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Cultural Competency – Diverse Cymru’s Certification Scheme

The current issues around the pandemic and Black Live Matters have further highlighted the urgent and pressing need to tackle through practical actions the disparities faced by BAME groups across all aspects of public life. This need has been highlighted and identified by the recent report from the  First Ministers advisory group which  highlighted throughout its report the need for action on improving cultural competency and limiting the impact of unconscious bias as a means of improving outcomes for the BAME community in Wales, and  that would help contribute to the elimination of the continuing racial and ethnic disparities that continue to exist for BAME communities in Wales.


In seeking to address practical ongoing actions in dealing with the acknowledged and identified inequity faced by BAME people on a day-to-day basis, which is often due to a lack of understanding and knowledge of different cultures, and the impact of the unconscious bias that we all possess. In providing a positive way forward, Diverse Cymru developed and designed a unique cultural competency initiative, which is the first of its kind in Europe, called the BAME Cultural Competency Workplace Good Practice Certification Scheme.

This initiative seeks to improve the outcomes for BAME individuals in the services they receive based on scheme participants undertaking practical, achievable actions in order to achieve an accredited cultural competency certification. The scheme was launched on the 11 October 2018, by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, and is endorsed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales.  The initiative provides training, tools and resources to help practitioners towards providing a culturally appropriate service that importantly will help them assess and measure year on year the competency of the services provided. Specifically, the Certification Scheme will:

  • Proactively address any cultural or unconscious bias issues recognising the importance of addressing these issues, to make a practical positive ongoing difference in the workplace environment and the services provided. This to be achieved through the provision of awareness raising, practical assistance, guidance, and advice to participants to help them deliver excellent culturally sensitive services.
  • Use an evidence-based approach that focuses on supporting participants to effectively meet and respond to the needs of their culturally diverse workforce / service users in a resource efficient and cost-effective manner.
  • Provide participants with relevant techniques and interventions to incrementally help participants to work towards providing an effective practical culturally appropriate work environment and as a consequence the delivery of culturally competent services, and certification and recognition of progress through an evidence- based certification award process, verified by our scheme development partners, the accrediting body, United Kingdom Investors in Equality and Diversity ( UKIED).

Since its launch in 2018 the Scheme has gone from strength to strength and has participants from all seven health boards in Wales, Public Health Wales and five third sector organisations – Mind Cymru,  Hafal, Mental Health Matters Wales, New Horizons and Swansea Council for Voluntary Services.

Importantly, as part of its importance and adaptability the scheme has now been:

  • Included in the latest WAG Mental Health Delivery Plan for the next 3 years
  • Included as an integral part of the Public Health Wales Quality Improvement Cymru Toolkit for Health Boards
  • Expanded and adapted to help improve cultural competency in a much wider range of service areas such as HR functions, Substance misuse services, Dementia services, local authority services, and private sector SMEs in Wales. Importantly the scheme has also attracted attention from outside of Wales including Universities in England and the Mental Health Reform groups in the Republic of Ireland”

Find out more about the scheme by clicking here and viewing the pages on the BAME Mental Health Cultural Competence Certification Scheme.


The BAME Mental Health Cultural Competence Certification Scheme was designed and developed in Wales, it is a unique in its practical evidence based structure and approach, using an incremental workplace development approach to making actual ongoing cultural competency improvements, with regards to workplace; Environment & Management Commitment,  Community Communication and Consultation, Cultural Competency awareness, Equality Professional Development  and  Community Engagement and Outcome Monitoring.  

The scheme is funded as part of the Diverse Cymru funding within the 2018-2021 Section 64 funding received from Welsh Government, as part of a 3 year pilot to improve mental health service provision to Black and Minority Ethnic (BME/BAME[1]) groups in Wale, with the specific objective of:

“Ensuring the Cultural Competency of mental health services in Wales, from April 2018, Diverse Cymru (DC) will roll out a targeted campaign, and support Mental Health, Health and social Care services in Wales to seek our Cultural Competency Certification, in collaboration with the United Kingdom Investor in Equality and Diversity (UKIED). Organisations will work with DC and UKIED to assess their current status, making adjustments and introducing mental health awareness training to staff”. As identified in the Diverse Cymru website (

[1] Black Minority Ethnic (BME) or Black, Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME): – Used to refer to non-white members of the community in the UK, for the purpose of the certification process, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) includes, Roma, Irish, Travellers and Eastern Europeans for example