Agenda item

Health Inequalities Thematic Review; Work and Unemployment

Work to date introduced and key recommendations by the Sponsors - Charlotte Walker, Majid Hussain, and Kelly Webb (30 minutes). Report to follow

-       NCA recruitment – sharing good practice – Donna McLaughlin & Rohema Khan

-       Oldham Council recruitment update – Vicki Morris/ Victoria Fitzpatrick

-       Social value framework – impact on employment - Rajnish Ahuja



The Health and Wellbeing Board received a detailed review of one of the key thematic areas, that had been extracted from Oldham’s Health Inequalities Plan and considered progress, opportunities and challenges. The themes that were discussed included ‘work and unemployment’.


A key area of focus was work around reducing inequalities in working practices. Work to counter this included encouraging ‘anchor’ organisations to work together to develop more equitable and accessible recruitment practices. This would in turn help to maximise the benefit and learning from NHS Northern Care Alliance (NCA) work and how this can be shared more broadly across anchor organisations. Another measure involved reviewing adult education course uptake data and the development of plans for improving uptake in those areas of highest socio-economic need, developing a targeted offer and engagement strategies and considering course time commitments and how they link to recognised thresholds.


There were initiatives ongoing to drive the uptake in the living wage and the Greater Manchester employment charter across Oldham – which offered opportunities and protection to some of the city-region’s most vulnerable groups. Actions in this regard included the development of campaigns to increase participation in the Greater Manchester employment charter and living wage for Oldham, including enabling social care providers to pay the living wage. There were aims to strengthen Social Value Procurement, with an emphasis on the need to be seen to be a ‘good and fair paying employer’.


There was an identifiable need to improve the understanding of inequalities associated with employment matters across the Borough. This could be achieved by collating data relating to employment practices and look to share the data across the Borough, thereby obtaining an understanding of the ‘need’ in the Borough, aided by the development of plans and monitoring progress. It would also monitor unemployment data, including those who are inactive due to illness or caring.


A key outcome would be to maximise opportunities into employment in Oldham, particularly in the most under employed areas. In this regard work was ongoing to connect pathways from lifelong learning into employment opportunities, maximising opportunities from leveraging pre-employment programmes (such as the NCAs) and connecting into further learning opportunities.


The board was advised that there had been a ‘workshop’ held in November 2022, which had focused on Recruitment – exploring best practice and opportunities. The key recommendations arising from the workshop included: for foundation roles, recruitment needed to be in plain English – adverts, job descriptions and interview questions; the issue of ‘appointable candidates’ being retained in a ‘jobs pool’ for future opportunities – which was considered a positive way forward. There had been recruitment fairs which could lead to offers of employment and/or training. Recruitment activity to penetrate communities with low employment prospects was another key outcome. Finally in terms of job vacancies there had been an identifiable need to join with education establishments as part of a pipeline into employment gaps.


The Board was advised that the NCA provided a nationally recognised programme to support Refugee and Asylum-seeking medics obtain a licence to practice within the UK, which was known as the REACHE programme. Since May 2019, 13 REACHE doctors have received Clinical practice training (CPT) at Royal Oldham Hospital. REACHE was being rolled out into other professions – pharmacy, midwifery, nursing and dentistry. In terms of the NHS there were approximately 350 Careers. The local uptake of employment was 59.4%.


The NCA was developing a youth employment a charter, recognising good practice. There were plans to revise their apprenticeship offer. There was also the NCA kickstart programme and the Graduate offer working with the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University. There were schemes to provide work exposure, to support adult education courses (including around domiciliary care) and more recruitment events.



That the Health and Wellbeing Board offers its full support to the programmes and initiatives outlined above and will continue to work proactively with partner organisations.