October was the annual Black History Month, the challenge this year was “Dig deeper, look closer, think bigger”. I know many of you managed to look at one of our videos, or dug into more of the big events our team coordinated across Sussex. If you have missed any of the events or videos we have a playlist on YouTube and news items on our website. You can catch the engaging closing video with Adam Doyle and Lola Banjoko – Executive Co-Leads for Sussex Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (B.A.M.E) Disparity Response Programme. I was very pleased to hear Lola, when asked by Adam to describe our collaborative Black History Month activities in one word, used the word “inspiring”!
I was pleased because “inspiring” fits on so many levels. I was inspired by the great response we had from our Sussex System Leaders who wanted to be involved. The leaders chaired events, spoke in public or were interviewed by B.A.M.E staff or teenagers from across Sussex. I was inspired by the huge turnout by our B.A.M.E. public and staff. I was inspired by the Speakers at the Staff Conference and the community engagement webinar whilst listening to the powerful personal stories they shared, the courage and conviction they displayed through career ups and downs. If you missed any of these events you can email our team on details below. Lastly, I was inspired by the energy, the rich discussions and the commitments made to ensure that tackling Race and Health inequalities is not a “one month” or even a “one year wonder”. The energy driven, not solely by the increased visibility from the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter social movement, but by our aspirations right here in Sussex for a lasting legacy.
In my role I am developing so many new skills and have finally mastered raising a virtual hand and changing my virtual background on Teams. Like many people I find embracing new technology fascinating but frustrating too. I have been doing so many different and interesting things such as public speaking to new audiences, event planning, briefing national and regional forums, chairing large public webinars and being interviewed for Latest TV. I have also spoken to more people in the last month than perhaps I have spoken to in the last six months, making some great connections and friendships.
The Sussex BAME Disparity Programme team are working hard on delivering on our key milestones this month. Which include presenting to Sussex Health and Care Mental Health Collaborative network and all three Integrated Care Partnership Boards. These strategic links strengthen our plans to reduce inequalities and will ensure they are reflected in the business across health, care and voluntary sector organisations. I am proud of the team progressing so many of our key priorities though working closely with our partners from Public Health, Local Authority, NHS, Voluntary and Community Services. We are analysing and action planning from the 2020 Workforce Race Equality Standards (WRES) data across our NHS organisations and coordinating a Sussex Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Population Needs Assessment.
As promised at the June Staff Conference our Increasing Representation of B.A.M.E staff in senior roles programme was launched at the October Staff conference by Dame Marianne Griffiths. This plan will ensure that at senior levels the number of BAME staff will better reflect the workforce or population. This tangible benefit to all staff will ensure everyone is offered a ‘talent and career’ progression conversation. This will inform their personal development plan and could include management training, skills development as well as shadowing and secondment opportunities.
Finally, I wanted to let you all know that we are establishing a Sussex Turning the Tide Transformation Oversight Board during November to ensure local accountability for the delivery of robust plans to address race and health inequalities and develop better reciprocal communication between the regional and system level decision making groups.
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