RCM launches surveys on Black, Asian and minority ethnic member experiences of disciplinary processes

By Colin Beesley on 19 January 2022 Midwifery Midwives RCM Member MSWs - Maternity Support Workers BAME Equality and Diversity Workplace representatives

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is today launching a survey seeking the views and experiences of its Black, Asian and minority ethnic members who have been through or are going through disciplinary or capability proceedings, and from RCM workplace representatives supporting them.

The surveys - one for RCM members and one for RCM representatives - are both online. The results of the surveys will be collated in a way that ensures all respondents remain anonymous said the RCM, and there is a link in the survey to additional support for those who may find completing it triggers difficult emotions. The surveys will be running for one month, closing on 19 February 2022.

“I realise it will be really hard for people to come forward to share their experiences and I know it will be difficult for many. However, by completing the survey and telling us about your experiences, you will really help the RCM to get an understanding of the human experience behind that data in the Workforce Race Equality Standard and countless other reports, to try to change it for the better for you and your colleagues,” said Alice Sorby, Employment Relations Advisor at the RCM. “We already know that Black, Asian and minority ethnic NHS staff face higher levels of bullying, harassment and abuse faced by these staff, and have fewer opportunities to progress in their careers.”

The information will be used to update the RCM’s ‘BME Midwives, Disciplinary Proceedings and the Workforce Race Equality Standard’ published in 2016. This was a follow-on to a report around midwives and disciplinary proceedings in London published in 2012.  Information gathered from the survey will also support the RCM to raise the issues affecting our members.

“The aim of this project is to improve guidance within the RCM for representatives, improve support offered by the RCM, and also to feedback findings to the NHS organisations that employ the midwives,” said Cavita Chapman Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, NHS England and NHS Improvement, South-East, one of the project researchers and Catherine McGill, the Project Analyst. “It is really important to understand the actual experience of BAME midwives in terms of disciplinary actions, in order to assess how the RCM can best support them. Therefore, this project will consider their experiences in their own words, and it will also gather the perspectives of the representatives who have worked with BAME and White midwives to understand where they see differences.”

The results will also be used to raise a red flag around the issue that proportionately more Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff face disciplinary processes. It is also hoped that the information and evidence from the survey will be used by the RCM to develop practical guidance for its members, including managers and workplace representatives, in the updated publication. This will support them to recognise conscious and unconscious biases, direct and indirect discrimination and to challenge it when they see it.

“We have lots of data about the situation out there for Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff.  What we really want to do with this survey is dig deep to find out how fair these processes are through your eyes, and through RCM stewards and officers who support and represent you at work.  This will help all of us to stand-up to racism and discrimination in the NHS and build workplaces that are fair and inclusive for all staff,” said Alice.

The survey for RCM members can be completed at


The survey for RCM representatives can be completed at


For more information on the RCM’s equality and diversity work visit Equality and Diversity (rcm.org.uk).

See also RCM highlights bullying of BME NHS staff at TUC Black Workers Conference.