Monday, June 13, 2011

Launching the new guide to Sexual Orientation monitoring

SOM Guide

About three weeks ago I pre-announced how our team at NHS North West and our partners at the Lesbian and Gay Foundation were working to publish an innovative new 'how to' guide on how to carry out monitoring for sexual orientation among staff and service users in organisations like the NHS.

As I explained on the blog back then, monitoring is an essential way of getting information about who is using a provider's services and the demographics of who they employ. Sensible organisations can use this information to improve and fine tune services to better meet peoples' needs. They can also ensure that their staff profile reflects the diversity of the population, and that particular kinds of staff (eg LGBT people) are not getting a disproportionately bad deal.

Today we launched the completed 48 page colour booklet at a lunchtime event at the Lesbian and Gay Foundation's community resource centre in the heart of Manchester's Gay Village.

Read LGF's release here and NHS North West's release here.

Produced by experts

The new guide has been designed by LGF with the aid of a steering group made up of equality experts. The panel included representatives from

  • Cheshire Constabulary
  • Manchester City Council
  • Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • NHS Trafford
  • NHS North West and
  • LGF

Designed to be practical

The guide recognises that many people need help both to build a case for monitoring sexual orientation, and to decide how they are going to go about it. So, the text includes plenty of real life examples of how other organisations like theirs have successfully achieved each of the steps. The guide covers:

  • An introduction to the terminology
  • Background on the policy context
  • A discussion of why we need to monitor
  • What we are monitoring
  • Who we are asking
  • How to prepare the ground in advance
  • How to actually collect the information
  • How to analyse it and
  • How to use it

Accessible

Attendees at today's launch were able to take away copies of the full guide from a proof run of 100. This is so that we can continue obtaining feedback from a wider audience before we go ahead and do a full print run in early July.

We also demonstrated how an online version of the content will appear when it is added to NHS North West's Health Equality Library Portal (HELP). Again, the online version will be released in early July once we've had pilot feedback. I'll blog again, and both NHS North West and LGF will announce when the resource is fully available for everyone.

Welcomed

The feedback today was extremely encouraging though, so we can't wait to be able to get the guide out for the whole world to access.

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