Staff more positive about CQC but ‘bullying’ concerns emerge

CQC staff generally more positive about the organisation but over a quarter of staff question regulator's committment to offering "bullying free" workplace.

A growing number of Care Quality Commission staff believe the watchdog makes a “positive difference to people’s lives” but over a quarter of staff question the regulator’s commitment to offering an environment “free from bullying”, a survey has found.

The survey of 1578 CQC employees, carried out by market research firm GfK for the CQC, revealed that almost three quarters of CQC employees felt the organisation makes “a positive difference”, up from 57% in 2010 – the last year the survey was conducted.

Marked improvements were also seen in the number of staff who said they were proud to work for the regulator (53% in 2012, compared to 37% in 2010) and agreed that they would recommend CQC as “a good place to work” (42% in 2012, compared to 25% in 2010).

The broad upturn in staff attitudes in 2012 is in stark contrast to the string of negative verdicts from staff at the CQC and its predecessor, the Commission for Social Care Inspection, that have appeared in recent years.

For the first time, this year’s survey asked CQC staff about “bullying and harassment” at the regulator. While half of staff agreed that the CQC is committed to an environment “free from bullying and harassment”, more than a quarter of employees (28%) disagreed. 

CQC board papers accompanying the survey said research would be conducted to “better understand” the concerns over bullying and “identify further actions to be taken in this area.”

Despite staff being generally more positive this year, overall staff morale was dented due to what the CQC said had been a “turbulent year” for the organisation. The survey revealed that 16% of staff felt morale was good at the watchdog in 2012, down from 18% in 2010. 
A CQC spokesperson said:

“The last year has been a turbulent year for CQC, which is reflected in the fact that more people think morale overall is lower. Yet when responding to questions on their own role, more people say they can rely on support from their colleagues; overall, the most positive scores relate to teamwork.”

During the last twelve months the CQC has undergone dramatic changes at boardroom level. Cynthia Bower resigned as chief executive in February. David Behan was appointed as Bower’s successor in June. Earlier this month Dame Jo Williams resigned as CQC chair. Williams will remain in post until a successor is appointed.

The watchdog has also been embroiled in the fallout surrounding the Winterbourne View care scandal, and involved in a dispute with Kay Sheldon, a board member who has spoken out publicly about alleged poor leadership and safety issues at the regulator.

is Community Care’s community editor

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