Policy paper

Department of Health Equality Objectives 2012 to 2016

This publication was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Department of Health Equality Objectives 2012 to 2016.



Better Health, Better Care and Better Value for All

 The principles of equality and diversity remain fundamental to the Department’s vision and values. We can only achieve our aims for a personal, patient centred health and social care system if we build an explicit commitment to equality and human rights into everything we do. In addition, the Health and Social Care Act is introducing the first ever statutory duties relating to addressing inequalities in health, and DH has a key role to play in supporting the Secretary of State in his new responsibility to have regard to the need reduce health inequalities relating to the health service for the people of England. These important, related responsibilities will apply, particularly in relation to the following DH roles:

 As a Department of State and the system leader of the reformed health and social care system: the new direction for health and social care set requires some fundamental changes to functions right across the health and care system, the Department and its arm’s length bodies. Equality remains an integral and vital part of this transition.

As a policy maker: the Department is committed to ensuring that equality and human rights is at the heart of policy, based on the best available evidence and understanding of the people we serve.

As an employer: the Department has an ongoing commitment to promoting and achieving equality and diversity in the workplace. We aim to attract, retain and develop people who are the best in their field, with the right skills and competencies from a diverse range of backgrounds.

The new DH structure places people at the centre of what the Department’s work and covers five life-stages spanning the work of five Directorates. The following Equality Objectives reflect this approach, support the DH values and confirm our commitments on age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

These objectives will contribute to the six priorities of the DH Business Plan 2012-13, and have been developed in line with the NHS Equality Delivery System goals of:

  • Better health outcomes for all
  • Improved patient access and experience
  • Empowered, engaged and included staff
  • Inclusive leadership at all levels

The Department published its headline equality objectives for 2012-16 in April. This Action Plan provides further detail on those objectives and how we will measure our progress towards meeting them.