NHS Blood and Transplant People First

Positive Action

‘Positive action’ is the term for initiatives that we put in place to support job applicants and NHSBT colleagues from under-represented groups access job opportunities and career development in NHSBT. We want NHSBT to represent the communities we serve.

The key words are support and access.

In reality this means providing measures which give under-represented job applicants or under-represented NHSBT colleagues the opportunity to be able to better access the NHSBT application process, interview process and career development process.

Examples of positive action may include provision of mentors or coaches to under-represented groups, providing job application digital on line resources or workshops, career planning masterclass, targeted development programmes, all with the objective of providing support and encouragement to under-represented groups.

Currently we are exploring what positive action measures we intend to implement to help increase the BAME diversity of our senior leadership in NHSBT and in some of our Donor facing roles.

What protected characteristics are disproportionately low in NHSBT?

It is highly likely that we are not proportionately represented by people from the LGBT+ community or people with disabilities but we cannot currently evidence that shortfall due to low self-disclosure rates of protected characteristic data and it is not legal to take positive action without the data to support the action. We are running a campaign to increase our protected characteristic data reporting because it is very important that colleagues report this data to enable us to provide the appropriate support to colleagues in NHSBT.

We can however clearly evidence that we are underrepresented by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) colleagues in some directorates and at all our NHSBT centres with the exception of Colindale and Tooting. The level of under-representation is significant in our Senior leadership as only 9% of our Senior Leadership are BAME.

Why Positive Action is important to us

We want a workforce that represents the communities we serve and to build a strategic link between diverse communities, diverse donors and diverse colleagues working for NHSBT. Our future vision for NHSBT is as a diverse organisation.

Diversity matters, it helps us to develop relationships between communities and groups who are our source of donation and our future talent supply for NHSBT recruitment. Creating greater diversity is a key strategic objective and it is important that we all understand that positive action supports our strategic objectives connected with donation and ultimately saving and improving patient lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is positive action legal?

Yes, positive action is endorsed by Sections 158 and 159 of Equality Act 2010.

How do we know what an under-represented group is?

We know who works for us as this data is provided by NHSBT colleagues at the time of application. Colleagues may also choose to update their personal protected characteristic data on MyESR.

 If we have a much lower representation of a particular group within NHSBT than there is in the public working population then we know they are underrepresented. We can evidence that BAME colleagues are underrepresented in some of our Directorates and at many of our NHSBT centres compared to national statistics.

Surely other groups are also underrepresented? Why don’t you use positive action to help them?

Yes, it is quite likely that we are underrepresented by other groups. However, it’s really important that we can provide evidence of this under-representation so that we are acting in a way which is fair, transparent and legal. At present, we can only properly evidence that BAME colleagues are under-represented in some Directorates, at some centres and in Senior Leadership. Also there is some under-representation of women in some careers in NHSBT, including some STEM positions.

Are under-represented groups being given an unfair advantage in the recruitment and selection process by being provided with positive action support?

No we are not providing an unfair advantage, we are making the process more equal by addressing access to recruitment and development more equally for under-represented groups.

We  are simply providing mentoring on the stages of the recruitment and selection process through providing information and support which enables colleagues in an under-represented group to access the recruitment and the development process on a more equal footing to that of colleagues in the non under represented group

Some examples include:

Explaining the job and the recruitment process so that colleagues/the public feel confident to apply.

Contacting candidates who fall out of the recruitment and selection process to provide feedback and encourage them to reapply again in the future.

Is positive action discriminating in favour of an under-represented group?

No, this would be discrimination which is not legal. The inputs we provide are generic support and focus on giving colleagues the confidence and support to apply for vacancies and development opportunities. 

Normal recruitment and selection rules apply to the appointments process. Regardless of protected characteristics, everyone has to meet the same rigorous recruitment and selection standards.

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