HFMA 2020: Kelly issues diversity challenge

by Seamus Ward

10 December 2020

NHS England and NHS Improvement chief financial officer Julian Kelly has challenged the finance function to become more diverse at senior level.

jk5 lHe highlighted figures from the HFMA/Future-Focused Finance census, which showed 62% of the finance function across all grades are women – however, women make up only 29% of senior finance staff. ‘If women make up half of the population as a whole, why shouldn’t they be half of senior finance staff,’ he asked.

‘Looking at the population of the finance function as a whole, should there be more women at senior levels?’

Similarly, black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff make up 25% of the function overall, but only 8% of its senior staff.

‘We have got to challenge ourselves to see how we can do better,’ he said. ‘Frankly, the answer is that we need to pull through our talent from women and BAME groups, as well as other groups with protected characteristics. We have to take a risk and support people to move faster.’

He said he recently spoke to the first female, black finance director in a provider in London. ‘I would like for her not to be the exception. For all of us, and for me in particular, we need to think about how to bring people through to senior levels. This has got to be a priority for the rest of this year and for next year.’