Bullying and harassment levels at Wakefield CCG 'concerning'

Levels of bullying and harassment experienced by staff at Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) remain "concerningly" high despite having fallen, a board meeting's been told.

By David Spereall
Friday, 17th May 2019, 11:26 am
15 per cent of CCG staff said they'd experienced bullying and harassment over the last year.
15 per cent of CCG staff said they'd experienced bullying and harassment over the last year.

15 per cent of employees at the organisation, which is responsible for NHS services across the district, told an annual staff survey in 2018 they'd experienced abuse or bullying at work from managers.

The figure is down two percentage points from 2017 but still above the average rate for CCGs across the country, which is 13.5 per cent.

Senior CCG figures said they had a "zero tolerance approach" to bullying, but suggested that some of the issues reported may have been experienced by staff while working with partners and out in the community.

White Rose House, where the CCG's headquarters are based.

The numbers were discussed at the group's May board meeting on Tuesday, where it was said that 153 of the organisation's 182 workers responded to the survey.

Wakefield Council's director for public health Anna Hartley said: "As a board member I am a bit surprised and concerned that there’s still very high numbers of people reporting bullying and harassment.

"If there’s 153 staff responding, that’s about 23 who are experiencing that.

"That for me is a big issue, and I would have expected that to be under-reported if anything.

"It’s a bit concerning, considering the amount of work you’ve put into it."

Chief officer Jo Webster acknowledged the problem, but said the way the question had been phrased in the survey may have "skewed" the results.

She said: "You are quite right to raise that. The numbers are a concern.

"It has decreased from previous years, so there is a trajectory of improvement there.

"It’s something that we’ve done a lot of work on and I would have expected those numbers to be lower.

"The conversations I’ve had with some staff about this is there was a certain perception around the question and the way it was phrased.

"This isn’t just about the internal mechanics of this organisation, but a lot of our staff go out and work with other providers and partners.

"I don't want the board to go away and think that this is all internal. There’s a complicated set of circumstances that we’re trying to get underneath so we can eliminate it."

Other results from the survey showed that staff felt more supported by their line managers than in 2017, and that they were getting clearer feedback on their work than previously.

However, there was also a 13 per cent increase in employees who said they'd not had a PDR in the last year, while there was a three per cent rise in the number of staff reporting they felt "under pressure" to come into work when ill.

Deputy chief office Pat Keane added: "Zero tolerance to bullying is our starting point here. It’s not acceptable.

"But we’ve got a lot of staff who work in other environments. We are really trying hard to get underneath this so we can understand it."

Local Democracy Reporting Service