Section 1 – What is the Healing Process and How to Engage with It?

What is the Healing Process?

The Healing Process was co-produced by an Independent Implementation Team working alongside colleagues, ex-employees, whistleblowers and staff representatives and approved by NHS Highland Board on 31st March 2020.  The Independent Implementation Team comprised individuals not employed within NHS Highland with a range of strategic, project management, HR and legal experience who worked with the co-production groups described above to develop the Healing Process.

The Healing Process provides an opportunity for individuals to be listened to and also offers a number of outcomes and pathways including:   

  • All individuals must attend 1:1 discussion with an Independent Provider (CMP Resolutions). Following the 1:1 session individuals have a range of options available:
    • An apology 
    • Access to Psychological Therapies provided by an Independent Provider (Validium)
    • No further action by NHS Highland (NHSH)
    • Access to an Independent Review Panel (IRP) to discuss the case. 
  • Some individuals may choose to attend an IRP session. The IRP has the power to make a recommendation for five potential outcomes (including those noted above). The IRP has the power to make a recommendation for one or more of the following in each case: 
    • Outcome 1: an apology and/or recommendation for organisational learning;
    • Outcome 2: assessment for provision of psychological therapies;
    • Outcome 3: financial payment or consideration for: Re-engagement or Re-employment or Re-deployment (not available to Expanded Scope Individuals);
    • Outcome 4: referral to an internal process (not available to Expanded Scope Individuals); or
    • Outcome 5: no further action by NHS Highland (NHSH).

Note that Outcomes 3 and 4 are not available to “Expanded Scope Individuals” as explained below. 

Guidance documents for the 1:1 stage, psychological therapies and IRP stage are also available on the website. 

Who is Eligible to Access the Healing Process?

Any individual who has held a directly employed position and contract of employment within NHS Highland within Highland or Argyll and Bute who feels that they have been harmed by the cultural issues related to allegations of bullying and harassment up to and including 31st December 2019 in their capacity as a current or ex-employee, whether as actual or perceived victim, bystander, bully or otherwise. This process is not limited to those who have previously raised concerns. These individuals have access to the full Healing Process, including the 1:1 and IRP stage, and are eligible to seek/receive a recommendation for all/any of the five outcomes available.

In addition, those who are not, or were not, directly employed by the Board but who have, or had, regular and consistent membership of formal governance arrangements (e.g.-NHSH Board, NHSH Committee’s and Sub Committees and the Argyll & Bute IJB) and who experienced historical bullying up to and including 31st December 2019 whilst carrying out that role, are also eligible to register for the Healing Process.  These “Expanded Scope Individuals” will be able to access the Healing Process but will have a reduced range of outcomes available. Expanded Scope Individuals will have access to:  a one to one session for a supported discussion; an apology; access to Psychological Therapies; access to an Independent Review Panel (IRP).  Expanded Scope Individuals will not be eligible for a recommendation for outcomes 3 or 4 of the Healing Process which include – outcome 3 (Financial payment; Re-engagement, Re-employment or Re-deployment) or outcome 4 (Referral to other processes). All Healing Process documentation, must be read with this limitation in scope in mind. 

Where an individual could be categorised as eligible to access the Healing Process as both a current/ex-employee and an Expanded Scope Individual, outcomes 3 and 4 would only be available to the extent that the individual is eligible for such a recommendation in their capacity as a current or ex-employee under the Healing Process.

How do I start the Healing Process?

The first step you must take is to formally register that you wish to engage with the Healing Process and you can do this in the following ways. The Registration period will run from 27th May 2020 to 26th February 2021.  You can obtain more information on the Healing Process by visiting the dedicated website at www.healing-process.co.uk and can register your interest by sending an email to the confidential mailbox healingprocess@cmpsolutions.com or by calling the confidential phone line on 03333 445892.

The phone line is available from 8.30-17.30 Monday to Friday (not bank holidays).  Outside of normal hours individuals will be able to leave a message which will be picked up by the administrator the next working day.  

Your initial contact will be managed independently by CMP, by a dedicated, trained administrator. The administrator will take some basic details, including preference for a telephone or online meeting.  During the initial call the administrator will ask the individual for their name, contact details and preferred method of contact. 

During a follow up call to make an appointment individuals will then be asked to confirm basic details about their working relationship with NHS Highland in order to carry out a short eligibility check for engagement in the process as detailed below.  

How will the Healing Process be delivered?

