MP John Howell is to propose legislation during a debate on Tuesday to allow organisations accused of failings to admit mistakes without that admission being relied upon in later legal proceedings. 

His views will strike a chord with anyone who has been involved in long drawn out legal proceedings following deaths or serious incidents, in which an almost never-ending threat of Investigations, inquests, prosecutions and civil claims creates an ever-widening divide between those affected, their families and the organisations involved.   

While that process may eventually identify lessons that can be learned and bring an understanding of what happened, it often comes far too late for all parties concerned.

The proposed legislation could play a useful role in changing that culture, but it needs to be part of a coherent approach. In the health and social care sector, there is already the duty of candour, which compels organisations to offer an apology and explanation when an unexpected series event occurs. That has been far from a resounding success, with the quality of communication reflecting perhaps the fact that it is forced under compulsion of potential prosecution and written with the ever-present threat of enforcement action and civil claims.   

These proposals come just weeks after a Supreme Court ruling increased the risks for organisation's involved in inquest proceedings. As outlined in my post at the time, those increased risks may act to deter organisations from being as open as John Howell hopes. 

While anything that brings those affected by care and safety failings, their families and organisations closer together or that enables the sharing of the lessons learned at an earlier stage is to be applauded, if this proposal is to work it will require wider and more fundamental change.