Six months in: an update from Lindsey Stafford-Scott, Director of People and Culture

Lindsey Stafford Scott   web

I joined the Trust just over six months ago and I can honestly say that the time has flown by.

I remember my first two weeks and often reflect on how welcoming people have been, and the passion colleagues have for the Trust. I continue to be impressed every day by everyone’s dedication to making the service better, again demonstrated through the Care Quality Commission (CQC) recognising the outstanding care our staff and volunteers give to patients.

We have made so much progress over the last six months, but sometimes with everything that is going on, and the pressures placed on the Trust, it can be easy to overlook this. And of course some of the work we have been doing, like the cultural audit, takes longer to see tangible results and actions. I’ll touch on that in a moment.

As a bit of background, my team’s primary focus is supporting the Trust, its staff, and managers to deliver the best possible service to patients. I am really pleased with the implementation of our Health and Wellbeing Hub, which is absolutely vital in providing staff and volunteers the support they need to stay healthy and recover when they have been unwell. We are actively training more TRiM practitioners, as we know the huge impact that different incidents can have on individuals. Our wellbeing champions are also being trained to provide accessible support and signposting to health and wellbeing services for everyone. There’s always more that can be done, but we are on our way.

So back to the cultural audit. In May we sent out questionnaires by post and electronically to every member of staff. Firstly, thank you for all your replies and feedback, as we had more than 1,700 responses. The company we commissioned to carry out the audit, Zeal Solutions, has been going through all the feedback – both your answers and the comments you made. They’ve  come back with some initial results, which we now need to probe a bit further, so that we can come up with a meaningful plan that will make a real difference.

The cultural audit is not just another survey. Zeal is looking at your feedback in a lot of detail, so not just what you think is good and bad within the Trust, but which of these elements have a positive or negative impact on your psychological and physical health and wellbeing. This will enable us to ensure that we take actions which, rather than be a tick box exercise, will visibly and sustainably improve your experience at work. This will positively impact on your health and wellbeing, both in and out of the work environment. We want to use the outcomes of the audit to be the very best employer for our people, and for you to feel valued and supported for the fantastic work that you do every day.

The next steps will be guided by our steering group, which is made up of staff from across the organisation, which will develop a plan from the overall results; this will be presented to the Trust Board at the end of January. But between now and then, we’re asking for your opinion on some of the high level results; more details can be found here on Need to Know.

More generally, you might have seen in the media that it’s anti-bullying week , and for the Trust, tackling bullying and harassment is a top priority. We will adopt a zero tolerance to bullying and harassment and will take steps to embed this across every area of the Trust. I have been spending time looking at current employee relation cases and taking steps to resolve as many long running issues as I can. During this review, I have identified a number of things I think we can do differently to support earlier, informal resolution to workplace issues and to improve the experience of our people, should they have to enter into a formal process. I am meeting with UNISON colleagues to review specific cases to ensure that we learn from these, and feed that learning into practical changes of how we do things. It is clear that the Trust has some issues with bullying and inappropriate behaviour, both colleague to colleague and managerial. These are not everywhere in the Trust but where they do occur they have long lasting impacts on all involved. I have set up a joint ‘raising concerns’ task and finish group which will be taking practical steps to raise awareness of bullying and harassment, train managers, review our policies and procedures and create new support mechanisms for staff to raise issues and have them dealt with swiftly and consistently. 

To deliver the cultural change we need, strong and supportive leadership is essential.  We have been rolling out a leadership development programme for existing managers and are about to launch our aspiring leaders programme too. We aim to build on these development approaches so that we equip our people with the skills and abilities to be supportive and inspiring leaders at all levels.

I cannot stress the importance of the cultural audit and delivering actions to move the organisation forward as a result – the Board are absolutely committed to pushing this forward.  Whilst we should learn from the past, now is the time to embrace a new more positive future. I hope you will continue to support us, to deliver change and be the best we can possibly be.

Thank you for all your support – we are making good progress and we will keep an unrelenting focus on improving our services for you, and for our patients.

Have a good week,


Published 17th November, 2016

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