At the end of January 2009, NHS employers launched a new briefing on the benefits of equality and diversity monitoring. The briefing is intended to encourage NHS organisations to create a comprehensive, coherent and effective monitoring strategy that will support them in meeting their equality duties now and in the future.

By law, public sector employers must monitor their workforce on the key indicators of ethnicity, disability and gender to ensure that there is no discrimination against any of these groups. There is also the requirement to publish this data annually.

With the Equality Act expected later this year, which is likely to encompass eight strands of equality being age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, carers and human rights, NHS employers are encouraging NHS organisations to start applying the monitoring requirements to the areas of age, religion and sexual orientation now even though there is currently no statutory requirement to do so, but by way of good practice.

The briefing note provides guidance on the legal reporting requirements and what employers should be doing to exceed those requirements in order to achieve good practice. NHS employers have provided a useful “top ten tips” on equality monitoring which can be found here.