Launching our Behaviours Framework


Our Behaviours Framework

Our Leadership Academy last week launched our new Behaviours Framework. Lots of consultation has taken place with staff and service users across our organisation listening to what behaviours will enables us to live our values. For me personally, when either myself or my family receive support from health or social care services, it is often the way the health professional behaves that enables me to trust their professional advice. The way we behave determines what culture we create for both our staff and service users. We have aligned our behaviour framework with our values as below:


  • Listening to others, considering their feelings and needs.
  • Respecting and being responsive towards diversity and difference.
  • Pulling together, helping colleagues out when their priorities are greater than your own.
  • Recognising your own stresses and limitations and developing ways to cope with them.
  • Promoting and encouraging healthy living and recovery with service users and colleagues.


  • Communicating with everyone openly, clearly and appropriately.
  • Keeping a positive and calm manner when faced with challenging situations.
  • Providing and welcoming feedback to support good behaviour and challenge inappropriate behaviour.
  • Taking people’s understanding, viewpoints and needs into account when making decisions.
  • Being friendly and welcoming, making eye contact, giving your name and smiling where appropriate.


  • Always putting service users first, maintaining professional integrity, confidentiality, following correct procedures, adhering to standards and adopting best practice.
  • Holding ourselves and others to account to prioritise our workload in delivering high quality care in a timely manner.
  • Developing our self-awareness by seeking feedback from others, reflecting and acting upon it.
  • Making the most effective use of available resources to provide best value at all times.
  • Take full responsibility for patients you come in contact with, ensuring any other needs are properly coordinated.


  • Encouraging team problem-solving to create better outcomes and solutions.
  • Being flexible and responsive, changing our own practice and behaviours to ensure we continually improve.
  • Inspiring and recognising others, so they feel they want to strive to improve or do something different.
  • Welcoming and being prepared to take acceptable risk to innovate or provide safe patient-centred care.
  • Looking outside the trust to compare our performance, search out best practice, develop relationships and share learning to improve ways of working.

At the Leadership Academy we then spent some time considering how we could really embed our values and behaviours across all that we do. There were great discussions and lots of energy in the room, with lots of ideas such as revamping our recruitment processes, PDRs, 360° appraisals and our REACH awards, asking service users and carers to carry out mystery shopping exercises, ensuring every team discusses values and behaviours at each team meeting, as well as making pledges of what they will do differently, encouraging colleagues to provide praise and feedback when they observe good behaviour and challenging any inappropriate behaviour witnessed.

The full details of the new Framework are available online at

It appears others think this is the right thing to do and are keen to celebrate what we're doing. For example, I was delighted to see on Twitter, we received praise from the Stoke-on-Trent Cooperative Working Strategic Partnership Board as a "great example of co-designed work".

We then spent some time exploring our ‘Compassionate’ value and the behaviours that support this. We had a guest speaker, Dr Sarah Lehmann from University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, who delivered a presentation about the psychology behind compassionate leadership and how the relational element of leadership is crucial to creating ‘psychological safety’ - this essentially means we are able to admit to mistakes, we learn from failure and everyone is open and able to share ideas. This in turn creates better innovation and decision making, which is exactly the culture we are striving to create within Combined.

Celebrating success

One of the regular ways we celebrate our own staff is through our REACH Awards (formerly know as Spotlight) given out at our monthly Board meetings. At the latest Trust Board meeting on Thursday, we presented a special REACH Award to our Older Peoples’ Community Teams in recognition of their having achieved an ‘Outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). There were plenty of staff present to receive the certificate, which recognises the hard work and passion they put in every day. The award reflects not only the high clinical standards within these teams, but also the incredible values of the staff who consistently go above and beyond for our patients. Anyone who has had the pleasure of working with them will agree they offer a truly holistic view of a person – which includes the wellbeing of carers and their families.

Our main REACH Team Award recipient this month was the fabulous Growthpoint service, who gave a great presentation on their work to help people with mental health needs back into the community and/or employment. Growthpoint is a real success story for the Trust and is one of the jewels in our crown. They have supported dozens of service users in their recovery and have trained many of them in a variety of adult education courses – with a number having gone on to either work for Growthpoint, become self-employed or find work with a local employer.

