Monday, 6 March 2017

Ending the blame game

I liked the post on the Association of Directors of Children’s Services website by Ian Thomas, Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services at Rotherham Council.

Ian argues against the prevalent culture of blame in society and its ramifications for children’s services and concludes that blaming staff for service failures should only happen in a very small number of cases of clear ‘professional negligence’. He concludes: “No one comes to work to deliberately do a bad job.”

One aspect that Ian doesn’t mention is that a blame culture results in unsafe working. Where people are afraid to talk about service failures, and their parts in them, opportunities to learn from things going wrong are significantly reduced. And that means that members of staff and managers have fewer opportunities to create safer and more reliable services.

The only safe services are ones in which everybody involved in service delivery and support are not only willing to explore errors, especially their own, but are actively congratulated and rewarded for doing so.