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Our 2021-22 inclusion report

Diversity and inclusion are vital to the continued success and growth of the capabilities and outcomes that NHS Digital deliver.

Valuing diversity and creating an inclusive environment allows us to build a workforce that better represents health and care staff and the communities we serve, which will enable us to develop and deliver better products and services, and ultimately enable improved health care outcomes.

Challenging representation targets

We are proud of the progress we have made so far but recognise we have much more to do to create the best and most inclusive place to work. We know that we have not seen a significant shift in NHS Digital’s workforce diversity over the past 4 to 5 years.

We also know that we need to be bold, unapologetic, and relentless in our approach to achieve our ambition. To help visibly drive change, our Board has set new challenging representation targets to encourage greater diversity and inclusion at all levels, and to make NHS Digital a truly inclusive environment by 2025.  

Actions speak louder than words

As you will see in this report, we are continuing to deliver many of the inclusion commitments we set out in our People Plan. We know that actions speak louder than words and we are making a deliberate and concerted effort across a range of available levers.

Over the next 12 months we are focusing on:

  • making iterative improvements to our attraction and selection processes to ensure they are transparent and inclusive  
  • strengthening inclusive leadership accountability
  • ensuring open, fair, and transparent processes, including internal promotion and development programmes, and external recruitment and selection
  • improving outreach and engagement with underrepresented groups in local communities and the wider labour market to promote NHS Digital as an inclusive employer
  • focusing on the diversity in our pipeline and feeder band recruitment, for example graduates, apprentices, and school leavers
  • increasing declaration rates internally for existing staff, building confidence on how we use the data, and externally through the recruitment processes, better explaining why we capture data through selection and onboarding
  • giving real consideration and practical use of positive action, as permitted by the Equality Act 2010, for development opportunities and in recruitment - this is different from positive discrimination, which is illegal
  • fostering a greater sense of belonging to drive engagement and improved satisfaction levels of existing colleagues from underrepresented groups to positively impact leavers statistics
  • building greater awareness of discrimination and tackling the challenges we have through continued education on issues such as microaggressions, bystander behaviours, diversity, and inclusion development with senior teams

We will continue to listen, learn and understand perspectives from all of our colleagues, with the help of our 7 staff networks, to ensure they feel supported and able to thrive.

Our ambition is to make NHS Digital the best and most inclusive place to work by creating an environment where colleagues feel that they can perform to their full potential, regardless of background, identity, or circumstances. We want everyone in our organisation to feel valued, that they belong and that their contribution matters.


 Simon Bolton, Interim Chief Executive, NHS Digital

Simon Bolton, Interim Chief Executive, NHS Digital.

Last edited: 10 February 2022 9:41 am