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What steps can we take to avoid sub conscious bias being a factor in our decision making?

There has been a significant amount of press coverage talking about institutional racism within the NHS not only in terms of the treatment of patients but also in terms of the low representation of ethnic minority staff in management positions. Whilst tackling that issue is beyond the brief here, it is important to recognise that sub conscious bias can, regrettably, play a part in decision making processes. An Employment Tribunal will explore a alleged discriminator’s conscious and sub conscious decision making and working in an environment which has not set out sufficient controls to avoid such sub conscious stereotyping places someone at a greater risk of being discriminated against.

In the context of the issues we are addressing here, i.e. risk assessments around BAME staff, as we have stated above, it is essential that BAME staff are represented at all levels in the discussion. Trusts need to be mindful that BAME are underrepresented in management positions.

BAME staff need to be included in the dialogue and need to have a safe place where they can challenge decisions that are being made in relation to them. There needs to be accountability in the processes applied. Meaningful conversations need to happen and concerns should not be dismissed.