NHS LQF 360 ETHICAL DILEMMAS

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1 NHS LQF 360 ETHICAL DILEMMAS Right Management, 75 King William Street, London, EC4N 7BE T F Right Management All Rights Reserved.

2 INTRODUCTION This document was prepared by Right Management in conjunction with the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement. Since the launch of the LQF 360 tool in 2004, Right Management and the NHS Institute have had to deal with a number of sensitive issues around the management of the 360-degree feedback process and the use of the resulting data. We were keen to share some of our learnings and provide some insight into how we dealt with these ethical dilemmas. Our intention is to add to this document on an ongoing basis, so please feel free to send any comments or additional dilemmas that you would be happy to share to the NHS Support Line Please also remember that Sue Mortlock at the NHS Institute or Pippa Cronk at Right Management should always be your first point of contact if you are ever faced with an issue relating to the LQF 360 tool that you are unsure of how to deal with.

3 SCENARIO 1 Removal of a Rater s data from a Participant Report An individual receives the results of their LQF 360 feedback process via their feedback facilitator. Some of the scores and comments come as a surprise to the participant. The participant and facilitator conclude that these scores and comments do not have relevance in the report and request that they are removed. Agreement with Raters raters are informed that any information they give will not be edited or manipulated in any way. Doing so would breach the agreement Right Management have with the participant s raters. Removal of insightful developmental data we cannot be certain that the scores were not genuine ratings of the participant s behaviour. The role of the facilitator is to investigate possible contradictory information and explore the participant s views or explanations for this. Removing potentially insightful data would lessen the value of the 360-degree feedback process and could limit the development opportunities for the participant. If the participant and their facilitator have reached their own conclusions about the comments and scores, then that understanding remains a common perspective that they both share. It does not take away the need for Right Management to adhere to the agreement they have with the participant s raters. The data was not removed, edited or manipulated in any way.

4 SCENARIO 2 Death of a Participant A person undertakes the LQF 360 feedback process but sadly passes away prior to their feedback session. A request is made through the Line Manager to see a copy of the completed 360-report in order that they might pass it on to the deceased s family. Facilitator Role - LQF 360-degree feedback reports should always be fed back by a trained feedback facilitator. Without the feedback session, the report loses a lot of its value and is liable to misinterpretation. Providing feedback to the deceased s family is clearly outside the scope of the facilitator s role. Psychological Contract with Raters the deceased s raters gave feedback on the understanding that the report would only be discussed with that individual by a trained feedback facilitator. It is always up to the participant to decide what they then disclose with others. By sharing the report, we would be breaking the psychological contract with the deceased s raters. Data Protection the release of a subject s data after death is permitted only with the written consent from a spouse or close family member. Whilst we appreciated that family members might be keen to see any documentation associated with the deceased participant to help provide solace at a difficult time, Right Management were unconvinced that it would serve any useful purpose. We were also mindful that we would be breaching the confidentiality of those raters who gave their feedback specifically to the deceased participant in good faith. Right Management did not hand over a copy of the participant report to the Line Manager or family members of the deceased.

5 SCENARIO 3 Using the LQF 360 as a way of Removing an Individual from an Organisation A facilitator is due to provide LQF 360 feedback to an Executive Director. The day before the session, the facilitator is contacted by him. The Chief Executive has asked to see the Director s report following his feedback session. The Director has reluctantly agreed but is concerned that the Chief Executive is going to use the feedback from the report as a way of removing him from the organisation. LQF measures perceptions not performance and is not a psychometric instrument - the LQF 360 tool was designed as a development tool and measures perceptions not performance. The rating scale measures a rater s perception of how frequently they observe a particular behaviour. It does not seek to measure how effective or competent an individual actually is. Psychometric tests used in selection decisions on the other hand, are designed to accurately measure current and future performance. They have been through rigorous tests to ensure they are robust enough to support recruitment decisions. The participant would likely have a strong case to challenge any assessment decision made using just the LQF 360. Psychological Contract with Raters raters have provided feedback on the understanding that they are giving feedback as part of a development process. Completing the 360 from an assessment perspective would likely require a different mindset. Changing the way the resulting data is being used would be breaking the psychological contract with the raters. Sharing of the Report on completion of the 360-degree feedback process, the report is owned by the individual participant. It is up to them as to what they decide to share with others. Whilst we would always encourage a participant to share the results with their line manager or HR if appropriate, the decision is ultimately down to them. This was clearly an inappropriate use of LQF 360 tool. Right Management and the NHS Institute helped the facilitator challenge the Chief Executive s use of the tool. The Executive Director s report was not shared and was not used as a way to remove him from the organisation.

