Our NHS People

Racial Justice Seminar Series: In conversation with Professor Kehinde Andrews

The Executive Suite’s second virtual seminar was “In conversation with Prof. Kehinde Andrews recorded on Tuesday 26th January 10am – 12 noon

Kehinde Andrews is Professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University

Our second seminar; a conversation between Professor Kehinde Andrews, Professor of Black Studies and Tracie Jolliff, Head of Inclusive Systems Development, NHS England and Improvement drew out key concepts in relation to his work on leadership for radical transformation for racial justice, pointing to his work’s relevance for you as an NHS leader to support you to progress racial justice. It included current experiences from two panels of BAME senior leaders and CEOs from across health and care with a focus on lessons learned in protecting our BAME staff during phase one of Covid-19 and give practical tips on how we can quickly embrace learning and improvement going forward.

Kehinde Andrews’ research focuses on resistance to racism and grassroots organisations. His latest book Black to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century was published in 2018. He also wrote Resisting Racism: Race, Inequality and the Black Supplementary School Movement in 2013 and is editor of the Blackness in Britain book series with Zed Books. His next book, The New Age of Empire: How Racism and Colonialism Still Rule the World will be published in February 2021 by Penguin Allen Lane in the UK and Bold Type Books in the US. Kehinde has written opinions pieces for outlets including the Guardian, Independent, Washington Post and CNN.  Kehinde is founder of the Harambee Organisation of Black Unity; and co-chair of the Black Studies Association.

Click to reveal seminar transcript

Tracie Jolliff [00:00:00] Hello, everyone, welcome to the seminar series, as Ramima says I’m the Head of Inclusive System Development for NHS E and I and the host of the series for the People Directorate as part of the Executive Suite of offers from Leadership and Lifelong Learning.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:00:17] The purpose of this series is to support executive leaders to gain a deeper and critical understanding about how to progress the work of inclusion, beginning with racial justice, and the focus of the session today is on how to liberate and learn from BAME leadership as we address the current life and death challenges now and into the future. We’ll be taking questions later about this subject in order to explore how executive leaders can develop their inclusive leadership capabilities and practice. There’s also an opportunity for you to sign up to an Action Learning Set on inclusion via the Executive Suite website. The link will be in the chat box, but firstly, I’d like to warmly welcome our most senior BAME leader in the NHS, our Chief People Officer, a woman from whom we are all learning in real time so much about how to champion racial justice and some of these lessons are, well, I’m sure we’ll agree, not so comfortable, however, they’re 100 percent necessary in order for us to make progress on racial justice. So Prerana Issar, it’s great to have you here. Over to you.

 

Prerana Issar [00:01:35] Thank you very much, Tracie, for that warm welcome and good morning, everybody. Thank you so much for joining us this morning for this racial justice seminar series, the first of its kind in the history of the NHS. So I wanted to start off by sharing the inspiration that I am still feeling by the poet laureate Amanda Gorman, who read her poem The Hill We Climb at President Biden’s inauguration last week.  Everything she said resonated so deeply with me and I know with millions of people around the world, and I’m sure many of you on this call, and the entire piece is just so apt for the conversation we are about to have right now, and the lines that keep coming back to me are her closing words, for there is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it. And that just couldn’t, I think, describe more accurately, more emotionally where we all are in the world, whether it’s the Covid pandemic, whether it’s the feeling that this will never end, whether it’s the feeling that actually on our road to social justice, we have some more light because of the tragic events of this year, actually.  There is, I think, a deeper understanding, harsher light on the inequalities in our world. So, we’re going to hang on to the fact that there is light and that often we are the light that we see. So one of the reasons that we wanted to get the Racial Justice Seminar series going during this time because, you know, people ask well is this really the right time to do it. Well, the context of Covid has changed our world so fundamentally, we’re not going to go back. Certainly not. And we have an opportunity to be intentional, to be really directed about how we want to build things for the future with social justice at the heart of executive, well, executive leadership, executive decision making. I see a big opportunity in how we’re moving towards systems because leaders, Executives who are going to be our system leadership, they have the opportunity to create a very different kind of population outcome with a lot more levers at their control or at their influence, with their influence than individual organisations. As we know, the determinants of health are varied, interlinked, multi factorial, and as we move towards integrated care more and more and actually we’ve seen that during covid it only works if it’s integrated. We have a real opportunity to reset our ambition for equality and justice and racial equality in the country and certainly in the NHS.  Especially because we have tended to separate our communities and our workforce, our people, our staff and that’s an artificial divide. The fact is that if we cannot have racial equality and justice within the NHS, how are we going to make sure that it’s a reality for the populations that we serve? It is one and the same thing. So let’s let’s focus on our goals, our twin goals of making sure that we are providing health equality to the populations we serve and we’re providing providing a workplace where we’re treating each other with the kind of equality and dignity that we all deserve. So the seminar series is intended to push us a bit, to push the boundaries of our knowledge, stretch our capabilities, encourage us to reach for more inclusive outcomes and better possibilities for each of us. In order to do this, I truly believe that we all need to be, I was going to say, need to be OK with being uncomfortable, but actually we may not be OK with being uncomfortable but we certainly have to be open and ready to make ourselves uncomfortable. And all of us, I don’t mean to say, first of all, I don’t like the word BAME and I know many people don’t, but for lack of a better word, for BAME staff and communities but also we need to get uncomfortable as well and I’ll share my own example of feeling uncomfortable and for allies, as well as for people who are earlier on their journey towards, you know, towards leading in this way. So when do I feel uncomfortable in this area? I feel uncomfortable when I share my experience of racism. I have experienced racism last week, and I won’t say openly on this call right now what someone said to me, but it was shocking. It made me very sad. It took me the entire weekend to try to process what was said to me by a colleague and and I’m uncomfortable sharing this with you. I’ve you know, I’ve shared stuff where my voice shakes because somehow it feels like it’s my burden to carry and it’s my shame but I think the more we can talk about it, the more, well, the more light we can shine on it, the more light we can be. So listening and learning from each other, listening and learning and that’s the theme for today, from BAME colleagues, BAME leaders, colleagues at every level, I think is so, so important. We have learnt so much through this pandemic and leaders on this call, you are the people who have been leading our NHS people through the most challenging times in the history of the NHS. You have demonstrated such creativity, resourcefulness, commitment, and we we have the opportunity to apply the same creativity and resourcefulness to equality, diversity and inclusion. It’s important that we take this opportunity to do the work, and yesterday, we were having a conversation about the coming months. How are we going to make sure that whatever decisions we’re taking about services, that it’s inclusive, that we have an assessment about how our decisions are going to make equality more likely rather than less likelyand so the Executive Suite offer has been created to support you as leaders and as part of that, as Tracie said, the Racial Justice Seminar Series is important work because it certainly is a key part of how we all want to lead the NHS and creating the conditions for a future workforce. Belonging is twenty five percent; it’s one fourth of the People Plan actually, and belonging is about, well, belonging is the feedback that our NHS people said that’s how they think about equality, diversity and inclusion. So the word came from them. It’s a very unusual word to have in a policy or strategy document. But what they said was, I want to belong as much as the next person, not less, not more and that belonging is a huge part of the People Plan, of our collective commitment to each other. So I’m really looking forward to the conversation with Professor Andrews, with Tracie, with other speakers. Thank you again for being here, because that itself, your act of showing up is an act of compassion. It’s an act of courage and I really, really want to give my personal thanks for that. Thank you very much and I’ll pass you over to Tracie, who’s going to take over the session. Thank you.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:09:07] Thank you, Prerana. I just want to just repeat a few words you said, you talked about this is our opportunity to reset our ambition for racial equity and justice. And you also shared your experience. Racism is real. And and that’s a really powerful statement. It is real. People experience it as a real experience, and just in relation to your quote from Amanda Gorman about the light, interestingly, as human beings, we can only see in the light. So there’s a lot more light that we need to shed on this subject matter in order to go forward and we intend to do some of that today. So thank you so much, Prerana. This is our second Racial Justice Seminar series. The first was with Dr. Robin D’Angelo back in January, where she invited us to consider how whiteness as a way of thinking and being in the world gets in the way for white people, even where intentions are to make progress towards racial justice. The task, therefore, is for us to examine how white advantage is deeply embedded into our thinking, our policies and our practises and therefore our culture. So we need to have a deeper understanding about ourselves, our systems, and about how racism actually works in order to dismantle it. Sometimes the first steps towards any change is to acknowledge what we already know. So it’s my pleasure to introduce Professor Kehinde Andrews as our special guest today. Kehinde Andrews is Professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University. His research focuses on resistance to racism and grassroots organisations. And his latest book, Back to Black Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century, was published in 2018. He wrote Resisting Racism Racial Inequality in the Black Supplementary School Movement in 2013 and is editor of the Blackness in Britain book series with Z Books. Kehinde has written opinion pieces for outlets including The Guardian, The Independent, The Washington Post, CNN and Ebony magazine. He’s been featured on Good Morning Britain, News Night, Channel Four, BBC News and Under the Skin with Russell Brand. Kehinde is also founder of the Harambee Organisation for Black Unity and Co-Chair of the Black Studies Association. His new book, The New Age of Empire: How Racism and Colonialism Still Rule the World, will be published in February 2021 by Penguin Alan Lane in the UK and Bold Type books in the US.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:12:04] Wow, what a story Kehinde, welcome to the NHS.

 

Kehinde Andrews [00:12:10] Good morning.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:12:12] Good morning. Lovely to see you. Lovely to see you here. So Kehinde I’ve got a number of questions to ask of you as we just open up a dialogue today, and firstly, and we’d like to hear about, from that introduction you’ve been doing a lot of things. So what are your experiences and what has influenced your work around leadership for racial equity and justice?

