Civility and Respect

What is civility and respect?

In its simplest form, civility and respect is about how we treat each other at work. In highly pressurised NHS systems, behaviours of incivility and disrespect can become common place. People report that bullying and harassment is prevalent in the NHS, and this rude and unkind behaviour can have a detrimental impact on staff wellbeing and patient care.

This type of uncivil and disrespectful behaviour is unacceptable. It is unprofessional, unnecessary, and has no place in our NHS.

The NHS Long Term Plan recognises that levels of bullying and harassment must come down if the NHS is to achieve its aim of becoming the best place of work and being an employer of excellence.

The People Plan for 2020/21 sets a vision which places a compassionate and inclusive culture at the very heart of the NHS and emphasises that all NHS employees and employers are responsible for tackling bullying and harassment and the importance of creating a civil and respectful culture. We know that staff with one or more protected characteristics, for example, disabled, BAME and LGBTQ+ colleagues, are twice as likely to experience bullying and harassment.

Within NHS England, the national civility and respect programme aims to support and promote cultures of civility and respect in the NHS, creating positive working environments that are kind, compassionate and inclusive for all. The programme uses a preventative approach, with practical resources and evidence-based approaches, to raise awareness of what bullying looks like in the NHS and consider how to reduce it.

Reach Out, Speak Up, Take Care: a series of events were held in November 2022

The theme for Anti-Bullying awareness week 2022  was ‘Reach out’, to support this theme, the NHS England Civility and Respect team are hosting a series of three events for all our NHS people, ‘Reach out, Speak up, Take care.’ These events were to help encourage and support colleagues to ‘reach out’ about issues around bullying and harassment and promote cultures of civility and respect.

The events were recorded and are available for NHS staff via the Civility and Respect events FutureNHS Collaboration Platform alongside a number of event recordings from previous years and further information on the Civility and Respect programme.

To deliver on the NHS People Plan’s commitment to support trusts in creating a positive workplace culture, the civility and respect programme has developed a practical, flexible and interactive toolkit and additional resources which you can find below

Civility and Respect toolkit and other resources

Case studies and other resources

  • Find out more about the innovative ways colleagues are helping to create cultures of civility and respect in the NHS, creating positive working environments that are kind, compassionate and inclusive for all.

Guidance and policies

Restorative Just Culture

Restorative Just Culture aims to repair trust and relationships damaged after an incidentIt allows all parties to discuss how they have been affected, and collaboratively decide what can be done to repair the harm. To ensure learning is put into practice in organisations post-training, a ‘Restorative Just Culture’ virtual community of practice has been launched to encourage sharing of resources and strategies that help embed good practice and support the creation of inclusive and compassionate cultures.

The community forum runs in collaboration with the Mersey Care Foundation Trust and will run events for delegates to engage with, as well as access online forums and helpful resources to refer to after their training. Registration is open to anyone in the NHS with recognised Restorative Just Culture training to share and learn together to implement this approach back in their own organisation. For more information or to register to the Virtual Community of Practice, please visit: RJC CoP (