Thursday, 26 July 2018

No Blame Culture

Explaining why Bolton Children’s Services received a ‘good’ inspection report from Ofsted recently, assistant director Bernie Brown is reported in Community Care as saying that the council’s success was due to having social workers who “… are well supported, have regular supervision that is meaningful, and an organisation that doesn’t run a blame culture”. 

An organisation that doesn’t run a blame culture sounds very good to me. People can’t do complex and challenging work with a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. And not having a blame culture is the first necessary step towards creating an organisation which can learn.  People learn from their mistakes and from identifying weak points in the service the organisation provides. Not blaming people is essential if people are to speak openly about the things that go wrong.

I would like to see every Ofsted report examine the extent to which local authorities don’t run blame cultures and examine the effectiveness of corporate learning. To do that Ofsted, itself, needs to think itself out of a blame culture. Maybe supporting improvement rather than judging, naming and shaming would be a good start.