 

Kehinde Andrews [00:12:40] Yeah, thanks for the invitation and it’s good to be here in this conversation and was a pretty robust introduction so you have quite a good idea of what I’ve been involved in. I mean, I think I come from this conversation in two different but related ways. So one of them is I was born in the UK in Birmingham, and both my mum and my dad were deeply involved in black power activism in the UK in the 60s and the 70s.  Infact, these books, which I’m always in front of I mostly stole from my mum and dad’s house because one of the things that we underplay with the Black Power movement is it was mostly about education. It was about bookshops. My first book was about the black middle school movement where black communities basically just took control and said the schools aren’t teaching it so we’re going have to teach, we’re going to teach a different way of thinking. So I kind of grew up, I was very, very fortunate to grow up with a completely different perspective on society, how it works on racism, because you don’t get to learn any of this in the schools or in Univeristy I would very much say, so you know the things which I now do get paid to do and write about I learnt them from that kind of community education. So I have a very different approach to this. Secondly, is because of the successes of that time and those movements, society opened up enough so that I can be a Professor. Right. This was not an option for my father, is now an option for me, which means that I am also in really, really what elite institutions all the time and so I can see how they work and how they work to continue racial inequality. It really is if you think about as much of the success we like to portray is that one of the things that really hasn’t shifted very much at all in the UK in particular, is the whiteness of these elite institutions, and again I work in a university, so I can say that very clearly. I mean, I’m one of only 152 black professors in the entire country in any subject.  It’s terrible and the NHS is no better. The NHS has a very diverse workforce, but at the top of it, it’s what the Snowy White Peaks report came out and said. So we haven’t really shifted that and then you can see because one of the reasons that institutions make bad decisions is because of a lack of diversity, it’s that simple. We just don’t understand what’s happening on the ground level. In fact, my first job after PhD was working for the Birmingham Primary Care Trust, when Primary Care Trusts was still a thing, doing research into why there was increased asthma hospital admissions with young people and it was massive, like huge, it still is actually.  It’s a huge problem in inner city, but the research made no sense because the people who designed it just didn’t understand.  There was this very clear deficit model, that there must be something that people in the inner city are doing wrong, they’re not using their inhalers properly. And we’re looking at what the data told us that this wasn’t people who had inhalers at all. It was nothing to do with people who had asthma and weren’t doing things right it was actually just about the conditions which people live in, in the inner cities; overcrowded, there’s pollution, there is a rubbish dump literally in the middle of the city. But instead of looking at those bigger problems and they spend quite a lot money on this.  It was like £100,000 research on how to get people to use their inhalers better when the problem had absolutely nothing to do with people using their inhalers, but this is the problem we don’t have people making decisions who really understand what’s going on.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:16:01] Wow, that was such a lot in that you just said, and it’s that knowledge that you have that we wanted to tap into here just to just to hone right into.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:16:11] So the first thing that I’d like to touch upon is one of the questions that I often get asked by leaders who say, how did we get here where racial equity and justice just keeps eluding us. You know what, take us through the story a little bit, Kehinde and just unpack the story of race around how we got here and what are the problems that we’re trying to fix.

 

Kehinde Andrews [00:16:39] Yes, a quick plug for the new book, The New Age of Empire, which is really all about this and says, well, we had these protests and we’re now saying everybody wants to make black lives matter and racial justice but you need to understand this in it’s legacy. Racism, white supremacy is the most fundamental thing which explains society, it really is.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:16:58] Can I just ask you to explain what you mean by white supremacy?

 

Kehinde Andrews [00:17:03] I mean, simply, if you think about white supremacy, is the idea that people of European descent were white people are superior to everybody else. Therefore, we have the right to exploit labour, exploit resources, devalue black and brown, life and then build a hierarchy, a hierarchy that has black at the bottom and white at the top. Now, if you go back to any of the key thinkers around the enlightenment or science or even in medicine, you can see these very clearly, that’s the basis of which the knowledge that we have is based on.  It really is, really fundamental to how we understand the world. And if the best way to think about this would be to take a map of global inequality, GDP per capita, and if you colour it in you’ll find that the place which is the poorest, which has the worst life expectancy, surprise, surprise, is Africa, the black part of the world,right? The place that is the richest has the most resources is the West, white part of the world, and then there is this hierarchy in between that is white supremacy. I mean, literally created the world in the image of white supremacy and if you just look at the data, tells you very clearly, look at any of the evidence around health inequalities, education, etc. in the UK, exactly the same and then we wonder why we’ve got this problem but that’s how society is built and that is unfortunately, our society is still maintained.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:18:23] So how do you get that way? When did this start?

 

Kehinde Andrews [00:18:28] So this is why I say it starts from the start like you think about what makes the West this wonderful, all the progress, science, et cetera. The kind of key date is 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue.  I’m unfortunately old enough that we actually did that at school. And the key moment why Columbus is celebrated so much. The key moment is Columbus goes and finds the Americas, finds the Caribbean, kicks off the largest genocide in the history of humanity. Roughly sixty five million of the natives in the Americas literally just wiped off the face of the earth, but then this allows this massive wealth accumulation through slavery, predominantly, for 300 years, taking Africans and taking them to the Americas and then through colonial domination. And so without that, without that exploitation, without that wealth, there is not the money to generate the industrial revolution to science, all this medical progress, et cetera. So from the very beginnings of what makes today, the kind of principle has been white supremacy. White on the top, black on the bottom,and it’s perfectly fine for us to exploit, exploit, exploit, kill, murder etc.. And then that hasn’t changed. Right. So if we actually look today and if you look at where all our stuff is made, how come we even have this conversation on these laptops is because the minerals are literally stolen out of the ground in Africa. If you look at the way the world works today, it’s the same, the same basic premise. The West exploits heavily from the rest of the world and creates these startling inequalities. So one of the ways to look at that in a health example would be if you think about the level of threat that we’re facing here from covid-19 and the death rates and look at how we responded. We shut down the whole economy, everything stopped. More people will die. More people die every single year because of poverty than will die this year or next year because of covid-19.  The conditions for the most of the world where mostly black and brown people live are actually just the conditions that we have right now but we’ve normalised them and we’ve accepted them and said it’s time for nine million black and brown people to die per year because they don’t live in the West, they’re not us. So we shouldn’t see that as a surprise, because that’s always been the logic of this economic and political system.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:20:40] So you’re talking about what I’m hearing, that is this colour-coded logic that underpins our systems and the way that they work, and when we start to dig down into those systems, all of those systems have the same colour coded logic that’s playing out in terms of the outcomes of those systems. And that logic that was created a long time ago. You know, you talked about the fourteen hundreds, you know, still playing it out today, you know, so that is something that we’ve not done. So what have we not paid attention to, Kehinde, in order for us to dismantle these kinds of racially unfair outcomes?

 

Kehinde Andrews [00:21:29] The problem is we’ve taken the issue of racism and we’ve seen as an individual thing and we’ve kind of put it on the margins. So there’s some bad people who are part of the problem and if we look at all the legislation and look at this stuff we’ve done, it is mostly about trying to either educate bad people or to make sure the bad people can’t do damage. Right, essentially. But it’s never been about that, we’ve failed to understand it’s actually about how the basics of society functions. It functions on this logic of white supremacy that black life is disposable in particular. So when you see something like George Floyd, for example, which sparked off all the protests and there’s no way to explain that, that isn’t rooted deeply in the histories of colonialism. Why is it that black people are more likely to be killed by the police basically everywhere in the world, more likely to be restrained, etc.? It’s because of the stereotype that we’re not really human, right? That’s what race is about. That we’re subhuman, we’re more like beasts and you see that play out on the street every day. You you even see that play out in these institutions. The amount of times you get called aggressive just because you’re black and you turn up and say, excuse me, you know anybody here who can tell you this is really, really clearly right. But that’s not about the individual. That’s about the way that life is structured, the way the society is structured. So, I think we’ve seen it with all the Covid death rates as well. It is not that simple. We kind of take the racism thing is a simple individual thing. Actually, it’s not, it’s about the general condition which were forced to live because of the idea of white supremacy and because we don’t address it in that way we’re not actually addressing the problem. We just we’re just going to keep turning around and going around in circles.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:23:06] So just coming back to this, this colour coded world in which we live in, so the racial category is what you’re saying, it’s a racial categories that we use to describe our differences were actually created to ensure that these differences determine our rank superiority or inferiority.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:23:29] So with this history and its legacy of racism still playing out in society and across our world, and I know that this is a really difficult subject for people to start to talk about, particularly in our institutions where we’re looking around and we’re seeing the racial disparity. You know, they’re starkly before us, yet we still find it difficult to talk about. So how do we change these deeply embedded ideas in order to progress racial injustice when for the most part, as you say, experientially, we’ve had no practise or precedents that has taught us how to support BAME leadership to lead for BAME justice because BAME people leading is the very inverse of the racial hierarchies that you’ve described and that we’ve inherited. How do we move forward from this Kehinde?

 

Kehinde Andrews [00:24:28] So going back to the drawing board, education is a really big part of this.  So actually, before I wrote the book that’s coming out in February. I always kind of been like, you know, this old enlightenment thinkers, the dead white men, etc. Maybe we can keep them and just know we need to stop. We need to go back and say, look, there’s nothing good there, actually. Even if you think of a story about basic concepts, like Caucasian, for example, we still use the term Caucasian. It’s such a deeply racist mythological idea that has no basis in anything at all. But even in medicine we use it.  In fact, medicine is one of the places where you can see racial categories.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:25:01] Can you explain that one a little bit, Kehinde, about this term Caucasian?

