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5. What are the RCOG regional Workplace Behaviour Champions?

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What are the origins of RCOG Regional WPB Champions?

In 2013 the RCOG launched its Workplace Behaviours Project in collaboration with the RCM.  The development of a network of regional workplace behaviour champions is a key part of this ongoing project. Other specialties have since shown interest in replicating our model.

It is a measure which was specifically targeted at addressing the issues with poor workplace behaviour in relation to specialty trainees (and now includes non-training, non-consultant grades) following the finding of the GMC Training Survey which showed:

GMC National Training Survey 2013:

  • 13.2% of survey respondents said that they had been victims of bullying and harassment in their posts
  • 19.5% had witnessed someone else being bullied in their post
  • Doctors training in obstetrics and gynaecology posts were more likely to report undermining than those in other posts

GMC National Training Survey 2014:

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology had the worst scores in both undermining and a supportive environment of all medical specialities.

 

What is a RCOG Regional WPB Champion?

There is an RCOG Workplace Behaviour Champion in every LETB/deanery to help address undermining and bullying affecting junior doctors (trainees and non-trainees) in O&G in the workplace.  They form a network led by the Workplace Behaviour Advisor.

They are a nominated person with an interest in promoting good workforce behaviour for all and challenging poor behaviour in the workplace.

Champions act as a regional (LETB/deanery) point of contact for trainees and non-training junior doctors in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, for advice and support in relation to matters of poor workplace behaviour.

You can see current Regional Workplace Behaviour Champions and their contact information.

What is their relationship with the RCOG and with LETB/Deaneries

LETB/Deaneries

  • Champions work proactively with the Head of School where concerns regarding undermining or bullying are raised in units.
  • It is expected that Champions will operate outside of the formal School assessment processes to ensure objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest.  They should normally have no formal educational assessment role at School Board/LETB level (particularly in relation to ARCP panels).
  • However, they will be accountable to the Head of School and report regularly to the School Board
  • Champions work alongside the deanery (or equivalent) professional support structures (often called PSU for Professional Support Unit) to access resources and support for trainees where relevant

RCOG

  • Collectively Champions form a network led by the WPB Advisor.  They will attend network meetings which provide an opportunity to share experiences, difficulties, access support and collaborate on solutions.
  • Each year Champions should present their region’s TEF survey results on workplace behaviour to their School Board
  • The Champions network is administrated by the workforce team at the RCOG.

 

Key Tasks

  • Champions are a port of call for trainees and non-training juniors who experience problems with poor workplace behaviour particularly, but not exclusively, when these have not been successfully resolved locally.
  • Listen, support, liaise and signpost: It is not the expectation that champions will deal with the resolution of issues directly but rather to empower others and to use their experience to advise.
  • Champions work proactively with the Head of School where concerns regarding undermining are raised in units.
  • Report to School Board regularly.
  • Become familiar with resources and strategies for addressing workplace behaviour issues.
  • Present and action regional results from the GMC Training Survey and the TEF survey.  Provide support in responding to the results. Complete the loop by following up on recommendations. 
  • Signpost trainees to support resources including the deanery’s professional support services if needed.
  • Provide education and support to consultants/educators regarding workplace behaviours
  • Attend WPB Champion network meetings when able.

Champions should also develop strategies which suit their regional area, for example:

  • Increase their visibility to junior doctors (trainees and non-trainees) and the deanery e.g. ensure they feature on the deanery website, attend ST1 induction and regional teaching programmes, produce posters (linked below) or WPB Champion cards with contact information
  • Consider informal unit visits
  • Attend ARCP (not as a panel member) and HEE reviews of units to speak with trainees
  • Form and lead a network of local champions who reside within each training unit
  • Collaborate with your regional trainee representative network
  • Establish a specific email account for contact regarding WPB issues
  • Attend support meetings with junior doctors in difficulty

Poster 4: Workplace Behaviour Champion (PDF)

Thumbnail of Poster 4 "Champion" in Workplace Behaviour Toolkit

A note on confidentiality

In general, discussions with juniors should remain confidential and only be shared with their consent.  However, it is every doctor’s duty to report practice which is deemed unsafe, that puts patients’ health or lives at risk or is illegal, so in these circumstance the content of your discussion will need to be shared.  It is important that you make juniors aware of this at the start of your discussion.

It is particularly important to be mindful not to share identifiable information (not just names but details of a situation which identifies the doctor) in group discussions such as at School Board.  When you collate and present results from the GMC trainee survey or TEF be mindful that parts of a trainee’s free-text comments may inadvertently make them identifiable and you should do your best to remove such detail where possible.

 

Top Tips

  • Remind juniors that their discussion with you will be confidential unless patient safety is at risk
  • Set time scales – including when you will answer emails
  • Keep good records.  For example you could summarise a discussion in an email to the junior after the meeting with them.  End the email with your recommendations for action.
  • Follow-up with juniors when they rotate to ensure they are still ok – most appreciate this
  • Use trainee reps to ‘spread the word’ about you
  • Ask for advice and support, it is a learning curve for everyone involved.

 

Who can be a regional Workplace Behaviour Champion and how are they appointed?

Person specification

Essential

  • Fellow or Member of the RCOG or other medical royal college
  • Excellent communication skills – listening, empathy, able to negotiate, understands need for confidentiality, etc.
  • Experience of educational supervision
  • Experience in an educational support role
  • Knowledge of professional and social support available to staff, e.g. human resources, confidential employee advice service, deanery support structures
  • Experience of dealing with undermining or bullying behaviours
  • Ability to develop and implement effective local solutions to address issues identified
  • Ability to provide regular reports on activity to the Head of School

Desirable

  • Experience in an educational or management role, e.g. Clinical Tutor, TPD, Head of School, Clinical Lead, Coach or Mentor, Member of Professional Advisory Panel, Member of Fitness to Practise Panel.
  • Notes on the appointment process
  • Regional Workplace Behaviour Champions will be appointed by the Head of School. RCOG recommends that the selection panel should include as a minimum:
    • Head of School or nominated deputy
    • Chair of local Trainees’ Committee or nominated deputy
    • Lay representative (Appointed by Deanery)
  • It is expected that the Champion will operate outside of the formal School processes. This will ensure objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest when called upon to deal with allegations of unacceptable workplace behaviour.
  • The Champion will be sufficiently senior that they have access to senior management level within their employing organisation and Postgraduate Dean/senior management team of the LETB.
  • At present, there is no agreement for PA allocation unless agreed locally.