Race Equality Matters is pleased to announce that NHS South Central and West Commissioning Support Unit have been awarded Bronze Trailblazer status!




With comprehensive activity carried out with evidence to support their application and strong senior leadership endorsement, 100% of our Trailblazer judges voted that SCW had done a lot to try and tackle racial inequality and 86% of them agreed they should receive the Bronze status.

Actions and initiatives


Establishing and growing EDI teams and building a culture of belonging


Bringing together existing fragmented workstreams and increasing capacity for EDI work, an EDI and Wellbeing team was established in 2022, now known as the People and Wellbeing team. They work closely with the BME network to embark on a journey towards Belonging at SCW and collaborate on a wide range of diverse and inclusive calendar events. Building a culture of Belonging involved ‘Belonging workshops’ where employees were asked “What does Belonging mean to you?” which formed the statement of belonging and 5 leading steps towards Belonging at SCW. The programme lead was also invited to BME network meetings to discuss the programme and the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES).


Improving diverse recruitment and development opportunities


Based on issues discussed at the BME network and driven by employees, areas of focus for SCW related to recruitment, notably representation of ethnically diverse colleagues at senior levels, and career development.

Recognising that representation of ethnically diverse colleagues in SCW is not achieved at senior levels, actions taken to change this include: signing up to the Race Equality Matters Jobs Board to amplify their reach, hosting placements for 10,000 Black Interns, actively engaging in a review of talent development programmes, including collaborating with the SCW Graduate Scheme on an approach towards assessment and appointment. They also actively mentored & supported the development of BME network chairs and offered opportunities for mentoring and coaching for all.


Increasing opportunities to learn about and dismantle racial inequality


Through introducing the Say My Name tool and email signature, engaging with the Managing Director and Executive Leadership team members to talk about Race, BME and Black History through interviews and events, and developing and publishing an inclusive glossary of terms in partnership with employee networks, SCW improved ways all employees can be more conscious of racial inequality and know how they can help tackle it.


The glossary is held in their employee intranet to support inclusive conversations and all employees are invited to provide suggestions and feedback for the glossary which is reviewed and updated regularly. The BME network also signposted to resources for mental health and have a Network Wellbeing Lead offering support.


Impact and Ethnically diverse Staff Endorsement


SCW’s actions had a measurable impact and were positively received and endorsed by ethnically diverse staff. Examples include:


  • The development of the Action Plan to deliver EDI & Wellbeing activities over 2023/24, actively collaborating with the BME network resulting from key metrics within the Workforce Race Equality Standard insights
  • A 3.5% increase from 2021 to 2022 in representation of ethnically diverse colleagues at Bands 8a+
  • From March 2021 to October 2022, there was an increase of 1.8% in ethnically diverse representation in senior leadership positions and a 3.4% increase in the most senior roles
  • Out of four internship placements, 75% of them were taken up by ethnically diverse candidates and their graduate management programme received an increase in ethnically diverse candidates
  • Colleagues from the BME network and across the organisation wrote blogs, shared recommended reading and poetry, and recorded videos to talk about their experiences for Black History Month
  • More than 100 people engaged with Black History Month events, including both ethnically diverse colleagues and allies
  • 100% of attendees at the BHM Closing Event felt that SCW’s celebration of BHM in 2022 was more engaging than previous years
  • In the 2022 staff survey there was a 3% increase in respondents agreeing that “SCW is committed to recognising individual differences”
  • After the first year of the belonging program, 71.3% of ethnically diverse respondents would recommend SCW as a place to work compared to 70.3% of the overall workforce
  • Feedback from EMT (Executive Management Team) colleagues suggests a growth in confidence to engage in conversations on race equality in the workplace
  • On the BME network, one colleague shared that it is “a space that I felt helped me feel part of something, validated my lived experience and a support system when I needed help with promotions, different feelings, etc.”


Feedback from an Ethnically Diverse Panel


One of the consistent positive comments from our Trailblazer judges was the statistical evidence SCW gave to show the increase and impact of their efforts, with many noting it was “clear”, “concise” and “comprehensive”. Others also praised the wide range of initiatives in place and one noted that “this is reflective of good levels of engagement with those with lived experience.”

Strong leadership buy-in and engagement was also commended and that there was “consideration and effective activity to increase allyship” across the business. They also said SCW demonstrated transparency and focus to sustain the achievements with important reflections considered, particularly what worked well and what needed to be improved going forward.


Next Steps…


Under SCW’s 5 leading steps towards belonging as part of our approach to EDI & Wellbeing, they have planned and committed to further activity in the following areas:

  • Inclusive and agile workplace – remove barriers where English is not someone’s first language, and reflection and prayer rooms piloted at flagship sites
  • Looking after their people – recommendations from review for perspective of mental health, addressing bullying, harassment and discrimination
  • Learning and development – develop learning and development space dedicated to ethnically diverse colleagues
  • Recruitment – improving overall diversity and representation within SCW focused towards ethnic diversity at leadership level, reviewing recruitment processes to identify barriers to ethnically diverse applicant appointment and employee progression to senior roles, focusing on increasing assurance around equitable practices, and understanding and tailoring offers to support marginalised groups

Follow SCW’s Lead: Become a Trailblazer


If your organisation is driving change for Race Equality and you can demonstrate impact, endorsement from ethnically diverse employees and share future plans; register your interest for the next round of trailblazers.

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