NHS Leadership Academy East of England

Ensuring the NHS equality leads had the confidence, knowledge and skills to undertake their roles.

The East of England Leadership Academy work to develop and support leaders across all levels to deliver high-quality compassionate care. They do this through offering a diverse range of professional leadership development programmes and opportunities for teams and individuals working in leadership and delivering healthcare services across the east of England. Building Leadership for inclusion is a key priority area for the Leadership Academy and we aim to raise the bar on all aspects of delivery to support developing an inclusive, compassionate culture.

East of England approached EW Group to run the ‘Managing Equality and Diversity in an Organisation’ (ILM Level 4) Programme for 30 equality leads from NHS organisations across the East of England.

There was recognition that Equality Leads are implementing their agenda in often challenging circumstances where diversity is not always seen as the priority.

The ILM Level 4 Programme was open to applicants from a range of diverse backgrounds who shared a desire to develop further their diversity and inclusion knowledge, skills and understanding. The key challenge facing equality leads from across NHS organisations across the East of England was that they were implementing their agendas in often difficult circumstances where diversity and inclusion was not always seen as a key priority. As the emphasis of the ILM Level 4 Programme is promoting influence, building the business case for diversity and developing the skills for inclusive leadership this course was able to cultivate the practical skillsets to overcome such challenges.

“It was a real privilege to work with such a committed group of people.”

We ran two concurrent ILM cohort led by lead facilitator, Helen Webb, each consisting of 15 delegates. The ILM Level 4 programme consisted of:

  • A pre-course coaching session to ascertain the delegates learning requirements and explore their diversity and inclusion challenges they are seeking to address.
  • A one-day training programme focusing on best practice, the legal frameworks, the effectiveness of metrics, building the business case for equality, diversity and inclusion, developing influence, consideration of organisational culture and inclusive leadership styles.
  • A post-course coaching conversation to discuss the assignment requirements and progress.
  • Completion of the ILM written assignment.

The programme concluded with a follow up day celebrating the completion of the programme by the 30 participants. The event included guest speakers and presentations from several programme participants and culminated in the presentation of certificates.

Helen Webb, the programme facilitator said: “the programme was really inspiring to run. To listen to delegates, share how they were creating real change relating to the EDI agenda in their own organisations, often in very challenging circumstances was amazing. It was a real privilege to work with such a committed group of people.”

“Doing this programme has instilled self-belief.”

Thirty participants successfully completed the initial Academy training programme. The feedback was so positive that in December 2018, the East of England Leadership Academy recruited 30 more equality leads to undertake a further ILM programme. The Academy has been keen to create a community of learners and followed the initial programme with an action learning set for all interested participants. They are keen to ensure the momentum created by the January and December cohorts is not lost and are currently undertaking a comprehensive evaluation exercise to assist them in considering how to build on this programme in the future.

Likewise, the anecdotal feedback from the participants has been hugely positive. For some it has led to career progression and development, for others it has led to increasing their influence and ability to drive the diversity and inclusion agenda.

Feedback from delegates included:

“It has brought confidence to me as a leader whereby I am able to challenge any bad practice in my organisation.”

“The programme for me, as a leader, gave me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and gain confidence in what I already know. It’s given me the opportunity to share and cascade that knowledge to people in my own Trust.”

“It’s helped to focus my mind because we do this stuff every day. It brought it back to the forefront for me and helped me to evaluate how I can support my operations managers to implement equality and diversity.”

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