 

Kehinde Andrews [00:25:06] So Caucasian comes out of the Enlightenment, basically people like, Kant, Locke, Voltaire, etc. all these great thinkers, they all have these racial theories, right? It’s very clear racial theories that say black people are at the bottom and white people are at the top. There’s this hierarchy. They justify them in different ways. It’s climate or it’s genes or we’re part of one. Where the Darwin explanation was that there’s one human chain of being and black people are more like monkeys and apes and then we evolved. Then there’s the other, Voltaire was more on the we’re actually different species that we’re not even related. They all had different discussion but the term Caucasian comes out of the idea that white people or Europeans kind of came out of the Caucasus Mountains, which again, is not true, but came out of the Caucasus Mountains, they’re the most beautiful people, and this is where it came from. This is just completely made up, it is complete fantasy, no reality to it. But that is still the term that we use. The idea that there are distinct racial groups, that’s a complete fantasy. Actually, look at the evidence to tell you that biologically we’re mostly the same and that these aren’t differences. But like I said Medicine is a place where you can see this most clearly, where it’s still using these very clear racial terms etc. So it does shape how we deal with people. It shapes how we respond to people.

 

Kehinde Andrews [00:26:21] I mean, one example of this would be the fact that black women are far more likely, four or five times more likely to die in childbirth. And if you look again at this historically, there still is this issue that black people generally are supposed to take more pain because we’re more like animals because we’re more thicker skinned. In fact, I read this so many times in these horrible histories of racist ideas that we have thicker skin, we’re more like brutes etc.. There’s this history of medicine treating us and black women in particular, that we can just accept more pain and we take more pain. One of the explanations given for that terrible statistic is that when black women present with pain you don’t get treated the same, very very differently, and it has the knock on consequences. So there is these ideas, even though they’re completely mythical, they’re actually still shaping how we’re delivering treatment today.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:27:13] Yeah, and this is the tricky stuff, isn’t it, you know, us acknowledging what it is that we see and what it is that we are experiencing around us and I think that one of the conversations that we’ve been having in the NHS has been around, you know, us being open and honest. And the more that we can be candid and honest about what we see, what we feel, what we hear, what we see, you know, that’s the beginning of us being able to engage in meaningful dialogue for progress. And I’m also thinking about you’ve done a lot of work around black history and black people, and you have done a lot to amplify the voices of black communities, and I’m just wondering why you’re focussing there Kehinde, what is it that black and BAME lived experience brings to this conversation?

 

Kehinde Andrews [00:28:18] Yes, so it’s a completely different way to think and see the world, it’s really important to see that. So, for instance, that I just gave a whole talk about why race is not real. It is completely constructed, these biological categories are not real and I am one of the people who more than anybody else would say black, black, black, black, because when I say black I mean African and African descent is effectively, right?  And often times the critique there is well aren’t you just saying race and really importantly, no, these are different things, like when we say black we don’t mean race in a biological way, this is a way of saying, look, we because of our shared history, because I’m descended from enslaved Africans, but even if you’re not descended from enslaved Africans our roots are the same, right? We often forget that slavery decimated Africa as much as it devasted the people who left and so we’ve kind of embraced this position, we say, well, look, because we have this different history and experience and because we are essentially at the bottom, right? The way that anti-blackness works, you can see it very differently, you can see a lot more clearly, right? You can see that audulations work and so one of the things that we need to do is, unfortunately, because racism is so toxic and so embedded in our major institutions, educational health, leadership policy, that’s a view from the top that doesn’t understand anything. Even the term BAME and the way we talk it just doesn’t understand it, doesn’t get it.  It is much better to look at the view from the bottom because then you can see what’s happening and understand it very, very differently and that’s when you’re going to start to say, well, actually, what can we do to actually make serious change?

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:29:50] Wow. So the view from the bottom is the view that gives the insight as to how to make those serious changes. The view from the bottom, that’s really important insight for us today and I think that there is a parallel process when we start to think about disability, when we think about women’s empowerment, when we think about the LGBT agenda, the view from the bottom, and we keep coming back to this.  But what we hear is constantly from the top, the view from the top, so that taking the view from the bottom, it’s a radical act, actually, and when we think about where we are now, we’ve had a year, the past year is a year like none of us have ever seen before. You know, we’ve had Black Lives Matter and new brand new phenomena and global phenomena and we’re in the midst of a global pandemic where BAME people for want of a better word, the use of BAME I’m sure that is being critiqued as we speak, but BAME people are disproportionately dying in this pandemic. What would you say Kehinde that white leaders and all of our leaders, actually, because what we’re talking about here are mindset’s, not necessarily skin colour, because, you know, whiteness can be a mindset in black people because we’ve all been socialised to thinking that way. So what would you say that our leaders need to pay attention to and get behind in order for transformation to take place for racial justice?

 

Kehinde Andrews [00:31:33] Well, I mean, I think there’s there’s a couple of things. So, one of them is the kind of more internal like, you know, actually you think about, particularly the NHS, which has this massively diverse workforce. Every black person has somebody who’s worked in the NHS.  Literally, you are not going to find a black person in the UK who doesn’t have a close relative who’s worked in the NHS and then you look at the problems in time in terms of insight, in terms of who’s making decisions, who’s at the top. So there has to be a real effort. I’m not the biggest one always to talk about diversity, but diversity does matter in this because you do need to get a different set of voices, a different set of voices in. One of the problems of doing that, though, is because it is so, I think really understanding that these places are hostile. I work at universities, I’ve been in universities now for 20 years or so and it’s not good. I can tell you loads of experience. All of us have probably had really bad experiences.  Right now, I’m going through some pretty terrible experiences at work because of the way that racism shapes how everything works. So when we’re in these white institutions, these are hostile places.  Infact, I’ve actually just given an interview recently where I said it’s very unlikely I’ll tstill be an academic in five years because it’s that hostile.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:32:45] Wow.

 

Kehinde Andrews [00:32:46] You can’t be saying that you want to get more BAME, black, brown leaders without actually changing how people experience places. Like I said, I’m one of the very few black Professors in a position where I could go on to Dean, etc, but I honestly, I’ll never do it. I would never do it, because I’ve seen how toxic those places are. So there has to be a real effort to really change, properly change, not just by bringing people in and then keep it at the same, it really is about changing. That also goes to the issue of it isn’t just enough to have black and brown faces. I mean, you can have lots of black faces, but the system doesn’t change. It doesn’t really matter. Right. And unfortunately, institutions usually change people, people don’t always change institutions that much and that’s not a personal attack on anybody, it is just the reality that you’ve  got to survive in institutions which are based on white supremacy, so most of us will go along with that because that’s how you get on in these institutions. So it isn’t enough just to have diversity, actually, it’s saying why don’t we change the nature of what this is and also then change the nature of what we do. The second thing is the external. The big thing really is that we have to think about racism very, very, very, very differently. So, let’s just take something like covid, which we see in the disproportionate deaths and the response that we’ve had has honestly been the worst possible response to this problem you could ever, ever have. So firstly, people are surprised, like why would you be surprised, like, there is so much literature about race and racial disparities in health? Before this happened, I could have told you, 100%, that black people would be more likley to die and asian people, because you just know we’re more likley to have all the preconditions, more likely to live in poverty, more likely to in the inner cities and we live in cities anyway that’s going to be a problem,  more likely to be public facing workers. You don’t need to you don’t need to commission research into this we already, this is obvious, right?  Second thing then is once you then look at that, add up all of those things, none of those are particularly health specifically related. So how can you expect the NHS to say well look there’s a fix that’s going to come from the NHS becuase we just place this magic wand, have some vitamin D or something and that’s going to fix it. No, this is a social process, this is a structure problem which is having these impacts on the NHS. So we have to see in that sense, you have to look at things like residential segregation, the access to the job market. Yeah, I mean, you know, what kind of work people are doing and that’s a completely different conversation and we’re not set up to have that conversation. Public health makes no sense if it’s  not tied to housing, education, employment, et cetera, because those things will impact the public health. But unfortunately, that’s is not the way we have those conversations.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:35:34] Wow. So public health for the public is a diverse public. And we can look into what the reality of that means in terms of framing our policies and our practises in the way that we work. And what I heard there, Kehinde, when you were talking about some of these environments are hostile and alluding to the drain that there is, you know, for you and and others like you in the situation which you find yourself. And I’m just thinking about the notion of playing by the rules and the fact that the rules need to change, that we play by because, as you say, in those kinds of environments in order to progress people have to play by the rules that are already there, you know, and some of those rules are not going to help us to progress racial equity and justice. So I just want to ask you a question about the future, because I like to think that what we are talking about is a possibility, Kehinde. Of course, it is possible for us to have a racially just society. Of course it’s possible for us to create cultures that are equitable, compassionate, empathetic and fair for everyone and in which everybody can thrive. Of course, that’s possible. So I want to ask you to help us to imagine what better looks like what does a society that embraces equity and justice look like for you, Kehinde?.

