Guest blog by Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive, Care Quality Commission
We all have a part to play in fostering a culture where people can speak up and be confident that they will be listened to, and that action will follow for learning and improvement. The commitment and passion of the guardians within the Freedom to Speak Up network has been integral to delivering against this ambition.
As the regulator, we have a clear purpose to ensure healthcare services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and to encourage those services to improve. Earlier this year we introduced our new strategy. One of the four themes was safety through learning. We want all services to have stronger safety and learning cultures – focusing on learning, improving expertise, listening and acting on people’s experiences, and taking clear and proactive action when safety doesn’t improve. Our assessment of safety has a sharp focus on checking for open and honest cultures.
Having the right organisational culture is crucial to improving safety. In a strong safety culture, risks aren’t overlooked, ignored, or hidden. Workers can report concerns openly and honestly, confident that they won’t be blamed.
We are proud to be part of the Freedom to Speak Up network as the principles behind speaking up align well to our organisational values. This is core to our building of a positive and inclusive working environment.
- Excellence: we do the right things in the right way to have the greatest impact.
- Caring: we respect the views of everyone and value differences in all our interactions.
- Integrity: we demonstrate the highest ethical and moral standards which instils trust in what we do.
- Teamwork: we encourage and support each other to reach our common goals.
We have promoted Speak Up Month by encouraging colleagues to undertake the free training the National Guardian’s Office has developed, as well as asking colleagues to take a pledge to celebrate Speak Up Month. Our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian joined me on my weekly call to all colleagues to promote Speak Up Month, and the work of the guardian and the ambassadors in CQC. Our ambassadors have been talking about Speak Up at team meetings, actively promoting the training and the network we have in place to listen, support and signpost colleagues on how to take forward any ideas or concerns. Twice a year our guardian reports to our Board setting out the volume and nature of any concerns that have been raised which is central to a transparent learning culture.
Speaking up is a courageous act, and as leaders we need to listen, believe and take the necessary actions, fostering a positive speaking up culture.