Making equality work – a ‘huge’ little book to show you how

A new book Making Equality Work has been welcomed by leaders in the NHS as well as equality campaigners and practitioners. It sets out why equality matters, suggests why organisations fail at it, and – more importantly – provides a clear way forward on what to do about it, particularly in the context of the National Health Service. It has been described as an essential guide for those who want to bring about real change in their organisations and a roadmap to enable this.

Chief Executive of NHS Employers Dean Royles said: ‘This is a huge ‘little’ book. A text book for Equality and Diversity professionals that reads more like an engaging novel. Full of facts, statistics and testimony. A brilliantly-researched book with a strong narrative outlining the context for equality in the NHS.’

Dr Kailash Chand, Deputy Chair of the British Medical Association, calls it ‘…a must read for all those who work not just in healthcare but in other sectors too.’

Co-author Shahnaz was Director of Equalities, Inclusion and Human Rights at NHS North West from 2007 until the strategic health authority was abolished in March this year. She explains: ‘The book began with our wish to review and document a five-year equality strategy which was starting to produce real gains across the NHS in the North West, though it was cut short by the Coalition Government’s health reforms.

‘The publication of this book is timely, because It is clear that, while the NHS is still struggling to come to terms with its biggest-ever reorganisation, there is a real risk that it will take its eye off the ball where equalities and health inequalities are concerned.

‘Until now, there hasn’t been a textbook which deals thoroughly with successful strategic transformation of this kind from both a theoretical and practical viewpoint. So while we hope it will be of immediate relevance in the new NHS, it will also provide a guide for other public sector organisations.’

‘It is a refreshing reflection on real life experiences of equality work in the last seven years of the NHS. Any due diligence in building new health and social care systems should pay regard to the lessons of the past. This book offers many of them,’ says Jackie Driver, who is Programme Head of Public Policy at the Equality and Human Rights Commission and also chair of Breakthrough UK

Equality campaigner Linda Bellos, chair of the Institute of Equality and Diversity Practitioners, says of the publication: “It is frustrating that so few people know how the law protects them and how they can seek redress if their rights are infringed. This book is important in making the equality laws understandable and in Plain English.”

Peter Baker, Men’s Health consultant, adds: ‘In a refreshingly jargon-free way, the book shows how it is possible to work strategically to achieve positive change, against formidable obstacles, in a very large organisation where promoting equality was not always a priority.”

Sian Payne, Director of Organisational Development at the Lesbian and Gay Foundation calls it ‘. . . an essential textbook for those want to bring about real change in their organisations, providing a roadmap to enable this.’

The detailed and practical text combines background facts and theory about the nature of equality and diversity with suggestions as to why organisations struggle to achieve it, backed by an international literature review. But it also provides a clear and compelling narrative on how the authors set out to raise the measurable levels of equality outcomes for the National Health Service in North West England.

The first half of the book explains
how the demographics of Britain changed over the last 50-60 years, including the role the NHS played in this
the increasing visibility of diverse groups in the UK and their demands for equality and protection
how society and the law responded to those demands.
why equality matters; and
why attempts to change public institutions to achieve it often fail.

The second half of the book describes the authors’ own practical, evidence-led and strategy-driven approach within a public sector system of 63 autonomous NHS trusts, and how that can be applied elsewhere. The book explains not only WHAT they did, but WHY they did it that way, and the benefits and pitfalls in hindsight.

The book is published by Amazon in Kindle format. http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00F8M549W

The Authors

Shahnaz Ali, OBE, MA was the Director for Equality, Inclusion and Human Rights at NHS North West from December 2007 until the dissolution of the English Strategic Health Authorities in March 2013. Prior to that she was the Director of Education Commissioning for South Yorkshire Workforce Development Confederation, Director for Local Authorities and Wider Partnerships for South Yorkshire Strategic Health Authority and she has held various senior roles both in the NHS and local government in both the North and South of England. Her speciality lies in influencing, negotiating and managing change in large complex systems. It is Shahnaz’s strategic vision which underpins this book.

Christine Burns MBE, MSc, BSc (Hons), CEng, MBCS, CITP is Managing Director of Plain Sense Limited, a consultancy specialising in Equality, Diversity and Human Rights. Prior to setting up Plain Sense she was a senior level business and IT consultant, advising blue chip businesses in Britain and abroad. She also has experience of managing a medium size social care provider. As the Programme Manager for Equality and Diversity at NHS North West, as an advisor on LGBT health for the Department of Health, and as the former chair of the North West Equality and Diversity Group, she has been at the forefront of both formulating and implementing strategic development in this area for many years. Christine is the principal author of this book.

