What is ‘Speaking Up’?

Freedom to Speak Up is about encouraging a positive culture where people feel they can speak up and their voices will be heard, and their suggestions acted upon.

Speaking up is about anything that gets in the way of providing good care.

When things go wrong, it is important to learn lessons and make improvements. If you think something might go wrong, you must feel able to speak up to prevent potential harm.

Even when things are good but could be better, you should feel able to say something. We will listen to your suggestion and use it as an opportunity for improvement.

The animated film below informs staff about how their local Freedom to Speak Up Guardian can support them:

Detailed on this page is our current Freedom to Speak Up offering and process. We are currently developing this offer further and will update the information provided here in the coming weeks.

Is Speaking Up the same as ‘Whistleblowing’?

You can speak up about anything that gets in the way of safe and high-quality care. You can also speak up about anything that affects your experience in the workplace.
Speaking up may include:

  • a quick discussion with a line manager
  • a suggestion for improvement
  • raising an issue with the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian
  • bringing a matter to the attention of a regulator

Some people may interpret any of these actions as ‘whistleblowing’.

Others may only see ‘whistleblowing’ as:

  • something that is ‘formal’
  • a matter that involves an outside an organisation
  • something that may qualify for ‘protection’ under the Public Interest Disclosure Act.

Speaking up is all these things.

What is a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian?

Freedom to Speak Up Guardians (FTSUGs) help workers to speak up when they feel they cannot do so by other routes. 

If I want to speak up about something, what should I do?

Your line manager is your first point of call. If you don’t feel you can speak up to them or use other formal routes, contact your Freedom to Speak Up Guardian.

Why were Freedom to Speak Up Guardians created?

The role of was created in response to recommendations made in Sir Robert Francis’ report, The Freedom to Speak Up (2015).