Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear join initiative to reduce the risk of discrimination among BAME staff
Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) has joined an initiative that aims to support staff from a BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) background through formal grievance processes.
Launched by the Royal College of Nursing, the Cultural Ambassador programme aims to make sure nursing staff from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are treated fairly when facing disciplinary action.
Cultural ambassadors are trained to identify and challenge discrimination and cultural bias. They use these skills in their role as a neutral observer within disciplinary processes, formal investigations and grievance hearings involving staff from BAME backgrounds.
With evidence showing that BAME nursing staff in the NHS are over-represented in such processes, and as a result more likely to face sanctions, the role is supporting organisations to make crucial changes and tackle racial discrimination.
Following three days of training, Cultural Ambassadors are able to sit as an equal member on investigations teams and disciplinary and grievance panels, identifying any issues of bias or discrimination.
By introducing this role, BAME staff will have increased confidence in formal processes and anything of a cultural nature will be identified and challenged during these processes and will be taken into consideration in the decision making process.
CNTW currently has three Cultural Ambassadors, one of which is staff nurse Christine Ntanda.
She said: “The main reason I wanted to become a Cultural Ambassador was to be able to influence fairer outcomes for BAME staff. The training I have had has allowed me to be in a position to challenge discrimination and make positive changes.
“I think the role is an extremely important one. Cultural Ambassadors are in a position to challenge discrimination. I’m able to use my skills and training to ask open and honest questions on both sides.”
The training looks at racism, discrimination and conscious and unconscious bias. This often allows Cultural Ambassadors to pose questions that wouldn’t have otherwise been considered, looking at formal processes from a different perspective and often even preventing proceedings from going further than necessary.
The programme aims to see fewer grievances and fewer cases proceeding to the hearing stage. Cultural Ambassadors will be able to share their knowledge with colleagues to enable a better understanding of the nature and impact of conscious and unconscious bias and people being treated less favourably.
Cultural Ambassadors are chosen based on criteria from the Royal College of Nursing. If you are interested in becoming a Cultural Ambassador or would like more information you can visit the RCN website here.