The NHS has been sponsored and supported by the Equality and Diversity Council (EDC) to develop the EDS for the NHS. Work on the EDS was initiated by the EDC in early 2010. The EDC is a sub-committee of the NHS Management Board. Sir David Nicholson, the NHS Chief Executive, chairs both groups.

Much work on the EDS takes its inspiration from prior NHS work, including that of NHS North West. Many NHS staff have contributed to the development of the EDS, along with patient and community groups and other stakeholders. NHS Midlands and East leads EDS developments on behalf of the NHS.

The EDC was established in 2009 and includes Director Generals of the Department of Health, representatives from each strategic health authority and other interests. The EDC supports NHS staff and organisations to work closely with the communities they serve to deliver services that are personal, fair and diverse; to champion continuous improvement in the quality of patient services; promote good practice; and support the NHS to implement the Equality Act 2010.

The EDS is one of the first products initiated by the EDC. The purpose of the EDS is to drive up equality performance and embed equality into mainstream NHS business. It has been designed to help NHS organisations, in the current and new NHS structures, to meet:

  • the requirements of the public sector Equality Duty
  • equality aspects of the NHS Constitution
  • equality aspects of the NHS Outcomes Framework
  • equality aspects of CQC’s Essential Standards
  • equality aspects of the Human Resources Transition Framework

Please note that use of the EDS does not automatically lead to better equality performance. For this to happen, the EDS must be used well, championed by committed leadership with a workforce that is supported to be confident and competent in dealing with equality.

“The Equality and Diversity Council, which has sponsored the Equality Delivery System, and all those in the NHS who have developed it, are to be congratulated. The EDS will greatly help the NHS meet the requirements of the public sector Equality Duty. This is a good example of how different parts of the public sector can implement the Equality Duty in a way that fits with their own circumstances, and their wider public service objectives.”

Government Equalities Office, July 2011

The EDS work is being led by Tim Rideout (CEO of NHS Leicester City, currently assigned to work on setting up the NHS Commissioning Board) on behalf of the EDC, and by NHS East Midlands on behalf of the NHS.

The specific EDS proposals were developed by a Working Group which includes representatives from strategic health authorities, primary care trusts, NHS Employers and the Care Quality Commission, supported by Department of Health officials. Tim is supported by an EDS Support Team, led by Maqsood Ahmad.

More information

For further information about the EDS, email Barnsley NHS Foundation Trust’s  Equality and Diversity Advisor Beverley Powell –

For more information and resources visit the The Equality Delivery System website.

Questions and answers on the EDS: