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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Equality and diversity

This area of the website contains information about current College initiatives in relation to race equality and gender equality. The College will review its policies when the Equality Bill has been enacted.

Race Equality Action Plan - Guidance to authors of College reports  

Statement of Equal Opportunities

The Royal College of Psychiatrists recognises and values the diversity amongst its members, associates and staff. The College is therefore committed to the eradication of unlawful discrimination, and to the principle of creating equality of opportunity in all its activities and functions. It is determined to ensure that this commitment is reflected in practice through its policies, procedures and day-to-day work in carrying out these activities and functions.

The College expects that members, associates and staff, when acting on behalf of the College, will treat all people equally whatever their race, colour, ethnic origin, national origin, religion, gender, age, sexuality, physical disability, mental disability or appearance.

Members, associates and staff expect to be treated fairly and not to be discriminated against either when dealing with each other or with other people who come into contact with the College.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is committed to acting to create equality of opportunity in the recruitment, promotion, pay, development and training of College staff and also in the application of its employment policies and procedures. The Staff Handbook contains this Statement and more specific policies relating to diversity and the College's role as an employer.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is committed to monitoring its activities and functions to ensure equality of outcomes and to ensure that it complies .with all current equality and diversity legislation.

This statement has been approved by Council and therefore the College expects all its members, associates and staff to give active support to this statement.

Endorsed by Council April 2004

Council was succeeded by the Central Executive Comnittee in 2006


Gender Equality Statement of Intent

Endorsed by Council April 2004

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is committed to gender equality in the promotion and practice of psychiatry by the eradication of unlawful discrimination, and the promotion of equal opportunities with respect to its role as an employer, in the development and implementation of the standards and practice for psychiatrists, and in the development and implementation of College policies and procedures.

As part of this commitment the College will not tolerate any gender discriminatory behaviour through the application of its policies, procedures and standards or in the behaviour of its staff, members, associates or trainees. Contractors will also be expected to follow the commitment of the College to gender equality.

The commitment to gender equality is consistent with the corporate aims as set out by the College in its Royal Charter1, Guidance on Good Psychiatric Practice2 and Statement of Equal Opportunities3. Priority will be given to the follow areas:

i. Having a policy of zero tolerance regarding gender harassment, intimidation, bullying, victimisation or unjustified discrimination by or between members, associates, trainees and staff.

ii. Ensuring that core training and education of members, associates and trainees includes capability in gender issues

iii. Ensuring that all members, trainees and associates have access to and are able to fully benefit from all functions of the College regardless of gender

iv. Taking action to support members in ensuring that service users and carers have access to gender sensitive mental health services.

v. Promoting awareness of the potential for discrimination in use of Mental Health legislation

vi. Ensuring that all research directed or influenced by the College takes appropriate account of gender

vii. Ensuring gender equality is an integral part of College monitoring and quality assurance policies, procedures and standards.

All staff, members, trainees and associates are expected to actively support these recommendations. The College Council will ensure that this statement and the work plans and framework referred to within it are developed, implemented and monitored on an annual basis.

1. College Charter (included in Bye-laws) (OP62) (Sept 2006)
2. Good Psychiatric Practice (Oct 2004) (CR125) cr125
3. Statement of Equal Opportunities (April 2004)


Race Equality

In 1998 a project group was convened under the chairmanship of the then President, Professor John Cox, to review the College's work in relation to ethnic issues in psychiatric training and practice. The project group reviewed the 1996 Council Report on Psychiatric Practice and Training in a Multi-Ethnic Society (CR48) (now withdrawn), following an original Report produced in 1987 under the Chairmanship of Professor Ken Rawnsley. This initiative resulted in the publication in 2001 of CR92 - Report of the Ethnic Issues Project Group which set out several important recommendations to be taken on board by the College, including:

  • ensuring that psychiatric training equips psychiatrists to be culturally sensitive and culturally competent in their therapies
  • ensuring that Members of the College are aware of the possibility of discrimination or abuse when applying mental health legislation to black and ethnic minorities. Discriminatory practices by members of the College will not be tolerated
  • ensuring equal access to services for all black and ethnic minority communities
  • continuing dialogue with all relevant user groups, including black user groups
  • establishing an Ethnic Issues Committee, as a Special Committee of Council, to lead on the implementation of the report’s recommendations – including the regular monitoring of College functions including examination results, election results and nominations for distinction awards. All appointments to the committee – including the appointment of Dr Parimala Moodley as Chair – were made following open advertisement and interview.
  • undertaking a systematic review of College structures and introducing measures to eliminate any discriminatory practices. The Centre for Ethnicity and Health at the University of Central Lancashire was appointed to undertake a three-year external review of College structures, and is working closely with the Ethnic Issues Committee in this regard.

In association with a team from the University of Central Lancashire’s Centre for Ethnicity and Health (CEH), the College’s Ethnic Issues Committee developed a detailed Race Equality Action Plan in 2003, to take forward its Race Equality Statement of Intent and a Race Equality Scheme produced in 2002.

This practical work outlines the action to be taken in the College to achieve the objectives of the Statement and Scheme. The Action Plan was endorsed by Council in April 2003, and is being taken forward actively. The Action Plan covers most areas of College activity including:

  • ensuring that College policy – including all Council Reports - is non-discriminatory and promotes racial equality
  • preparing a racial harassment policy for College members, associates, and trainees, and considering a mechanism for providing support
  • ensuring that core training and education of members and trainees includes capability in race and culture issues
  • ensuring that black and minority ethnic members, associates, and trainees have access to all functions of the College
  • contributing towards improving services for black and minority ethnic service users
  • improving consultation with black and minority ethnic service users
  • promoting awareness of the potential for discrimination in mental health legislation
  • ensure that research takes account of race and culture issues
  • carrying out specific employment duties as employer of College staff

Race equality in the College: what have we achieved? 

[Top of page]


Ethnic monitoring

Ethnic monitoring: a new survey has been undertaken to identify the ethnic background of the College’s membership in the UK and Ireland, with a view to ensuring that members and associates are treated equitably in all areas of College activity. 90% of members in the UK and Ireland have now responded to the survey – almost one quarter of respondents describing themselves as being from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. This information is, of course, held confidentially.

(The College has adopted the categories used by the Office for National Statistics ( with modifications recommended by the Commission for Race Equality.

The monitoring exercise within the College was widened last year to identify the ethnic breakdown of Affiliates, members of key College committees, examiners and observers in the MRCPsych Examination, performance of candidates in the MRCPsych Examinations, College tutors, specialty tutors, co-ordinating tutors, course organisers, assessors on Appointments Committees, elections to: key College committees, Fellowship, specialist Faculties, Sections, geographical Divisions, Special Interest Groups, members nominated and elected to College offices, and nominations put forward by the College for Clinical Excellence Awards.

Race and gender data is collected annually.  Following scrutiny by the Central Executive Committee (formerly Council), the Special Committee on Ethnic Issues, and the Gender Equality Project Group, key data is uploaded on the website.

2007 - 2014

2007 - 2013



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