Equality Act and Public Sector Equality Duty and involvement with protected groups
The Path to Excellence plans are subject to a rigorous NHS assurance process which aims to eliminate discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and ensure that, wherever possible, services are provided in ways which might reduce health inequalities.
As part of this assurance process, integrated impact assessments (IIAs) are conducted which identify groups which could be vulnerable to proposals and the aspects of the services which could reduce or deepen health inequalities.
The assurance process requires appropriate engagement with the identified groups who work with people who may face barriers to taking part in major service changes.
It provides a meaningful opportunity for people who may be more impacted by any potential change to consider and feedback on the various issues and proposed changes.
Building on phase one, the programme is working with local third sector voluntary and community groups or organisations to support involvement with different vulnerable groups in relation to specific or different issues.
The NHS has a duty to meet its public sector equality duty, as defined by S.149 of the Equality Act 2010 which applies to all organisations that provide a service to the
public or a section of the public (service providers). It also applies to anyone who sells goods or provides facilities. It applies to all our services, whether or not a charge is made for them.
The Act protects people from discrimination on the basis of a ‘protected characteristic’. The relevant characteristics for services and public functions
- gender reassignment
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
- marriage and civil partnership (named purposely in the equality act 2010.
Equality impact work in Path to Excellence phase two
Our preliminary work on the published working ideas to date shows that those groups which are more likely to be impacted by any changes to location or working arrangements are those which:
- Are more likely to need or use the health services
- Are known to experience discrimination in health care
- Have financial difficulties relating to travel / transport
- Face difficulties travelling to new places particularly alone or at night, (for a variety of reasons including stress, discrimination, violence)
- Have communication or cognitive difficulties affecting NHS access or use-
- Provide care or are in need of care / social support –
- Face social exclusion compromising effective engagement
You can read our preliminary work here Preliminary Impact Assessment Headline Findings and this will be further developed in spring 2020.
Involvement with protected groups
The programme is working with lots of different community groups to ensure people are involved in giving their views. In particular encouraging small organisations representing those with protected or specific interests to get involved with running focus groups on ideas being developed.
This work builds upon the relationships developed in phase one of the programme and in work carried out earlier in phase two where 12 focus groups were carried out with a range of specific interest groups. You can find out more by reading the feedback report.