Leadership message from Nicola Scrivings and Dr Tom Davis

Nicola Scrivings and Tom Davis

At the end of September, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published an inspection report into our Trust. Part of that report highlighted the concerns many of you had raised with the CQC about experiencing sexual harassment, bullying and other inappropriate behaviour during your working day. This was not any easy report to read - and impossible to ignore.

In October, we launched our own anonymous harassment survey to gather more in-depth feedback from you - our permanent staff, volunteers and students - on your current and historic experiences. Over 2,000 of you responded, and we are very grateful for your honesty.

The findings show that colleagues at every level of the Trust are experiencing, have experienced or witnessed a wide range of unacceptable behaviour including bullying and harassment on the grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation and disability. You have also told us this behaviour is taking place at every level in the organisation: from manager to staff, staff to managers, colleague to colleague and even patients to staff.

We have not waited for the survey before acting where we need to. Over the past few weeks, we have also asked you to speak up and speak out.  Many more of you have taken this brave step - either to a line manager, our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian or directly to the executive.   

We have acted on these concerns. We have intervened to stop poor behaviour, addressed grievances earlier and updated outdated policies. We have heard directly how we can and should change our culture.

Some examples of the action we have taken include:  

  • Specialist Culture Support Teams working with managers across EEAST
  • Wellbeing support and provision is being reviewed, promoted and improved
  • Instigated a Trust wide review of all cases that involve sexual harassment
  • Independent investigators appointed to strengthen and speed up some HR processes.
  • Coaching and support put in place for managers
  • New management development programme introduced
  • Speak up, speak out, stop it message introduced into organisation
  • Disciplinary policy being reviewed.

All the information you have provided will be used, and in confidence, to tackle poor behaviour and improve our culture for the long term

We have received some positive feedback from staff and managers in areas where interventions have taken place, but there is much more to do. We will continue to ask for feedback and the survey will be carried out again in a year’s time to monitor progress. 

We all want EEAST to be an excellent place to work. Every member of staff wants to be treated equally, fairly and considerately.  We all know one case of inappropriate behaviour is one case too many. 

The leadership will not tolerate harassment in any form and will do everything possible to create a positive workplace. But we also need your help, so we are making it very clear to every member of staff:  if you are being bullied or harassed we want you to Speak Up; if you see other people being bullied or harassed we want you to Speak Out against it, and if you are bullying or harassing others, we want you to Stop.

Thank you,

Nicola Scrivings – Trust Chair
Dr Tom Davis – Acting CEO

Published 10th December 2020