gender reassignment, Marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, Race, Religion or belief, Sex, and Sexual orientation.
The specific duties require public bodies to set clear, measurable equality objectives and publish information about their performance on equality so that the public can hold them accountable.
You can visit the Equality and Human Rights Commission website to learn more about the Equality Act 2010 and the Protected Characteristics.
Public Sector Equality Duty Compliance Report
This report has been developed in response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) letter to all ICB Chief Executives in February 2023 which highlighted the requirements of the PSED for ICBs as new organisations. The letter set out what the PSED obligations are and what specific actions need to be taken on an annual basis, including publication of gender pay gap reporting and an annual EDI/PSED report.
Our first report (published March 2023) highlights information that is required to demonstrate compliance with the PSED, in relation to the ICBs workforce and those affected by its policies and practices. This information will form the initial baseline for the ICB in it’s first year of operation. This provides the opportunity to continually improve on the information available each year to demonstrate the inclusion journey in greater depth.
What we are doing
Our public sector duty is to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, and victimization, advance equality of opportunity between people from different groups, and foster good relations between people from other groups.
Surrey Heartlands aims to be a leader in promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion. We believe that our organisation must reflect the full diversity of the communities and people it serves, both in employment and service delivery.
We aim to create opportunities and reduce barriers for everyone, particularly under-represented groups. We are committed to ensuring that there is no unjustified discrimination in our processes for recruitment and selection, performance management, and pay. We follow a zero-tolerance policy on bullying and harassment.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in action
We have several staff engagement groups across Surrey Heartlands:
- BAME Forum
- Disability Forum
- Women's Network
- Men's Network
- LGBTQ+ Network
EDI projects in Surrey Heartlands
We have a number of current projects taking place across Surrey Heartlands, including:
- Hidden Disabilities
- Neuro Diversity
- Inclusion Ambassadors
What are our plans?
In the coming months, we are working towards:
- implementing a Neuro-diversity project
- gaining disability confident certification
- the launch of the Men's Network
- relaunching the Disability Network
- launching a LGBTQ+ Network
- workforce workstream Task and finish groups