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NHS Equality Delivery System (EDS)

The Equality Delivery System (EDS) for the NHS was made available to the NHS on 29 July 2011.

The Equality and Diversity Council

The NHS has been sponsored and supported by the Equality and Diversity Council (EDC) to develop the EDS for the NHS. Work on the EDS was initiated by the EDC in early 2010. The EDC is a sub-committee of the NHS Management Board. Sir David Nicholson, the NHS Chief Executive, chairs both groups.

The council was established in 2009 and includes Director Generals of the Department of Health, representatives from each strategic health authority and other interests.

The EDC supports NHS staff and organisations:

  • to work closely with the communities they serve to deliver services that are personal, fair and diverse; 

  • to champion continuous improvement in the quality of patient services; 

  • to promote good practice; 

  • to implement the Equality Act 2010.

What is the Equality Delivery System?

Much work on the EDS takes its inspiration from prior NHS work. Many NHS staff have contributed to the development of the EDS, along with patient and community groups and other stakeholders. NHS Midlands and East lead EDS developments on behalf of the NHS.

The EDS is one of the first products initiated by the EDC. The purpose of the EDS is to drive up equality performance and embed equality into mainstream NHS business.

It has been designed to help NHS organisations to meet:

  • the requirements of the public sector Equality Duty;

  • equality aspects of the NHS Constitution;

  • equality aspects of the NHS Outcomes Framework;

  • equality aspects of CQC's Essential Standards;

  • equality aspects of the Human Resources Transition Framework.

Please note that the use of the EDS does not automatically lead to better equality performance. For this to happen, the EDS must be used well, championed by committed leadership with a workforce that is supported to be confident and competent in dealing with equality.

About the EDS

"The Equality and Diversity Council, which has sponsored the Equality Delivery System, and all those in the NHS who have developed it, are to be congratulated.

"The EDS will greatly help the NHS meet the requirements of the public sector Equality Duty.

"This is a good example of how different parts of the public sector can implement the Equality Duty in a way that fits with their own circumstances, and their wider public service objectives."

Government Equalities Office, July 2011

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