Equality and diversity

The NHS Suffolk and North East Essex ICB’s vision is to have in place a viable value-based people-focused workplace system of care which is best in class, promoting inclusivity and inspiring and embracing diversity.

The ICB is committed to equality of opportunity, elimination of discrimination and the promotion of good relations between all people; regardless of age, disability, ethnic or national origin, sex, gender assignment, gender identity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity, marital or civil partnership status.

Under the Equality Act 2010 and Public Sector Equality Duty, NHS organisations must ensure equal treatment of staff in relation to the nine protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, marital status, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

This must be achieved through the following actions:

  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by the Equality Act
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and people who do not share it
  • Foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not share it.

Our objectives are:

  • Holding our leaders to account by developing EDI objectives, building line managers with the knowledge, skills and confidence in the inclusion agenda, EDI standards for inclusive leadership, and promote inclusive recruitment.
  • EDI Development programmes for staff ensuring staff are culturally competent in meeting the needs of the service and the community they serve.
  • Promote positive behaviours and tackle bullying, harassment, and discrimination. Eliminate discrimination, victimisation and harassment.
  • Advance equality of opportunity between groups of people of diverse backgrounds and with diverse needs. Foster and promote good relations between such groups of people.
  • Become a Disability Confident Leader and an Anti Racist Employer.
  • Work in partnership with health and social care alliances on the public health and inequalities agenda.

Anti-racism charter

The three clinical commissioning groups that formed the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex ICB in July 2022 were the first in the country to sign up to UNISON’s Anti-Racism Charter.

The ICB is fulfilling the ongoing commitments laid out within the Charter.

The ICB's Amanda Lyes with Winston Dorsett, Regional Organiser for UNISON, holding up the signed Anti-racism Charter
The ICB’s Amanda Lyes with Winston Dorsett, Regional Organiser for UNISON

“Black employees often have a radically different experience to white employees, even in the public sector.

“Black workers are paid less, more likely to be subject to disciplinary procedures, less likely to access training and more likely to be dismissed or made redundant.

“As the first organisations to sign this pledge, the Suffolk and north east Essex CCGs are leading the way in recognising that disparity and making every effort to tackle it.”

Winston Dorsett, Regional Organiser for UNISON

Anti-racism strategy

The NHS England and NHS Improvement East of England antiracism strategy was launched on 1 July 2021.

“I will show zero tolerance of racism and will commit allyship and leadership for this mission across the East of England”

Ed Garratt, Chief Executive Officer, NHS Suffolk and North East Essex ICB

Race at Work Charter

In July 2022, the ICB signed up to the Race at Work Charter. This means that we have committed to taking practical steps to ensure that the ICB is tackling barriers that ethnic minority people face in recruitment and progression, including the seven commitments in the Charter.

Race at Work Charter commitments

  1. Appoint an executive Sponsor for race
  2. Capture ethnicity data and publicise progress
  3. Commit to zero tolerance of racial harassment and bullying  
  4. Supporting equality is the responsibility of all the leaders
  5. Support ethnic minority career progression
  6. Support race inclusion allies in the workplace
  7. Include ethnically diverse led businesses in supply chains

Our ICB staff networks


Our REACH Staff Network was launched following the celebration of Black History Month – October 2021 with our inaugural meeting taking place on 14 October 2021.

Our aim of this network is to improve the experience of our colleagues from ethnic minority background and ensure that equality, diversity and inclusion is embedded in every strand of this organisation and also to support better outcome for the people we serve. This will be achieved through collaborative partnership with the board directors, executive management team, senior leaders and colleagues.
It’s everyone’s responsibility to stand against racism and racial discrimination, and to build an anti-racist organisation.

The other key aim of the Network will be to develop allies who will bring about positive change, willing to educate themselves, be open to listening and actively participate in conversations and debates for justice and equality.

Our vision:

  • Inclusive recruitment practices
  • Inclusive diverse leadership
  • Enhance motivation
  • Improve performance
  • Release potential
  • Address health inequalities
  • Fair and transparent processes
  • Increase innovation from BAME staff
  • Improve cultural awareness

“This Network has come together to provide a structure through which we can work together to proactively address and campaign around race inequalities, and discrimination, its causes and its consequences, and to provide the necessary support to each other.