The Healing Process will be delivered remotely using telephone and web based conferencing in order to comply with social distancing requirements. This will also ensure we can provide an equitable process for all, irrespective of geographical location.  If using a technological platform causes specific challenges for an individual, then this will be looked at on a case by case basis to determine what additional support may be required to access the process.

Can I remain Anonymous during the Process?

When you register you will need to provide you name and preferred contact details. At this stage only the CMP administrator will know your contact details. 

At other stages of the process you will be required to provide further personal details which will then only be shared to the extent appropriate depending on the outcomes sought and the stage of the process. You can be assured that any personal details shared would be on a limited basis. These details will not automatically be shared with NHS Highland.  

There will be a need as described above at an appropriate stage to undertake an identity to check to ensure that any individual entering the process is who they are claiming to be and for the later stages of the process names will need to be known.  However, any update reports provided to NHS Highland will be anonymous in nature and will deal with numbers accessing the Healing Process in general and different stages of the process it will not be identifiable in any way. 

As explained more fully in the IRP Guidance, where an individual seeks a recommendation for certain outcomes (notably re-instatement, re-engagement or re-employment, for the matter to be dealt with via an extant NHS Highland process and in some cases financial payment) then the relevant individuals in NHS Highland and their advisors will be involved in that process as appropriate. 

Section 2 – Step 1 – Formal 1:1 Discussion with CMP Resolutions

What Happens First?

This first formal stage of the Healing Process is an individual session provided by CMP Resolutions: which we are calling the 1:1 session. The 1:1 guidance is available here. The purpose of this session is to provide support and advice for individuals who may have been affected by historical bullying and harassment.   

The 1:1 session is open to individuals and they can also have a companion with them.  This can be a colleague, family member or a trade union representative. It should not be a legal advisor.  There is more detail about the skills and experience of CMP below.

The 1:1 meeting serves a number of purposes: 

  • To allow for discussion about the Healing Process overall, how it works, and the different outcomes/pathways that can be used. 
  • An opportunity to ask questions and explore possible outcomes with a trained, independent professional. 
  • To provide an opportunity for individuals to talk in confidence about their experiences and to have those documented if desired. 
  • Support to individuals to prepare a statement that can be used throughout the Process; ensuring that individuals do not have to continually repeat their experiences. 
  • Allow individuals to register their intention to pursue any one or more pathways whilst protecting their anonymity during the discussions at this early stage. 

 Registration for the Healing Process opened in May. CMP will provide a 1:1 session for all those who are currently registered by the end of July. For those who register from July, CMP are committed to providing a 1:1 session within two weeks of booking contact. Once the administrator has taken basic details individual cases will be assigned to an appropriate practitioner who will make contact to confirm where and when the session will take place.  

Is the 1:1 session being run by NHS Highland or Argyll and Bute?

No – it is important that this is confidential and independent. The 1:1 session is being provided by an independent organisation called CMP Resolutions. You can find out more about CMP on their website here: www.cmpsolutions.com

What information will I be sent in advance of the 1:1 session?

In advance of the 1:1 session you will be asked to complete the eligibility check and to have this ready for the 1-1 session to discuss with your practitioner. You will also be sent a copy of the Privacy Statement which explains what will happen with your personal data during the Healing Process and we will discuss this at you 1:1. As explained, during your 1:1 session your CMP practitioner will also discuss with you the option of preparing a Personal Statement to use during the Healing Process. As such, a template Personal Statement will also be sent to you in advance of your 1:1 session for you to look at if you wish. You do not need to fill this out in advance of the 1:1 session (or at all) but it will be sent in advance as some people may find it useful to see this before their 1:1 session.

What is the point of the 1:1 session?

As explained above, the 1:1 Session serves a number of functions. It provides independent information about the options available under the Healing Process. A trained practitioner will, in confidence, listen to individual’s concerns and support them in identifying what they would like to do, and the pros and cons of different options available.  

The practitioner will help individuals to decide what they want from the Healing Process both in general and in terms of specific outcomes sought. The practitioner will assist the individual to navigate the Healing Process and understand what is likely to be involved in seeking various outcomes. This will often include explaining to the individual’s wishing to access the IRP stage that this will normally involve preparing a statement, and CMP will offer assistance to the individual in doing so. The practitioner will also do some reality checking to help make sure what is sought is appropriate and may be achievable within the Healing Process in the context of the individual’s circumstances.  

As explained, individuals can move to some outcomes directly from the 1:1 discussion. Other outcomes are only available if recommended by the IRP which will involve the individual taking part in a separate discussion with the IRP and often providing a statement and supporting information to the IRP in advance. 

Who are the practitioners?

