What is the National Guardian's Office?

The National Guardian’s Office and the role of the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian were created in response to recommendations made in Sir Robert Francis QC’s report “The Freedom to Speak Up” (2015).

These recommendations were made as Sir Robert found that NHS culture did not always encourage or support workers to speak up, and that patients and workers suffered as a result.

The office leads, trains and supports a network of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians in England and conducts case reviews of organisations when it appears that speaking up has not been handled according to best practice.

There are over 700 guardians in NHS and independent sector organisations, national bodies and elsewhere that ensure workers can speak up about any issues impacting on their ability to do their job. The National Guardian’s Office also provides challenge and learning to the healthcare system as a whole as part of its remit.

Who is the National Guardian?

Recruitment is underway for a new National Guardian for the NHS

The role of a National Guardian for the NHS was a key recommendation from the Freedom to Speak Up Review.

The National Guardian provides leadership and support to Freedom to Speak Up Guardians across England in national bodies, NHS and independent sector organisations to ensure that speaking up becomes business as usual.

The role of National Guardian is a unique leadership position in the healthcare sector which requires the courage and skill to speak truth unto power.

A successor is currently being recruited to replace Dr Henrietta Hughes OBE who served as National Guardian from July 2016 – September 2021

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