Freedom To Speak Up

What is ‘Speaking Up’?

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.

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. 

Who can ‘speak up’?

Healthcare professionals

  • Non-clinical staff, senior
  • Middle and junior managers
  • Volunteers
  • Students
  • Bank and agency staff
  • Former employees

If you are a patient, carer or family of a patient

Please raise any concerns or make suggestions in one of these ways:


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).

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