CMP have drawn together a team of experienced practitioners who have been selected for their extensive interpersonal skills and are dedicated to this project. They will not be working with NHS Highland in any other way other than this Process.  

Practitioners have gone through a rigorous interviewing process before being accepted onto the interviewer panel and have at least five years documented practice experience, and most hold between 10- and 20-years’ experience. CMP’s practitioners are trained in the following: 

  • Mediation; 
  • Counselling skills; 
  • Employment law relating to harassment, discrimination and victimisation; and 
  • Investigating bullying and harassment allegations. 

None of the practitioner team has a connection to NHS Highland and all are based outside of the region. The team has been trained on the Healing Process and their expertise lies in being able to have deep supportive conversations. There is a range of different types of practitioners, so if individuals feel more comfortable with a particular type of person e.g. gender, this will be accommodated wherever possible. 

Why is there an eligibility check before I can access a 1:1?

As explained above, the Healing Process is only available to eligible individuals who currently or in the past have had a formal working relationship with NHS Highland and feel that they have been harmed by the cultural issues related to allegations of bullying and harassment up-to and including 31st December 2019 in relation to that role. 

As explained above, the healing process is open to current and ex-employees, and “Expanded Scope Individuals”. As such, it is essential that an eligibility check is performed to determine (i) if a person is eligible to access the Healing Process; and (ii) what range of outcomes may be available. 

It is important that CMP administration check that all those accessing the process are eligible to do so. As such, CMP will be collecting information from individuals regarding their relationship with NHS Highland (whether as a current or ex-employee or Expanded Scope Individual).  This information will then be verified by one of the Independent Implementation Team with the appropriate understanding of employment issues with NHS Highland in a limited and controlled manner.     

As explained above, the Healing Process is only relevant in relation to those who feel that they have been harmed by the cultural issues related to allegations of bullying and harassment up to and including 31st December 2019 in their capacity as a current or ex-employee (or in their capacity as an Expanded Scope Individual), whether as actual or perceived victim, bystander, bully or otherwise. This process is not limited to those who have previously raised concerns. 

The Healing Process is not available in relation to events from 1 January 2020 onwards and these should be pursued via other processes including using current NHS Highland processes as appropriate. 

Do I have to have a 1:1 session? 

Yes – anyone accessing the Healing Process must participate in the 1:1 stage.  Whilst individuals may have a view that they know which option they feel is correct for them it is important that they are able to discuss this with the support of a CMP practitioner

Where will my 1:1 sessions take place? 

All 1:1 sessions will be conducted virtually or by phone. It is important that sessions take place somewhere comfortable and confidential and we would recommend that you find somewhere at home or in another suitable location and give yourself plenty of time. You can have a video conference session or a telephone session, which ever you prefer. 

When will my 1:1 session take place? 

Sessions will normally be arranged during the day on a week-day. For some people this timing will not be suitable. CMP will offer some early morning and evening sessions and also sessions over the weekend.  This will be discussed with you. 

What will happen in the 1:1 session?  

As explained above, a practitioner will have a discussion with you, usually for about two hours, but if more time is needed that will be accommodated wherever possible.  They will talk to you about your situation and explore the different pathways of the Healing Process, so that all your options are clearly understood. You will be asked to commit to honesty in this discussion and throughout the Healing Process.

Throughout the meeting the practitioner will: 

  • Ensure they listen actively and give you a full opportunity to get across the information needed; 
  • Clarify they have arrived at an accurate, appropriate summary of issues; 
  • Discuss impartially and in detail the available options; 
  • Offer assistance to the individual in preparing a statement as explained below; and 
  • Support individuals to come to an informed and clear decision about next steps. 

How many times can I see a practitioner?

It is expected that most people will only need one 1:1 session and a follow up call/contact. If individuals do feel that they do need more time this will be considered.

When do I make my decision about how I wish to proceed? 

You will not be asked to make a decision during the 1:1 discussion about how you may wish to progress through the Healing Process, and any outcome(s) sought unless you arrive naturally at that point. You will be encouraged to take a few days to digest and mull over the information from the meeting before making a final decision, which gives an opportunity for further personal reflection. Decisions are for each individual participant to make.  

The practitioner will make contact within a few days after the session to establish what decision may have been reached and provide further information on the next steps.  

What is the statement?

To support you and to make it easier to move through the different pathways of the Healing Process, you can compile a summary statement of your circumstances and any outcomes you are seeking from the IRP if appropriate. The practitioner can help you to do this in your 1:1 session. If you would like, they can take notes in conversation with you and type a summary using the dedicated template and then send this to you for you to keep and amend as you move through the process. If you would prefer, you can prepare your own statement, using the template and guidance notes that will be sent to you after the 1:1 session. The personal statement is not compulsory but may be helpful.