 

Kehinde Andrews [00:37:13] I’m going to start from a point, because I think we have to be uncomfortable in these conversations, I think it’s really important that it’s fine to leave a conversation like this and say, I don’t know, I just feel uncomfortable, because we’re in a moment where, you know, there’s a lot of attention on the issue and we all want to seem positive and optimistic. I get that, but actually, the first thing, you just feel really uncomfortable and say, well, this is the state we’re in. So the starting point of that then has to be it might not be possible.  It is not possible unless we make significant fundamental changes in how we address these issues. I think that is the key point, there is no way to do this where you can just change, tinker a little bit with it, get a better representation, have a BAME leadership programme.  Not only does that not help, it actually makes it worse. Right. Because it makes it look like something changed when nothing has changed. So, for instance, let’s just take me, for example, when my dad was coming up and if you left school with no qualifications because the racism in the schools was that bad,  you got a job as a spot welder, ended up in an organisation, eventually takes a long, circuitous route to get into law, right, now as his son, because he had that and because of the the opening up a little bit of space and you can have a bit more of this black people at univeristy etc.  I can now come in become professor, etc., etc.. Now you can look at this. Oh, isn’t that great? Isn’t that progress? But let’s actually look at the way most of us live. Taking people like me and people like yourself and people who have the exception, we’re not the rule.  We’re the exceptions that prove the rule. Look at the actual state of the community. Look at the fact that we’re still having all these issues of education, etc, etc. The fact that we just had a massive Black Lives Matter protest would tell you that, that looks different, but actually nothing’s really changed. So if we are serious about racial justice, then it means a complete rethinking of the issues. And if something like the health service is the most funded thing, right? There is lots and lots of money. And I have personal experience of seeing that wasted in these paradigms that just don’t get what the problem is. So we just need completely rethinking. Part of that is rethinking internally. So I mean, employing people is not difficult, it is really easy. You just go and say if you want to employ people, just go and we employ people. When I started at Birmingham City University there were two black people me and Dr. Taylor, who is still there. We said we’re going to do black studies, we’re going to employ people. We employ more black people straight away. We now have more black academics in our department than most universities have. And it was easy, nothing complicated.  We just do it, right?  Simple.  Promote people.  Again, I can go to my Uni and say I know who shuld be promoted, it’s not difficult but the systems we have for promotion will put the burden on the person and they’re all problematic etc, etc. And also, I know it’s uncomfortable but some people need to go. This is being honest. There’s some people are the problem. Then on the bigger issue, it’s saying well actually how do we address these, it’s fundamentaly economic, right? All these things create these massive economic disparities which explain why we tend to live in inner city communities, tend to have poor outcomes, tend to have poor health outcomes, etc. So we need to then say, well, how if we want racial justice, that means a rebalancing, a massive rebalancing, things like preparation, putting money into communities. There’s no way to get around it. And that is uncomfortable. And that will probably mean that some people are losing and some people aren’t happy, but that’s what racial justice looks like. And if not okay to do that and be uncomfortable there’s no point in having the conversation.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:40:42] Wow. Thank you, Kehinde. A lot of food for thought in what you’ve just said and we’ll, of course, come back to you a little bit later. I think you’ve really outlined the fact that, you know, this is not just tinkering with the chairs and tables. You know, this is wholesale change. We’ve got to give ourselves the time and the space to do the thinking and the planning and then implement the actions that are actually going to make the difference. Thank you so much.

 

Kehinde Andrews [00:41:14] Thank you.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:41:15] So given the current crisis, we’re very grateful to have two panels with us today, leaders from the system who will help us translate some of the ideas that Kehinde has shared into what this means for lived experience for our BAME staff. Most importantly, we’ve asked these guests to share practical examples as to how executives can better support and bring about significant improvements for our BAME staff. Our first panel are aspiring middle and senior leaders, and they are Edna Boampong, Deputy Director of Communications and Engagement for the North West, Deepy Kang,  Senior Programmes Manager for National Leadership Development Programmes at Leadership and Lifelong Learning in London. And Edith Akenkide, Social Work Manager, Practice Educator and Approved Mental Health Professional from London. So starting with yourself, Edna. You’ve listened to what Professor Andrews has been saying, and I’m just wondering from your perspective, what’s happened in your career that illustrates why liberating and learning from BAME leadership is an essential focus for executive leaders today.

 

Edna Boampong [00:42:32] Thank you, Tracie and hello and welcome, everyone. So as Kehinde, has already said, there’s no secret there is a lack of diversity in senior positions in the NHS. We’ve known about this for years. We’ve talked about it and analysed it for years. However, very little has changed and there’s so much evidence that there’s been little change. And in my view, senior recruitment processes are fundamentally flawed and have the potential to allow unconscious bias or let’s be honest, conscious bias to limit people from BAME backgrounds, from being appointed to senior positions, and reaching their full potential. So to give you some insight into one of my experiences recently, I completed an application on NHS jobs for a director role, which I know that I’m more than capable of fulfilling. And in fact, it has taken me a while to really believe that I’m capable of defending the director role. So out of the 55 or so applicants, I made a shortlist of six applicants, and I was told that interviewed initially by a recruiter and and then I’ll be interviewed by a formal panel.  During my interview with the recruiter, it was with one older white man, I felt that he wasn’t really interested in interviewing me. He didn’t give me eye contact. He wasn’t really listening to me. He didn’t even ask me very many follow up questions like I would expect it felt like he’d already decided that I wasn’t right for the role. So suffice to say, and no surprise to me, I didn’t get through to the next round. I got an email saying that unfortunately my application wouldn’t be taken any further and I didn’t get a chance to get in front of the interview panel. My fate was determined, so to speak, by one person who happened to be an old white man. Now, I know I’ve emphasised the fact that it was an older white man a few times and it’s not to be disparaging or disrespectful in any way, but I guess the point I’m trying to make is, as a young black woman being interviewed by one older man, it just didn’t feel fair. Everyone knows that people recruit in their mind’s eye, so I don’t think I really stood a chance. Now, I might not have been the right person for the role, but at least have a process that can stand up to scrutiny. I often think of myself as being lucky to have reached the position I have because I don’t see many senior comms people that look like me in the NHS, certainly not in the northwest or in the Cheshire and Mersey patch that I work across, and I’m often the only person of colour in senior meetings. But the truth is, I’ve worked extremely hard to get to where I am and there’s been very little luck involved, so I shouldn’t see myself as lucky because actually it’s been hard work and dedication on my part and my mum growing up always told me that I would need to work twice as hard because of the colour of my skin. I need to work a lot harder than my white friends and I really hope that in my day and age that, that would be different and I’d be able to tell a different story to my son. But unfortunately, my experience has taught me that, that still isn’t the case with which actually makes me quite sad. So my ask to senior leaders and executive leaders very simply, really have a look at your recruitment process. Can you really, really be sure that you’ve done everything that you can to eliminate biased and that the process that you have in place will facilitate the recruitment of the best diverse talent? Secondly, for so long and because of unfair experience BAME talent have believed that they’re not good enough. So what can you do to support them and to build trust in the recruitment process and really encourage them to feel good enough and able to go for these most senior positions? Lastly, and I think this is a really important one, if you do appoint a person of colour into a senior role, please ensure that they’re not set up to fail. Give them the support they need to thrive because they can and they will, but they will need the support from their leaders and their peers. Thank you. That’s my experience.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:46:58] Thank you for sharing that very timely and relevant story and it’s one that we keep hearing time and time again. I’m very aware that one of the commitments of the people plan is to overhaul recruitment processes and practises and not before time and I’m struck by your statement when you said for so long and because of unfair experiencesBAME staff have believed that they’re not good enough. And your invitation to executives to invest in building trust in order to change this so Deepy, what experiences do you want to speak about and what messages do you have for our executive leaders?

 

Deepy Kang [00:47:41] Thanks, Tracie. So what’s important to me, probably like so many other people, is that I can come to work and feel that my contribution is valued and that I have as much opportunity as others to progress, and I realise that I’m really lucky to work in a national organisation where this issue feels really important to my senior leaders like Prerana and Jacqueline and I have a line manager that I really get on with, but it’s taken me 21 years to get to this sort of culture and form these sorts of relationships. And what seems to have happened to me is that people value my education. So my University of Oxford degree, my all A’s, my A*s and that’s really opened doors for me. And when I landed, they valued the high quality of my work and the high professional standards, but what they haven’t valued is perhaps my challenge, especially when it tests my values of equity and fairness. So if I think back six years ago, my first mid-manager role in the NHS, I was the only Asian female in that team and we had a shared pool of support staff and a couple of them would always continually resist my requests for help, but were helpful to others in the team. And it was really subtle.  So over time I noticed what was happening and I raised it with my line manager and with the support staff and what I noticed was an onslaught of me being disruptive and how I was ruining the harmony of the team and how I was causing problems in the team. And my line manager, who is a white male at that time, pulled me aside and his advice to me was maybe I should compromise the quality of my work just for the sake of harmony in the team, and it just made me uncomfortable just something didn’t feel right and my line manager just didn’t recognise the issue, let alone know what to do with it.  And if I think back, his behaviour was quite different to me compared to some of my colleagues. So my one-to-one’s would be really short and informal, like he was impatient and keen to get on, whereas my with my peers, they were more jovial, went on for longer and felt more personal and my ideas and contributions in team meetings were not really met with very much enthusiasm, but were almost always taken forward, but not recognised. And it was ever so subtle, I don’t think it was consciously done. I don’t think people realise that they were doing it but what it did do is over time, just make me feel undervalued, unmotivated enough to look for another role and at the time I remember thinking maybe it’s me, maybe it’s my personality, maybe I’m just not a good cultural fit with this team. But since then, I’ve noticed it’s happened quite a lot of my BAME colleagues.  So my ask of you as senior leaders is how can you better equip your teams and their staff to recognise and address these kinds of subtle day to day incidents of micro aggressions? I mean, I’m a more senior manager now, and what I see happening now is that my work is valued and appreciated and I get support from above, which really helps me to do my job. However, what I don’t get so easily when compared to my peers is that informal hand up the career ladder, that quid pro quo, informal support from senior leaders by way of championing to help raise my profile like that good word in someone’s ear to open doors like pointing roles to me or me to roles. But I do see this happening with my white colleagues and in particular my white male colleagues. Again, it doesn’t feel deliberate at all, but it certainly doesn’t feel very fair. So as senior leaders, I would like to see you use your power and your influence to boost this form of informal support for BAME staff in their careers and ask your teams to do the same. And what I really would like to see as our senior leaders walking the walk on this issue and being role models and not just talking the talk like I see so many of them doing.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:51:33] Wowl, Deepy, thank you for that. So I just hear you saying that your leaders in the past have not recognised the issue or what to do with it and you talked about micro aggressions, micro aggressions, you know, that are not the overt ringing of a bell of discrimination’s happening here. You know, sometimes people think that’s what they’re looking for. So this stuff is subtle and you talked about feeling a sense of belonging as a BAME member of staff and that came over strongly in what you said, Deepy.  The other thing that has been a theme so far is the importance of recruitment and progression. Again, these elements are a focus of the People Plan and implementing the model employer goals for a minimum of 19 percent representation of BAME staff at all levels does simply symbolise commitment to walking the walk, as you stated, Deepy.  And of course, the People Plan is for the NHS, the model employer goals are or the NHS and I’m conscious that there may well be executives who are outside of the NHS on this call and of course, we all must learn to share our ideas so that we can we can make progress on these issues. So, Edith you’re coming in from the social work perspectives. What resonates for you in this space?

