Offering an independent view of what went wrong and why, and what is needed to improve: reviews and investigations
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution.” John Ruskin
Public services are rightly held to high standards even as the grip of public spending tightens. Mistakes are made. Unintended consequences occur. New challenges defeat the systems developed to meet old challenges. Understanding errors and learning from failure is crucial to the promise of services will be responsive, but staff also need to be able to trust that criticism will be constructive and kind.
We have real expertise in inquiries and investigations, working with discretion fairness and honesty within the NHS, local government, criminal justice bodies, the food industry, and the charity sector. We have a deep knowledge of the barriers created by poor mutual understanding and partnership working; and of practical approaches to the resolution of overwhelming problems. No system should be allowed to stay broken.
Staff and associates have:
- undertaken full operational reviews and the delivery of rapid improvement strategies
- served as lead investigators in grievance procedures
- chaired and determined disciplinary hearings
- mediated in ‘irretrievable’ breakdowns in relations between staff and service users
- designed and monitored systems to encourage and safeguard the activities of whistleblowers
- led Secretariats for both probate and high profile public reviews of subjects ranging from the terms and conditions of voluntary police officers, the safety of mortuary services, and safeguards against fraud in food retail
Most recently Urban has supported the Dixon Investigation, supporting Dr Bill Kirkup in a commission from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (and supported by NHS Improvement) to determine the truth about the care of a disabled child throughout her life and the adequacy of investigations after her death. Our intention is to find the critical path of mistakes made in this case and find ways to ensure they are not repeated by the organisations and agencies responsible for dealing with children with similar needs.
Public services are constantly modernising to meet ever more exacting service demands, while concurrently shrinking spending. Mistakes are made. Learning from these mistakes is crucial to our ability to develop increasingly responsive services.
Our staff and associates have considerable experience of working on grievences, disciplinaries and investigations both in local government, the NHS, voluntary and community organisations and the partnerships that bring them together. This multi agency knowledge helps us to develop creative multifaceted solutions to problems that sometimes seem overwhelming.
Since 2017 Urban has supported the Dixon Investigation, working for Dr Bill Kirkup in a commission from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (and supported by NHS Improvement) to determine the truth about the care of Elizabeth Dixon during her life and investigations after her death, and to find learning points for organisations and agencies involved with similar cases.