Once the statement is prepared, the practitioner will destroy any notes. They will also not keep any final copies of your statement. It will be emailed confidentially to you and then deleted from CMP’s system. You can then use this statement at later stages of the process if you wish. In particular, this will be useful at the IRP stage. 

What will happen after the 1:1 session?

What happens next will depend on which pathway or pathways you decide are right for you. Whichever you decide the practitioner will make an onwards referral on your behalf and check back in with you to keep you updated. 

What if I am not happy about my 1:1 session? 

Practitioners allocated to the Healing Process are completely independent and are not attached to any one pathway. Their sole focus is on ensuring that participants have the right information to make an informed decision about what to do next and understand what those next steps might look and feel like.  

Anyone who is unhappy with the way they feel after a session has been concluded has the right to make a complaint using the CMP complaints process www.cmpsolutions.com/complaints

Will my 1:1 session be confidential? 

The only people who will know details about the 1:1 session will be the CMP administrator and the practitioner. However, depending on what decisions are made about which pathways are subsequently accessed, some personal information will need to be passed onto NHS Highland to ensure that the next steps can be organised.  Access to this information will be to a limited number of individuals and only those who would have a need to have this information to progress the next stages for you. 

The content of your 1:1 session remains confidential between you and the practitioner unless and until you decide to share it. You will need to share some details in order to move through the Healing Process. 

CMP will be sharing some high level anonymous data to help monitor the quality of their work and delivery of the contract. For example the number of sessions held and the average length of time in session. CMP will also be collecting some feedback from participants after the session about how it went to help ensure they are delivering a quality service. 

Section 3 – After the 1:1 Discussion

What outcomes are available via the Healing Process and how to I access those outcomes?

There are a number of outcomes available under the Healing Process as explained above. There are also different routes to those outcomes. 


All individuals can access the following outcomes after the 1:1 meeting. 

(a) Apology

For many, a key step towards healing will be having the harm they have experienced listened to without judgment, acknowledged, and a sincere apology given.

If you wish to access an apology directly after the 1:1 stage, you should discuss this with your CMP practitioner. In particular, you should explain your concerns and what you are seeking an apology for. This should form part of your statement. You should agree with your CMP practitioner what aspects from your statement and as otherwise discussed with CMP you are content to be shared with the Chief Executive. CMP will then share this information with the Chief Executive. The final wording of any apology issued will be a matter for the Chief Executive. All apologies will be bespoke to the individual and reflect their circumstances while addressing any common themes consistently. 

(b) Referral to assessment for Psychological Therapies

Individuals can be referred from the 1:1 to an assessment for Psychological Therapies. The Psychological Therapies Guidance is available here. If you have decided that you would like to access Psychological Therapies, you let your CMP Practitioner know and they will complete a referral form with you, for Validium and let you know when this has been sent. FAQs on the Psychological Therapy Services offered by Validium is are set out under section 3.2 below. 

(c) No further action by NHS Highland

Following the 1:1 an individual may decide that they do not wish to progress any further through the Healing Process. The process is voluntary and individuals are entitled to withdraw at any time.  Individuals who are not eligible to participate in the Healing Process will not be able to obtain a formal outcome via the Healing Process but may, depending on their circumstances, have access to other forums or extant NHS Highland processes. 

(d) Move to Independent Review Panel (IRP)

Some individuals may wish to progress their case to the IRP. Additional outcomes are available for the IRP to recommend (see below). It is also recognised that for some, they will find it beneficial to attend a session with the IRP even if they are seeking an outcome which would be available without seeing the IRP. 

Note that Expanded Scope Individuals do not have access to outcome 3 (Financial payment; Re-engagement, Re-employment or Re-deployment) or outcome 4 (Referral to other processes).


What Psychological Therapy is available?

To assist you with any harmful impact on your mental health and wellbeing from NHS Highland issues related to past allegations of bullying and harassment, a wide range of psychological support is available. This includes online wellbeing resources and tools, counselling brief therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and other specialist psychological interventions, as well as onward referrals to other appropriate support. The support each individual will receive depends on what is clinically most appropriate to address their issues, circumstances, needs and preferences.

Who is Validium?

Validium is a specialist, independent provider of Psychological Therapy Services. They have been operating across the whole of the UK for over 20 years and provide services to the employees of c300 organisations. Since 1st May 2020, Validium has provided the confidential Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) counselling support and information services for NHS Highland employees. You can find out more about Validium and their services by visiting their website at www.validium.com

What types of Issues can Validium assist with?

