A colleague contacted Jon Nobbs, their Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, on their private email out of working hours, as they had a concern about a team member who sat close to them in a small office. They were worried about confidentiality.

They gave Jon a detailed account of bullying and harassment from this colleague, as well as highlighting disturbing behaviours that disrupted work and potentially put confidential data at risk. Patient records were going missing and turning up in random places and a shared inbox was tampered with which disrupted the department and potentially made colleagues appear inefficient or incompetent.

The colleague was distressed and felt unable to go to their own line manager, who had a good working relationship with this colleague. They felt that they may not be believed and were considering seeking new employment.

Jon assured them that they could discuss options with the matron in a confidential environment, which they did. By coming forward, the colleague confirmed some concerns already held by senior staff.

As the situation continued, the colleague also discussed their concerns with their line manager and, following a thorough investigation, the situation with the team member was appropriately resolved.

“This worker has been extremely positive about the Freedom to Speak Up process,” said Jon. “They regularly updated me on how much their work life has improved since the resolution of this situation. It has been immensely gratifying to see the positive change that was able to be made by the safe space that Freedom to Speak Up offers for workers to raise issues.”

“This case highlights to colleagues and our senior management that the Freedom to Speak Up process works well and helps to give confidence in the process,” Jon added. “So much so, that the colleague has volunteered to be one of the hospital’s Freedom to Speak Up Ambassadors, giving an extra channel of communication for their colleagues in their own department and across the wider hospital team.”

This case study was part of our 100 Voices publication which accompanied the 2019 Annual Report.

Case studies are vital to illustrate the good work of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians. We encourage all organisations to share the learning from their speaking up stories.

If you have a Freedom to Speak Up story to share, please send an email to [email protected]