We also presented certificates to two staff who are retiring from the Trust. Liz Wilkes, Senior Associate Technical Officer in our Pharmacy team, joined Combined in 2005 and has always gone the extra mile, staying when necessary to ensure a great service. She is very diligent, extremely conscientious and is always willing to do more to benefit patients.

Wynford Johnstone, Estates Management Team Maintenance Fitter, also joined us in 2005 and his ‘can do’ attitude and friendly outlook has long held him in good stead with colleagues. Wynford is a real team player and he is thanked for the 12 years of dedicated service.

We also wish a long and healthy retirement to Claire Halsey, Psychological Services Lead for Children and Young People; Janice Allen, Planning Manager in Estates; Nicholas Dutton, Cognitive Behaviour Therapist; Jeanette Raisada, Staff Nurse with the Assessment and Treatment Unit; and Susan Atkin, Support Service Assistant, at the Ashcombe Centre.

Listening to our staff through our Director Q&A sessions

Our Director Q&A sessions are a regular opportunity for our staff to sit down face-to-face with our Executive team and share their ideas, raise concerns or ask questions. This week, myself and my Exec colleagues were out and about across the Trust in the latest of these sessions. I went to Ward 4 at Harplands, where I met a great team of staff who were doing an amazing job in difficult circumstances. As you know the ward opened at very short notice as an assessment ward to support the health economy as a short term solution. As such some staff moved from roles on other wards and bank and agency staff were taken on. I was blown away by the sense of team working and focus on patient centred care. Commissioners have now decided they want to commission the dual care model on a permanent basis which is good news for service users and carers as the ward received such positive feedback and demonstrated great outcomes.

The new ward will be open in the summer with a period of transition from the current service user case mix. It is essential that we are able to retain as many staff as we currently have and attract great new staff to work there.

Our Director of Finance and Performance Suzanne Robinson visited the Reception and Support Services at Harplands; Maria Nelligan, our Director of Nursing and Quality, visited our Learning Disability Assessment and Treatment Unit; Paul Draycott, our Director of Leadership and Workforce, visited Carillion staff who, although not employed by us have a key role to play; and Andy Rogers, our Director of Operations, visited our Pharmacy staff. Buki Adeyemo, our Medical Director, was particularly busy, going to a number of teams, including Patient and Organisational Safety, Mental Health Law and Patient Experience and Complaints teams. As an Executive team, we really value these visits which help us to continually learn more about our services and thank the great staff who work in them.

Although we have been really successful in the last year or so in recruiting staff to come and work in the Trust, we need to keep this as a high priority especially as we now need more staff for Ward 4 and the new psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU) which we are about to start work on.

New recruitment campaign launches

A new recruitment campaign is beginning this week. As part of the campaign, we will be holding another series of one-stop recruitment events for registered mental health nurses (RMNs), registered learning disability nurses (RLDNs) and registered general nurses (RGNs), starting on Wednesday 24 May. Those applying will have the opportunity to apply for available posts on the day, be interviewed by a panel and potentially leave with a job offer.

ROSE Day - less than 30 days away!

Our long walk to ROSE Day is nearing its destination, with less than 30 days until we go live on 13 May! Every member of staff who will be using the new system should be receiving their ROSE Boarding Pass by the end of this week. The Pass provides a handy checklist of the things everybody needs to have done and to have in place.

To prepare or our ROSE go live, the project team began a dress rehearsal on Friday in which they tested the data we will be transferring onto the new system and went out onto the wards and team bases to check how we will manage the short period of time between switching from CHIPS to ROSE. On Saturday, the project team were joined by 15 Super Users and operational staff to test how well the data had been transferred.

It was a really useful exercise which reinforced the importance of making sure data on CHIPS is accurate and up-to-date. It also highlighted how important it is that staff are as ready as they can be for go live (please see above).

I finished the week on Friday having a really positive workshop with the Executive team and clinical directors thinking through the opportunities of the developing North Staffordshire multispeciality community provider (MCP) and how we need to adapt and change our organisation. It was an excellent session and I personally felt very proud of our senior team with their positive and constructive behaviours (living our values!) and the extent of clinical ambitions and real passion for wanting to improve our services and become outstanding!