At the Peepul Centre today, for the Equality Delivery System (EDS) Grading Group, sponsored by the Integrated Equalities Service for Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland PCTs, working in partnership with University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
This event is being held to allow participants to review the information NHS organisations have published and evidenced as part of their EDS self-assessment work and decide whether the proposed grade is appropriate.
The Equality Delivery System (EDS) is a new structured method designed by the NHS to assist its organisations in meeting the Public Sector Equality Duty under the Equality Act 2010, covering all nine protected characteristics. In order to get an accurate and comprehensive perspective NHS organisations using the EDS are encouraged to work with staff-side groups, community organisations and local interest groups in tackling inequalities in their areas. The EDS is broken down into four structured goals over:
- Better health outcomes for all
- Improved patient access and experience
- Empowered, engaged and well-supported staff
- Inclusive leadership at all levels
This has been planned and promoted as a two-day event: day one looking at the first two goals with the focus on patient services and experiences; day two looking at the last two goals with a focus on employment, staff support and the organisation’s leadership. Each day is scheduled to run from 1200-2015.
But it doesn't quite work out tha way. Attendees voice concerns about the kind of information evidenced (and that which has not been evidenced) and their competence to comment on what's been put before them. There's recognition of conflation between what's interesting and useful to the organisation and what's interesting and useful to service users and the kind of organisations represented here today. So during an impromptu break, the organisers rejig the whole event, cancelling tomorrow's session, bringing forward the close of today's session to 1700 and setting us the collective task of spending the next few hours discussing, devising and deciding upon the kind of evidence that would work for all of us.
I say good on them, for listening to what attendees were saying today and responding to it as a matter of urgency. I haven't seen that done very often at this kind of event. As I said to Christina Marriot, Manager of the Integrated Equalities Service, if they (and particularly she) don't get a gold star on the evaluation forms today for thinking on their feet, then there's no justice in the room!