Your web browser is outdated and may be insecure

The RCN recommends using an updated browser such as Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome

Cultural illustrations

RCN Cultural Ambassador Programme

Previous and recent research demonstrate that NHS staff from black and minority ethnic backgrounds often experience inequality, discrimination and prejudice in the workplace.

In 2015 at a local level, black and minority ethnic activists and as a result of a Freedom of Information request alerted RCN West Midlands to the over-representation of black and minority ethnic staff in the employee relation process. This is as true today as it was then as the regular reports of the Workforce Race Equality Standards (WRES) and the Workforce Disability Equality Standards (WDES) reports demonstrate. In addition, further research by Roger Kline Discrimination by Appointment and Snowy White Peaks of the NHS also captured the disproportionate impact on staff from a black and minority ethnic background in relation the recruitment, appointment, development and progression in the NHS.

In order to support organisations address these issues, the RCN designed a new innovative programme in collaboration with the West Midlands Black and Minority Ethnic Stakeholder Group.

The Cultural Ambassador (CA) Programme consists of volunteers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds in participating organisations who receive specific training to enable them to sit as part of investigation teams or as members of the decision-making panels for grievances and disciplinary hearings where a black or minority ethnic member of staff is involved.

Their role is to identify and explore further issues of culture, behaviour, where staff may be being treated less favourably, potential discrimination and unconscious or conscious cultural bias. All of which could be present, observed and ignored during informal or formal processes. The CAs role is to be curious about these issues, make them transparent and create dialogue to establish the potential impact on the outcome.

The CA Programme is designed to be delivered within an organisation and will meet the following objectives

  • Support organisations in improving their outcomes in relation to the WRES, WDES and the NHS Staff Survey.
  • Improve the experience of staff involved in any informal or formal processes.
  • Reduction in the severity of the sanctions awarded to black and minority ethnic staff.
  • Reduce the number of black and minority ethnic staff referred to a formal process.
  • Support organisations in improving their outcomes in relation to the WRES, WDES, the Equality Delivery System (EDS) and the NHS Staff Survey.

Learning outcomes from the training

  • Understand the role of a CA.
  • Understand how discrimination, prejudice and cultural bias can manifest in the workplace and in systems and processes.
  • Understand Equality, Diversity and Human Rights legislation.
  • How to use the equality tools available to influence decisions and create change.
  • How to influence others and promote fair treatment of black and minority ethnic staff.
  • How to develop effective working relationships and in partnership to influence and promote inclusivity.
  • Advocate from a black and minority ethnic perspective on behalf of black and minority ethnic staff.
  • Gain skills and knowledge that are transferable across a variety of roles.
The CA offer

  • three days of face-to-face interactive learning or the equivalent of three days interactive learning delivered virtually
  • monthly support meetings with the organisation’s project lead
  • facilitated Action Learning Sets with CAs
  • advice and support on selfcare and wellbeing. 

To be confirmed on application. To find out more, please email the RCN's Cultural Ambassador Programme Lead, Bruno Daniel.