Loren Grant, MA, MSc was an Assistant Director for Communication and Engagement at NHS North West and worked within the equality, inclusion and human rights team from January 2010 until the dissolution of the English Strategic Health Authorities in March 2013. She has worked in journalism and in the public sector in the UK and specialises in the communications and engagement aspects of equalities and human rights. Loren is the book’s editor and academic researcher.

Reviews

‘Would the work of William Wilberforce have been described as “political correctness gone mad” in the 18th century? How far have we come on our journey to ensure everyone, yes everyone, in the UK receives healthcare free at the point need? This is a huge ‘little’ book. A text book for Equality and Diversity professionals that reads more like an engaging novel. Full of facts, statistics and testimony. A brilliantly researched book with a strong narrative outlining the context for equality in the NHS and why, despite considerable progress, equality matters more today than ever before. But this isn’t just a book providing an overview and research. What you get is a book written by people with a passion and an expertise, who have got their hands dirty, detailing a candid, system wide case study highlighting approaches and successes but realistic about progress and lessons learnt. No hubris here just a brilliant opportunity to dive into the complexity of change management in the NHS.’

— Dean Royles, Chief Executive of NHS Employers and Acting Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation

‘This is the first comprehensive historical account of equality and diversity in the NHS that I have read, and it is a must read for all those who work not just in healthcare but in other sectors too. There are real examples of where there have been discriminatory issues, and what’s more there are helpful solutions which I would encourage policy holders to adapt to their services. Shahnaz, Christine and Loren are to be congratulated for putting such a sterling effort into such a vital issue.’

— Dr Kailash Chand OBE, Deputy Chair of the British Medical Association

‘It is refreshing to see a book which gives the important background and context of equality laws. We would not have our legal rights against discrimination were it not for the brave struggles of men and women over the last 50 years or so. It is frustrating that so few people know how the law protects them and how they can seek redress if their rights are infringed. This book is important in making the equality laws understandable, in plain English. ‘Making Equality Work’ goes a long way to giving everyone the tools to fight back if we need to. It is also vital that we all know how we can ensure that we do not infringe the rights of other people. Well Done Christine and colleagues for making your work both available and accessible.’

— Linda Bellos OBE, Chair of the Institute of Equality and Diversity Practitioners

‘This e-book gives a solid local, regional and national context to equalities and human rights in the UK and how and why they should be embedded into the work of public authorities. It examines the case for past failures to truly embed and offers lessons learnt for the future. It is a refreshing reflection on real life experiences of equality work in the last 7 years of the NHS and any due diligence in building new health and social care systems should pay regard to the lessons of the past. This book offers many of them.’

— Jackie Driver, Programme Head – Public Policy at the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Chair of Breakthrough UK

‘Making Equality Work is essential reading for equality practitioners as well as senior management in the health sector and indeed beyond. In a refreshingly jargon-free way, the book shows how it is possible to work strategically to achieve positive change, against formidable obstacles, in a very large organisation where promoting equality was not always a priority. The NHS has been very good at talking about equality but much less good at implementing it. Shahnaz, Christine and Loren were at the heart of the most sustained and successful effort I know of to change the NHS’s approach and (most importantly) its outcomes. I was particularly pleased that, from the outset, they recognised that improving the unnecessarily poor health of men and boys was fully part of their remit. This book will hopefully ensure that their very valuable legacy is not lost in the reorganised NHS.’

— Peter Baker, Men’s Health Consultant

‘Making Equality Work is a key text for all those working within organisations that are hoping to increase their impact. It sets out the struggle for equality that minority groups have faced, particularly throughout the 20th century, and places it in its rightful place as a key requirement for getting better outcomes, particularly in the health sector. It also contextualises equality in modern Britain and provides a fresh perspective on why equality matters. More importantly, it provides a model that has been shown to work on a large scale and presents it in a way that makes understanding it manageable. This is an essential textbook for those want to bring about real change in their organisations, and provides a roadmap to enable this.’

— Sîan Payne, Director of Organisational Development at the Lesbian and Gay Foundation

‘What’s different about “Making Equality Work’” is that it not only examines why addressing diversity is important for organisations, but that it goes a way towards identifying why delivering equality is so elusive. Not only that, it offers tools and expertise to change this — tools and expertise that have been tried and tested. The work explains the importance, and the potential difficulties, of an evidence-based strategic approach, such as aligning equality aims with core organisational goals. After comprehensively outlining the work that they led on equality and diversity the authors conclude by considering how this work can be continued in the current rapidly changing landscape of the NHS. This is an important and welcome publication, not just for the NHS but in any organisation or venture: it is not only a “how to” book but also a “why to” book. The “why” is often the biggest barrier, and it is well tackled here.’

— Lorraine Gradwell MBE, former Chief Executive of Breakthrough UK

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

What do you think?

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 367 other subscribers

Follow us on Twitter

%d bloggers like this: