Friday, 24 August 2018

Our strength lies in our differences not our similarities

I always enjoy getting out and about meeting teams and chatting about what you do and your experiences. It’s not just a great opportunity to see first-hand the superb work taking place, but I always find it a grounding reminder of what it’s all about and why we are here. Its uplifting to see the level of commitment to making a difference. 

I only wish I had the time to fit more visits into my diary as I do enjoy these so much. It's a big patch we cover, as you know, and I sometimes envy how my hospital colleagues can literally pop into wards to say hello on their way to the canteen. It's been especially difficult to be out and about over the last few weeks as I've needed to attend a lot of meetings and events focused on strategic issues such as partnership working, cultural change and the development of our vision and values.

82 year old star in Oldham

All important stuff and very interesting and enjoyable as its core to the changes we are trying to make. But it was really refreshing to visit staff and service users from the Healthy Young Minds and Rehab and High Support teams in Oldham on Monday where I buried an NHS 70th time capsule in the garden with them, before having a look around. 

One of the stars I met there was Jill Dodge, an 82 year old receptionist who has been working with the team for 14 years. Yes, it’s not a typo – 82 – and full of positive energy! There are some days, like a lot of you I’m sure, when I feel tired and anticipate the relaxation of retirement with hopefulness (some way off yet!). But meeting Jill, such a wonderful bundle of energy, has made me feel inspired and re-energised - I definitely need a spoonful of whatever she has been having!

It’s was so heartening to see how much we value the experience that Jill brings, and I love that we are not seeing age as a barrier to still being able to make a huge contribution to our local communities. Long may that continue.

Equality and diversity concerns

However, we are not getting our approach to diversity right in all areas. 

I was very concerned to see recent figures highlighting that BME staff in this organisation are less likely to be appointed to senior posts and more likely to be subject to formal conduct and disciplinary processes.  This is incredibly worrying information and we really need to understand what sits behind this and to support changes in a positive way.

The Board will shortly be undertaking a development session dedicated to equality and diversity, as we recognise the importance of this area. We are committed to understanding the experience of staff and people who use our services and, most importantly, to taking action to address areas where we know we aren’t yet getting it right.

This will form an important part of our culture work going forward - looking at what kind of organisation we want to ‘be’ and what we see as important and of value to us. And from mine and the Board’s perspective, a diverse and inclusive workforce greatly enriches us and is definitely something to be valued. 

Wiser, positive, better

So, our challenge is to show, through the narrative we tell about what sort of organisation we want to be, and then through behaviours that reflect this, that we value everyone in the organisation. We want every individual to feel able to participate and achieve their potential. I truly believe that a diverse mix of experience, backgrounds and beliefs leads to better discussions, decisions and outcomes for everyone.

Our strength lies in our differences not our similarities. And that strength will help create a wiser, positive, better organisation.

Best wishes,

Claire Molloy
Chief Executive

Friday, 10 August 2018

Shaping our future

Since I joined our organisation last September, I have been forming a picture regarding our longer term direction of travel. One of the key issues coming from staff in the cultural audit and from our partners is that people aren’t clear on Pennine Care’s strategy and the role we want to play in the local care organisations (LCOs) evolving in each of the boroughs we serve. 

In other words, what sort of organisation do we want to be? What contribution should we be making? And what does this mean for where we are going?

So over the last six months or so, we have been doing work to be clearer about our longer term strategy and to ‘refresh’ our organisational narrative. We have been clear that high quality care and support is at the heart of our approach but, as I have indicated previously, we need to consider what this means in the context of the resources we have and the way care models are changing through the LCO work.

This important stream of work on strategy sits alongside work to change the way the organisation is run to create a more positive, enabling culture; as well as getting on and delivering some of the improvement priorities we know we have now, such as safe staffing, strengthening our informatics, and preparing for CQC inspection in the autumn.

Over the last year I have talked about all of these three areas (Strategy; Culture change; Delivery Priorities) but today I wanted to say a little bit more about how we are developing our strategy.

Over the next few months work in this area is really going to ramp up as we are hoping to have a much clearer strategy by the end of December. We are hoping to have a draft by the end of October so that we can use November and December to engage with people on what this might mean and to help shape any final approach.

In order to get to this place, there are three key pieces of work taking place over the next few months:

  1. Commissioning intentions - we are working with CCGs and local authorities to confirm their commissioning intentions going forward with regards to community services. The current contracts we hold for our community services technically end in March 2019 (with the exception of Trafford, for which we agreed a contract extension to March 2020). So, we need to have clarity with our commissioners about what role they see us playing in the provision of community services in the future; and consider the best alignment with developing LCOs 
  2. Clinical and financial sustainability - we need to complete the work we have been doing with our commissioners over the last six months on service reviews and how best we can match service offers to the resources we collectively have so that we don’t compromise quality and safety. This work is due to come to a conclusion soon and the outcomes will clearly be helping shape decisions about our strategy going forwards
  3. Vision and Values - we are also working on reviewing our vision and values. Regardless of what services we deliver, it’s important that we define what kind of organisation we want to be? I put you, our staff at the heart of this, and more work will follow in the coming months to flesh this out

Building on the last point above, I am keen that we move quickly on this work given its importance. During August we will be holding a number of small workshops with people who’ve already been involved in the cultural audit work to help shape our vision and values.

Once we have a first ‘clay pot’ of these, they will be tested out at bigger events with key leaders across the Trust in September, October and November, and in particular, we want our staff in these events to help shape a supporting behaviours framework. This will be followed by a big event in early December to share more widely – so watch this space for details about the events which should be out shortly.

As I mentioned earlier, the overall intent is to use all this work to set a clear strategy for the Trust to be signed off at the December Board meeting.

I acknowledge that for some time there has been rumour and speculation regarding the Trust’s future and this has created anxiety and uncertainty for staff. I am hoping that the process outlined above will help to crystallise our future direction, although I also acknowledge that in doing so, the potential for change itself creates concerns about what it might mean. This is especially the case in Trafford as we have advised staff and partners that we are doing some specific work with partners to explore the options for the future provision of community services in that locality.

I know that what is happening in Trafford, and wider in some of the discussions people are having through LCO development, could create uncertainty about the future for some people. I am committed to being as upfront with you as early as possible about any proposed changes; and open and transparent in engaging with you on our plans for the future as they evolve and develop.

I would like to reassure you that all partners see the valuable role that our services provide. In every discussion I am part of, there is recognition of the hugely significant value our services play; of the immensely committed staff we have; and of our expertise in delivering a broad range of services. All of this means that I am confident we will continue to have an important role and make a positive contribution in the future.

Best wishes,

Claire Molloy
Chief Executive