The National Guardian’s Office today (7 July 2022) publishes the latest annual speaking up data, which summarises the themes and learning from the speaking up data shared by Freedom to Speak Up guardians.

The number of cases brought to them last year remains at the record level set in 2020/21 (20,362, compared with 20,388 in 2020/21).  Freedom to Speak Up guardians have handled over 75,000 cases since the National Guardian’s Office first started collecting data in 2017.

The percentage of cases which were raised anonymously has reduced to ten percent (10.4%). This continues the downward trajectory from 2017, when 17.7% of cases were raised anonymously.

Nineteen per cent (19.1%) of cases raised included an element of patient safety/quality, a slight increase from 18% in 2020/21.

In response to concerns being raised during the pandemic, the National Guardian’s Office introduced a new reporting category of worker safety in 2021/22.  Over the year, 13.7% of cases had an element of worker safety.

Poor behaviour remains a cause for concern, with the highest proportion of cases – over a third (32.3%) – including an element of behaviours, such as bullying/harassment. This is a rise from 30.1% last year.

To better understand the nature of these behaviours being reported, from April 2022, the National Guardian’s Office will be replacing this category with two new categories: bullying and harassment, and elements of inappropriate attitudes or behaviours.

Despite the improvement in levels of anonymity, of concern is the rise in reported detriment for speaking up, which was indicated in 4.3% of cases, a rise from 3.1% in 2020/21.


Find out more about Speaking Up data