Workforce disability equality standard – 2022/23
Date: October 2023
The Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) was mandated via the Standard NHS Contract in April 2018: all NHS organisations are required to publish their performance data and action plans against 10 metrics of the Workforce Disability Equality Standard and make them public.
Correspondingly, this report presents the Tavistock and Portman’s 2022-23 WDES data and associated Action Plan. The 10 WDES metrics focus on workforce composition, recruitment, relative likelihood of entering a formal capability* process, bullying and harassment, opportunities for career progression or promotion, feeling valued by the organisation, presenteeism, reasonable adjustments, staff engagement, and Board composition. Nationally, the WDES consistently shows that Disabled staff* have poorer experiences at work compared to the experiences of Non-Disabled* staff – see full details of the WDES indicators in Appendix 1 (Page 20). (*It is important to note that some language used throughout the report reflects that of a corresponding metric and is not necessarily language that we use within trust policies or communications).
Key findings from the 2022-23 report
The Tavistock and Portman has already launched a number of initiatives with the aim of tackling barriers faced by existing staff (and/or individuals seeking employment with the Trust) who identify as having a disability or LTHC.
The metrics below are encouraging reflections of work undertaken (whilst recognising that we aim to improve further):
- Disabled staff are more likely than non-Disabled staff to be appointed from shortlisting at the Tavistock. In order to further improve, efforts should be made to recruit staff with LTHC or declared disabilities into medical and more senior roles.
- The percentage of staff experiencing harassment, bullying or abuse from other colleagues has continued to decrease gradually over the last three years and is similar to the national average. This trend can be further enhanced through raising awareness about disability and long-term conditions, allyship, and inclusion.
- No staff who identify as having a Disability or LTHC have entered a formal capability process over the last four years.
- The percentage of staff stating that they have experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from patients/service users, relatives or the public has increased by 5.4% from 17.6% to 23% this year. It is likely that the lower figures during the pandemic are reflective of COVID-19 rules impacting on face to face interactions. Whilst we are seeking for an eradication of negative experiences for our staff, the current figure places the Trust 10 percentage points below national average (33%).
- Presenteeism has increased in 22/23 to 28.3%, however the much lower figure last year (22.9%) is likely a reflection of the increased numbers of staff who were able to work from home during the pandemic. The 6.8% drop between the 20/21 figure (35.1%) and current figure (28.3%) is a more accurate comparison and there has been an improvement of 3.5% in this metric over the last 5 years. There remains a gap of 11% however between Disabled and non-Disabled staff experience which needs to be addressed.
The following metric shows need for improvement in inclusive practices and/or better communication:
- The number of staff who declare a disability or long-term health conditions has stagnated and there is a slight dip from the previous year. The declaration rate with the staff survey is significantly higher than that held on ESR. Whilst this may reflect a need to create an environment where staff are comfortable to bring their authentic selves to work, there could also be more practical reasons such as collection and transfer of data at the point of application, and appointment, or hesitance to share data before becoming an employee.
- The percentage of Disabled staff who believe that the Tavistock provides equal opportunities for career progression or promotion has decreased by 3%. However, as above, Disabled staff are more likely to be appointed from shortlisting. There is an opportunity to promote this information better and to share good practices more widely.
The following metrics are key themes where thoughtful and considered action is required to bring about improvement in staff experiences:
- The percentage of staff stating that they have experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from managers has increased to 35%. Although the lower figure last year may again have been a consequence of COVID-19, the national average is around 16% and the figure for non-Disabled staff in the trust is 12%.
- The number of staff who are comfortable to report experiences of harassment, bullying or abuse has significantly lowered by 18.2%. This is an area that requires positive and proactive action to assure all staff feel able to raise concerns.
- There has been a year-on-year decline for in the number of staff overall who are satisfied with the way the Trust values their work; this year there has been a further reduction of 7.5% for Disabled staff, and whilst the non-disabled staff score has also decreased, more importantly the gap between Disabled and non-disabled staff has widened.
- The drop (to 53.5%) in the number of Disabled staff satisfied with the reasonable adjustments the Trust has put in place to enable them to carry out their work is undoubtedly due to the reversal of provisions put in place during the pandemic which resulted in a score for the same question last year of 78.2%. A more credible comparison is therefore the pre pandemic figure of 57.7% which indicates a 4.2% decrease. We have, since the survey, put in place a more structured and supportive approach to reasonable adjustments with an associated budget.
- The staff engagement score nationally has been in decline over the last three years; the Trust’s figure has fallen by 5.4% this year. We have introduced a staff engagement group and are refreshing our communication channels; we will be increasing and improving staff engagement mechanisms through the organisation.