The NHS People Plan was published March 2021, outlining actions that our ICS, organisations, employers and staff will need to take. 

This plan sets out actions to support transformation across the whole NHS. It focuses on how we must all continue to look after each other and foster a culture of inclusion and belonging, as well as action to grow our workforce, train our people, and work together differently to deliver patient care. The principles underpinning this action through 2020/21 must endure beyond that time. 

Our local People Board Strategy 2021-2025 builds on this plan and encompasses a wider reach to develop a “one workforce” model. This is a complex change process against the backdrop of significant challenges (increasing demand; tight resource constraints – notably the workforce; technology and society change). This process will take time and a significant amount of leadership effort. 

How different elements of the plan are implemented will vary across these different settings, but the principles it sets out apply across all organisations, and to all of our people involved in providing or commissioning NHS care.  

The Black Country ICS has published its first Workforce Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy for 2023-27. The strategy has been developed in consultation and collaboration with system partners to address the on-going inequalities that persist in our society and across our NHS and Social Care organisations. The Black Country has a rich diversity of people (see population health profiles) who are our staff, patients and service users and we are committed to addressing the workforce inequalities experienced by staff with protected characteristics in the workplace (EDI data). The strategy focuses on the support available to the health and social care workforce, as well as the priorities and actions that will be taken to improve their work experience. See also our Black Country ICS EDI Strategy Summary.

Our first collaborative EDI strategy demonstrates how committed we are to ensuring that Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Human Rights is embedded into everything we do. We will be proactive and advance equality and inclusion for our staff within the Black Country. We value diversity and differences; we will promote equality and ensure that all our staff have a high-quality, caring experience at work. As a system we are committed to developing anti-racist organisations and building cultures where our staff feel safe, celebrated, and valued and can be their authentic self at work.

Our EDI e-brochure for the Healthier Futures Black Country ICS has been developed to showcase the breadth of EDI good practice that is taking place across health and care in the Black Country, contributing to making it the best place to work for everyone. The recent work undertaken by system partners is highlighted in this e-brochure and demonstrates how each partner organisation is working towards fulfilling our core purpose: to reduce the gap in different experiences and outcomes for all of our colleagues, service users and patients living in our local communities.

Watch this video to learn more about the Workforce Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy or view the video on YouTube:


NHS England and Improvement and Health Education England (HEE) will work with non-NHS employers and their representatives too, to agree how they support delivery of these principles in their organisations. Local systems and Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) need to do the same for services they commission. 

ICS have an important role in leading and overseeing progress on this agenda, strengthening collaboration among all health and care partners – particularly with social care – to meet the complex and evolving staffing needs of our services.

Health and social care is made up of people in many different roles, in different settings, employed in different ways, by a wide range of organisations including the voluntary sector. Many people providing NHS services work for NHS trusts. But others are employed by community interest and other companies or partnerships – for example, in primary care across GP practices, dental surgeries, pharmacies and optometrists. 

We also work closely with partners in social care and local government, as well as with the voluntary and independent sectors. We benefit from the contribution of those in unpaid roles too – particularly, carers and volunteers.

The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan presents a once in a generation opportunity to put staffing on a sustainable footing and improve patient care. In the Black Country, this will help us tackle the covid backlogs and develop our local community by offering NHS career opportunities. 

We will see new roles such as physician associates and nursing associates, and increase the number and proportion of apprenticeships, creating opportunities for people from a range of different backgrounds, and experiences and supporting our aim of becoming a more inclusive employer. 

Shajeda Ahmed, Chief People Officer at NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, talks about the plan, what it means locally and how it can complement our priority to make the Black Country the best place to work.

Find out more about the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, go to