Sunday, 23 June 2013

In favour of a Reporting Culture

Today the CQC whistle-blower, Kay Sheldon, writes a very good and informative article in the Daily Mail. She concludes by saying: “We need to change things so that not reporting concerns is seen as wrong, rather than the other way round. … this culture of fear has to be driven out and we all need to be much more open and honest in our day-to-day work”. [My emphasis]

She is absolutely right. Safety requires a reporting culture and so does quality. Unless people feel safe in bringing concerns about poor safety and poor quality to the attention of people who can bring about changes, then poor safety and poor quality will simply persist, unremarked until a tragedy or disaster occurs.

I listened to BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions yesterday. I was a bit surprised to hear contributors invoking the argument that people should not feel afraid in their jobs to justify not naming the managers at the CQC who are accused of orchestrating the cover-up.

I take a different view. Where there are allegations of bullying or suppressing the truth, to the detriment of safety, then I see no problems at all in uncovering what is going on and I have no problems with bullies being named and shamed.

A reporting culture should be a ‘just culture’ as Sidney Dekker [1] says. Serious wrong-doing should not be protected in a reporting culture; just as slips, lapses and honest mistakes should not result in blame and punishment.

[1] Dekker, S. Just Culture: Balancing Safety and Accountability, Ashgate, 2007