Validium can assist with mental wellbeing concerns such as anxiety, stress, loss of self-esteem, depression, lack of confidence and low mood, as well as impacts on other aspects of life such as relationships, family and lifestyle. 

How could Psychological Therapy help me?

The Psychological therapy services can support you in dealing with the impact of past situations, and in understanding, relieving and effectively managing negative symptoms; building resilience; making positive changes; and coping with challenges. Skills and techniques that you might learn as part of the support can often increase your ability to cope effectively with future issues too.

What Psychological Therapy Specialists does Validium have?

The vast majority of Validium’s employed staff are qualified, experienced and accredited psychological health professionals working in roles such as telephone and online counsellors, clinical and case managers, specialist wellbeing consultants and trainers/coaches.

In addition, Validium has a UK-wide affiliate network of c2,000 rigorously screened specialists, including counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists (clinical, counselling and neurological), cognitive behavioural therapists – accredited with the BABCP, EMDR specialists and wellbeing coaches/trainers.

Are the Psychological Therapy Services Confidential?

Validium’s Psychological Therapy Services are confidential and the anonymity of the individual is of paramount importance. The fact that someone is seeking help from Validium and all information relating to them and the support provided to them remains confidential. Any management information provided to NHS Highland about the delivery of Validium’s psychological therapy services as part of the Healing Process will be high-level, anonymised and collated statistical data from which no individuals or groups can be identified.

The only exceptions to the above are situations where information revealed by a client indicates that the client, another person, or the client’s workplace may be in danger.  This includes offences under The Road Traffic Act 1988, The Prevention of Terrorism Act 1989 and The Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986.  If such a situation does arise, the information disclosed will be confined to what is strictly necessary and, wherever possible, you will be consulted before the disclosure is made. Also, where it is requested by or agreed with the individual that, for their benefit, Validium provides specific information about them (e.g. in a report) to a third party, such aa a GP –this information will only be released with their specific signed consent. 

Validium’s confidentiality policy is in line with the Guidelines for Ethical Practice of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

How clinically robust is Validium?

As a high quality, professional provider of psychological services, Validium has strong clinical governance policies and procedures (including effective risk and case management practices), a regular external auditing regime in line with its ISO 9001 accreditation, robust supervision and support in place for our employed specialists and affiliates, and strong management procedures for our UK-wide network of clinicians. 

How Secure is Data held by Validium?

As a quality and professional psychological services provider, the protection of client data is of the utmost importance. Validium is accredited to, and externally audited against, the ISO 27001 international standard for Information Security. The company has robust GDPR/Data Protection policies and effective procedures relating to privacy and confidentiality. In addition, they follow a number of professional codes of practice concerned with the protection of data in their industry.  All clients will have access to the detailed Validium Privacy Policy.

Will Data be shared with Anyone Else?

Anonymised and amalgamated data on the service elements used and outcomes achieved by the NHS Highland clients using Validium’s psychological services will be fed back to CMP to collate with data from the other service providers, so that statistical data on the work and effectiveness of the Healing Process can be reported back to and reviewed by NHS Highland.

Otherwise an individual’s data will only be shared with others (for example their GP or an NHS Highland manager) at the individual’s request and with their specific written consent.

How do I Access the Psychological Therapies Service?

Access is given to Validium’s Psychological Therapy Services on referral by CMP Resolutions. If you decide during your initial 1:1 discussion with CMP, after that discussion or at any later stage that you would like to have Psychological Therapy or discuss the support options available with Validium, let CMP know. They will then make a referral for you, by passing your basic details (and your statement, if you wish) securely on to Validium, so that they can contact you. Also, if you opt for an Independent Review Panel, they may recommend that you access Psychological Therapy.

When will my Psychological Therapies take place?

The process will start as soon as possible after your referral. As noted above, some people will be referred to Validium directly from the 1:1 with CMP. 

If you seek a recommendation for Psychological Therapies from the IRP, CMP will then complete the referral to Validium. 

What is the First Step with Validium?

Once Validium has received and reviewed a referral from CMP, one of their psychological services clinicians will call the individual on the phone number they provided at a time suitable for them. They will leave a confidential message for the individual, if they cannot reach them, only if the person has given permission in the referral details for Validium to do this. 

The purpose of the telephone call is to discuss the issues related to past allegations of bullying and harassment, the impact on the individual’s wellbeing and psychological health and to assess their support needs. They will seek to identify what the person wants to achieve and how best to assist them to do this.

