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Independent review findings and recommendations published

The NHS Trust Development Authority has today published the findings from the independent governance review undertaken by the Good Governance Institute at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

The review was commissioned by the NHS Trust Development Authority (NHS TDA) for the Good Governance Institute to formally investigate how the Trust carries out reviews of allegations of bullying and harassment, under the Dignity at Work policy.

The Trust Board agreed with the NHS TDA that further assurance was required after bullying and harassment concerns were identified and supported the independent investigation, led by a senior team of governance experts.

Jayne Brown, Partner and Director of Delivery at the Good Governance Institute said: “On behalf of the review team I would like to thank everyone who participated in the review for their personal contributions and valuable time. We extended the review process to accommodate as many as possible. Over 800 people responded to give their views via interview or survey to help us understand the challenges they face when raising bullying and harassment concerns, and the weaknesses in policy and process.  

“The review team identified that bullying and harassment is not endemic at the Trust. The Trust’s Dignity at Work policy must be reviewed to ensure it is fit for purpose and that the management of concerns raised by staff is consistent. The Trust must make processes clearer, implement an organisational development plan and improve its leadership and management culture.”

The NHS TDA and Trust have published the findings of the review after they were presented at an extraordinary Trust board meeting today.

Chris Tidman, Interim Chief Executive at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals said: “The board welcomes the findings and accepts all the recommendations from the GGI report. At our board meeting today we have reflected on the report and approved a comprehensive plan to take immediate action to address the weaknesses identified. This morning we held nine staff sessions, taking the opportunity to talk and listen to our staff and we will use the publication of the report as confirmation that our organisation development plan is vital to rebalancing the culture of our hospitals. My board colleagues and I will do everything in our power to ensure we listen to staff, take their views seriously and ensure they feel safe and supported when they bring ideas to us, or raise concerns.

“The messages highlighted in the report have given us much to reflect and act on. We are proud of so many of our staff who work to deliver excellent patient care, or support those who do. We want the attitude and values of the many, to be lived by everyone who works with us, or is being recruited by us. This report is about putting a culture of PRIDE – our Trust values of Patients, Respect, Improve and Innovate, Dependable and Empower at the centre of all our decision making. ”

The review team identified some immediate recommendations for the Trust to improve policy, practice and training around Dignity at Work as well as the processes used to investigate bullying and harassment claims.

Jeffrey Worrall, Portfolio Director at the NHS Trust Development Authority said: “We thank the review team for their report and constructive recommendations, with special thanks to all those who came forward in confidence to help with this investigation. The Trust has developed a robust action plan in response to the recommendations and we will work closely with them through our monitoring and oversight processes to ensure that the improvements are delivered. It is crucial that staff feel safe and supported when they raise concerns of this nature, with a clear process to follow, and the recommendations are designed to improve the support available to them and their working environment.

“We hope that the published report will also be a useful learning resource for other NHS Trusts reviewing their governance and support for staff raising bullying and harassment concerns.”

The Good Governance Institute’s review report is available on the NHS TDA website.