What's Happening

Building a positive workplace culture across the ACT public health system benefits patients, carers, consumers, and the ACT community.
The Culture Review Implementation is a multi-year program based on evidence and best practice, rolled out across the ACT public health system workforce. 

Where we started

The Final Report: Independent Review into the Workplace Culture within the ACT Public Health Service (the Final Report), was our catalyst for change. 

Our culture ambition


A workplace that brings out the best in everyone.



An environment that supports the delivery of person-centered, innovative and high-quality care.



Staff, patients and the community to have confidence in the actions of the ACT public health system. 


How we’re tackling culture reform: a strategic approach

The Workplace Culture Framework sets out a structured program to help strengthen and sustain a positive workplace environment and supports the continued delivery of high-quality healthcare. The framework sets out a strategic whole-of-system approach based on facts, research and evidence.

Our focus areas for change

The framework centres on five workplace change priorities. Focusing on these helps build a thriving workplace.

Organisational Trust

1. Organisational Trust


Leadership and People Skills

2. Leadership and People Skills


Workplace Civility

3. Workplace Civility


Psychological Safety

4. Psychological Safety


Team Effectiveness

5. Team Effectiveness


What’s happening? 

Foundations to support culture reform
  • The Workplace Culture Framework.
  • The Workplace Skills Development Model complements the framework by identifying the capabilities and attributes needed to deliver system-wide culture reform.
  • The Organisational Culture Improvement Model (OCIM) assesses progress in addressing the five workplace change priorities outlined in the framework. The assessment is conducted annually by the three organisations. 
Affirming Vision and values
  • Canberra Health Services (CHS) worked with over 5,000 staff to develop a vision, role and values that reflect what they want the health service to stand for, be known for and deliver every day.
  • CHS has embedded the vision, values and desired behaviours into organisation-wide strategic planning, division and unit planning, into individual performance discussions and recruitment.
  • CHS developed the Fostering Organisational Culture Improvement Strategy (FOCIS) to align with the organisation’s strategic priority ‘A great place to work’. Key initiatives are linked to each of the five workplace change priorities.
  • The Positive Workplace Group was established at CHS to support and champion the implementation of the FOCIS initiatives.
  • Calvary Public Hospital Bruce (CPHB) launched the Values in Action Framework (VIAF) that defines what behaviours are expected from employees. The VIAF is applied to decisions on recruitment, performance, development and succession.
  • The Health Directorate consulted with staff to define behaviours that represent the organisation’s coprorate values.
  • All three organisations have launched awards and recognition programs to celebrate individuals and teams from clinical, corporate and support functions who have exemplified the vision and values through their work.
Appropriate and effective training and development
  • Both Canberra Health Services (CHS) and Calvary Public Hospital Bruce (CPHB) have implemented Speaking Up for Safety, which aims to provide staff with the skills to feel confident to speak up respectfully and effectively about safety issues.
    • At CHS, more than 5,000 staff (62 per cent) have been trained in the program.
    • At CPHB, more than 74 per cent of staff have been trained Feedback indicates more than 88 per cent of participants plan to always speak up when they observe behaviour that may compromise safety.
  • CPHB developed the Preventing and Managing Occupational Violence framework, with more than 500 staff trained in de-escalation techniques. An Advanced De‑escalation Technique program for staff in high-risk areas has also commenced.
  • CHS introduced the CHS Occupational Violence Strategy 2020-22 and is implementing initiatives to prevent and minimise occupational violence, including online training designed to help staff recognise and respond to behaviours of concern.
  • Safewards was launched across four wards at CPHB and CHS to reduce conflict and promote a safer inpatient environment.
  • CHS is piloting the evidence-based Strengthening a Culture of Respect and Engagement (SCORE) civility program. The program aims to improve workplace culture by addressing long term issues, facilitating safe and honest discussions and teaching new skills.
  • CHS reviewed and revised training in addressing workplace issues and is offering an updated program for managers.
  • CHS continues to deliver a range of programs to educate and inform staff about appropriate workplace behaviours.
  • CHS has reviewed Recruitment Selection Training and added an additional component on unconscious bias. Refresher training has been developed to ensure hiring managers are up to date on recruitment requirements.
