Staff Choice Awards 2018/19
Unsung Hero Award (Non-Clinical)

Liz Keay

Is the winner of this award

Job title
Freedom to Speak Up Guardian 

The nomination said...

Liz has been an inspired choice as the Freedom to speak up Guardian. Enthusiastic, kind, trustworthy, wise and above all sympathetic and non-judgmental, Liz has given both a listening ear and hope to all comers who have approached her with concerns.

She is well known (including for her Trust Values work) and universally respected as someone who can bridge the gulf to bring issues to senior manager’s attention, turning her hand to lots of delicate and contentious problems while remaining cheerful and motivated to improve things.

I’ve personally asked her to intervene in issues and watched her in action. She takes on a role that it might take 2 or 3 others to do and covers the whole Trust area single-handedly. She quietly gets on with the job and won’t give up till something is resolved.

Having Liz encourages and reassures staff that their issues will be heard and acted on, if necessary. It gives a chance for all staff to speak up safely which can only benefit everyone and make the organisation a better place to work and be treated.

Recently Liz has been attending the disabled staff engagement group. One of the most difficult problems has been that disability comes in so many shapes and forms and there are no “one size fits all” solutions. It really takes one person, with access to everyone, to help this process along and therefore get staff the help they need, which of course has the knock-on effect of meaning they are more highly-functioning and productive care givers to service users. After being approached by several people she felt she might be able to help and started to attend to see what the sticking points were and try to effect change. Nothing is too hard, too much trouble and she always makes people feel like they matter and are valued.

A lot of people see Freedom to Speak up as reporting direct care issues and yet there are often hidden obstructions to an organisation functioning at its very best and Liz can always see immediately how even obscure problems can cause limitations and can think out of the box to find solutions. A lot of the solutions need to be quiet, but effective.

She wants to make all staff, or anyone who approaches her feel heard and valued. She wants an organisation which is as functional and successful as it can be. She puts her heart and soul into being this important lynch pin and that is why she deserves to win this award.

Whereas others might put their energies into the department they work in, Liz has this vast geographical territory, the entire workforce from any background and is single-handed. Only someone special could do that and that is what makes her outstanding. She has broad shoulders, a sense of humour and any weariness from the demands of the job she seems to carry privately. She shows you can be equally, if not more, effective in the background as those who like to be in the front row.