Our aim of the REACH Staff Network is to improve the experience of our colleagues from ethnic minority background and ensure that equality, diversity and inclusion is embedded in every strand of this organisation now and after the ICB transition, and also to support better outcome for the people we serve. This will be achieved through collaborative partnership with the board directors, executive management team, senior leaders and colleagues. It’s everyone’s responsibility to stand against racism and racial discrimination, and to build an anti-racist organisation.

Our vision is to promote Inclusive recruitment practices, inclusive diverse leadership, enhance motivation and improve performance for our colleagues from ethnic minority background, as well as address health inequalities, practice fair and transparent processes, increase innovation, and improve cultural awareness throughout the ICB.”

– Saima Ali, Our Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage (REACH) Staff Network Chair

Our Disability Staff Network works in partnership with the organisation to create a safe, inclusive and diverse working environment that encourages respect and equality for all.

The network provides a collective voice to help shape and influence the organisation’s Equality and Diversity agenda for staff with visible or invisible disability or long term condition.

Membership of the DSN is open to all ICB staff who have a disability or long term condition or who are interested in health and wellbeing at work and want to drive forward disability equality in the workplace.

Our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer (LGBTQ+) Staff Network operates in partnership with the organisation to create a safe, inclusive and diverse working environment that encourages respect and equality for all.

The network provides a safe space for discussions and to share experience that values and recognises the differences between sexual orientation and gender identity, and thrives to work proactively to address these issues, specifically affecting transgender staff in the ICB and the NHS.

Membership is open to all NHS Suffolk and North East Essex ICB staff who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and those with a positive interest in driving forward diversity and inclusion within the ICB.


The Human Rights Act is a UK law passed in 1998. This law allows you defend your rights in the UK courts and compels public organisations – including the Government, police and local councils – to treat everyone equally, with fairness, dignity, respect and independence. This law protects and supports one’s right to a private and family life, the right to express one’s opinions and the right not to be mistreated or wrongly punished.

The Human Rights Act 1998 is a law that came into force in the UK in October 2000. It protects a number of important human rights such as the right not to be treated as a slave, the right to freedom of expression and the right to an education.

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world. It is our statutory right from birth until death. These rights apply regardless of who you are, where you are from, what your beliefs are or how you choose to live your life.

All public authorities in the UK must respect the rights contained in the Human Rights Act in everything that they do. Sometimes public authorities also have a duty to take positive steps in order to ensure that human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.

The Equality Delivery System (EDS) was commissioned by the national Equality and Diversity Council in 2010 and launched in July 2011. The system was developed to help NHS organisations improve the services they provide for their local communities and provide better working environments, free of discrimination, for those who work in the NHS, while meeting the requirements of the Equality Act 2010. The EDS was developed by the NHS, for the NHS, taking inspiration from existing work and good practice.

EDS2 is a generic system designed for both NHS commissioners and NHS providers. As different NHS organisations apply EDS2 outcomes to their performance, they should do so with regard to their specific roles and responsibilities.

EDS2 is a streamlined framework to support local NHS organisations to engage with local communities for continuous improvement of performance for people in relation to all protected characteristics. Through using the EDS2, SNEE proactively delivers on Public Sector Equality Duty. The system helps the NHS meet requirements of the Equality Act 2010

Under the statutory requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), NHS organisations are expected to publish sufficient information to demonstrate compliance by 31 January every year.

The Public sector equality duty is part of the Equality Act, came into force in April 2011. It requires NHS organisations to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations.

The reports can be downloaded below.

Workforce Race Equality reports

Gender Pay Gap Reports

The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011 came into force on 10 September 2010. The Act protects people against discrimination, harassment or victimisation in employment, and as users of private and public services based on nine protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

Resources

Health and care professional working in Suffolk and north east Essex? Visit our Health and Care Professionals Area to find a growing list of resources to help you tackle health inequalities in your role.

Page last modified: 25 August 2022
Next review due: 25 February 2023