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Almost €650K paid for ‘culture change’

The HSE has paid almost €650,000 to UK consultancy firm The Chalfont Project since 2017 for its work on staff ‘culture change’ project Values in Action, the Medical Independent (MI) has learned.

The Values in Action initiative involves ‘peer-nominated champions’ attending a ‘boot camp’ where they are introduced to the principles of ‘viral change’ as devised by Dr Leandro Herrero, CEO of The Chalfont Project. Dr Herrero describes himself as an “organisational architect”.

The Chalfont Project was paid €170,764 from 2 June to 31 December 2018 and a further €70,035 from 1 January to 10 April 2019, according to figures released to the MI under Freedom of Information law. The company was appointed in 2017 to “provide behaviour-based culture change implementation support following a competitive tender process”.

As previously reported by MI, in 2017 the HSE paid €292,509 in fees to The Chalfont Project and a further €113,935 from 1 January to 1 June 2018.

The HSE also made consultancy payments to the company before the initiation of the contract, which will expire in 2020 with an option to renew for one year.

Separately, the HSE spent a further €126,586 from June 2018 to April 2019 for other services to support Values in Action. These costs included digital support (€16,006), printed materials (€14,047), events and meetings (€46,088), videos (€14,515) and rent/IT/stationary/miscellaneous (€35,930)

There are seven HSE staff assigned to Values in Action, with one staff member on maternity leave.

Values in Action centres on nine ‘behaviours’ promoted voluntarily by employees of the health service, known as ‘champions’. Examples are, ‘Am I aware of my own stress and how I deal with it?’; ‘Challenge toxic behaviours and attitudes’; and ‘Keep people informed — explain the now and the next’.

Currently, there are 1,605 Values in Action champions and five areas involved — Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) 3 (Mid West), University of Limerick Hospitals Group, CHO 9 (Dublin North City and County), Centre (all staff reporting nationally), and CHO 6 (East).

Last year, the founder of Values in Action Ms Kirsten Connolly was appointed to the newly-created role of Director for Organisational Culture and there were plans to develop a HSE ‘culture unit’. However, Ms Connolly has since left the HSE and it is unclear whether this role will be maintained.

“Decisions such as this will await the outcome of discussions of the CEO and board on this programme and other programmes,” according to the HSE.

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