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Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion

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We are committed to supporting and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion.

Strengthening our approach to EDI for regulators and Accredited Registers

We announced in Spring 2023 (7 June) that, as part of our strategic focus on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), we are changing the way we assess the performance of the organisations we oversee. This includes the 10 statutory regulators and the Accredited Registers.

The statutory regulators are assessed each year against our Standards of Good Regulation. Standard 3, which was introduced in 2019, considers whether the regulator understands the diversity of its stakeholders and ensures that its processes do not discriminate unfairly. Since early 2022, the threshold for meeting this Standard has been under review as we work towards increasing our expectations of the regulators’ performance, having seen improvements across the board since its introduction. We recently published an updated evidence framework and guidance for regulators on Standard 3, outlining our increased expectations for 2023-26.

Organisations in the Accredited Registers programme are assessed against our Standards for Accredited Registers. Following a public consultation earlier this year, a new EDI Standard will be introduced over the coming months which will look at how organisations which hold a Register demonstrate their commitment to EDI and ensure their processes do not discriminate unfairly.

Consumer research - Perspectives on discriminatory behaviour in health and care

We have now published the report of research we commissioned on perspectives on discriminatory behaviour in health and care. This is a piece of qualitative research looking at what constitutes discriminatory behaviour in health and social care and the different ways in which this behaviour may have an impact on public safety and confidence. This research arose from our observations outlined in Safer care for all in relation to how regulators deal with racist and discriminatory behaviour within the fitness to practise process. The report was published on 14 June to coincide with our Chief Executive speaking at a session on equality at the NHS Confed Expo 2023 in Manchester. We envisage that the research will help to inform a consistent and appropriate response by regulators and Accredited Registers towards the various types of discrimination.


Background/context to our first EDI action plan

The murder of George Floyd and the associated Black Lives Matter movement brought into focus the fact that society and organisations still have a long way to go in addressing systemic racial inequalities. The pandemic has further exposed inequalities in relation to race, sex, disability, and socio-economic status, as has the murder of Sarah Everard. The Authority is not unique in facing challenges in relation to its approach and track record on EDI. We have, therefore, been looking at our role.

In November 2020, we commissioned an audit by Derek Hooper to gain feedback from our staff and external stakeholders on EDI to identify areas for improvement. The audit included an assessment of how we were perceived by regulators. It identified key strengths, including the commitment of the leadership and staff to EDI and the work we had already done to encourage regulators to consider EDI as part of their obligations.

The audit also showed that, while the PSA has a commitment to EDI, it still has some way to go in making sure that every employee feels included and able to get their voice heard. Regarding its external role, the organisation was seen by its regulatory community to be lacking credibility on EDI due to its lack of visibility on these issues in the past. We therefore need to improve our performance in this critical area to demonstrate our commitment to EDI in spirit and in practice.

The audit highlighted the following areas for further work and development:

  • Culture
  • Leadership Development
  • Diversity profile of the PSA
  • Staff Development
  • Policy development and EIAs
  • EDI Communication and Messaging
  • EDI in regulation and the role of PSA.

Following that, we appointed Mehrunnisa Lalani to help us develop a plan to embed EDI into our work and culture. Mehrunnisa worked with our staff and Board to prepare an action plan for us to carry forward.

Our vision is to:

Live our values and foster a culture where all our people feel included and are empowered to achieve their best, where we welcome and celebrate diversity, where inequalities and unfair treatment is called out and addressed and, where we set the example for what good looks like for all those we interact with internally and externally.

We have developed three objectives that will give a focus to our work on EDI.

  1. We will develop our capability so that we have the knowledge and understanding to lead by example in creating an empowering and inclusive culture
  2. We will promote an inclusive workplace culture where everyone feels empowered, engaged and valued
  3. We will use our influence to encourage the promotion and progression of EDI across health and social care regulators and accredited registers.

You can download the action plan in Word or as a PDF.