During the call, the specialist will also answer any questions, take any further necessary details and discuss the appropriate support options available, as well as the individual’s preferences for the type of support and methods for accessing it (e.g. telephone, online). The support provided for each person will depend on what is clinically most appropriate to address their specific issues, circumstances, needs and preferences. 

The next steps will then be discussed and agreed.

What Happens After my Initial Discussion with Validium?

After the discussion with their psychological specialist, Validium will promptly set up the support to be provided in line with what was agreed with the individual. This might involve:

  • providing access details to the secure online resources portal to enable help-sheets to be downloaded or specific support tools to be used.
  • emailing helpful materials.
  • setting up a set of brief-therapy counselling calls with a telephone counsellor, a set of e-counselling sessions. 
  • exploring the options for further specialist psychological interventions, such as a psychological assessment. Should the possibility of providing specific additional specialist psychological interventions require a discussion with NHS Highland, Validium can do this, on the person’s behalf and with their explicit consent, without revealing the identity of the individual and any personal information about them.
  • giving information about specialist additional sources of support outside the Healing Process.

Where the support deemed appropriate is above that contained within the pre-authorisation provisions a confidential process will be applied to seek authorisation to proceed to supply support above this level.

What Happens if I’m not happy with my Therapist?

In almost all cases, individuals are happy and work well with the specialist allocated to provide their treatment. In any rare instances where clients tell us that they are not getting on well with their therapist, our clinical managers will offer a different specialist and re-start the treatment. 

What Happens at the End of my Therapy? 

Throughout your therapy, your therapist will work with you to try to enable you to achieve the objectives that were set for the treatment at the outset. At the end of your treatment, you will review the progress you have made with them, and what you have learned and can use in the future. If further needs are identified as part of this review, your therapist will seek to assist you by suggesting other resources or specialists outside of the Healing Process that you may wish to access, providing information on how to do this.

Can I provide Feedback on the Service? 

Validium is always keen to receive feedback on clients’ experiences of their services. They provide a number of routes by which individuals can provide feedback, including by telephone and online. They listen to all feedback, and, if there are any concerns raised, will investigate and rectify any concerns received, taking the opportunity to adapt and enhance their service delivery, if needed, so that they are continually improving – in line with their ISO 9001 Quality accreditation.


What outcomes are available from the IRP?

  • The IRP has the power to make recommendations for a number of outcomes, some of which are also available after the 1:1 discussion.  The IRP has the power to make a recommendation for one or more of the following in each case: 
    • Outcome 1: an apology and/or recommendation for organisational learning.
    • Outcome 2: assessment for provision of psychological therapies.
    • Outcome 3: financial payment (which are capped in accordance with the Levels set out in 10.3) or consideration for: Re-engagement or Re-employment or Re-deployment. Outcome 3is not available to Expanded Scope Individuals.  
    • Outcome 4: referral to an internal process. Outcome 4 is not available to Expanded Scope Individuals. 
    • Outcome 5: no further action by NHS Highland (NHSH).

Note that Outcomes 3 and 4 are not available to “Expanded Scope Individuals”.

More detail on the IRP process and various IRP outcomes are contained in the specific IRP guidance

What information do I need to give the IRP?

As explained in the IRP guidance, individuals are free to determine what information they present to the IRP. Individuals attending the IRP will be sent a form in advance which asks them to provide details of what outcomes they are seeking recommendations from the IRP for (albeit individuals are free to change their minds on this until the end of the IRP session). In most cases it is anticipated that individuals will provide a personal statement as explained above and there is space in the form for this to be included. In many cases individuals will also wish to provide supporting information as explained in the IRP Guidance. Individuals are responsible for uploading their information to the data room. 

How do I share this information with the IRP?

Those wishing to attend the IRP will be provided with log-in details to access their own personal secure data room set up for the purpose of the Healing Process. This will enable the individual to upload documents that they wish the IRP to consider. Individuals should upload their own statement and the form that they are provided. This should be done in advance of the IRP session and details will be provided. The IRP will be able to see these documents in advance of and during the session. Support and guidance will be available on using the dataroom. This electronic dataroom has been chosen to allow secure access to documents remotely. 

Section 4 – Data Protection

CMP will my information be kept safe? 

The personal data privacy information explaining how data will be managed throughout the Healing Process is available here

You will be asked at the 1:1 stage to confirm that you are content for your data to be managed in accordance with that privacy notice. 

