Integrating equality, diversity and inclusion into our work
As an organisation, we are committed to promoting equality, valuing diversity and being inclusive in all of our work.
And this commitment is not just to make sure that we are meeting our duties under the Equality Act 2010. It is because we strongly believe that every action we take, every decision we make, should be fair and inclusive to everyone, and we should make sure we are eliminating discrimination in every area of our work.
Our clear aim is to build equality, diversity and inclusion into everything we do. For this to be effective we need to be continuously challenging ourselves to look at our processes and to evaluate the information about how they are working.
One key area of our work is the fitness to practice (FtP) process. Although a very small proportion of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are ever involved in the fitness to practise process, it can have a significant impact on them. It’s important to do everything that we can to make sure that the process is robust and fair for all involved, starting with how and why concerns are raised with us.
We have previously looked at our data and shared high-level reports on fitness to practise and equality and diversity. These show some trends that we need to do more to understand, including that Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) pharmacists are more likely to have fitness to practise concerns raised about them than White pharmacists.
We already use a variety of mechanisms to assure good decision making, including eliminating discrimination from decisions. This includes unconscious bias training for decision-makers and using decision-making guidance at each stage of the process for both our investigative staff and independent panels. We also quality assure our decisions, both during the investigation and after the final decision.
This coming year we are planning to review and update our strategic approach to equality, diversity and inclusion, looking across all our regulatory work (not only Fitness to Practise) to see what further opportunities there are to use regulation actively to promote this agenda, as well as continuing to eliminate any scope for discriminatory decision-making. We expect this review to include building our understanding of what the data are telling us and to look at practical measures such as the role of inspection in promoting equality and eliminating discrimination in pharmacy services, as well as considering the possibility of extending anonymised decision-making within the GPhC.
We will share the results of this work and keep you posted, as well as asking for your help and engagement.