Recent research and high profile reports (e.g. Kline 2014 and Francis QC 2015) as well as a considerable body of evidence, has shown that the treatment and experience of BME staff within the NHS, is on average, significantly worse than those of white NHS staff. Across the NHS as a whole, the research highlights workforce inequality that includes areas such as promotion, grading,disciplinary, bullying and access to mandatory training. The absence of representation in senior leadership positions across the NHS is also significant.
This research was considered by the Equality and Diversity Council (EDC) in 2014 who concluded that early and decisive steps needed to be taken to remedy the situation for the benefit of patients and staff. Following a three month consultation period, the WRES was accepted for implementation; for the first time, organisations employing almost all of the 1.4 million NHS workforce, are required to demonstrate progress against a number of indicators of workforce equality, including a specific indicator to address the low levels of BME Board representation.
The Workforce Race Equality Standard is now mandated through the NHS standard contract 2015/16 and in the CCG Assurance Framework 2015/16.
The Workforce Race Equality Standard will be inspected against by the CQC from 2016/17 to help assess whether organisations are well-led.