Initial steps for setting up an Inclusion and Diversity Ambassadors network within your organisation

Below is an example of the initial steps that Cat Youds, Assistant Director of Finance – Medical Care Group, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has implemented to set up their I&D Ambassador Champions network and what they have achieved so far.

The first thing I did was research – One NHS Finance website has a wealth of information about Diversity & Inclusion and most helpfully a D&I resource pack. The pack looks daunting at first but I broke it down into separate actions and identified quick wins, like pronouns on signatures and recruitment practices such as:

  • Diverse panels
  • 2 short listers for each job
  • Rewording adverts to be more inclusive
  • Advertising outside of NHS jobs – such as on social media.

I made a number of small changes in a relatively short period of time, then quickly realised that in order to take it further, I was going to need engagement and buy in from colleagues and some senior support.

I am very lucky in that my DoF is a passionate supporter of Diversity & Inclusion. If Ambassadors find themselves in a more difficult position with regard to senior support, I would strongly urge them to use the regional I&D Ambassadors group as key messages will be fed back to regional DoF’s, and we all know the effect peer pressure can have!

So, once I’d picked off the quick wins, I presented to the finance team at our quarterly team brief, explaining what it was I was trying to do and why? And asked for volunteers to help.

Within a week I had 9 fellow colleagues sign up to become ED&I champions.

We set up monthly meetings to meet and discuss how we could make a difference not just in the finance department but across the organisation.

As a group we have:

  1. Reached out to Trust Staff Networks to ask how we become allies – I am now the Deputy Chair of the LGBTQIA+ network at the Trust.
  2. Spoke to HR about Trust recruitment practices and how we could improve them
  3. Spoke to our teams to ask them, what they wanted to see change.
  4. We shared the Diversity & Inclusion calendar, which details religious and inclusion events and celebrations
  5. We created a newsletter which includes:
    • D&I across the NHS
    • D&I @ STHK
    • Bitesize focus into one of the 9 protected characteristics
    • D&I calendar
    • Wellbeing tips & events
  6. We have invited guest speakers to team briefs, who have spoken about neurodiversity issues such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD etc.
  7. We shared links to unconscious bias tests – we didn’t ask for feedback, but we got it and people were shocked and upset by their own unconscious bias – me included.


When you first read the D&I resource pack and the ONE NHS finance action plan and see how much needs to be changed or improved, it can seem incredibly daunting and you would not be blamed for thinking how on earth am I going to do all this? That is why you need a group of people to help. Having others working alongside you to make a difference helps in ways such as:

  • Shares the workload of the action plan
  • Provides a safe space to share anxieties brought on by ‘challenging the norm’
  • Different ideas/innovations/perspectives are brought to the table
  • Help with problem-solving – discussing any issues with others provides a greater understanding
  • Teamwork – having more people in your department talking about and acting on ED&I issues rather than just you banging the drum on your own, reflects positively on the rest of the department and can help inspire others to do the same.

We hope that you find this advice useful!