New Tricks have worked with Jane Miller and Karen White of the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) to produce a full programme of development designed to increase awareness of Equality, Diversity and Human Rights, and reduce potential conflict within the workplace.

To support the introduction of NEAS’s Dignity at Work policy, New Tricks have designed and delivered training to a new role, that of the Dignity at Work Officer. This role provides staff with a confidential contact who can listen and help a member of staff work through their options for tackling workplace conflict and issues. The Dignity at Work Officer training provided delegates with the skills to effectively listen and provide empathy to staff in stressful situations. The training also provided them with the skills to remain impartial whilst actively looking to move situations forward and find solutions.

Another initiative has seen the introduction of Mediators, staff who have the skills and training to potentially diffuse conflict situations before they can escalate to formal action. This brings several benefits:

  • Staff who are in conflict are able to find a way of resolving their differences
  • Conflict is less likely to re-emerge as staff will have developed new coping skills to informally resolve their differences
  • The organisation can demonstrate it is proactively looking after staff welfare
  • Costly and damaging conflict can be re-directed into more positive actions

In order to support these initiatives New Tricks have also designed a series of Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Awareness courses that challenge beliefs and attitudes, encourage honest and open debate and acknowledge that change and acceptance is greatly increased by openly discussing potential issues.

“Working with New Tricks has been really beneficial for the Trust, and has greatly assisted us with our goal to become a leading organisation for the promotion of Equality, Diversity and Human Rights. The breadth and depth of the training provided to our Dignity at Work Officers and Mediators was most impressive, and was crucial to the success of these new roles. New Tricks developed and delivered a range of informative, interactive and challenging Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Awareness courses tailored to the needs of our different staff groups, from a seminar for the Trust Board, to training for managers and team leaders. The feedback from delegates has always been very positive, with many surprised at how much they enjoyed what they had thought would be a relatively ‘dry’ subject. The impact of this work is now being seen, with the Trust becoming an Equality and Diversity Partner with NHS Employers this year, and being recognised as a top-performing organisation in Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers of 2010.”

Jane Miller (left, and Karen White, NEAS)

Equality and Diversity Manager, North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust.