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NHS Leadership Academy commits to banishing ‘all-white recruitment panels’


By Valeria Fiore
14 August 2018

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Going forward, every recruitment panel in the NHS Leadership Academy must have diverse representation, the organisation has decided.

In an exclusive interview with Healthcare Leader, NHS Leadership Academy managing director Stephen Hart revealed he has stipulated that there should be no more ‘all-white’ recruitment panels.

He added: ‘I am privileged to have an incredible diverse team at the academy, led by Tracie Jolliff [director of inclusion]. It is an intervention that Tracy and I discussed was necessary and we put it place.’

Working towards greater inclusion

Mr Hart explained that ‘one of the core tenets of NHS leadership is inclusion’, which is why the academy had to look at itself in the mirror and examine where they could improve on race equality.

He continued: ‘One area where we could do better is in recruitment of a more diverse and representative workforce, particularly with regards to race.

‘The WRES data is clear that across the NHS, the possibility of BME staff progressing from shortlist to appointment is disproportionately low.’ Mr Hart said the change was introduced two months ago.

It comes as a recent report by The King’s Fund and NHS Providers outlined that only 7% of very senior managers in the NHS are from a BME background.

The academy is making three commitments to tackling inequality within the institution, Mr Hart added.

The pledges are:

  • That there will be no all-white recruitment panels
  • That those involved in recruitment have completed diversity in recruitment training
  • That staff forums for under-represented groups are established

NHS Leadership Academy director of inclusion Tracie Jolliff added: ‘The academy is committed to having crucial conversations about difference, and tackling themes which usually fall into the organisational boxes labelled “un-discussable” or  “too difficult”.’

Mr Hart mentioned that it is also in the Leadership Academy’s plans to ensure that anyone sitting on a recruitment panel has completed diversity recruitment training, provided by the academy.

There are internal talks for this to come into force by 1 October, though the date has yet to be confirmed.

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