"an alliance of BME networks and public service agencies dedicated to promoting fair services free of racial discrimination."

HR Support

BME individuals in the NHS and public services tend to be over-represented in disciplinaries, harassment and discrimination cases. Our members have consistently canvassed us to set up an advice line which can offer sensitive support. The Network does not have the resources for such an undertaking but given the overwhelming demand we have decided to work closely with employment and race advisors as well as Trades Unions like Managers in Partnership to drive up the standard of support available to BME employees.

Watch this page for advice on how to deal with employment and HR challenges. This advice will be provided by HR Specialist whose details will also be listed here if you wish to make contact with them. The Network is not a Trades Union and therefore not in a position to indemnify our advisors for the advice provided. If you are a member of a Union it is always advisable as a first step to fully explore the support available to you as a union member to enable you to make an informed decision about how to protect your job and welfare.

Survival Skills Workshop 2014

This life changing full day workshop is led by experts from the National Health & Social Care BME Network and organised by your Local Southampton BME Network.


It is designed to equip Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) Health Service staff with the skills and strategies for surviving in the volatile environment of an NHS going through major changes all the time. You will learn to challenge unfair treatment at work, frame a grievance, conduct yourself in a disciplinary hearing and make a coherent complaint against discriminatory practice. You will also learn about your rights under employment law and new changes at the Employment Tribunal.

Aims & Objectives

  • Equip BME Staff to challenge unfair treatment at work
  • Provide tools to frame grievances and complaints
  • Teach skills to face disciplinary proceedings
  • Engineer new mind-set to flourish in the NHS environment


The workshop is designed for individuals of all abilities and background and the trainers will go to lengths to ensure your questions are answered. Have no fear that you will be attending a dull lecture as there will be lots of activities, case studies and opportunities to practices the skills taught. Despite the challenging subject matter the trainers work hard to ensure the experience is enjoyable and insightful.

Whilst the workshop has been designed for BME staff and will be delivered from a BME perspective it is open to all staff who feel they may benefit

The HSC BME Workplace Mediation Scheme

“It is clear that the earlier a dispute is settled, the better it will normally be for all concerned e.g. in terms of disruption to businesses and lives, and associated costs. Early resolution can also involve outcomes not available through the tribunal system such as a positive job reference, an apology and changes in behaviour. Mediation and other alternative dispute resolution techniques are effective means of achieving early resolution. However, in the current system parties tend to get caught up in process rather than focusing on achieving an early acceptable outcome.” Gibbon Review

“BME workers are grossly under-represented among senior management but disproportionately involved in disciplinaries, grievances, bullying and harassment cases and capability review” (HSJ Survey 2008). Official statistics shows that 16% approx 193,000 of the NHS workforce are from BME backgrounds; 19% of nurses and health visitors are BME; 37% of doctors are BME.

Over the years, there have been a number of reports and article that have documented and highlighted the problems and challenges facing BME staff in all aspect of their employment in the NHS:

* Less attractive specialism at lower grades

* Fewer opportunities for personal and professional development

* Disproportionately employed at senior level

* Disproportionately represented in disciplinaries.

The question still remains what can be done to alleviate these persistent problems facing BME Staff in the NHS. A recent change in employment law has now made Early Conciliation (mediation) compulsory before the initiation of an Employment tribunal claim. At this important change in employment law and practice, it is critical, that there is a service to meet the needs of BME staff in the NHS. Oftentimes BME staff gets poor

representation from their unions and usually do not have the skills to understand, let alone represent themselves in complex employment cases involving intricate points of law. In addition it is a very costly affair for BME staff to obtain the finances to initiate any sort of litigation even when there is the prospect of a favourable outcome. Not to mention the excessive cost in defending cases brought against BME staff in external regulatory bodies such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council, General Medical Council and Health Care Professional Council etc.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary settlement process available to those involved in a dispute which they are unable to resolve by themselves. Its aim is to assist the parties to reach a solution that will sort out their problem or improve the situation.

Benefits of Mediation

  • Can break the deadlock of an entrenched position
  • To put the demands of the parties into perspective and allow for a compromise
  • Avoid litigation and legal costs and usually less stressful than formal procedures, courts and tribunals
  • Can reduce the amount of time spent in conflict which could lead to lost productivity and unfavourable working environment
  • Can re-establish the channels of communication between parties involved in a conflict
  • Can lead to an agreement on terms agreed by you and not imposed by someone else

The HSC BME Mediation Service

The HSC BME mediation will be is conducted by a pool of trained mediators in partnership with Desmond Tutu Foundation. Mediators are all trained in commercial mediation and have experience in dealing with conflict involving BME staff, patients and service users in the NHS. The mediation service will be tailored but not limited to BME staff in the NHS. There will be two type of services offered:

1. The internal mediation scheme

With this service the ‘Network’ will have a cohort of staff who can mediate in low level employment disputes such as bullying, harassment, capabilities, grievances and disciplinaries. Assistance will be given to the

Trust in writing and implementing a mediation policy. Relevant policies will be reviewed and brought in line with the mediation policy with the insertion of necessary clauses. In more complex cases where there is the need for an independent mediator the ‘Network’ will retain a brief with the Trust so they can mediate in these cases.

2. The outsourced service

The outsourced service will be offered to those Trusts who simply want independent mediators whenever a need arise. The mediation will be tailored to meet the need of the individual Trust.

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