We’re frequently asked by organisations how our reporting platform integrates with their current routes to reporting problematic behaviours. Whether that’s with HR or EDI departments, or other unique roles within an organisation set up for these specific issues. In the case of NHS Trusts, it’s about how our system works in harmony with the Freedom to Speak Up Guardians network, and the work they’re already doing to encourage a speak up culture.
We understand that Freedom to Speak Up Guardians (FTSUG) are a network of NHS colleagues who take on the role in addition to their main roles and responsibilities. They are responsible for supporting hundreds or thousands of employees within their trust at a time, which can be a very overwhelming job to do on top of the pressure the NHS workforce is under already.
FTSUG roles vary across different NHS organisations depending on the needs of the Trust and ICS (Integrated Care System). This varies from being the route to report problematic behaviour itself, all the way to being the most serious escalation point, whistleblowing. Whistleblowing is reserved for the last moment before someone is about to leave an organisation, it’s very difficult to change an outcome at that point. Of course, any organisation wants and needs to prevent this, especially with retention being the biggest threat to the NHS today. The FTSUG network serves as a crucial component of employee support on the ground as well as supporting and improving organisational change, regardless of how they are used.
Here are five ways our reporting platform can support and work alongside Freedom to Speak Up Guardians.
1. Centralises data in one system and stores it safely
- Our reporting dashboard gives Freedom to Speak Up Guardians a valuable tool to track and analyse incident reports and the data collected on micro incivilities and unacceptable behaviour in one centralised place.
- With the job already being a high pressure one, a centralised system that’s created to make their jobs more efficient will not only support those experiencing problematic behaviour, but support the mental health of FTSU guardians.
Problems within their organisation can be looked at and improved from an individual and structural level.
- Trends can be assessed by looking at the data from reports, which assists the FTSU network to make change at a higher level, instead of being in the dark about cultural trends and only being able to be responsive to individual cases.
- We know many reports within the NHS are done via email however this is problematic from a GDPR point of view; Emails aren’t safe or secure. If a person is unable to speak to a FTSUG face-to-face they may choose not to report via email due to fear of their report getting back to the person they’re reporting. Anonymous reporting through our system means people’s data will remain safe and secure.
- FTSUG’s can make third-party reports on behalf of others, therefore transferring knowledge that has come in through an unsecured route, into a secured database.
2. Multiple routes to report
One size rarely fits all, and in an organisation the size and complexity of the NHS that is especially true. Employees need to be given multiple options when seeking support, especially on matters that vary so much from one another. Relying on everyone who has experienced or witnessed problematic behaviour to come forward to tell someone face-to-face is setting any organisation up to fail. There are a number of barriers to reporting but one of the biggest barriers is simply saying what you’ve experienced out loud.
- Employees may be more likely to confide in a friend or relative than a FTSU guardian who doesn’t know who they are, but that way the organisation can’t do anything to support them or prevent it from getting worse or happening to someone else.
- Protected characteristics can play a part also, if someone doesn’t feel represented in their FTSU guardian it may be a barrier to them reporting.
3. Prevention over cure
Measuring these everyday covert behaviours is challenging, especially as the NHS is relying on staff and pulse surveys which only offer a snapshot of reality and are shared very infrequently. People are also a lot less likely to disclose in these surveys if they believe they are being ‘oversensitive’ which is a very common symptom of micro-incivility. A year round reporting tool which encourages people to speak up about anything they’ve witnessed or experienced means you’ll get more real time data on the lower level behaviours, and can do something about them before it escalates to whistleblowing stage and is too late.
4. Support for those who aren’t ready to report
Our platform isn’t just a reporting platform. It’s also a place for those who have experienced or witnessed problematic behaviour at work to seek support. This can take a huge weight off the FTSUG’s, who couldn’t possibly support everyone who needed it on an individual basis.
- Many victims need more of an understanding of what they’re experiencing before they can go to someone or report an incident, the support section hosts definitions of problematic behaviour so they can start to understand what happened.
- In the case of covert and everyday micro-incivilities it’s very common to feel like you’re being oversensitive and like what you experienced wasn’t an issue at all, yet this is exactly the type of behaviour FTSUG’s want to hear about so they can understand the culture better and stop behaviours worsening.
- If you wait for someone to come to you with a problem, they may leave the organisation before they do, empowering them to seek support through the site or through signposting them to other services can make the difference.
5. Responding to employees about incidents
We know that in some NHS organisations it can take up to 8 weeks for victim-survivors to get a response after making a disclosure or incident report via email.Our system makes it easy for FTSU guardians to be instantly alerted to issues, to triage cases and respond more urgently to those that are at higher risk, and to pass on to a team of case workers to share the load. It also means you can clearly communicate and manage expectations with reporting parties.
- Triage time is highlighted
- Increases accountability
- It gives the means to flag specific reports (anonymous or advisory) to a specific and relevant team