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Home > Bullying and Harassment Joint Working Party – March 2019 Update

Bullying and Harassment Joint Working Party – March 2019 Update

Posted by admin on April 4, 2019

It is no secret that addressing bullying, harassment and incivility is important to me –  I genuinely believe we will only become a Great Place to be Cared For; Great Place to Work for everyone if we address unacceptable behaviour and create an organisation where people can be happy at work. 

The Bullying and Harassment Joint Working Party met formally again on Friday 22nd March 2019. We updated our terms of reference and these are available here for those of you who are interested in the detail of membership and purpose.  Updates were provided for each worksteam and we agreed on priorities for the coming months.

Culture and Engagement

A great deal of work has been going on in recent years to tackle unacceptable behaviour; however our most recent National Staff Survey results tell us that there still needs to be a real shift in how people behave at work.  It found that

  • 13.9% of staff have experienced harassment / bullying / abuse from managers (2017: 13.8%)
  • 23% of staff have experienced harassment / bullying / abuse from other colleagues (2017: 22.3%)
  • 48.8% of staff reported the last experience of harassment / bullying / abuse (2017: 50%)
  • 25.5% of staff have experienced harassment / bullying / abuse from patients/service users, their relatives or members of the public (2017: 24%)

To be clear - our Behavioural Standards Framework describes the behaviours that we do and do not expect to see and hear. Our focus is now on making sure that everyone understands what these are – particularly what is not OK.  You will see and hear more mention of civility at work (learning from We need to get the basics of behaviour right –courtesy, politeness, respect, manners - every day, everywhere.  To support colleagues to get this right, and to address unacceptable behaviour when it is experienced or witnessed, we are developing a new toolkit including resources and examples of best practice.  New campaign boards have gone up this week on our main sites and will be appearing in our community sites very soon – if you would like posters for your work areas please contact

Systems and Processes

Some of you have fed back that the Behavioural Standards Framework ‘lacks teeth’ and that when colleagues raise concerns processes are too slow. Our aim remains, where this is possible, to support early resolution of cases at a local level, recognising there are times this is not the appropriate course of action.  Whilst, rightly so, we are not going to communicate individual cases – I want to share with you that we do (and have in a number of cases over recent years) take formal action including dismissals in relation to unacceptable behaviour. 

There is a lot of support and advice available in addition to local supervision and management, including our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, Respect Champions, AskSAMI (Workforce) team, Staff Side, Occupational Health and Wellbeing. So every colleague is aware of the options available to them, and to encourage early feedback and response to concerns we will be introducing some simple tools (which will be tested out with colleagues ahead of full roll out) and developing a new early resolution process.

Learning and Development

Developing the skills of colleagues to provide feedback on behaviours and to be confident in doing so is really important. There are a number of existing learning and development offers that support this, including the new Inclusive Behaviours Programme, launched in September that many of you will have already been involved in.

We are mapping all existing training to identifying any gaps  - and will make sure that what is available  is presented in a way that is easy to understand and colleagues can access what they need to, alongside the new toolbox of resources available 24/7.

Emergent Themes

A new dashboard has been developed to understand trends and hot spot areas for bullying, harassment and incivility.  There are a number of groups / teams across the Trust where either staff survey data or local feedback is highlighting unacceptable behaviour. These areas are now visible through the working party who can provide support where needed.   

Do you know who your Respect Champions are?

I had the opportunity recently to meet our team of Respect Champions during one of their regular development days.  These are people from a range of staff groups and backgrounds who are really passionate about our behavioural standards and civility at work. They are trained to offer advice and support to colleagues experiencing bullying or harassment and their details are available here.

Aaron Cummins
UHMBT Chief Executive
Chair of UHMBT Bullying and Harassment Joint Working Party

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