Thursday, March 21, 2013

New role for former Department of Health "Equality Czar"

HSC BME Network

The following Press Release has been received from the Health and Social Care BME Network. Whilst I rarely reproduce press releases verbatim in this way, I am making an exception in this case because of the relevance of the news to those interested in the changes to NHS equality, diversity and human rights organisation at present. In practice, Surinder (who has been at the Department of Health since October 2004) has taken very much of a back seat in the last 2-3 years. He will be well known to those who were involved in the big development of equality and diversity work at the Department in the first few years of his tenure.

Press Release

Surinder Sharma the man appointed the nation’s first ever Czar - the National Director for Equality and Human Rights at the Department of Health - has taken the helm of the HSC Network’s Governing Council. As Chair he will guide the process of alliance building which is at the heart of the Network’s mission. On taking up the appointment he said:

“I am delighted to take on this role and continue to build on the very necessary work that needs to be done to ensure the healthcare sector embraces diversity and delivers fairness for all. The Governing Council provides an opportunity for professionals at the top of their game to put their heads together and come up with pragmatic solutions to some of the intractable challenges we have faced over the years”.

Dr Isaac John the Chair of the HSC BME Network, who was himself appointed a Trustee of the prestigious Tutu Foundation UK last week, commented:

“Surinder is well respected in the sector and by the communities we serve. He brings a wealth of experience and insight to the Network and has the standing required to engage leading professionals in the challenging business of creating inclusive healthcare organisations. Under his guidance we are certain our efforts will bear great fruit”.

About the Network

The formation of the Network recognises that BME staff across the public sector share similar experiences and it is to our advantage to stand together to protect the gains of past years and continue the struggle for equality of treatment and outcomes.

About Surinder Sharma

Surinder is the former National Director for Equality and Human Rights reporting to the Chief Executive of the National Health Service and Permanent Secretary and the Chief Medical Officer for England at the Department of Health.

In 2005 he became a Consultant to Novartis and founded its Global Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee with a membership drawn from China, India, South Africa, USA, UK, Switzerland, Germany, Mexico and Hawaii.

At the Ford Motor Company he managed a budget of £8 million across Europe.He developed Ford’s European Diversity Strategy aligning it to European Business Strategy to ensure Ford’s achievement in becoming an employer, supplier and brand of choice and a good corporate citizen.

At Littlewoods he made the critical shift in the company’s thinking to equal opportunities being not just a moral issue but a business imperative. Surinder worked extensively with the Owners, Managing Directors and Executives of 7 different parts of the business - Index, Littlewoods Stores, Home Shopping Group, Business Express, J&C Moores, Littlewoods Pools and Lotteries - employing in excess of 27,000 people. During his tenure The Littlewoods Organisation was recognised as an example of best practice in the field of Equality and Diversity.

Early in his career he worked for BBC Television where he established, developed and managed the BBC Television Equal Opportunities Department, managing 11 members of staff and a budget in excess of £3 million.He embedded equality into the culture of the organisation with a public service remit towards recruiting the best people, thus enabling the BBC to meet the needs of a diverse license paying audience, by portraying on screen the nation it serves.

At the Commission for Racial Equality Surinder held a variety of posts including Complaints Officer and Senior Field Officer, which set the foundation for the work he currently does Chairing Leicester Race Equality Centre.

Current Honorary Appointments

Surinder has served on many important boards and is Member of Council Aston University, Chair of Ethics Sub Committee. He also serves as:

  • Shadow Governor for Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, which is applying for Foundation Status.
  • Vice Chair Healthwatch Transition Board for Leicester.
  • Trustee of UNICEF United Kingdom.
  • Leicestershire County Council Independent Person with oversight of the Member Conduct Complaints Process.
  • Chair, Leicester Race Equality Centre.
  • Trustee of the National Space Centre.
  • Honorary Professor by the University of Manchester Business School.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Birmingham City University & De Montfort University.
  • Honorary Professor from the University of Wolverhampton.


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