Courage, leadership and accountability to sustainably embed equality initiatives

Lade Smith, Adrian James, Amrit Sachar, Rajesh Mohan

75 minutes


July 2023

Congress webinar 2023


Inequality is structurally hardwired into our systems and shown to be consistently associated with ill-health. Tackling inequality requires focused leadership and accountability along with a systematic approach using evidence-based approaches. This masterclass is on leadership, and the art of influencing and decision-making to embed processes that guarantee equality even when in the face of opposition from large groups. The learning from RCPsych Equality Action Plan (2021) along with real-life examples of equality initiatives are presented.

Systematic and structural changes are essential to tackle the root causes of health inequality. Courageous leadership is required to tackle the persistent barriers to change. RCPsych has grown a national network of equality champions, who lead, educate and empower people to act for change. Improvement systems and programmes should encompass the expertise and experience of people who are impacted by the changes. Accelerated coproduction capability for organisations means that lived experience is in driving seat in delivering equality.

Effective leadership can help to establish and embed systematic and measurable improvement system which then becomes part of the organisational ethos and maintained by accountable leadership. Continuous Quality Improvement (QI) methodology is recommended, and examples are provided from the Advancing Mental Health Equality (AMHE) collaborative.

In this session you will learn about:

- Barriers faced when leading equality initiatives and what courageous leadership in practice looks like.

- Incremental approaches to embed whole-system leadership to embed equality and diversity.

- Accountability structures that lead to equality improvements being sustained over time.


Chair: Lade Smith, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom

Adrian James, President, Royal College of Psychiatrists, London, United Kingdom

Amrit Sachar, West London Mental Health NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom

Rajesh Mohan, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom



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