With a wide physical reach and serving a population of over one million people, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP) understood the power of being emotionally invested in shared values when it commissioned DCD to run a series of unique workshops.

Working with staff from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, across all of their localities and teams, participants were invited to take a moment to stop and consider how their own values impact on their day-to-day practice of supporting vulnerable children, young people and their families.

As an integral part of its corporate identity, CWP uses its initials to form the values based strap line ‘Care, Well-being and Partnership’. This became the starting point for each of the events, opening up a conversation about what these three core convictions meant to them as staff and how they connected to their own values. Mapped against their own recent successes, the process also acknowledged and celebrated both individual and collective achievements.

Using DCD’s Catalyst Cards to creatively shape consensual metaphors, the approach moved the typical concept of ‘organisational values’ beyond formalised documentation and policy, to provide an accessible means by which everyone could ‘see’ the real drivers for their own accomplishments. Eliciting shared meanings and aligning attitudes, this memorable approach made it easy for those involved to reflect upon best practice and what was important to them.

The participants also went on to develop aspirational goals, along with the unifying values needed to help them assess and adjust their actions, as they set out to achieve their respective targets. The aim here was to build community and strengthen alliances, encouraging the groups to find their own overlap in the values they identified; reaffirming the shared identity of the service across geographical boundaries.

Helping to bring this process together, the contributions and shared meanings from the different regions were collated and made available both internally and to the wider public, as an informal report. The material also formed a series of presentations for commissioners and partner agencies. Deliberately coinciding with World Mental Health Day, the purpose of these presentations was to acknowledge the commitment and effort present throughout the workforce, raising awareness of the outstanding work being done.

Promoting the benefits of taking a truly values led approach, the Trust went on shortly after these events, to expand this ethos across all of its services, developing a brand new values framework by which it measures its own performance and makes sure it is recruiting the right people.

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