Byron Batten is the Trust’s Head of Inclusion – Improvement (WRES), Communications and Engagement, at University Hospitals Birmingham. He took over this role at the end of 2019 after a career to date covering jobs in communications, human resources, social care and health. Byron started out as an engineer at BT but later decided to pursue a career in the care sector and worked in the private residential care setting in care home management. He went on work as a social worker at Birmingham City Council supporting adults with disabilities to become more independent and advocating the issue of disability equality.
Then he moved into HR, in employee engagement and organisation change and eventually left the council after 22 years. During that time he leading the council’s cultural engagement programme with the chief executive as part of a development initiative. He went on to join the former Heart of England Foundation Trust as head of communications in 2015. He says his new job is about 'improving the lived experience of staff in the organisation that is fair and just'. “It is, for example, making sure the organisation is accountable for equality of employment and equality of promotion. “It’s about helping to change the culture, the way we behaviour, think and act, so that it’s a more inclusive, and anti-racist culture.
Some of that requires positive actions, providing equity across Trust’s structures and systems, for example, to increase the number of BAME staff on the higher grades of the organisation. “It’s also to ensure that the care we are providing for our patients is equitable, to improve the health inequalities we know are in the system. “It’s also about making sure people know someone is there representing them, that they know and see people who look like them and that represents their needs and enables them to have a voice.
Byron’s aspirations in his new role include; communications, connecting people. He wants to make sure all staff and patient know and feel what is being done to shift the culture of equality and inclusion for Trust. The second relates to education. He said: “We are at a poignant moment around anti-racist practice and it’s important that we make sure people are educated about what it means to be inclusive and the skills that are necessary. One way is by creating opportunities, developing leadership opportunities, and facilitate adaptive learning environments. “The third relates to recruitment, selection and promotion at a system level, to challenge and change the disproportionate poor outcomes for BAME staff and looking to develop equitable talent management and career pathway opportunities.