South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS FT – culture change

The challenge

The South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) employs 3,300 staff providing 999, 111 and patient transport services across the South East of England.

SECAmb had established its new headquarters in Crawley but still faced a number of challenges. In common with the wider NHS, SECAmb continued to operate under unrelenting operational and financial pressures. Additionally, as a result regulatory action by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) SECAmb needed to urgently address historical failings in the management of staff and deep cultural issues across the organisation.

In light of these pressures, the Chief Executive and his team set out an ambitious five-year Strategic Plan to:

  • Improve quality for patients
  • Improve performance
  • Meet pressing financial targets
  • Support and develop staff.

The Chief Executive has publicly and repeatedly underlined his determination to deliver these commitments and work with staff to create a better workplace, and specifically, to address the behaviour issues set out by the CQC and in the Duncan Lewis report.

Ignite and SECAmb recognised that in addition to the risks posed by stretched resources and competing priorities, operational pressures over the winter period represented a major risk to progress and needed to be carefully managed.

The result

  • The design and delivery of a tailored, fit-for purpose culture change programme focussed on behaviour development for all levels in SECAmb, from the Board to front-line staff.
  • This included delivery of the Exec/Board Development Programme, the Senior Leaders Programme, 1:1 Coaching for c.40 staff and the all staff Behaviour Development Workbooks.
  • The SECAmb OD team are equipped with the framework and tools to continue delivering the Behaviour Development Programme.
  • Visible positive changes were seen in the organisation and excellent feedback received on the behaviour interventions, all of which are supporting SECAmb to rebuild trust and confidence amongst staff and the regulators.

What made it successful

  • Ignite brought expertise, an approach and a set of tools, all tailored to SECAmb’s needs.
  • Effectively engaging with SECAmb to deliver change on the ground, working in collaboration with the Communications Team to ensure all managers and staff were appraised of progress and were able to comment on and contribute to the behaviour development programme.
  • Working with the SECAmb Executive and Senior Leaders to ensure the programme would equip staff with the skills to promote positive behaviours and to proactively tackle poor ones.

The Trust has been undergoing a significant amount of major transformation and change and by partnering with Ignite they were able to offer us tailored dedicated specialist support. This expertise allowed us to successfully deliver a major Ambulance Control and Headquarters estates move and at the same time put in place a culture change programme that met the needs of the Trust. The team at Ignite were excellent to work with and very professional.

Daren Mochrie

Chief Executive, South East Coast Ambulance Service