Active Bystander Programme Resources Page

We would like as many people as possible to benefit from our Active Bystander journey and learning so far. This page outlines why and how we started the programme and shares resources that we hope will be helpful for health and care colleagues.

Why we started our Active Bystander journey

Our journey started in 2021, with a review of our staff survey data, NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) and NHS Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) feedback from colleagues showing us that we needed to do better for our health and care workforce.

We held several Town Hall events and focus groups and listened to the lived experience of our people from health and care organisations across the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) Integrated Care System (ICS) and we identified that nearly all the people we connected with had either witnessed or experienced bullying and harassment at work.

To increase our understanding, we asked the people we connected with how we could co-create an effective and practical response that would make a difference for them. What we learnt was that very few people felt they had the skills or the confidence to intervene in the moment and indeed, several people reflected that they had been ‘bystanders’ and not intervened at all.

We wanted to change this.

What is the LLR Active Bystander Programme?

LLR ICB Academy supports a range of development modules for the Active Bystander Programme as part of our Inclusive Culture and Leadership offer. The ABP supports positive impact alongside other LLR Academy programmes such as Reverse Mentoring, Developing Diverse Leaders, Cultural Competency and Health and Wellbeing offers.

We aimed to create a practical and accessible behaviour change programme that would give people the confidence and skills to intervene and de-escalate harmful behaviours such as micro-incivilities, bullying and harassment.

The Active Bystander Programme includes a Board and Executive leaders ‘Board Development’ session (1.5 hours) co-designed with Chief People Officers, a Leadership Development session (1.5 hours) focussed on creating the conditions for psychological safety by removing barriers to speaking up, an ‘Active Bystander Champions’ behaviour change programme (1.5 days followed by 5 virtual 1.5 hours Action Learning Sets), and an ‘Active Bystander Awareness’ raising module (1.5 hours) that can be used to develop our whole health and care workforce.

The programme has evolved over time and we continue to evaluate impact and make small tests of change in response to the feedback from our people to meet the needs of our workforce.

How we created the LLR Active Bystander Programme

We collated learning from Active Bystander Programmes provided within other sectors such as Higher Education Institutes and not for profit organisations. We also sought input and advice from internationally recognised academic thought leaders, such as Prof Catherine Sanderson, author of the ‘Bystander Effect: the Psychology of Courage and How to be Brave’.

On the strength of our initial work, NHS England’s Civility and Respect team granted seed funding for us to create a dedicated Active Bystander Programme Lead post for 12 months. The programme design, delivery, content and evaluation plan were developed, a steering group set up and key stakeholders across the LLR system engaged to support the programme. 

In order to enhance the ongoing support from LLR ICB in 2022, we actively sought opportunities to bid for further project funding from the LLR ICB Project Launch fund, NHS England ‘Be Well Midlands’ and NHSE Midlands EDI funding. Our successful funding bids enabled us to engage a Project Support Officer and a Midlands Programme Manager to scale up the LLR ABP.

LLR ICB’s Active Bystander Programme and our community of Active Bystanders are the proud recipient of the BAME Health and Care ‘Corporate Achievement of the Year’ Award for 2023 and we are looking forward to the year ahead working with our LLR system and regional colleagues to embed the programme further through 2024.

We hope that these resources are helpful for health and care colleagues wishing to make a difference in their workplace too.

Please do contact us at if you would like to connect with us.


Please see some of our Active Bystander modules in the short films and webinars below. Please note that these will load in YouTube and should you need to, you can turn on subtitles when watching.

Module 1: ABP First Year Celebration Film (1:40 minutes) 

Please click on the following link to watch the video:

This short film highlights senior leadership support is a key foundation step to creating the right ‘system climate’ to enable transformational culture change. Right from the start we reached out to our senior leadership and asked them to reflect on creating a safe space for our health and care workforce, the importance of civility and respect, advice on speaking up and explaining why we need Active Bystanders.

Here, Clare Teeney, Chief People Officer, at one of our LLR partner organisations, University Hospitals of Leicester. speaks at our first community of shared practice event.

Module 2: Our Journey– ABP explained & building a Community of Practice (CoP) (11 minutes)

Please clcik on the following link to watch the video:

This module gives an extended overview of the ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘impact’ of the Active Bystander Programme on completion of the first pilot year. Active Bystander champions talk about our shared journey and the impact that this has had on them.


Module 3: Moral Courage & Moral Rebels Masterclass, Prof Catherine Sanderson (34:12 minutes)

Please click on the following link to watch the video:

We have been fortunate to have the support of Prof Catherine Sanderson from concept to launch for the Active Bystander Development Programme. In this webinar, created for our ABP launch event in June 2022, Prof Sanderson explores some of the core concepts for Active Bystanders: moral courage and the journey to become moral rebels.

Module 4: Active Bystanders: How to Maintain and Sustain one’s Moral Courage Masterclass, Prof Catherine Sanderson (57.26 minutes)

Please click on the following link to watch the video: 

This webinar, created for our first celebration and shared community of practice event in September 2023, builds on the concept of moral courage and Prof Sanderson explores how we can sustain our moral courage and build resilience as Active Bystanders.