This week a course originally developed through a collaboration between the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom and Dr Rachael Kelly of the Defence Studies Department, King's College London, will be made available to all personnel in the MOD as an online learning package.
In addition, plans are being considered to incorporate the principles of the workshop within all basic and leadership training across Defence.
Inspired by the King’s College London campaign ‘It stops here’ aimed at tackling bullying and harassment, the Defence Academy’s Active Bystander Workshop explores approaches to tackling these issues in the context of the Military and Civil service workplaces. It aims to empower individuals to become ambassadors for change, able to intercede when they see peers or colleagues experiencing unwanted behaviour or attention. The Workshop explains why, despite recognising events as being problematic or wrong, we often struggle to intervene. Through facilitation and group work, the workshop develops participant’s awareness, skills and confidence to assist decision making and actions when bullying, harassment or discrimination is exhibited.
Piloted in September 2018, the workshop was first delivered to students and staff at the Defence Academy. It was soon was rolled out to different groups at a number of sites across the MOD, including members of the MOD's Race Network and HM prison officers at the Ministry of Justice’s training facility. Since the initial pilot, the team have delivered 42 workshops, attended by just shy of 1,000 personnel, with the course being described in the MOD's 'Report on Inappropriate Behaviours' as 'leading practice’ in June 2019.
Thanks to the success of the course, the principles of the workshop will now be rolled out as part of all basic and leadership training in the British Army.
Dr Rachel Kelly said:
"The underlying rationale of this workshop encourages us all to play a role addressing bullying, harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
"Peer-led actions can be powerful in sending messages about the unacceptability of certain behaviours within a community or group. Overall, the workshop and initiative is one that I am enormously proud of and I hope will be useful and insightful to participants going forward."
Previous participants on the course share their experiences:
I found it really useful. The main thing I am taking away is how you don’t need to do something heroic to make a difference. Little actions can influence a bad situation. I found the course very informative and believe it will greatly help me in my personal life as well as my work career.– Course participant
It should feature as mandatory training for all staff. I was looking forward to covering this topic and did gain a deeper awareness of behaviours I need to be aware of, both in the workplace and across the wider community.– Course participant
The Active Bystander session was thought-provoking and I feel more likely now to be proactive in responding in a meaningful way to the types of situations considered.– Course participant