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UHB Culture Review: frequently asked questions

What is the UHB Culture Review, and why is it taking place?

As a new Chair of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), Dame Yve Buckland was tasked with commissioning an independent review of the Trust’s culture following media reports made regarding the Trust, alleging issues of patient safety, fear of raising concerns and bullying, and staff suicides. This included interviews and statements from staff currently or previously employed at the Trust, relating to a range of concerns around leadership, governance and culture at UHB, impacting on patient care, and on staff safety. This review of culture will also pick up the findings of the recent report into safety published by Mike Bewick and team.

The Review will focus on listening to and engaging with staff and then taking positive action to improve how it feels to work and thrive at UHB. The Review will also identify any systemic issues, practices or processes, organisational development and other gaps that need urgently addressing and a framework to address them.

The Review will make recommendations on how to make positive changes to move forward, while acknowledging the failings/learnings from the past. It will provide a way for all colleagues to make their views heard.

How was thevaluecircle selected to undertake the Culture Review?

thevaluecircle was appointed following a competitive tendering process in which they were one of six suppliers who provided a proposal. Proposals were assessed against our specification, and we shortlisted four of the six suppliers. Selection of the supplier to be appointed was made by:

  • Yve Buckland, UHB Chair
  • Roger Kline, Independent Chair of the Culture Review Reference Group
  • Professor Mike Bewick, Patient Safety Review Lead
  • Giles Peel, Patient Safety Reviewer
  • Mehrunnisa Lalani, UHB Non-executive Director
  • Cathi Shovlin, UHB Chief People Officer
  • Fiona Alexander, UHB Chief Communications Officer

It was a unanimous outcome to appoint thevaluecircle. 

thevaluecircle has not worked with UHB before, and is completely independent of the organisation and any cultural legacy. This independence will enable them to have the added insight of reviewing through a new lens, grounded in detailed operational understanding of the health and care sector and UHB’s specific challenges.

thevaluecircle will provide a senior, diverse, and highly experienced team with expertise in navigating complex review programmes, including in-depth insight and experience dealing with development through a cultural lens.

How were the members of the Culture Review Reference Group chosen?

The members of the Culture Review Reference Group were chosen by the Independent Chair (Roger Kline) to primarily consist of front-line staff representatives or staff who are in frequent contact with front-line staff concerns who have a particular responsibility or interest in fairness in the trust. They include Chair and Vice Chair of the staff-side Joint Negotiating Consultative Committee (JNCC) and the elected co-chairs of the staff-side Local Negotiation Committee (LNC). A junior doctors' representative will be joining the Group.

Yve Buckland, who joined the Trust as Chair in January 2023, is a member as she commissioned the Review, and the Independent Chair felt it was important the Trust Chair both helped ensure the decisions of the Group were effectively actioned and that she could be met directly by Group members. 

Important staff groups (including the UHB staff networks) will be met by both the independent Chair and, crucially, by thevaluecircle as part of their Review to ensure views are well heard and understood.

What is the planned timescale for the Review?

The Review will start work in mid-April 2023 and the interviews, surveys and other data collection are planned to be completed by the end of June 2023. A final report will follow as soon as possible after that. thevaluecircle will contact staff directly once they start.

Further information on the timescale is available on the terms of reference page.

Will the Trust Board have a veto on any of the issues the Reviews looks at or the contents of the Review report?

Absolutely not. The Trust Board has commissioned the review but have no veto on what thevaluecircle examine or which staff groups they speak to. The themes to be considered were set by the Independent Chair and are contained in the Terms of Reference for the work. thevaluecircle will want to ensure they speak to and hear from as representative a group of staff as possible.

One crucial role for the Review will be to identify whether the messages and themes being raised by staff are aligned to the Trust leadership. The Review will provide a report to the Board which, as with the Bewick Report on Patient Safety, will be directly shared with staff.

Will the Review make sure the views of staff that are collected are representative of the staff, including those whose views may not always be heard – such as night shift staff and ancillary staff?

Yes. Every effort will be made to ensure that a cross section of staff interviewed includes night shift staff and ancillary staff. In addition, the staff survey will make every effort to ensure all staff groups are represented and respond.

How will UHB staff views be collected and how can staff be sure their contribution remains confidential?

Staff views will be collected in five ways:

  • Via a dedicated confidential survey, whose submissions only thevaluecircle will have access to. Under no circumstances will the responses be accessible by the Trust
  • Focus groups
  • Individual interviews
  • A dedicated thevaluecircle email inbox for UHB staff to submit any comments related to the Review, which will be regularly monitored by our team
  • Walkabouts and other informal means of collecting views and insights

Staff at every level and in every part of UHB will be encouraged to participate in these approaches.

All responses (survey, forums, email inbox and individual interviews) will be anonymised. Any breach of confidentiality would be treated very seriously.

Where areas of concern relating to patient/staff harm come to light that require immediate attention, these will be raised through the Culture Review Reference Group, who will ensure they are safely and effectively addressed.

How will I know more about the Review and the Reference Group as the work develops?

Please check the these pages for information on the Review, or contact Roger Kline.

Notes of the Reference Group, along with papers presented, will all be published on the Trust website as soon as possible after our meetings. The principle we have adopted is that everything we discuss (any papers etc) should be made public, except where there is a convincing reason why it should not be.

If you have any questions about the Review being undertaken by thevaluecircle please email Roger Kline.

Last reviewed: 26 April 2023