The equality delivery system (EDS)

The Equality Delivery System (EDS) is a tool developed by the NHS Equality and Diversity Council to enable current and emerging NHS organisations to review and rate their equality performance with staff, patients and the public.

The framework can help NHS organisations improve the services they provide for their local communities, consider health inequalities in their locality and provide better working environments, free of discrimination, for those who work in the NHS.

The EDS was developed through engagement with over 2500 people, including patients and staff, reviews and reports on equality in the NHS, current good practice in the NHS and the Local Government Equality Framework.  It seeks to focus on ‘people not processes’.

The framework helps NHS organisations to meet:

  • the requirements of the public sector Equality Duty
  • equality aspects of the NHS Constitution
  • equality aspects of the NHS Outcomes Framework
  • equality aspects of CQC’s Essential Standards
  • equality aspects of the Human Resources Transition Framework

At the heart of the EDS is a set of 18 outcomes grouped into four goals. These outcomes focus on the issues of most concern to patients, carers, communities, NHS staff and Boards. It is against these outcomes that performance is analysed, graded and action determined. The four EDS goals are:

  • Better health outcomes for all
  • Improved patient access and experience
  • Empowered, engaged and included staff
  • Inclusive leadership at all levels

It is important to note that compliance with the EDS does not automatically lead to better equality performance.  For this to happen, the EDS must be used well and it is strongly recommended that it is championed by committed leadership with a workforce that is supported to be confident and competent in dealing with equality.


EDS guides

EDS – final main text 2011
Equality analysis 2011
Final grades manual 2011
Statement of costs and benefits 2011