In the five years since the Freedom to Speak Up Review, much has been achieved.

The strategic direction of the National Guardian’s Office is to build on the improvements that Freedom to Speak Up has already made, ensuring that speaking up arrangements work consistently well. There is now a network of over 700 Freedom to Speak Up Guardians supporting nearly 500 organisations. The freedom to speak up should be available to everyone in the healthcare system, irrespective of where they work.

Over the past five years, the work of the National Guardian’s Office has shown that the promoters and barriers of speaking up are universal. Universal principles for creating a speak up, listen up, follow up culture – and implementing the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian role – will promote consistency and support the development of a more integrated healthcare system.

This Strategic Framework also sets out the intention of the National Guardian’s Office to obtain greater assurance about speaking up cultures and the quality and consistency of how the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian role is implemented.

Russell Parkinson, Head of Office and Strategy at the National Guardian’s Office said: “The 50,000+ cases that have been brought to Freedom to Speak Up Guardians have offered 50,000+ opportunities for learning and improvement.  But despite this, the pandemic has highlighted how much more needs to be done.

 “The most immediate concern of the National Guardian’s Office is ensuring that speaking up works well now so that our healthcare workforce feels empowered and listened to. Making speaking up business as usual will enhance the working life of the healthcare workforce and improve the quality and safety of care.

 “This Strategic Framework will give the new National Guardian a framework to build upon, shape and lead.”

This Strategic Framework has been developed with valuable contributions from colleagues in national bodies, leaders and workers’ representatives – including from outside the healthcare sector – and Freedom to Speak Up Guardians. We are grateful for their input and guidance.


Read the NGO Strategic Framework 2021

Read the Press Release