  • CHS developed the Staff Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2020-23 to outline what CHS is doing to support the physical and mental health and wellbeing of staff. Initiatives include providing a range of education and awareness workshops to support physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Equipping leaders and managers
  • A system-wide training analysis was conducted to identify gaps and assess alignment to the Workplace Culture Framework across people management courses. The recommendations are now being implemented to improve team performance and capability across the ACT public health system.
  • An external provider has been appointed to develop a system-wide, foundational management training program to help drive leadership capability.
  • Canberra Health Services (CHS) has been delivering training programs to support managers enhance core knowledge, skills and competencies.
  • CHS developed the Psychological Support for Staff – Manager’s Guide to educate managers on providing psychological support to staff day-to-day, as well as following incidents or events.
Improved systems for complaints handling
  • The Workplace Resolution and Support Service was introduced at Canberra Health Services (CHS) and Health Directorate to provide independent support and advice to staff experiencing unreasonable workplace behaviour.
  • A system-wide review of complaints and grievances processes was conducted to highlight how each organisation can refine and improve complaints and grievances processes. Actions are now being implemented to improve the complaints handling process within each organisation.
  • CHS conducted a review of internal staff and manager resources on preventing and resolving workplace issues, resulting in new resources and a strengthening of current information.
  • Each organisation has conducted a refresh of the Respect, Equity and Diversity Contact Officer (REDCO) Network
Effective mechanisms for the management of people
  • A complete review of HR functions was conducted for each of the three arms of the system, including recommendations for each: 
  • Canberra Health Services (CHS) introduced the HR Business Partner model to support cultural change and skill development. 
  • CHS recruited a Workforce Inclusion Manager to progress the diversity and inclusion workplace program.
  • CHS launched the Our People Framework to outline how CHS will attract, recruit, develop and retain high calibre talent. The Our People Committee governs the framework and meet regularly to discuss progress.
  • CHS and the Health Directorate are implementing a new Human Resource Information Management System to streamline several HR and payroll processes.
Partnerships and relationships: engaging with stakeholders to support an effective health system
  • Across the ACT public health system, a range of forums are used to engage with key stakeholders including:
  • Canberra Health Services (CHS) launched the Partnering with Consumers Framework 2020-2023 to outline how CHS will develop, implement and maintain systems to partner with consumers and carers to deliver exceptional health care.
  • CHS launched the Exceptional Care Framework 2020-2023 to describe the organisation’s approach to exceptional care and how it will deliver exceptional care, how team members and consumers will be supported, and how it will track progress towards exceptional care for every consumer.
A focus on clinical engagement: involve and engage clinicians in health system governance and management
  • Canberra Health Services (CHS) introduced the Choosing Wisely program, aimed at improving the quality and safety of health care.
    • CHS is a champion health service member of Choosing Wisely Australia and established a Choosing Wisely Low Value Care Steering Committee.
    • CHS are trailing several initiatives, designed to engage clinicians in the Choosing Wisely principles, and help drive improvements in patient care through the implementation of projects to reduce unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures.
  • Calvary Public Hospital Bruce (CPHB) endorsed the Choosing Wisely Initiative in June 2020 and have commenced planning for implementation within the hospital.
  • CHS launched the Improving Medical Engagement and Culture Strategy (IMEC), with implementation governed by the Clinical Directors Forum. It includes four priority areas drawn directly from medical officer feedback:
  1. Promote a safe and collegiate workplace
  2. Improve communication with medical officers
  3. Promote a medical voice in organisational decision-making and high-level committees
  4. Ensure equitable workloads
  • The ACT Clinical Leadership Forum was established in 2019 to provide independent and expert advice to the Minister for Health and the Minister for Mental Health. The group meets bi-monthly.
  • CHS developed the CHS Clinical Governance Framework that outlines what individuals and the organisation need to do to ensure:
    • There is a culture of safety where everyone can freely communicate a concern
    • That CHS works alongside consumers and carers
    • There are safety and quality systems that work
    • That staff are properly credentialled and operating within their scope of clinical practice and
    • The care provided is safe
Page last updated on: 8 Dec 2021