 

Edith Akenkide [00:53:00] Thank you, Tracie. I’m going to share with you a quote by James Baldwin. He says, “I can’t believe what you say because I see what you do.” Throughout my career, I have witnessed and experienced firsthand the unfair treatment of staff from BME groups, including myself. An example of this can be highlighted in a BME colleague having a safeguarding alert raised by their manager because his child went through a period of repeated sickness and hospital admissions. The staff member was not supported while the investigation took place.  The safeguarding was closed and no action was taken against the nurse. It was an indictment on the manager to take this course of action as a member of staff’s child is living with sickle cell and that child went through a period of being in crisis. Nothing happened to the manager for not having spoken to the member of staff or seeking to support him. Nothing happened to the manager for taking such disproportionate actions by discrediting her team member for the distress and embarrassment caused. Another nurse was suspended for no reason. I did raise this with the CEO and the suspension was reversed. Just last year I was targeted by my line manager who was forcing me to come to the office when it was clear from the government guidelines that I could do my job at home and I demonstrated that I was able to operate in a very effective way, which did not affect the service. Prior to Covid-19, my work was excellent with no reported concerns. Then covid-19 came, my line manager had a problem with my work. I did raise this with senior management and a statement was sent out that staff should work from home if they can. My experience when I’ve spoken out to address the bad behaviour of senior leaders in the past, I was told by a previous manager there was no issue of racism until I joined the organisation and started a BME network in 2017. I have witnessed that some white managers are rewarded for their bad behaviour by promotion, such as the manager who raised the Safeguarding, while BME staff are victimised. My experience of working in health and social care has been challenging. Seeing racism and discrimination played out where BME people are treated differently to white colleagues.  The data and the statistics are still shocking from the WRES and the Mental Health Act review. I have helped staff who have been at lower Bands, such as a nurse who was qualified over 16 years of working at a Band 5. I helped her by networking with a professional coach, mentoring, and within 12 months she secured a permanent Band 8a job. Why did her manager not recognise her potential? From my experience, I have not seen many BME professionals offered acting up positions. It is more difficult for BME staff to be given opportunities like shadowing, acting up in senior roles. This usually results in feedback, such as you don’t have the experience. So my ask to executives is two fold; work directly with BME staff and BME networks. Listen to their stories and act on what they are telling you. Also, mentor, coach and support BME staff; call out and address poor behaviour and stop rewarding leaders who demonstrate poor practise and harm to BME staff. Thank you.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:56:38] Thank you, Edith. You’re asking executives to stop rewarding leaders who demonstrate poor behaviour towards BAME staff, this means, in fact, that we’ll need to turbo boost leadership accountability in this space. That’s one of the ideas that Kehinde was encouraging us to think about to work on. We need to turbo boost leadership accountability, whether that’s through board level level competency frameworks, whether it’s through inspection regimes from the CQC or others, whether it’s through BAME staff, networks, talent management or other functions.  Fundamentally, what I’ve been hearing is that the leadership qualities that are now required for our future leaders across health care need to be more focussed on racial justice. From the three stories we’ve just heard, there is much more that the system needs to be doing to transform your stories of lived experience. Thank you, Edna, Deepy and Edith for courageously sharing their stories with us.  And before moving on to our next panel, I want to ask Kehinde to come back in for a couple of minutes and just share some reflections with us about what you’ve just heard from the first panel. Kehinde.

 

Kehinde Andrews [00:58:01] Yeah, no, well, I mean, I’m not surprised, I think.  One of the things I would say is sorry to hear those kind of stories, but unfortunately that is what it is. It just shows you what the significant issues are when people are trying to go for things. You think about the way the process is, the way that the promotion works. I mean, job interviews, when I say we hired three black women in a row at BCU, I absolutely guarantee you were I not on those interview panels it wouldn’t have happened and it was a complete fight, a battle for me to get, because so much of the interview process is about do you fit, are you one of us? And it’s just really, really exclusionary. So unfortunately, it just mirrors everything else I’ve experienced, read about and seen and that’s why it really is about complete culture change, but also a system change as well. So how do you promote people? Maybe this is not the right way. Maybe there’s a better way to do it where you don’t have to put the emphasis and all the pressure on the people.  You work with people for years, we should know, I could tell you who should be promoted. Maybe there’s a different way to split this where the promotions isn’t about that kind of pressure on the individual. It is about the institution saying, well, look, we our people who work, we know it, let’s make sure we are putting people in the right places.  So none of that surprises me unfortunately, that is the reality of trying to navigate these spaces.

 

Tracie Jolliff [00:59:24] Thanks, Kehinde, and I just think about something that Prerana said earlier about promoting staff and representation and I’m very conscious of the fact that the People Directorate has an overrepresentation of BAME Leaders at some of the senior roles, particularly Band 9 roles and that came about because of the will and leadership determination of Prerana. So when leaders decide to do something and is determined to do something, it will happen. This is within our gift, folks. It can happen. So just by way of a reminder to our executives, please do type your questions for Kehinde into the chat box as we go forward and Morvia Gooden is picking these up already for the question and answer session after our next panel.  So now our next conversation, having heard some powerful stories already, we’re now going to make a link between BAME stories and what executives can do in the here and now to protect staff who are disproportionately impacted by covid-19. To discuss this life and death issue, our panel members are Marcus Riddell, Head to Equality and Inclusion – Evidence and Policy for NHS E and I and two of your colleagues, Patricia Miller, Chief Executive of Dorset County Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust, and Raj Jain, the Chief Executive of the Northern Care Alliance, which comprises the care organisations to Salford Royal, Rochdale and Bury and Royal Oldham. So firstly to Marcus, we’re hearing that all leaders need to become skilful in hearing and translating lived experience into effective actions and strategies for inclusive cultural transformation.  Please, could you share with us some lessons learnt from phase one of the Covid pandemic regarding staff protection? What can executives do right now to save lives as this pandemic continues? Marcus.

 

Marcus Riddell [01:01:30] Thanks very much, Tracie, and probably worth me, add in briefly before I go into the lessons learnt over the last year or so I’ve been involved in a range of things related to pandemic response, which were initially about protection of BME staff, but it gradually became about all staff, particularly risk assessments. So I was Head of our risk assessment delivery unit and I’m now looking at assurance for staff vaccinations and I raise that because we’re nearly a year into the pandemic and I’d argue the lessons learnt were pretty evident at the moment. It became clear there was a disproportionate impact on BME staff. I was thinking about this quite a lot when you asked me to speak, Tracie, and I think there is four main areas that it’s worth me covering to tee-up Patricia and Raj. So, I mean, firstly, for Executives theneed to be hands on has never been more important, by which I mean in almost every organisation there’s been a disproportionate impact on your staff, as there would have been on wider BME communities, and as far as staff are concerned, as an Executive, you own responsibility to address that. Now, it doesn’t mean you’re personally at fault. Of course not. I mean, Kehinde, talked earlier about the wider range of structural and societal factors leading to the disproportionate impact. But I think it’s fair to say that as an Executive, like any issue, like any crisis, you are responsible for addressing the needs and concerns of your workforce and your BME staff.   That’s the first thing. Secondly, action and acting quickly.  So I know that sometimes we can act quickly and take bad decisions and we’re no different at national level, but at the same time, it was quite noticeable in the feedback that we’ve received from BME staff how happy they were when their organisations responded quickly to the disproportionate impact.  They didn’t wait for emerging evidence or wait for national guidance on risk assessments, they just decided that they were going to prioritise the needs of their BME staff. And, you know, there are simple links to be made for organisations that did this between the historic racism in the NHS and, of course, more widely, as Kehinde mentioned, and the disproportionate impact, because even if you remove the societal factors we all know and we just have a panel talk about this, there’s also racism in some of our workplaces, direct racism, which may well lead to somebody being placed in a job that they do not want to do with inadequate PPE, for example.  Which leads me to lived experience. So, the Chief People Officer mentioned earlier her own experience recently, last week of racism and we have to be really careful with the use of the word anecdotes and I have to lecture myself on this. So somebody’s personal experience is not an anecdote, actually. It’s something that’s happened to them. So, for somebody to say, oh, I went into work, I was redeployed to a ward of Covid positive patients, my PPE didn’t fit, that it’s not conjecture or speculation, that actually happened to someone. That’s a frightening experience and I would stress to people on this meeting the best evidence you’ll get on the news of staff and what needs to happen are from staff directly, you know, the data, etc. is really important but staff will tell you what the problem is and Kehinde’s point earlier about that bottom up approach absolutely is right with staff. The staff will tell you what the problem is and what the solution is. It’s just about all we going to listen and act on what we’ve been told. And that leads me to my last point, really, because again, yourself, again, that really good discussion about representation and who’s in charge is important. Now, it’s not the be all and end all, but I would stress that the emergency response structures, including in my own organisation, simply reflected the existing structures that were already in place. People who were in charge naturally were put in charge of the emergency response but in some areas of organisations, of course, equality has never been prioritised so it wasn’t going to be prioritised in the pandemic response. So it’s not a surprise, as Kehinde says how we have got to this point.  And I would stress also on Kehinde’s point about representation and what it means. It shouldn’t just be for the sake of it, indeed, for BME staff we’re not asking for it to be for the sake of it, but what we do think should happen is any organisation serious about changing staff experience will think deeply about whether the makeup of the team it has in place, particularly its top team, is right, and that should include ethnicity, as it would include a whole host of other factors. So in the interest of timeTracie I’ll stop there, but I’m happy to take any questions later.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:06:00] Thank you, Marcus. So be hands on. Act quickly. Don’t treat lived experiences anecdotal and therefore subtext, not as important, and ensure BAME representation in decision making. So, Patricia, I’ll come to you first and then to Raj, you’re both CEOs in the system and your both BAME leaders. So, I’d love to hear what your reflections are about what you’ve heard so far. What messages do you have, importantly for your colleagues, Patricia?

