Staff initiative scoops national award

Our People Before Processes initiative won the Speaking Up Together award at the first ever Freedom to Speak Up Awards, which took place on Thursday 19th October in London.

A Trust initiative which was designed to investigate and reduce the over-representation of BME staff in our disciplinary procedures has won the Speaking Up Together award at the first ever Freedom to Speak Up awards.

The People Before Processes project involved a range of joint sessions between the BME staff network and the Trust’s human resources (HR) team which allowed people to tell their personal stories of workplace discrimination and raise concerns. This led to a number of actions being created to help the Trust’s HR staff be more person-focussed when managing processes, including listening to individual concerns whilst also considering wider issues and being more probing if dealing with a disciplinary which involved someone from a BME background. Additionally line managers will be supported by HR to be confident to have difficult conversations with staff which are fair and proportionate.

Following a 2015 report by Sir Robert Francis, which highlighted serious issues with whistleblowing in the NHS, it was recommended that every NHS Trust employs a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian by 31 October 2016.

Lynn Richardson, our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian at Surrey and Borders Partnership, said: “We are thrilled that this work has been recognised as we felt it was important to address these issues in order to develop working relationships that support equality, inclusion and human rights.”

Ali Khan, Chairman of our BME Network, said: “This achievement is a great example of the Trust’s leadership team, human resources team and BME network coming together to find new ways to work with BME staff.”

The Freedom to Speak Up (FTSU) 2017 awards were launched by the National Guardian's Office to recognise and celebrate the work being done in NHS trusts to develop a more open and supportive culture which encourages employees to speak up about concerns regarding patient care, quality or safety and make the NHS a better place to work.