Individuals who elect to proceed to the IRP stage may decide that they would like certain information to be considered by the IRP. CMP will contact the individual in advance of their appointment with the IRP to explain the process, and the individual will be sent a guide and log-in details on how to upload that supporting information onto a secure online dataroom. The individual will be in control of their own data room. 

As explained above, some outcomes will necessitate additional identification and eligibility checks, and/or the sharing of some information with NHS Highland (for example, outcome 4 which includes re-instatement). 

CMP has achieved Cyber Essentials Plus certification, which is a high level internet and data security accreditation. CMP’s full privacy policy is available here: www.cmpsolutions.com/privacy. 

Section 5 – General FAQ

Why has NHS Highland introduced the Healing Process?

The Healing Process has been introduced following the recommendations of the 2019 Sturrock Review. It is one of a suite of measures which have been put in place to address the historical impact of bullying and harassment and to ensure that issues are addressed going forward. As already explained, the Healing Process covers the period up-to and including 31 December 2019 and is available to current and ex-employees and Expanded Scope Individuals. The Healing Process is entirely voluntary. NHS Highland has also taken steps to enhance the existing processes for reporting and addressing concerns and for accessing support.  

Has the Healing Process been affected by Covid-19?

The Healing Process was approved by the NHS Highland Board on 31 March 2020. It was initially hoped that the process could launch in April 2020. The launch of the Healing Process was paused as a result of the unprecedented emergency situation of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

With such pressure on all services as a result of Covid 19 the registration phase was held back until 27 May 2020 with the aim being that individual discussions will start in June. This short delay was considered appropriate as lockdown measures were introduced and resources focussed on the emergency situation. With so much information about Covid-19 across media and digital channels there was also a risk that the Healing Process information may not reach everyone who is eligible if it were launched as intended. 

The Healing Process will now progress using telephone and video conferencing solutions to enable matters to progress remotely for all those accessing it to ensure equity of treatment. 

What has happened in the twelve months since the Sturrock Report was launched? 

Since last May a number of positive steps forward have been taken, including the commissioning of an Independent Culture Review in Argyll & Bute.  

A Culture Programme Board has been established to oversee progress and Emma Pickard, our External Culture Advisor was appointed to Chair this board and began work in March.  The Board held a two-day workshop in August 2019 to reflect on what had happened and to inform our priorities to address this.

A series of colleague engagement sessions were held across the Board area in Autumn 2019 where the executive team met with over 350 people and got feedback on their plans and progress.  This led to the creation of our Culture Plan and Commitments .We’ve commissioned a ‘Speak Up’ Guardian service, which will go live in the summer and have an Employee Assistance Programme which started on 1 May 2020.     

Activity has also included finance from the Scottish Government to fund the Healing Process and appointing a number of independent specialist consultancies to deliver the process. 

What steps have been taken within NHS Highland to improve the culture and ensure bullying doesn’t happen in the future? 

Many recommendations from the Sturrock Report and other internal review programmes have already been implemented.  We have been focussing on improving the knowledge and skills of our managers, rolling out courageous conversation training and refreshers on policy and process.  We have been focussing on improving communication and engagement across the organisation.  We are working to adopt the principles and model of the Civility Saves Lives group and will be piloting initiatives to take this forward in the near future.   A ‘Speak Up’ Guardian service is about to be launched to provide an independent channel for colleagues to raise concerns if they can’t use the internal processes. NHS Highland has been clear that bullying, harassment or inappropriate behaviour has no place in our organisation and will not be tolerated.  Our Culture Programme has been created to coordinate and monitor all of the changes we are making.  

What about those who have been impacted in Argyll and Bute? 

The Healing Process is available to those in Argyll and Bute. The NHS Highland Culture Programme and plan applies to all colleagues including those in the Argyll & Bute and the Healing Process when it launches will be accessible by them. The independent review in Argyll and Bute and findings were published in May 2020.  This will help inform the ongoing culture work and ensure that any specific issues related to Argyll & Bute are addressed. 

How can people trust that NHS Highland will deliver what is says following a period of so much negativity? 

NHS Highland is committed to rebuilding relationships and trust with our colleagues and our communities. We have invested a lot of time and effort in setting up our Culture Programme and starting to deliver against our plans and the launch of the Healing Process will be another important milestone.  Our progress with our plans will continue to be discussed publicly at our Board meetings. 

How are you planning to reach out to those impacted by the issues identified in the Sturrock Report?

Making sure that people know about the Healing Process is very important and there is a proactive communications campaign across multiple channels. This includes internal communications, media relations across a wide range of outlets, social media and a dedicated website. 

How many people do you expect to engage with the Healing Process?