Get in touch

Please let us know if you need our material in other formats. Email info@professionalstandards.org.uk

National Inclusion Week 2023

The week ran from 25 September to 1 October 2023 and the theme for this year was 'take action, make impact'. We took the opportunity to reflect on what action we have taken over the last few years and you can find out more in this visual summary.

We also asked some of our colleagues 'What does inclusion mean to me?' You can find out how they answered in the short vox pops below (but there are a few clues in this word cloud).

An image of a word cloud showing words associated with an inclusive workplace

'What does inclusion mean to me?' Watch our videos:
Amrat Khorana, PSA Associate Board Member

Nefo Yuki-Igbinosa, First participant on the PSA’s Work Experience Scheme

Christine Braithwaite, PSA Director of Standards and Policy

No more excuses - tackling inequalities in health and care professional regulation

This is the first chapter in our report - Safer care for all: solutions from professional regulation and beyondIt discusses how there are still unequal and unfair outcomes for protected groups in aspects of professional regulation. Find out more here.

Read our blogs

Zero Discrimination Day: Celebration and Action

Discrimination is a pervasive and entrenched issue that affects individuals and communities around the world. Every individual deserves to be treated with dignity, respect and fairness, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race, disability, or any other (protected) characteristic. In recognition of the importance of tackling discrimination in all its forms, Zero Discrimination Day is observed annually on 1 March. This day is a reminder for us all to celebrate diversity and to take action to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.

Zero Discrimination Day was first observed by the United Nations 10 years ago in 2014, following a campaign by the UNAIDS programme to promote equality in access to healthcare services for people living with HIV and AIDS. Inequality in access to care is a familiar issue to us in the UK, as recognised in our Safer care for all report in 2022. Over the last 10 years, Zero Discrimination Day has developed to include a broader set of themes of inclusion and acceptance for all people, regardless of their background or identity.

Zero Discrimination Day is an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of our collective experience. Diversity enriches our workplaces, our communities and our societies. It brings together unique perspectives, experiences and talents. It fosters innovation, creativity and growth – more diverse organisations are more successful. We should take the chance on Zero Discrimination Day to reflect on all the benefits of diversity and to appreciate the value it adds to our lives.

Post-reflection, we need to recognise that Zero Discrimination Day is a call to action. This means taking concrete steps towards creating more equitable and inclusive environments in our workplaces and communities – and striving to do better, day after day. Tackling discrimination was once described to me as like walking the wrong way on a moving walkway – you have to work really hard to make progress, and, if you stop or even slow down, your efforts then you end up going backwards. Zero Discrimination Day is not just a day – it is a reminder to redouble our efforts and to do so 365 days a year (or 366 days in 2024).

What action can we take? We undertook research last year to find out what the public see as discriminatory behaviour in health and care and how this can have an impact on confidence in healthcare professionals and on patient safety. With this report, we have started conversations to help the regulators and Accredited Registers we oversee take a more consistent approach in dealing with this type of behaviour.

Clearly there are actions for governments, local communities and organisations to take; but the focus of this blog is at the level of the individual. We each have a role to play in creating a fairer and more inclusive world. We can educate ourselves and others about different forms of discrimination and their impact. At the PSA over the last two years we have had memorable professional development seminars, designed and delivered by people with a diverse range of lived experiences – all of which have illustrated the impact of ignorance and discrimination. We need to use this education to challenge prejudice and to advocate for inclusive policies and practices in the workplace. We need to speak out against discrimination – individually and as an organisation; and we need to be an ally to those who experience discrimination.

On 1 March each year, Zero Discrimination Day should be a line in the sand, marking our best endeavours of the previous year and reminding us to double our efforts in the forthcoming year. Progress is staccato and can sometimes feel like ‘two steps forward and one step back’, which is clearly inadequate on a moving walkway. We have to believe that our individual commitment, corporate commitment and collaborative approach can together turn zero discrimination from an aspiration into a reality.