Trust is the issue…….

by Julia Evans on November 17, 2012

Just as the BBC may have reached the limit of what can be achieved by regulation and a tight system of compliance monitoring, so more rules and more bureaucracy are not necessarily the right way to restore trust in other institutions. From : Editorial, Trust is the issue: The Tablet : 17th November 2012: available here

This is a hasty post….

The logic of this Editorial works thus:

The BBC has suffered a crisis of trust.

Its reputation as a source of responsible investigative journalism has been overtaken by a sharp loss of confidence.

BBC journalism is not immune from human error especially when reporters work under pressure.

Some of that pressure was internally generated by the understandable desire not to repeat the mistake of overcaution

The newly arrived director general, … did not seem to understand what had gone wrong or how he should have prevented it

But they all risk falling into the same trap – from having trusted too much, they may go to the opposite extreme of trusting too little.

Just as the BBC may have reached the limit of what can be achieved by regulation and a tight system of compliance monitoring, so more rules and more bureaucracy are not necessarily the right way to restore trust in other institutions. The requirement for Criminal Records Bureau checks on those working with young people, which have become a nightmare for employers and employees alike, would not have stopped Jimmy Savile. Regulations do not necessarily restore trust but can undermine professional judgement, for instance when the key question becomes not “Is this right?” but “How far can we go?”

Society – not just the BBC – needs to ask itself thoughtfully and soberly not how can risk be eliminated, but how can genuine trust – rather than mere regulatory compliance – be restored and sustained.

The overlap with what is happening in health…….

The Health Professions Order 2001 made  is passed in both Houses of Parliament to ‘safeguard the health and wellbeing’ of the Nation’s subjects by the implementation of ferocious rules and regulations onto the training and practice of health professionals.

This order is a knee-jerk reaction to Dr Shipman’s criminal activities – murder is a criminal act and is forbidden. Everyone knows this, even practitioners within health.

So both Houses of Parliament agree with the premise that systematic regulation restores trust.  There is no evidence for this, but no matter.

There is also no evidence that more regulation would have stopped Dr Shipman. By the way those of us working as talking therapists cannot use our technology, speech, to kill.

Further the type of regulation top-down use of power with error judged against the One Standard is inappropriate to a practice based within a relationship of trust. See Does rule through regulatory systems give protection from murderers? – No by Julia Evans on November 6, 2009 or here

Regulations do not necessarily restore trust but can undermine professional judgement.

The key question becomes one of survival: I need the money for the mortgage so I have to work within this authoritarian system: So ‘how far can I go?’ Not ‘Is this right?’

Let’s hope that another Jimmy Savile or Fred West or Dr Shipman do not appear in the Government’s systematic, that is devoid of relationships, mental health clinic.  Because if they do, they will not be recognised.  Everyone has their head down to protect their mortgage.

Remember, this Government has banned relationships of trust in favour of 450 Skills for Health competences, NICE clinical guidelines which lead to cbt, HPC , CHRE, PSA, HCPC painting-by numbers instructions on how practitioners should operate, and contracting out to profit-making firms who have targets of getting people back into work to complete.

So how can genuine trust – rather than mere regulatory compliance – be restored and sustained?  Or is it too late?

One comment

Great Julia! As always, you touch the nerve of what is happening around us!
Thanks a lot for this thoughtful article.

by Gustavo Dessal on 19/11/2012 at 5:41 pm. Reply #