6 SCENARIO 4 Information Governance A participant contacts the Support Line as they are worried about the security of their report being sent via to their facilitator and have concerns about who has access to the information. Facilitator Access the NHS 360 Support Line will only send the report to the address of the Accredited Facilitator undertaking the feedback. All s are labelled Private & Confidential NHS LQF 360 Report. Handling of Reports facilitators are required to keep the reports strictly confidential and must not save, copy or re-transmit the report in any form without explicit agreement from the participant themselves. The Facilitator Guidelines and the Facilitator Best Practice Guide both state the need for facilitators to delete the electronic copy of the report from their systems once the feedback session has taken place. Encryption of Reports all LQF 360 reports are sent in PDF format and are un-editable. Sharing of the report on completion of the 360-degree feedback process, the report is owned by the individual participant. It is up to them as to what they decide to share with others. Whilst we would always encourage a participant to share the results with their line manager or HR if appropriate, the decision is ultimately down to them. The participant s concerns were allayed once the security measures had been explained.

7 SCENARIO 5 Rater Victimization A rater calls to complain that they feel victimized as a result of the feedback they gave on someone s LQF 360. Rater Completion raters are not required to complete questionnaires on behalf of participants. However, those who do, give their feedback in good faith and should never be targeted for their input. Participants are encouraged to brief their raters prior to undertaking the LQF 360 process in order to ensure their raters feel comfortable about taking part. Anonymity of Raters and Written Comments to protect the anonymity of their raters, participants must select 3 or more raters in each of the rater categories (bar their Line Manager group). If less than 3 raters respond in any of the categories, their data cannot be reported and responses are combined to maintain the raters anonymity. Raters are also given the option to provide participants with written comments. It is explained that these will not be edited so raters are reminded not to use any personal language. On some occasions, due to the language that is used or the types of examples that are given, it might be possible for participants to draw conclusions about who gave certain comments. It is the responsibility of the feedback facilitator to remind the participant not to jump to conclusions about who said what and to focus on the developmental aspect of the comments, rather than targeting their raters about what was said. Clarifying the Feedback - in some cases, participants might wish to seek further development suggestions from their raters. These discussions are not designed to target raters or their ratings. They are about helping participants understand how their performance could improve in certain areas. Raters are not obliged to take part in these discussions. Feedback facilitators should provide guidance to participants about how they might initiate these discussions if appropriate. The rater was unwilling to leave a name or discuss the matter further and did not wish to make a formal complaint about the participant s reactions to the feedback. They were encouraged to speak to their HR department and directed to further internal support structures for additional advice.

8 SCENARIO 6 Using the LQF 360 report as evidence contributing to a disciplinary hearing A participant contacts the NHS Institute after being concerned about the purpose for which they had been asked to complete the LQF 360 process. The participant had been told to select certain raters and was informed that the results would provide evidence towards a disciplinary hearing. (similar to Scenario 3) LQF measures perceptions not performance - The rating scale measures a rater s perception of how frequently they observe a particular behaviour. It does not seek to measure how effective or competent an individual actually is, nor does it ask questions around an individual s specific behavioural issues. Psychological Contract with Raters raters have provided feedback on the understanding that they are giving feedback as part of a development process. Completing the 360 for any other purposes would likely require a different mindset. Changing the way the resulting data is being used would be breaking the psychological contract with the raters. Sharing of the Report on completion of the 360-degree feedback process, the report is owned by the individual participant. It is up to them as to what they decide to share with others. Whilst we would always encourage a participant to share the results with their line manager or HR if appropriate, the decision is ultimately down to them. Selection of Raters we suggest that participants themselves select the people that they believe can make accurate judgements about them. When using the 360 for developmental purposes, as the LQF 360 is intended, research suggests that allowing participants to choose their own raters may enhance the acceptance of feedback without reducing rater accuracy. However, it can be helpful for participants to run their rater selection past their Line Manager or Programme Director to ensure that a broad range of raters have been chosen. Participants are encouraged to select about 12 people who they consider will be able to comment honestly about them and whose views they respect. Participants are also encouraged to select people they have a good working relationship with alongside, those they have a challenging relationship with to ensure a balanced 360. Using the LQF 360 tool to contribute towards a disciplinary hearing was clearly an inappropriate use of LQF 360 tool. Right Management and the NHS Institute helped the individual challenge the use of the tool.

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