A culture where all staff, regardless of grade, status or characteristics, are empowered to raise concerns (or speak up) is fundamental to organisations that wish to learn and improve. In health and social care, it is key to protecting and improving the safety of the people we care for and delivers better outcomes. Speaking up that leads to action also improves team morale.
As part of a speaking up and learning culture, we all have a responsibility to consider safety as part of our daily work. If we have concerns, we need to speak up, no matter how big or small they are.
The National Guardian’s Office leads, trains and supports a network of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians. Any organisation can appoint a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian (FTSU), although they are a requirement for all NHS organisations. You can search for your local FTSU guardian on their website and they also provide training.
NHS England’s National Speak Up Policy is relevant to everyone in health and social care. The policy will help an organisation to ensure they have a voice that counts, and a speaking up culture where leaders and managers listen to workers.
For NHS staff
The FutureNHS platform provides access to event recordings from the Civility and Respect programme, including ‘Reach out’, ‘Speak up’ and ‘Take care’.
The NHS Speaking Up support scheme provides a range of support for past and present NHS workers who have experienced a significant adverse impact on both their professional and personal lives, to move forward, following a formal speak up process.
For social care staff
For those working in social care, Skills for Care provides advice on what you should do if you have concerns.
For more information on compassionate and inclusive leadership, civility and respect, visit our managers and leaders section.