EU Whistleblower Law Hub

Resources and information to help you understand the EU directive

Helping Freedom to Speak Up Guardians to help staff in their Trusts to speak up.

On this page we have collected together a series of resources to help both new and established Freedom to Speak Up Guardians help staff in their Trusts to speak up.

In this guide you can find:
  • A short history of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians
  • How to view your Trusts performance on bullying & harassment
  • Download a useful, free, toolkit of resources
  • How SpeakInConfidence can help you get more feedback
  • How to anonymously raise an issue with your trust.

A Short Introduction to the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian Role

The concept of Freedom to Speak Guardians was introduced by the Francis review.  Sir Robert Francis carried out a review into the failings at Mid-Staffordshire and his conclusion was that there is a serious issue in the NHS with whistleblowing that “requires urgent attention if staff are to play their full part in maintaining a safe and effective service for patients”. Sir Robert made a number of recommendations to deliver a more consistent approach to whistleblowing across the NHS and the report identified the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian as an important role. Francis recommended that there should be appointed both a national Guardian as well as local Guardians in all Trusts. These would be appointed by the Chief Executive, would be genuinely independent and have responsibility for promoting a culture of safety and speaking up in NHS Trusts.
“The Freedom to Speak Up Guardian acts as an independent and impartial source of advice to staff at any stage of raising a concern, with access to anyone in the organisation, including the chief executive, or if necessary, outside the organisation.”
Sir Robert Francis Review

How well does your Trust compare on bullying and communication issues?

The 2018 NHS Staff Survey found that only 34% of staff reported good communications between senior management and staff and that 25% of staff are still experiencing harassment, bullying or abuse. How does your Trust compare?

Download our tailored guide to show you:

  • What proportion of your Trust’s staff responded to the survey
  • How many felt there was good communications
  • How many experienced discrimination
  • How many experienced and reported harassment, bullying or abuse
  • How SpeakInConfidence can help your Trust improve communications and engagement.

Getting more staff to speak up

Trusts have appointed Guardians but the issue of giving staff members the confidence to come forward and make contact remains. There is still a group of staff that have important issues to raise that fear coming forward, even through the route of a Guardian. The benefits of having members of staff speaking up includes:
  • Find and resolve issues earlier before they become a real problem
  • Increased employee engagement
  • Reduced costs through resolving issues earlier
  • Reduced costs through higher attendance and lower staff turnover.
The key to the achieving the benefits outlined above is giving staff the confidence to come forward and raise their ideas, issues and concerns. With SpeakInConfidence staff can contact managers that you nominate via a secure, online, portal and have a two-way conversation where the member of staff remains anonymous until they choose to reveal their identity. Managers may be your senior executives, local managers, external non-executives, Freedom to Speak Up Guardians or anyone the staff might choose to have a conversation with. This anonymity gives staff increased confidence to come forward and raise concerns that they might not have been able to through traditional means.
“The system supports our Health, Happy, Here Programme and has allowed staff to anonymously contact Directors and senior managers in the Trust to ask questions they feel they cannot ask in public.”
Nick Hayes

Deputy Director of Workforce, Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Freedom to Speak Up Guardian Toolkit

In order to support both new Guardians and NHS Trusts themselves WorkInConfidence has put together a file of resources that you can amend to help you promote your service. The Toolkit includes :
  • A copy of the draft policy in Microsoft Word format
  • A presentation introducing the Guardians service
  • Templates for posters and business cards
  • Other useful information and documents.

Make My Trust Better

Don’t have SpeakInConfidence in your Trust? Your voice can still be heard. Don’t sit on a suggestion, improvement or problem, raise it now. Stop just being frustrated and suggest how to improve your Trust. We all know the problem:
  • A great idea
  • Something’s not working
  • Treatment of staff, patients, even you which just is not right
  • A serious problem happening or in the making.
…Yet nobody can raise it. Using MakeMyTrustBetter you can send an anonymous message to management in your Trust. Just add your Trust name and your message and send. You don’t have to include your own details.