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Our services are located in some of the most diverse communities and towns in south-east England. As a Trust, we want to represent our communities in our workforce. Doing so helps us deliver more beneficial care to users, as we can offer care for staff who can relate to life experiences. Nia Thomas is part of the team to ensure we can provide a diverse and inclusive environment at the Trust. I spoke to her to learn more about her role and plans for future projects.


Tell us a bit about your role.

I am the Trust's Inclusive Recruitment Advisor within the Talent Attraction & Acquisition Team. My role aims to look at our recruitment practices and see where we can make improvements to attract more applications from underrepresented groups, working towards our goal of becoming a diverse workforce representing the communities we serve. I also offer support for hiring managers on implementing inclusive recruitment practices into their own processes.


Since starting at the Trust, what have you been up to?

Since starting in August 2022, a major focus has been on reviewing the recruitment process in detail and identifying any areas that we can improve. We wanted to highlight our commitment to diversity and inclusion to candidates, while acknowledging that we are continuously looking to improve. This has meant reviewing and updating job adverts and job description templates, as well as the emails we send to candidates throughout their application's various stages. This review also resulted in a revision of our Recruitment & Selection policy, which has been informed by best practice recommendations for inclusive recruitment procedures.

We are also working on developing guidance for managers to aid them in all aspects of recruitment, such as guidance on implementing values-based interviewing techniques and the reasonable adjustments process. It is important that managers feel supported to deliver efficient and inclusive recruitment campaigns, ensuring that the most suitable applicant is appointed.


Why is inclusive recruitment important for the Trust?

There are many aspects that make inclusive recruitment important. Firstly, it is simply the fairest approach. We know that people from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups face undue obstacles in the recruitment process, excluding them from applying for and being appointed to jobs that they would be amazing at. This therefore, also means that as a Trust we are missing out on attracting candidates that would fill our vacancies and help us deliver our services. Additionally, a diverse workforce is a productive and efficient workforce; this has been proved time and time again. As an NHS Trust, this directly relates to the quality of care we are able to deliver to patients and service users.


What have we got happening at the Trust in the future?

A major focus now is to develop inclusive recruitment training, which will eventually become a requirement for all hiring managers to take part in before starting a cycle of recruitment. Recruiting can be quite daunting for managers as it makes up quite a small part of their often-large remits, but getting it right is vital. We want to make sure they are well equipped to undertake recruitment campaigns that attract the best candidates for their vacancies. This training will talk managers through the Equality Act 2010 and other important laws that inform our inclusive recruitment practices, before looking at the recruitment process to see which areas can be adapted for a more inclusive approach, such as providing the interview questions in advance.

We are also looking to become an accredited Disability Confident Leader, the third and highest level of the Disability Confident Scheme. This government scheme identifies employers who are committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace for disabled people.


What would you say to people considering joining us here at Sussex Partnership?

As a Trust, we are working hard to become a workplace that empowers a diverse workforce to deliver quality care for our service users. We know that there is still significant room for improvement, and that this is a continuously evolving field that we have to keep on top of. However, the Trust is full of people who are eagerly working towards cultivating a working environment where people from all backgrounds can thrive.


To find out more about our Diversity and Inclusion initiative at the Trust click here

We’d love for you to join our team

To apply to join us, and find out more about current opportunities, go to our jobs feed.

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