 

Patricia Miller [01:06:34] So thank you, Tracie. Well, the first thing I want to say thank you to Kehinde, because I absolutely, wholeheartedly agree that the change must be structural and systemic. My biggest fear is that the BLM movement will go quiet and then nothing will actually change and, you know, we at the moment, I’m part of a health inequalities group that looks at reducing health inequalities across England and we keep producing reports that talk about services being restarted in an inclusive way, which, quite frankly, are nonsense, because if we weren’t providing services like that before covid, nothing has changed in the last few months for us to evidence that. I think the NHS is a reflection of society at a whole. Racism exists in society, so it’s really naive to think that it doesn’t exist here and I think because the public hold the NHS in such high esteem, the NHS has an organisation finds it very difficult to look within itself and identify where it needs to change and that’s got to change in itself, because if we don’t accept and acknowledge that we have institutional racism, then we can’t possibly do anything about it. We’ve got over a million people working in this organisation so we have a huge opportunity to be a catalyst actually for societal change by getting the culture right within our organisation and spreading that beyond in to friends, family, the people that we come into contact with. But for me, if I just try and encapsulate and summarise some of the things colleagues have said, I think it comes down to three different areas. It is about representation. It’s about not just because leadership of organisations at every level should reflect the workforce that it looks after and the community that it cares for, but also because it brings diversity of thought and decision making. And I absolutely agree with Marcus in that the incident response we have had is because our leadership in our regulators do not reflect the representation of the society that we serve, and if you look at things like 9/11, if you look at the evidence, that now underpins that a lot aof that was down to the fact that the CIA had a policy of recruiting only white men from Ivy League universities. So groupthink, and so we don’t get the right responses and I think that’s what we’re guilty of in terms of the pandemic. For me, it’s also about visible leadership commitment from the top. You know, it’s not just about leaders saying it, it’s about doing it. It’s about walking the talk. It’s about making it clear what is acceptable in your organisation and what isn’t.  I think there’s something about accountability. We don’t hold our leaders to account on ED and I in the NHS, the CQC, don’t do it, the CQC don’t always understand it.  We don’t make it clear to regions and teams underneath them that it’s part of the accountability framework that we expect to see. And then finally, I think it’s about culture and we quite often choose to focus on the small actions because culture feels nebulous, but actually culture is really important, positive, inclusive cultures of how people feel as if they belong. It’s how promotion is available to everyone. It’s how we view everyone has being equal.  And I think also the equity is just as important as equality. You know, the reality is it’s some stuff groups need more investment in order to achieve equality we should be OK with that because it’s the right thing to do. So for me, I think the lived experience is incredibly important but you have to not just listen to it, you have to be able to understand it; want to understand that it is incredibly traumatic sharing your lived experience continually because colleagues ask you to do it and then see no action taken afterwards, but also because when leaders listen to it, they need to understand the implications of racial trauma and I don’t think they do, and that’s why we quite often get actions that are, for me, not the deep, the broad actions that really will deliver change. And, if I give you an example of Marcus saying we’ve got to own it, I agree with him. So this week my task is every single BME member staff that has refused the Covid vaccine I’m having a conversation with them saying this is the evidence, this is how you can protect yourself. This is why you need to do it.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:11:24] Great. Patricia, very powerful and some very poignant messages there. For colleagues, I think what stood out for me was make it clear what’s not acceptable and there’s stuff that we can do in talking to staff, your action there at the end, Patricia, bout talking to every single member of staff who’s not accepting the vaccine, having that conversation. How powerful is that? I’m just going to talk a little bit about what I’ve heard so far. We’ve heard some rich contributions so far, and the messages are quite stark. I’m just going to say a little bit about what I’ve heard. So No. One, in order to make progress towards racial justice and to promote BAME health and wellbeing, Executives need to pay attention to learning from BAME staff and supporting them to lead experientially, and from our childhood, most of us have not learnt through the institutions that we’ve encountered how to do this consistently or well. I’m hearing that we need to be clear about what’s not acceptable and when we think about representation in decision making, our incident response has been peppered by who has been making those decisions about the incidents and that has led to some of the outcomes that we’ve seen thus far.  The third thing is understanding BAME lived experience holds the keys for what we need to focus on and how we need to progress racial injustice, so moving back passed that discomfort in listening to those stories, accepting those stories and working with those stories is critical. So our Executive Leaders at all levels must now grow their skills in hearing and then translating these lived experiences into effective actions and strategies for inclusive cultural transformation. All of these things are essential building blocks for inclusive leadership to be built at executive level and for those in the NHS, just a reminder that implementing the People Plan will lay the foundations for us to positively turn the tide towards racial justice, which we can only do together. So I’m just going to check whether Raj is on the line. Raj, if you’re on the line, please come in.

 

Raj Jain [01:13:58] Hi, Tracie, can you hear me?

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:13:59] Hi, Raj, we can hear you now. Thank you. Please do take a few moments to share your thoughts with us.

 

Raj Jain [01:14:08] Thanks Tracie. Apologies for the technical issues.  Now, and I’ll be relatively brief.  Firstly I just want to enforce what Patricia just said.  Please do listen to what she had to say. It’s terrific stuff. Can you hear me, Tracie?

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:14:32] We’re losing you a little bit. Please go back a couple of sentences and repeat what you just said.

 

Raj Jain [01:14:39] It was just, firstly, to hugely support what Patricia’s just said, what she just said was really important and I’m going to come at it from a slightly different angle, and that’s the angle that I think was highlighted by Kehinde, in terms of we’ve just got to go out and do something. Prerana’s support, policy context, training, development, all those things are hugely important, awareness raising, and the data is hugely important, but we as leaders, as Executives in our organisation, need to get what we always need to get right, which has been really clear on purpose then managing upstairs, managing alongside and managing into our organisation, and I have been on a Board for 20 years now, and I’ve tried different methods, working with national and regional teams as well as working within my organisation.  And I’ve concluded that what we need to do is each one of us take responsibility for moving those dials that we know need to move. And I also can’t look at employment practises within the NHS in isolation from the outcomes for our patients and the people we serve, they are integrally linked, and I think the senior leaders, we need to understand what the data on both aspects are telling us within our organisation and then we need to recognise that inequality and then do something about it. So managing upstairs, what could that mean for us as Executives?  Well, I think the vaccination programme provides a really good example of this. Of course, we need national direction. We need to ensure that we’re following the priorities set nationally, because otherwise we’ll have chaos in this very important and sensitive topic, but within that, we as leaders can do things to ensure that our people who suffer inequalities don’t suffer unnecessarily any longer. So a lot of organisations, including mine, we have about 20,000 people, we went at pace to vaccinate every single individual by Sunday just gone. We have managed to do that, but we have significant numbers, three or four hndred people who are still resisting having the vaccination. So within that national context, you can still do things to ensure your people are safe. Managing alongside, and that’s looking at colleagues, different organisations and in the regional office and working with them to highlight your own lived experience or lived experience of colleagues that you want to recount and ensuring that together as a system we collaborate in ways that we haven’t collaborated before. So I was part of a small team that initiated something called the Northwest Regional Assembly, which is basically BAME leaders across the Northwest who collectively and voluntarily come to move the dial on this, do those sort of things. And then when we look internally, I’m really looking at numbers. I want to know that there are more people being promoted into the senior ranks in my organisation and you must start off with the Board. So we now have three BAME people on the Board.  When I was appointed, there was one which was which was me. Internally, in my organisation in the last two years, we’ve tripled the numbers of people from BAME backgrounds, in Bands 8a and above and I’m excluding medics from that, from my calculation. And that takes personal attention, that takes me signalling to the organisation I think this is hugely important. Those new Directors to my board, BAME Directors to my Board, wouldn’t have the wouldn’t have been appointed unless I’d shown alot of attention to that.  The programmes within my organisation that are promoting people into more senior positions, I believe wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t convinced my executive colleagues to work alongside me to drive this agenda, and it can be tiring, but it can be rewarding, you can see the dials change on this.  It takes time, but it can be done. I’ll stop there, Tracie.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:18:53] Wow, Raj, thank you so much. So, it can be done were your last words and I just heard that the message around being clear on purpose, then managing it and taking responsibility for moving the dial, you said we can do stuff, you decided to do stuff and out of that stuff came the North West Regional Assembly. And you change the numbers, you were determined to change the numbers and you did it.  So for me, there are some very powerful messages coming out here and all of our Executives can do stuff here. So let’s let’s open up the floor now to our Exec contributions and questions. Technology doesn’t allow us, unfortunately, to easily hear from you verbally so we ask if you’d kindly post your questions into the chat box and Morvia has been scanning that chat box. I’m going to go over to Morvia and ask Morvia what’s the first question that we have for Kehinde or our Chief Executives or panels and who’s it from?

