The Project

WRES Indicator 8

Reducing discrimination for BME staff
Chesterfield Royal NHS Foundation Trust


This case study examines how Chesterfield Royal NHS Foundation Trust addressed issues around the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES). The WRES focusses on nine indicators comparing the experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) staff with those of White staff: for more detail on this, see the WRES web site. This is one of several case studies on this site relating to the WRES: click here for links to the others.


WRES objective being addressed

WRES Indicator 8: In the last 12 months have you personally experienced discrimination at work from any of the following: Manager / team leader or other colleagues?


What they did

Our equality, diversity and inclusion agenda this year has had a more general focus, and our staff survey results have been positively influenced by:

  1. Improving overall return rate (several initiatives meant we achieved a response rate of 71%, which was the second highest acute trust in the country)
  2. A number of wider staff engagement initiatives
  3. Leadership initiatives (including ‘Leading the Chesterfield Way’) and leadership development activity.

1. Survey return rate


  • Staff data checking and cleansing was carried out to a higher standard than previous years.
  • Focus on local rather than central communications (following feedback from staff) and did a bit less communications from a central point – leaving local teams to do own communications
  • Central support for managers to encourage their teams to participate
  • Centrally produced posters and guidance and hot drink vouchers
  • Survey deployment
  • Decision to use a paper survey which was hand delivered to divisional offices. Surveys distributed through managers / team leaders, who were expected to hand deliver to individuals. We believe this reduced the number of surveys which did not reach the intended recipient.
  • Coffee vouchers were distributed with the surveys.
  • Weekly check in of response by team was circulated to the leadership assembly.

Incentives / rewards

  • We rewarded teams who gave us 100% return rates

2. Wider staff engagement activities

  • We ran a number of ‘Be Yourself’ events with the intention of engaging staff from minority groups, although these were poorly attended (see section on challenges below).
  • The trust has adopted ‘Listening into Action’ as a way of engaging staff to make improvements across the organisation. Our initial ‘Be Yourself’ events were part of Listening into Action.

3. Leadership initiatives

  • We have recently completed a programme of unconscious bias training which covered over 200 staff, including our Leadership Assembly.
  • Our recruitment training has been refreshed to include unconscious bias.
  • Our ‘Leading the Chesterfield Way’ was rolled out to around 100 senior leaders and is currently being rolled out more widely.
  • Equality and diversity has been embedded into our ‘SkillsLab’ suite of management training, rather than being a standalone topic.
  • We have refreshed our induction for all new starters to include a session on ‘understanding and appreciating our differences’


What was the outcome?

We have had an overall improvement in scores for white (5.0% to 4.4%) and BME (8.1% to 7.1%) staff since the previous year and the gap between the white and BME scores has narrowed in the same period. We continue to score below (better) than the acute benchmark (6.6% for white staff and 7.1% for BME staff) this gap has increased in the last 12 months.


Challenges & barriers

Actual or intended outcomes

We ran a number of ‘Be Yourself’ events with the intention of engaging staff from minority groups. While these were poorly attended, a number of staff subsequently approached members of the Workforce and OD team to describe personal issues they had faced. From this the ‘Be Yourself’ group was established.

Planning and preparation

The ‘Be Yourself’ group is still in its early stages. This group started after the survey was completed and the initial focus has been on asking individuals what they think our issues are and how we can deal with them, consistent with our Listening into Action approach.

Who was helped and how?

The group was set up by our organizational development (OD) lead, with support from members of patient experience and workforce and OD teams. Membership is open and has included representatives from those with a particular interest in the equality agenda. We still wish to encourage better attendance from individuals representing minority groups.


What can other organisations learn from this?

We recognise our local demographic will not been in line with many other organisations. Our relatively low number of BME staff is broadly reflective of our wider population.

We need to be creative and open minded in finding new ways to reach out to members of underrepresented groups – we need to be prepared to listen to allies of these groups and are open to ideas for how to achieve this.

Further Reading

Full version of this case study
NHS England web site

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