Publication - FOI/EIR release

A Culture Fit for the Future: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
23 Dec 2019
A Culture Fit for the Future: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/201900008282
Date received: 2 Dec 2019
Date responded: 23 Dec 2019
Information requested

a) How is the Scottish Government/ NHS Scotland monitoring the response of NHSH against each item within the Sturrock report where he made specific suggestions or recommendations? What records of such monitoring are kept?

b) In how many cases does the Scottish Government /NHS Scotland have knowledge of specific complaints against any current member of the NHSH Board and/ or of any ongoing internal NHSH grievance cases involving inappropriate actions taken by any current member of NHSH Board?

c) How will the Scottish Government / NHS Scotland ensure an appropriate and continuing level of governance at board level to ensure that independent scrutiny exists in relation to historical /ongoing cases particularly in view of the concerns raised regarding the current executive membership of the board?

d) With reference to items (b) and (c) above do the Scottish Government /NHS Highland know whether the current Board Chairman and Non-Executive Board Members have been made fully aware of any cases involving or making direct reference to existing Executive Board Members.

Response

A. How is the Scottish Government/ NHS Scotland monitoring the response of NHSH against each item within the Sturrock report where he made specific suggestions or recommendations? What records of such monitoring are kept?
NHS Highland has appointed a Culture Board to oversee governance of its culture programme; the board includes independent members. The board meets 4-weekly to review progress and to formally review the ‘RAG’ status of each of the thematic actions set out in the board’s action plan ‘A Culture Fit for the Future’. That action plan, published earlier this year, sets out how the board will respond thematically to the substantive recommendations set out in the Sturrock Review. It can be accessed via the following link:
https://www.nhshighland.scot.nhs.uk/Publications/Documents/Culture%20Fit%20for%20the%20Future%20DRAFT.pdf
The Culture Board reports bi-monthly to the board of NHS Highland, through which relevant papers are placed in the public domain. The Scottish Government can access all papers provided to the Culture Board, for the purposes of monitoring, review and scrutiny. The Scottish Government maintains an ongoing dialogue with both the chair of the Culture Board and the Chair of NHS Highland and can raise matters both formally and informally with either forum. Further formal reviews of progress take place at the annual and mid-year board review.

B. In how many cases does the Scottish Government/ NHS Scotland have knowledge of specific complaints against any current member of the NHSH Board and/ or of any ongoing internal NHSH grievance cases involving inappropriate actions taken by any current member of NHSH Board?
The Scottish Government is aware of specific complaints and/or ongoing grievance processes involving NHSH board members. It would not, however, be appropriate to confirm any further information, as these are very few in number, accordingly this may compromise confidentiality.
For clarity, it is not a requirement in all circumstances for the Scottish Government to be informed of such complaints or grievances.
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

C. How will the Scottish Government / NHS Scotland ensure an appropriate and continuing level of governance at board level to ensure that independent scrutiny exists in relation to historical / ongoing cases particularly in view of the concerns raised regarding the current executive membership of the board?
The Scottish Government has articulated clearly its expectation that NHS Highland health board brings forward a healing process under the auspices of its action plan, through which individuals can bring forward matters and have them addressed on a case-by-case basis. For clarity, it should be noted that the Sturrock Review did not make any findings of fact or determinations in relation to any historical or on-going cases. Where cases are brought to the board, either directly or by the healing process, it is expected that they will be handled entirely in accordance with NHS Scotland workforce policy. The Culture Board will formally provide governance and oversight of the healing process and the Scottish Government will continue to perform its scrutiny role, as outlined at (A) above.
Additionally, steps have been taken to ensure appropriate independent oversight of whistleblowing matters. The Cabinet Secretary is in the process of appointing new dedicated non-executive Whistleblowing Champions to NHS Scotland boards. The Whistleblowing Champions will provide a dedicated scrutiny and assurance role in relation to the handling of whistleblowing matters.
Whistleblowing Champions will also have the authority to escalate concerns directly to the Scottish Government. Further, they will work with the new Independent National Whistleblowing Officer function, that will be introduced in 2020, to provide an independent final stage review of relevant whistleblowing matters that are brought to its attention.

D. With reference to items (b) and (C) above do the Scottish Government/ NHS Highland know whether the current Board Chairman and Non-Executive Board Members have been made fully aware of any cases involving or making direct reference to existing Executive Board Members?
Where the Scottish Government has been apprised of relevant matters, we have sought to ensure that, as appropriate, executive and/or non-executive members of NHS Highland health board have been made aware of the matters raised, in accordance with existing NHS Scotland workforce policy.
As noted at (B) above, it is not a requirement, in all circumstances, to inform the Scottish Government of complaints or grievances. Accordingly, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government is unaware if the current board chairman and/or nonexecutive board members are fully aware of all relevant complaints or grievances. You may wish to contact NHS Highland who may be able to help you with this question.

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