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Workforce Race Equality Standard

An introduction to the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES).

What is the Workforce Race Equality Standard?

The Workforce Race Equality Standard is a tool to help monitor the experience of people from ethnic minorities who work in health and social care in Wales.

Overseen by Welsh Government, it’ll bring together data about the workforce and analyse it under four categories:

  • leadership and progression
  • continuous professional development (CPD) and training
  • discipline and capability
  • bullying, harassment and discrimination.

The tool will highlight where there are differences between the experience of white, black, Asian and minority ethnic health and social care staff.

This will support organisations to target action to address the biggest issues and improve the experiences of the ethnic minority workforce.

Improving the workforce experience for ethnic minority staff will improve the experience of all staff. As a result, it can help improve outcomes for the people who access services, supporting the aims of A Healthier Wales: Our Plan for Health and Social Care.

Why do we need a Workforce Race Equality Standard in Wales?

In 2021, Welsh Government proposed the idea of introducing a Workforce Race Equality Standard for health and social care in Wales. This was as part of its consultation on the Race Equality Action Plan: An Anti-racist Wales (REAP) to deal with historic poor workforce data on racial disparities.

During the consultation, social care and NHS Wales staff raised issues including:

  • recruitment and promotion processes that often discriminate against ethnic minority groups
  • barriers to ethnic minority staff progressing into leadership and a lack of representation in leadership
  • unacceptable racist language and harassment going unchallenged
  • ethnic minority staff being more likely to have formal complaints and disciplinary processes against them in comparison to white colleagues
  • higher proportion of ethnic minority staff reporting bullying, harassment or racial abuse
  • lack of confidence in addressing racism or racist practice by all staff and service users, with action not being taken when complaints are made
  • staff not feeling safe to speak up against racist discrimination and practices
  • staff not feeling safe and confident to provide ethnicity data
  • race-related incidents not recorded
  • lack of structured audit in organisations of experiences of discrimination
  • lack of clarity about responsibility and accountability for advancing workforce race equality
  • lack of appropriate anti-racist mandatory training.

After the consultation, the Race Equality Action Plan was renamed the Anti-racist Wales Action Plan (ArWAP) and published in June 2022.

The development of the Workforce Race Equality Standard for health and social care is a key priority action in the Anti-racist Wales Action Plan and will help deliver the health and social care goals across the plan.

How will it work?

When put into practice, data about ethnicity and gender-related disadvantage will be routinely collated, shared and used transparently by Welsh Government.

This will help us reduce inequalities and give people who use care and support and the workforce who deliver it the confidence that social care in Wales is an anti-racist and safe environment.

The Workforce Race Equality Standard will be a way to measure the impact of wider actions in the Anti-racist Wales Action Plan to make sure Wales is an anti-racist nation by 2030.

What data will be used?

We already collect information about the workforce through our annual workforce data collections, including data about roles, gender and ethnicity, and our Have Your Say surveys capture the experiences of workers.

Data from both will be used as part of the Workforce Race Equality Standard and will remain anonymous. Nobody will be identifiable in the process of analysing the data we collect.

Find out more

Welsh Government has produced a video to explain the Workforce Race Equality Standard. You can watch the video on its YouTube channel. A British Sign Language version of this video is also available.

If you have any questions about how the Workforce Race Equality Standard will be applied in social care, please contact data@socialcare.wales.

First published: 5 February 2024
Last updated: 19 February 2024
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