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Methods of creating an atmosphere which inspires a culture that is open, positive and inclusive

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This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: This page has been quality assured for 2024 as per our Quality Assurance policy.

Creating and nurturing an atmosphere that inspires a culture that is open, positive and inclusive can have several advantages. You will develop a bond of trust and mutual respect with your team and team members will be more productive and happy in their work, which can result in better staff retention.

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For the health and social care sector, many regulations and best practices are underpinned by transparency and integrity so they can be supported by maintaining a culture that promotes these values.

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Duty of candour

Duty of candour is described by Regulation 20 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014. It is a manager’s responsibility to be open and transparent with the people that receive care services from you, particularly when things go wrong. This includes:

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  • Swiftly notifying the person receiving care
  • Providing support to the person receiving care
  • Providing an account of what happened and what will be done (face-to-face)
  • Apologising
  • Making a written account

It is important to understand that an apology is an expression of sorrow or regret and not an admission of liability.

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Whistleblowing

Whistleblowing is when an employee discloses concerns they have about their workplace that could potentially cause harm to others. Guidance for registered care providers about whistleblowing is published on the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) website and is recommended reading for all managers.

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Employees have a legal responsibility to report any malpractice that they witness. Ideally, an employee should raise their concerns with their employer first, so a workplace that encourages openness and transparency will ensure that employees feel comfortable to question or challenge anything that they feel is wrong. Employers should also have Whistleblowing Policy to reassure employees that they will not be treated unfairly for disclosing genuine concerns.

CQC’s whistleblowing guidance states that:

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Having an open culture will help staff to be more confident about raising concerns. Workers are more likely to raise concerns at an early stage if your policy and procedures are clear and easy to use. It is also easier for you to deal with concerns at an early stage.

and:

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There should be an open culture in your service that allows staff to feel supported to raise concerns, both inside and outside of the service, without fear of recrimination.

Concerns and complaints procedure

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All care organisations should have procedures in place for dealing with concerns and complaints swiftly and sensitively.

Person-centred practice means that the rights of service users should be upheld and this includes ensuring they understand their right to complain. They should also be reassured that their complaint will be taken seriously and will be treated fairly and confidently. The complaints policy and procedure should be made accessible so that others (e.g. a service user’s family or the wider public) are able to make a complaint.

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Similarly, employees should feel comfortable with reporting any concerns that they have (as discussed above in whistleblowing) – they should not fear repercussions for doing so.

By maintaining transparency in your processes and encouraging staff, service users and others to make their voices heard, you will be inspiring an open and positive culture within your organisation.

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Constructive criticism

Giving constructive criticism to others can often be daunting but is essential for the creation of a culture that is built on learning and development and is open and transparent. By discussing areas for improvement, team members can grow and develop.

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However, you should also ensure that you manage constructive criticism in a positive way. Techniques such as the ‘Feedback Sandwich‘ (whereby you begin with explaining to a team member an area that they performed well, followed by an area they could improve and finally end with more praise), providing specific, measurable recommendations and focussing on the situation rather the individual themselves can make the process more positive. Also, ensuring that you do not assign blame and backing up your statements with evidence can be useful. Having a negative approach to providing feedback can lead to team members feeling victimised or unfairly treated.

It is also important for you to seek feedback from others to support your own learning and development.

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Commitment to equal opportunities

Maintaining a workplace culture that promotes equality, diversity and inclusion and is free from discrimination is a priority for all managers. As well as complying with legislation such as the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998, it also creates an atmosphere where team members, clients and others will feel accepted, included and valued.

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