 

Morvia Gooden [01:20:02] So there’s been lots of comments really, you know, basically saddened comments, really talking about, you know, the subtle racism that exists so many people can concur with it. But there is a question. There’s a few questions. And the first question I’m going to refer to is to Kehinde. This is from Tracy Cox, Accountable Officer at BSW CCG.  Now, Kehinde, Tracy is saying that your words were sobering and difficult to hear. I am a leader trying to make a difference, but I’m worried that my well-intended efforts might, in fact, be doing more harm. What is your advice to leaders on how best to structure our response to being a more inclusive organisation/system? Over to you, Kehinde.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:21:06] So that’s clear because you’re quite faint, so the question is, what is your advice, Kehinde, as to how best to structure our response going forward? So over to Kehinde.

 

Kehinde Andrews [01:21:21] Yes, so, definitely. Firstly, I would say embrace the uncomfortable feeling.  Again, as I said, that is the reality and that is a good starting point to be from and also the idea that, you know, that trepidation in terms of like what do we do trying to make sure, again these are all good things because these then say, well, let’s put the right things in place. I mean, I think really importantly is listening to voices in the community. So there are people and civil society groups, grassroots organisation. There are many organisations and groups our there we’re doing work on the ground, etc.  Also including a broader range, so think about the public health inequalities they are across; we need to have those kind of stakeholders you might not necessarily consider, but that’s really important to get a wider voice of community stakeholders. And then again, there are people there are also, you know, not just academics, but voices who’ve been writing around these issues, work on this research, these issues and trying to bring them in. I think the key thing is to kind of really try and bring in a a different set of voices to say, well, actually, how do we charter the particular issues which we’re facing.  Some of those are national, some of those are local, but it is about bringing it and really trying to get voices from the ground up. That’s absolutely essential in terms of the decision making and not just in terms of, we’ve got this idea, let’s go consult but we don’t really talk to people, anyway.  In terms of the actual strategy itself, how you are making sure you’re bringing in that much wider range of voices than you usually would.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:22:49] Wow, great Morvia, can we just have the second question, please?

 

Morvia Gooden [01:22:55] Right, so the second question is from Sarah Higgins. Can you hear me clearly?

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:23:01] Yes, I can hear you now.

 

Morvia Gooden [01:23:03] Brilliant. So Sarah Higgins, Lewisham and Greenwich. So we get a lot of feedback that racism is more covert today and concealed in micro aggressions. How do we support staff when the lived experience is pervasive racism coming from multiple angles, not all of which we have authority over.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:23:34] Pervasive racism coming from all angles. Kehinde, how do we support staff when it is felt that we haven’t got authority over that pervasive racism? What do you advise?

 

Kehinde Andrews [01:23:47] Yeah, but we do have authority over what happens in the institution, and I think somebody made a comment before about not treating these stories as anecdotes and treating them seriously. I get that. I won’t give you the details but I’m going through something at my university right now. This is somebody very senior, very public profile etc, expert on race. When I say the way this person treated me was racist the university turns around and says “ah, no, he didn’t really meanit”  I mean, that is literally what we experience. If I’m getting that I dread to think what everybody else is getting and so that’s one of the things why people don’t necessarily report it, because what’s the point right, like, people don’t believe? So if we think about a term microaggression, people don’t know it’s the kind of daily papercuts of racism. I’m in a conversation with somebody all of a sudden oh you’re being aggressive. Well, actually, the one thatI love, which is any black man, definitely and probably black women will tell you that they have experienced this, I can walk through my university and none of the staff will look at me because I’m a black man and you don’t look at them because they’re all they’re all a bit afraid. So I go up say hello and they’re all surprised. Oh, it’s you, it’s okay, you’re safe, it’s alright.  I have that everyday, everyday I go to the building.  Now, is it the worst possible thing, no, but it’s certainly something which builds up. But if I try to explain it, to the Uni, it’s like, talking to deaf ears.  So the main thing to do is to listen to staff, staff will tell you, if something’s going to happen and not just listen and say, oh, that well that’s sad, but actually try and address stuff and really take that seriously.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:25:18] Well, I’m going to extend that question, if I can, Kehinde, I just want to hear from Patricia and Raj, if we still got Raj with us and I’m going to Raj, first, Raj are you still with us.

 

Raj Jain [01:25:30] Yes, I am Tracie.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:25:31] Fantastic, so, you know, pervasive racism, how do you support staff when it’s microaggressions?

 

Raj Jain [01:25:44] I think you have to be there for them. So you need to be able to create opportunities for staff from right across your organisations to have direct conversations with senior leaders who are of BAME extraction.  And because I think the level of distrust can be so deep that they won’t express really what they’re really experiencing until they find a kindred spirit who offers out hope and support and a trusting and safe environment in which to have conversations. And that in itself makes a difference, however, you have to then do something about it and you have to pick your topics really carefully because you want to make a difference in terms of the people who are suffering, who are subject to microagressions and the abuse, that something can be done about it.  We have a series of networks through which we can have these discussions. We all agreed to do relatively few things, but try and do them really, really well.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:26:51] Yeah. Thank you, Raj and Patricia.

 

Patricia Miller [01:26:56] I agree with a lot of what Raj said I think it is about creating a safe environment for people to be able to raise those issues. It’s also about developing your workforce so that they know no matter what their ethnicity is, what a microagression looks like and I’m not really a fan of the term allyship, because I think sometimes it implies we’re asking something that isn’t our right but I do think there is something around developing staff to be what I’d probably call upstanderss as opposed to bystanders.  That actually they call out those microaggressions and that pervasive language when they hear it on behalf of their colleagues, because I don’t think it’s always our responsibility to call out this is a wider communal issue within organisations.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:27:48] Thanks, Patricia. I think the message there is our Executives have agency in this.  There’s stuff that we can do and I’m going back to Morvia now, Morvia any other questions.

 

Morvia Gooden [01:28:03] Yes, I’ve got a question here and the question is, I’m reluctant to say this for fear of being wrong but as I find myself leading in a crisis in which not only BAME people are dying, how do I justify prioritising one group over another?

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:28:31] OK, so the somebody is finding themselves leading in a crisis in which not only BAME people are dying and how do they justify prioritising one group over another? So I think sometimes people think things and don’t say, so this is a courageous question.  Kehinde, before you start answering that question, I’m going to ask you to please deconstruct the assumptions behind the question for us.

 

Kehinde Andrews [01:29:07] Yes. So I think the problem is the assumption there suggests that to address the issue of racism is to prioritise black and brown people. That’s not what the issueis. The problem is we have a society that automatically disadvantages black and brown people, automatically and that’s why you can see if you take somebody like Covid, for example. Yes, this is affecting everybody, but it disproportionately affecting us because we are disadvantaged. So therefore, to put more resources into BAME, black and brown communities isn’t to prioritise, it’s just to equalise.  It’s to say, look, there’s a problem and you have to address it. So, if you take something like Black Lives Matter that’s just to to deal with the problem. That is not to prioritise in any way, shape or form.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:30:03] Indeed and what you started from earlier today when you talked about the ranking of race. So already we’re starting with a racial ranking where the people at the bottom, the people that look like you and I, so therefore there’s no prioritising of anybody in this, we’re already talking about a system that is unfair and unequal. That’s a starting point. And aknowledging that is to acknowledge that actually, to put that right, we need to sometimes do things differently for different groups, as Patricia has said. So, Patricia, can I come over to you? Any thoughts on that question about the messaging here around prioritising one group over another?

 

Patricia Miller [01:30:53] I absolutely agree with Kehinde, we’re already starting 20 miles back from any other group and I think this does come back to my point earlier on about equity versus equality. If we have to do more for one group that enables them to achieve equality, then that’s what we should be prepared to do because it’s the right thing. I also think the evidence is there, we are four times more likely to die of Covid. It’s that stark. I don’t think we have to explain ourselves in terms of why we need to take the action that we need to take. It’s about doing the right thing.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:31:25] Mm hmm. And Raj, are you still with us?

 

Raj Jain [01:31:29] I absolutely agree with Patricia and Kehinde. I would add this caveat, though, we do need to look out for the other groups and the one I always talk about is people with learning disabilities because they actually have a higher propensity to die through the Covid than BAME groups. And why do we do that? Because it’s the principle of what we’re trying to do, which is recognise those people who have been suffering for centuries, if not millennia, that prejudice and that inequality and bring them up and there are other groups.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:32:02] So it’s interesting. Thank you Raj for that timely reminder and I think it’s interesting going back to Kehinde just before we go on to the next question. Kehinde, you talked about how our ideas of racial categorisation has meant that we think in hierarchies and we behave as though those things are true in terms of the racial ranking. Have you got any comments to make on the way that we think in relation to disability, women, LGBT, race and the way that we scattergun our approaches across difference in that way? What what are your thoughts?

 

Kehinde Andrews [01:32:46] Yes, certainly, so we actually met at an intersectionality event with Professor Kimberle Crenshaw from the States, and intersectionality is a really important way to think through this because often times you think about these things is different so gender, disability, definitely race.  I will always say racism is the fundamental structure of this society, but so is sexism, is definitely one of the fundamental structures of this society. Ableism. If you think about it, there’s a kind of, even in economics they call it rational economic man. That’s actually, they still use, that term ‘rational economic man’, which is a white man, is able bodied, straight, etc and this is kind of how societies fundamentally still organised around, right, so we’re going to see there’s lots of different inequalities built around it.  The way to think about the centrality of racism is actually something my wife said at that very event that we met at, where, in a sense, racism is the round-about, white supremacy is the round-about and all the other roads lead through it, and so you want to understand this disability, if you want understand gender, if you want to understand anything else, you can’t understand them separate from each other and certainly not separate from racism. So these aren’t separate things. There’s not a single issue struggle. Here is a struggle against the inequality but you really do need to see how these things intersect. So, for instance, the stat I talked about earlier about black women, far more likely; four times more likely to die in childbirth. That is about race, but certainly about gender. When you break it down, you’ll find that there’s other issues that are going on there as well.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:34:20] So intersectionality means what’s just just help us to understand that word.

