Creating a just and learning culture

A collection of evidence and good practice around create a just and learning culture in NHS organisations.

21 July 2021

Within the NHS, employers in partnership with trade unions have been working hard to create a culture of civility, respect and honesty. This is so that when something goes wrong, staff can speak up without fearing blame, and all parties share learning, widely known as creating a just and learning culture.

Evidence shows that creating a just and learning culture can lead to improvements in staff experience, which in turn impacts positively on the delivery of patient care.

When it’s okay to tell the boss bad news

Read about Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust's journey of implementing a just and learning culture in this case study

Just and learning culture – online learning

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust has developed online learning modules on establishing a just and learning culture. The modules are free for all NHS organisations to use, and are available through the trust's restorative just and learning culture web page.

Just and learning culture in the North West – guiding principles – June 2021

Employers and trade unions working in partnership through the North West SPF, have agreed guiding principles to develop and sustain a restorative just and learning culture for people working in the NHS across the region. 

Just culture guide

NHS England and NHS Improvement has developed a just culture guide which encourages managers to treat staff involved in a patient safety incident in a consistent, constructive and fair way.

Being fair report

Read NHS Resolution's being fair report which sets out the argument for organisations adopting a more reflective approach to learning from incidents and supporting staff. 

A just culture network

Access resources from the Improvement Academy just culture network on their website.

Working in partnership to influence compassionate case work

Midlands and East regional SPFs have developed a resource to support trade union and management colleagues to understand the difference that managing employee relations case work in a compassionate, just and learning way, can make to individuals, staff and the organisation.

Just and learning culture in the North SPF network

In March 2021, the Yorkshire and Humber SPF developed a set of regional just and learning principles to adopt as suggested good practice across the region. These were developed after looking at the work undertaken at Mersey Care, feedback sessions from participants of the accredited Northumbria University course on just and learning culture, looking at existing policies from local trusts, and linking with the Yorkshire Improvement Agency's just culture framework.

The North West SPF has built on this good work, developing their own set of just and learning principles for the region, and has invited organisations with innovative practice in this space to present at North West network meetings. 

North East and North Cumbria SPF has started early conversations about a set of guiding principles which would aim to complement what individual organisations are already doing around just and learning culture.