We are reaching out widely to make as many people as possible aware of the process and encourage them to engage with it. We carried out an anonymous survey on the Healing Process website to help us gauge demand and ensure the service meets people’s individual needs when it launches.

If I have already responded to the Sturrock Review or the anonymous survey, do I still need to register if I wish to participate in the Healing Process?

Yes. In order to participate in the Healing Process you must register on this website, by email or by phone. 

How will it be decided who gets what outcome in the Healing Process e.g. what is the criteria for an apology vs. psychological therapy versus an independent review panel meeting? 

The first stage of the Healing Process is a 1:1 session with an independent trained practitioner. This session will allow for discussion about the process overall, how it works, and the different outcomes/pathways that can be used. The 1:1 session provides independent information about the options available to individuals who are uncertain about what action they wish to take over a given situation. A trained practitioner will, in confidence, listen to individual’s concerns and support them in identifying what they want from the Healing Process and the most appropriate onward referral for them.  

Why can individuals not be accompanied by a legal representative to the one to one discussionor IRP session?

The companion can be anyone except a legal representative. The role of the companion is to act as support. As this process is focussed on healing, it is intended to be a move away from legal processes which can be formal and adversarial which is why it is not appropriate to bring a legal representative to the meetings. 

Will you publicise how many individuals engage with the process once it begins?

Reports will be provided to the Board to advise them of the total number of requests to access the process and the number of referrals that are made to each element of the process.  These will be anonymised.

Which individuals can access the Healing Process – is it only employees? 

The Healing Process was originally approved for current and ex-employees only. NHS Highland Board has agreed to extend the scope of the Healing Process. It has been agreed that those who are not or were not directly employed by the Board but who have or had regular and consistent membership of formal governance arrangements (e.g.-NHSH Board, NHSH Committee’s and Sub Committees and the Argyll & Bute IJB) and who experienced historical bullying up to and including 31st December 2019 whilst carrying out that role, are also eligible to register for the Healing Process.  These “Expanded Scope Individuals” will be able to access the Healing Process but will have a reduced range of outcomes available. Expanded Scope Individuals will have access to:  a one to one session for a supported discussion; an apology; access to Psychological Therapies; access to an Independent Review Panel (IRP).  Expanded Scope Individuals will not be eligible for a recommendation for outcomes 3 or 4 of the Healing Process which include – outcome 3 (Financial payment; Re-engagement, Re-employment or Re-deployment) or outcome 4 (Referral to other processes). All Healing Process documentation, including this IRP Guidance, must be read with this limitation in scope in mind. 

Are there any restrictions on the time in which cases occurred?

The Healing Process only relates to harm which occurred up to 31 December 2019 are included in scope of the Healing Process, with cases after this period being addressed through existing NHSH policies and procedures.

I do not identify as a victim, bully, by-stander or whistle-blower, but I still feel that I have been harmed by the culture of bullying and harassment in NHS Highland – can I access the Healing Process?

Yes, provided you were harmed on or before 31 December 2019 in your capacity as an ex-employee, current or ex-employee or Expanded Scope Individual as a result of the culture of bullying or harassment in NHS Highland as identified addressed in the Sturrock Review. 

Can individuals use the Healing Process in relation to concerns which do not relate to bullying or harassment?

No. This should be dealt with under extant NHS Highland processes or other forums as appropriate. 

Can individuals who have already raised concerned via another HR process or legal forum still access the Healing Process?

Yes. Further information on how the outcomes available in the Healing Process may interact with other current or historic processes are available in the IRP Guidance.

It may be appropriate for current internal processes to be paused if they relate to the same matters, until the outcome from the Healing process is determined, however, this decision will be taken on a case by case basis.

Can I appeal against the recommendation from the IRP or outcome of the Healing Process?

No. There is no appeal against the outcome of the Healing Process. 

Do I need to tell HR/my manager that I am participating in the Healing Process?

If you are a current employee and you are involved in an ongoing HR process which relates to any historical issues (up to and including 31st December 2019) either as someone who has had allegations made against you or if you have made allegations against someone else, you can still participate in the Healing Process.  However, if you wish to discuss the issue of pausing this process, due to your registering with the Healing Process, then you should make your local HR Department/Trade Union representative aware of this as in some cases it may be appropriate to pause an existing process while you take part in the Healing Process. Your options can then be discussed and agreed with you.

Can I withdraw from the Healing Process?

Yes. The Healing Process is voluntary. If you wish, you can withdraw from the Healing Process at any time and should contact your CMP practitioner if you wish to do so.