Shaping a values-based culture: tips and tools for NHS boards


Values and principles form the bedrock of the NHS, permeating from board to ward.

“It is important for boards to develop a good understanding of current values, behaviours and attitudes operating within the organisation, and to work with staff to shape desired values, behaviours and attitudes,” The Healthy NHS board states.

This is supported by the Rose report, which also calls for a strong, values-based culture in the NHS – many organisations have long adopted and embedded such an approach.

To support members with efforts to shape and embed a values-based culture, we have compiled a list of top tools, tips and resources.

1. Values-based recruitment (VBR) explained

For an overview of what values-based recruitment is, the benefits and a range of case studies and tools, head to NHS Employers’ values-based recruitment web section

2. Mapping values to the NHS Constitution

“Boards need to recognise the importance of ensuring that the culture of their organisation reflects the NHS values, as defined in the NHS Constitution,” The Healthy NHS board says.

Several trusts have developed their organisational values, which complement those defined in the NHS Constitution. NHS Employers, which is part of the NHS Confederation, has worked with Health Education England to help organisations map their values to the Constitution.

By completing the values-mapping tool, the finished product can be displayed for patients or staff, or used as part of evidence for the Care Quality Commission.

3. VBR readiness checklist

This self-assessment checklist helps organisations to gauge their readiness for values-based recruitment. The check list will help identify areas of strengths and may help create an implementing VBR action list.

4. VBR behaviour framework

The framework highlights examples of behaviours that align – or misalign – with the values of the NHS Constitution.

It can be used in conjunction with our values mapping tool to link behaviours to local values. The framework has a range of uses, including as scoring criteria for interviews, or the basis for appraisal processes.

5. Changing organisational culture

Take a look at the top tips from four leaders spearheading culture change programmes across the NHS. The NHS Confederation will be producing further resources for boards on shaping organisational culture.

6. Case studies

To discover how NHS organisations have translated their values into behaviour standards or expectations for staff, have a look at the examples below: 

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