‘Zero tolerance’ – Sheffield health trust makes bullying pledge after ‘culture of fear’ allegations

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Senior managers at a Sheffield health trust have pledged a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment after a senior manager was accused of creating a ‘culture of fear’ in one of its directorates.

Senior leaders at the Sheffield Health and Social Care trust, including the deputy chief executive, Clive Clarke, signed the pledge in the wake of allegations made by numerous whistleblowers to The Star earlier this year.

One whistleblower said senior staff had been sent home from work in tears, and that many of those working there were either too afraid to speak out or had simply left, while another said the trust’s management knew about the issue but had failed to do anything about it.

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‘A culture of fear, bullying and harassment’ – Sheffield mental health trust acc...
Sheffield Health and Social Care trust bullying pledge.Sheffield Health and Social Care trust bullying pledge.
Sheffield Health and Social Care trust bullying pledge. | Other 3rd Party

A report into the allegations chaired by former solicitor Pam Kenworthy OBE has now completed its work, but the trust have said the report will not be made public and they cannot confirm or deny that the manager at the centre of the allegations has now left the organisation.

Unveiling the trust’s pledge, Clive Clarke, deputy chief executive, said: “The health and wellbeing of my colleagues here is our top priority.

“While we have to be realistic in accepting that bullying has taken place, we are united in our determination to create a positive culture where everyone can give their best to our patients.

“Bullying has absolutely no place in the workplace and this pledge is a significant step in creating that culture.”

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The Sheffield Health and Social Care trust manages mental health and care services in the city and has an annual budget of £125m.

The pledge they have signed up to adopts a model from the Social Partnership Forum, an organisation which works within the NHS on the workforce implications of policy.

As part of the pledge, the trust’s management have promised to identify the nature and extent of bullying in the organisation, talk to staff and listen and learn from their experiences.

They also say they will set measurable goals for improvement, implement an action plan and put plans in place to evaluate their progress.

As well as the pledge, the trust say there will also be a series of workshops and events for all staff to have their say on how bullying should be eradicated from the workplace.

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