How Public Sector Frameworks Shift Culture from Blame to Learning

Single sourced framework agreements have significant potential to convert feedback and lessons learned into continuous improvement and best practice.
Every learning point should be fed back into better processes that can be sustained beyond the duration of the framework agreement. And with a longer term approach, there is more scope and more incentive to identify trends, root causes and long-term solutions.

But none of this happens just because there is a framework agreement in place. The framework has to be set up to promote a learning culture. Several other enabling mechanisms need to be in place. Here are a few essential steps to instilling a learning culture:

1 Make it Easy

First of all, forget the suggestion box – these have never worked! Everyone in the contractor team, the supply chain, the customer and other partners needs a simple, fast and efficient way to capture good ideas. Our Improvement Opportunities (IO’s) platform makes it simple to log improvements via the website and mobile apps. To date, we’ve captured over 16,000 ideas, which equates to around one every 15 minutes.

2 Make it Worthwhile

By this we mean make sure that people know what happens to their ideas, how they are reviewed and that they are reviewed seriously. It’s also vital to acknowledge and thank people for every idea. In Osborne’s case, IOs are uploaded to our knowledge management system and reviewed by an IO Panel. This team collates and assesses them for trends. They escalate framework and business critical ideas to the Board.

3 Make it Genuinely Open

Driving continuous improvement in framework arrangements means changing traditional attitudes to how we learn from our mistakes and failures. The difference between how the aviation and the health sectors deal with learning is a stark example of this. The creation of an open learning culture – that focuses on learning rather than apportioning blame – is the single most important factor in delivering long-term continuous improvement.

A Fair Culture Assessment (FCA) can be an effective tool for investigating any failures. The FCA follows a mapped process, looking at the root causes of the failure. Above all, it promotes a culture where people are open about their fallibility and the priorities are learning and improvement.

4 Make it Shared

The more we share, the more we all learn. Every month we publish STOP Think! Cascade, a publication that captures our learning, collates industry best practice and highlights emerging industry issues. We share this openly with our customers, supply chain, trade associations and competitors (yes, competitors).
The creation of a learning culture should be a key objective for every framework agreement. A strong learning organisation will do everything it can to mine the knowledge and learning from their experiences and mistakes. At the same time, they will create an environment and supporting processes to progressively convert ideas into productivity gains. And no suggestion box will do that for you.

Find out more by visiting Highways learning pages on our website.

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