Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

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 we 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.

So, 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

Within the Equality Act, public sector organisations such as healthcare trusts have specific duties that need to be fulfilled. The public sector equality duty consists of a general and several particular duties. These replace the three old public sector duties for race, disability and gender.

The general duty has three aims and requires public sector organisations to have due regard to the need to:

  1. Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  2. Advance equality of opportunity between people from different groups; and
  3. Foster good relations between people from different groups.

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.

If you would like further support regarding a disability or condition you may have, you can request an Ability Support Pack from the POD team. This pack will give you generic information relating to:

  • how we are working towards being a Disability Confident Employer
  • help with reasonable adjustments
  • Occupational Health
  • Employee Assistance Programme
  • Mental Health First Aider contacts

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in action

Staff groups

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