Designing a local approach
This step will help local authorities and NHS organisations think through their local approach to preparing for the legislation, before doing their local audit.
They will want to position the specific work on age equality within their wider approach to improving equality performance so this will fit within the forthcoming Equality Delivery System and the associated assurance process.
The NHS Operating Framework 2010-11 highlights the need for the NHS to prepare for the legislation, and the Revision to the NHS Operating Framework 2010-11 says “building a service that is personal, fair and diverse requires recognition of the differing needs and skills offered by groups within our communities. There are real opportunities presented by the implementation of the Equality Act in developing such a service where everyone counts”. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) supports the use of this audit tool to help adult social services to prepare.
A successful local approach is likely to be based on an understanding of the following factors:
- Health and social care working together - it is suggested that the primary care trust (PCT) chief executive and the director of adult social care have oversight of the preparation and audit process, and agree their local approach. They will want to involve potential GP commissioners in this work as well as the providers of health and social care services. Currently subject to consultation, it is proposed that GP commissioning consortia “will have a duty to promote equalities” (Liberating the NHS: Commissioning for patients, July 2010)
- Why is this important? The first stage is about engaging the public and staff in understanding why age equality and ending discrimination is important.
- Who do we engage? Age equality and discrimination potentially impact on all health and social care services, so it is crucial that a wide range of stakeholders have the opportunity to contribute to the process. Ideas and materials to help are included in this audit tool.
- Where are we now? The next step is to understand the current position. The audit tool uses the work undertaken as part of the Review of Age Discrimination to help localities self-assess where they are now in relation to a set of ‘Achieving age equality’ criteria.
- What are our local priorities for action? Joint action planning building on the conclusions of the local audit is the next proposed step.