Mainstreaming equality simply means integrating equality into the day-to-day working of the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership to help ensure a fair and more equal society. The ways which the Partnership does this are outlined below.
Board Structure and staff
The Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (EIJB) is responsible for the planning and oversight of the health and social care services which it has been delegated.
The Scottish Government outlines who the members of the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board should be. Membership of the EIJB includes residents with experience of using health and care services alongside local councillors, NHS Board members, staff from the Health and Social Care Partnership and a representative from voluntary organisations. The current membership of the board consists of 10 voting members (nine male and one female) and 16 non-voting members (5 male and 11 female). Five of the members are people who use adult health and social care services/have unpaid carer experience. These members help ensure that the perspective of people who use adult health and social care services is heard in the deliberations of the Integration Joint Board. The current Board membership is set out in Appendix 1.
The Board meets every eight weeks and meetings are open to the public. Before COVID-19 restrictions were put in place, the meetings were held at different locations around the city and webcast to improve ease of access. Since the COVID-19 restrictions began, the meetings have been held online via MS Teams and continue to be webcast. All EIJB papers are available online.
The EIJB only employs 2 members of staff – the Chief Officer and the Chief Finance Officer. The vast majority of staff are employed by either City of Edinburgh Council or NHS Lothian. The EIJB continues to work alongside its partners to ensure a diverse workforce which reflects the residents of Edinburgh and promotes fairness. As the EIJB employs only 2 staff, it is not required to produce or publish staff equality information.
The Board has a legal duty to produce a Strategic Plan every three years which sets out its plans, vision and long-term outcomes. The current plan was produced in August 2019 and covers the period 2019 to 2022.
The EIJB ensured equality and rights considerations were embedded into the current Plan and has the wellbeing of people living in Edinburgh are at the heart of what it does. The EIJB continues to be inclusive, transparent and compassionate, and places an emphasis on:
- dignity and respect
- putting people first through empowerment
- honesty and transparency
- working together.
The next Strategic Plan is currently being developed and will be finalised in 2022.
City Vision 2050
The EIJB has signed up to the City Vision 2050 Charter which was developed through a steering group of city partners. The vison has equalities at its core and commits to creating a more inclusive, affordable and connected city where opportunities are available to all and support is given to those who need it most.
Edinburgh Poverty Commission
The EHSCP supports the work of the independent Edinburgh Poverty Commission, which published its final report – A Just Capital: Actions to End Poverty in Edinburgh – in September 2020. The report identified six broad areas for action and one cultural challenge to serve as a lens through which each action should be approached to end poverty in Edinburgh.
Staff training, awareness and understanding
The EIJB continues to work with staff to raise awareness of all aspects of equality and diversity. Mandatory equality and diversity training is provided which gives an understanding of the Equality Act and an awareness of the physical and cultural barriers which many people face.
A number of NHS and Council colleague networks have been established which provide opportunities for peer support, act as a voice for members, share information and help build productive working relationships. Networks include women’s network, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender + (LGBT+) network, Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Networks – one of which is specifically for Health & Social Care colleagues, Carer’s Network, disability and long-term health conditions network and Armed Forces.
Integrated Impact Assessments
Integrated Impact Assessments (IIAs) continue to be carried out on new policies and proposals. These help ensure that any impacts which a proposal may have on equality, human rights, environment and sustainability are considered and that actions are taken to mitigate any negative impacts and opportunities for improvements are considered. The findings of the IIAs are included in EIJB’s committee reports to ensure that committee members consider any impacts which the proposal may have on equalities, human rights and sustainability in the decisions which they take. IIIAs are published on the Partnership’s website.
The value and necessity of carrying out IIAs is regularly relayed to managers. IIA Training sessions (held in partnership with local authority and NHS Lothian partners) is available to all staff and provided quarterly. Templates, guidance and supporting information are available online. Before the pandemic, training was held in person however when the COVID-19 restrictions were introduced the training was quickly adapted and held on-line, via MS Teams. Attendance at the training sessions is high with 262 participants attending since August 2020. Feedback gathered through the evaluation has been extremely positive. An IIA training session was also carried out for new lay EIJB board members.
IIAs are signed off by the relevant Head of Service however quality assurance is also provided through the IIA Steering Group. The IIA Steering Group consists of equality representatives from NHS Lothian, Lothian local authorities and other Health and Social Care Partnerships who regularly quality check a sample of completed assessments. The IIA Steering Group also regularly reviews and updates the IIA Guidance and Supporting Information documents as required, providing a consistent approach across Lothian.
Procurement is undertaken on behalf of the EIJB by either the City of Edinburgh Council or NHS Lothian. NHS Lothian have a specific Equality & Diversity Procurement policy for procurement officers to refer to when letting contracts. This policy helps ensure that any supplier of goods or services chosen to supply NHS Lothian meet the same values of Equality and Diversity held by NHS Lothian. NHS Lothian Procurement also have a policy on Fair Work practices in addition to a well embedded Community Benefits in Procurement policy.
The Council, in addition to compliance with Equality and diversity regulation, expects contractors to take a positive approach to fair work practices, and reflect this in contract documents, which includes the expectation that contractors commit to:
- a fair and equal pay policy that includes a commitment to supporting the Living Wage
- promoting equality of opportunity and developing a workforce which reflects the population of Scotland in terms of protected characteristics
- flexible working and support for family friendly working and wider work life balance
- support measures to give staff an effective voice.
The Council’s approach to community benefit (contractual clauses which are used to build a range of economic, social or environmental conditions into the delivery of contracts) has been further developed to help ensure that those with protected characteristics benefit. Development of the ‘Cenefits’ system now provides enhanced monitoring of community benefits with reference to promoting protected characteristics or to other priority groups such as those living in poverty.
In 2020, THE EIJB agreed to implement a contract uplift for adult social care contracts to allow an uplift of 3.3% for carers hourly rates. This reflected the board’s recognition of the work health and social care staff make towards keeping vulnerable people in the city safe, to recognise their efforts in the COVID-19 response and to ensure that the workforce receive payment for the Living Wage.
Communications and Engagement Strategy
The current EHSCP Communications and Engagement Strategy (C&E Strategy) was developed and approved in June 2021. This revised Strategy has been developed in response to the EIJB and the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership’s (EHSCP) ambition to engage and communicate with the widest range of audiences to increase visibility and awareness.
The C&E Strategy includes communications and engagement objectives, approaches and an action plan for both the EIJB and the EHSCP. The EIJB Public Facing Working Group will lead on the EIJB Event planning and continue to monitor the C&E Strategy implementation and further development as it affects the EIJB The strategy will be reviewed and updated yearly, and formally refreshed in line with the EHSCP Strategic Plan on a three-year cycle. The Communication and Engagement team will adhere to a principle of clear and accessible information whereby:
- information and publications will be made widely accessible to audiences (where appropriate).
- language and images used will reflect diversity and differing levels of engagement.
- Staff will be open and honest.