 

Kehinde Andrews [01:34:25] Intersectionality basically means, so the term comes out of the black feminist analysis, which essentially says, you know, black women lay at this intersection of race and also gender inequality. So as a black man, I actually have an intersection of gender inequality as well, but in a very different way. So black as a black man, I face different things to a black woman and this is important, and what we’ve tended to do and we still do this actually, if we actually look at what is the thing which sparked the protests, it was the killing of George Floyd because the way that black men have tended to be oppressive, tend to be quite public, so killed in public, it’s on video etc. Whereas a few weeks earlier, the killing of Breonna Taylor had a sparked a light protest, that it’s an issue, but it didn’t spark the same response and why didn’t it spark the same response? Because the oppression of black women has tended to be in the home. Right. There’s no video, it’s the house, you can’t see. It’s not public and a lot of the time we miss those things. So we missed the fact that women are far more likley to die in childbirth far more like to be evicted, there’s lot’s of stats on that. So intersectionality comes about because it says actually we need to kind of see the whole picture and not just see this. We have to actually see how those things combine and certainly if you add in disability, if you and sexuality, you can see it really is about trying to say how do we see a fuller picture of society and to do that all the different dimensions of people’s lives.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:35:53] So our data collection needs to be intersectional data collection so that we can get that rounded view of what’s happening in people’s lives, because a single reference point to somebody’s identity, single frame, you know, sometimes isn’t helping us is what I’m hearing you saying, Kehinde, in terms of us tackling the issues that we need to tackle.

 

Kehinde Andrews [01:36:24] Yeah, if you just look at black people it’s not going to work, just goning to look at women, it’s not going to work. I’m just going to get people disabilities, again, that’s not going to work because you’re going to see that the way the disability intersects with race and gender is going to have different results. So you need to look at those things collectively.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:36:42] Fabulous. Thank you. Morvia have we got any more questions.

 

Morvia Gooden [01:36:46] Yes. There’s one more question from Hayley Citrine. What would need to change in culture and actions for Kehinde to want to become Dean?.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:37:03] Wow, beautiful question. What would need to change in culture and actions for you to want to become Dean, Kehinde? Kehinde, I think you’d make a very good Dean, so go on answer that one.

 

Kehinde Andrews [01:37:14] So, what would need to change?  Everything? I don’t know, no I mean. So one of the things is certainly that the big problem is there’s a culture thinking there. Well, I just know fundamentally I just hate it.  It’s so white, it’s older, it’s very middle class.  So when I do go into those places it’s very obvious you’re outside so part of that is simply about diversity, right? And then, are there different people around the table that just makes it feel more inclusive? A bigger thing for me, though, I mean that’s important but then there’s the decision making thing. So, if I think about why I wouldn’t want to be a Dean when I see the decisions that the Dean makes around right things like fees or student support, or about x,y,z, they’re terrible, all of them are awful, right? It’s not because of him personally, even if I was there, I’d probably make the same decisions because the way the university now is structured around its about making money. It’s a business, students are customers, etc.. So for me to take that Dean role and that’s what the Dean role is, I don’t want to do that. Even if everybody’ s black I’d still say it’s a terrible, terrible idea. So it is about saying well actually we need to change. For me, it would be about changing what the university is, how it works, it’s logic. But I’ll be honest, I’m probably never going to do it, it’s not my thing, but I think you can make steps towards those changes, which certainly would make it a more…so, for example, so this is the way I would explain it. So I basically justify my position at the university in there and I think you can make it currently to the NHS as well as a well-funded institution that has long historical links. Black studies, I always say we trying to colonise the university rather than be colonised University. So I have enough leadership and enough scope and enough space and enough privilege to do some really interesting things and do some research stuff.  We make links with community and the space in black is totally, right? If that were possible, now currently that’s not possible at Dean level.  If it were possible at that level, to have that kind of flexibility and certainly it’s something that I’d consider doing but that would take quite a lot of structural change about what the university is.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:39:39] Wow, fantastic and I’m going to go just quickly to Patricia and to Raj, and I’m going to ask the question, what would need to change in culture and actions in order for the BAME staff that you speak to, to want to be Chief Exec? I’ll go to Raj first.

 

Raj Jain [01:40:04] Well, that’s a great question by Hayley. What would I say? The job has got to feel more and I can’t think of a better word than inclusive. I think colleagues will know that, you know, people like myself and Patricia aren’t part of the, you know, the elite. So I think it has to be more inclusive but the positive side is, wow, what an opportunity to make a difference to so many of our colleagues out there so there’s a positive side to it as well.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:40:46] Indeed. Lovely and Patricia, just quickly, what would need to change in culture and action for your BAME staff to want to be Chief Executive?

 

Patricia Miller [01:40:55] It is exactly what Raj says, it needs to be a more inclusive environment, people need to tangibly feel that and I think they would be much more encouraged if the leadership of the NHS started to reflect and look like them. Raj and I talk about all the time, there’s 8 of us, it’s very lonely. I can’t imagine what it feels like for Prerana on that Board, and it needs to reflect more and represent the people that we employ.  They need to be able to look at that organisation and the Arms Length Bodies and see themselves represented and then it makes them feel that those senior leadership roles are there for them.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:41:34] Indeed. Thank you Patricia and the question about what on earth does it feel like for Prerana on that board? I can’t answer that question for Prerana. However, what I can say is this system needs to learn how to support BAME leadership and keep them there. When we bring people in, you know, with their talents, we need to create the environment in which we can keep them there because otherwise we just got that revolving door or that roundabout where we bring talent in and then talent leaves because we don’t create the environment and the cultures in which people want to stay and which they feel that sense of belonging as you’re talking about Patricia, Raj and Kehinde, where we feel that we belong, where we are welcomed, where our contributions are valued and well, who we are is valued in the workplace. So thank you for that and our time is coming to a close in about 10 minutes, but before that, I’d like to ask Kehinde for some final comments. Kehinde, from what you’ve heard today, what final insightful thoughts would you like to share with us?

 

Kehinde Andrews [01:42:56] It’s been a really interesting discussion, and it’s good to see, you know, there are clearly people in it. The NHS is one of those places that has always had to have a diverse workforce and certainly from some of the speakers, there’s people who are in more senior positions and do want to make changes. Also, the questions of being good to show that there is a at least some willingness, I guess, and the NHS doesn’t really have much of a choice given where we are and also the particular issues in terms of what something like the NHS faces. I mean, Covid is just one example, but the country’s getting more diverse. The major cities are really diverse anyway. So you have to have a service which can then work with that, I guess.  There’s definitely issues with the political climate at the moment. Which I stay away from but it certainly does seem to be an appetite to change things. But I do think it really does come back to this issue of really stepping back, taking a big step back and really willing to be uncomfortable and if people are willing to be uncomfortable and to rethink how we do things. I mean, that’s really the key thing. How do we rethink internally how it works, how we recruit, how we promote and how also do we think externally? But actually what is the role of the NHS? That’s one of the things that I think there’s probably been a backward step in some ways, but those community links, that holistic effort, because you just can’t deal with things like the Covid stuff, we can’t deal with enough. And again, we’ve already had decades of evidence that says that black, minority ethnic people are at the bottom of every list for health conditions. So in order to address that, we need to think about that holistically. That needs to be about looking at the structure and that is the NHS role.  The NHS can’t say, well, we’ll just do health and we’ll just do hospitals and clinics, that’s not enough.  The NHS has a huge budget for public health and that budget needs to be spent a lot better.  If I was to say what’s the key thing, it would be how to make that public health budget, how to get the stakeholders in there, the grassroots community up and how to really try and fix how that budget is spent because that’s going to make a massive difference in terms of trying to address some of these inequalities.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:45:07] Wonderful. Thank you, Kehinde, so much for your insight and wisdom.  Another great conversation from the seminar series. It’s left to me to say a huge thank you to our special guest, Professor Kehinde Andrews, who’s helped us to explore the critical conversation about how to liberate and to learn from BAME leadership as we address the current life and death challenges now and into the future.  Can I also say a massive thank you to our panel members, all of whom are supporting systems in busy day jobs, yet they’ve taken the time out to be with us today, Edna, Deepy, Edith, Marcus, Raj and Patricia, you shared some insightful thoughts and stories with us and have certainly provoked our thinking for which we are very grateful.

 

Tracie Jolliff [01:45:58] We hope that you found the second seminar series to be really supportive, stretching and helpful. And I’m reminded of where Prerana started earlier today of the words of Amanda Gorman, who spoke at the inauguration of Joe Biden. The new dawn blooms as we free it, as we free it, for there’s always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it and if only we brave enough to be it.  Therefore, let’s keep putting one courageous foot in front of the other today, tomorrow and into the future. If you haven’t already done so, please help us by completing the diversity data form and feedback form the links in the chat box or scan the QR code to complete the form on your phone or tablet.  This is really helpful to us in framing the next seminar series so that you get from this what you want, and what will be helpful to you in leading on racial justice going forward. Remember, you can join an Action Learning Set to work on your inclusion challenges by signing up to the Executive Suite website or through the link being posted into the chat box now.  Whatever you’re doing, please take care of yourselves. We’ll finish five minutes early and we’ll see you next time with another distinguished guest on the Racial Justice Seminar series. And it’s a goodbye from me.


To help you translate theory into leadership practice there will be themed Action Learning Sets following each seminar alongside a suite of resources available soon. Register your interest in the Action Learning Sets.