It seems that every day another scandal hits the headlines where whole institutions seem to have lost their sense of direction.
The most recent and for me the most disturbing is the report into the Stafford NHS Trust. The report condemned the lack of leadership of the board and the lack of care all the way down to the bedside. It seems unbelievable that an organisation that should be about caring for people did not do it at all. And according to the report rather than not caring, it actually harmed people.
Prior to that, we have the case of blacklisting in the construction industry. Again it seems inconceivable that rational people would think that such behaviour was acceptable, but obviously they did.
We are still seeing the fall out of the Libor rate fixing scandal with the fines seeming to get bigger by the week and not confined to a small number of banks either. They were all at it.
Leveson has not done much to enhance the reputation of the press, the police or other public officials. The phrase “misconduct in public office” is becoming heard all too often. On a smaller scale, Plebgate has us questioning the relationship between politicians and the police, the motives of the police and who is accountable.
I dread to mention the case of Jimmy Savile. How many institutions turned a blind eye or were “conned”?
All these scandals are about cheating with the victims having little recourse.
Is the answer more regulation? I doubt it because many of the scandals are scandals because the regulators did not do their job because they had no real teeth or worse, were complicit in the wrongdoing.
Organisations are groups of people and in the end it is people who choose the way their organisations are run. It is people who choose whether to chuck out the moral compass and decide whether the end justifies the means.
The answer is not more regulation, it is simpler than that – pick up the moral compass and use it. The burden of responsibility belongs to those at the top of organisations and they must set the tone for their organisation. It’s called leadership.
If hospital boards and doctors and nurses can lose sight of the fact that caring for people is everything their job is about, then we should all reflect on how easy it would be for anyone else to lose sight of their aims.
In staying on track there is only one question to ask: “Would I like this to happen to me?”