Sector: 
Health & NHS
Date of Pledge: 
15/07/2020

About this pledge

We are a company limited by guarantee, operating at the intersection of public and third sector organisations in Worcestershire, with influence at both a regional and national level.

We have a total of 11 employees. Our structure includes Board with Chair, Managing Director, 4 Executive Directors and 6 Co-opted Board Members, plus 5 operational staff. The office comprises one large open-plan room, so everyone works together in a shared space, which contributes significantly to the open and supportive culture. 

Healthwatch Worcestershire (HWW) represents people who use publicly-funded health and social care services, liaising with NHS and other providers of such services and reporting on their effectiveness, with a view to effecting change/system improvements where necessary. Our main role is engagement activities with service users and patients, gathering views and experiences and then feeding back constructively in a spirit of collaboration. We seek to act as a critical friend within the system so that there can be both a recognition of positive service delivery and an acknowledgement of the need for improvements in some situations, to the ultimate benefit of members of the public who use these services. This is often challenging, and sometimes distressing, for our staff when dealing with people in need.

The workforce comprises a team of experienced professionals who carry a high degree of personal responsibility for their work and who function within a  flat management hierarchy. Only one person works full-time (Managing Director), with all other staff, working part-time hours that reflect both the needs of the organisation but also the needs and preferences of individual employees.

Our culture is founded on mutual respect and dignity, where everyone matters. We seek to conduct our business openly and ethically, so our Board Meetings are open to the public and our operational approach is based on the principles of co-production, encouraging people to have a say and contribute to the development and delivery of effective services. This is characteristic of both our internal workings as well as our outward- facing activities; staff are encouraged to innovate and contribute, and there is commitment at every level of the organisation to the development of the Action Plan. 

This approach informs every aspect of our work and we ensure as far as possible this is reflected within our environment. Thus, although it can be a challenge for a small organisation such as ours to adopt the Thriving at Work Standards, nevertheless we are committed to using them to contribute towards a nurturing, supportive work environment and culture. Given our core business is around health and wellbeing, including mental health provision, we believe as an organisation we should model good principles and practice and we are determined to be a sector leader in positive employee health.

Our approach is based on the whole person, so that good emotional, mental and physical health is key to individual and organisational effectiveness and performance. We have a range of policy documents that underline our commitment to these principles - Flexible Working Policy, Managing Absence Policy, Health and Safety Policy, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and Menopause Policy – but the key is that they are working documents to support the workforce and organisation.

Our approach is to develop an Action Plan that is sponsored at Board level but owned throughout the organisation, and which becomes a living, meaningful document providing a supportive framework for every employee, so that positive mental health and emotional wellbeing are an integral part of our overall workforce development commitment.