Workers contacted Pamela Permalloo- Bass, Freedom to Speak Up Guardian at Solent NHS Trust, and spoke up about preferential treatment of other workers who had closer working relationships with their line managers.

“At our Executive Freedom to Speak Up Oversight Committee, this issue has been raised as an overarching theme,” said Pamela. “This enabled further discussion on enabling a better understanding of professional boundaries in the workplace.”

The trust didn’t have a policy for ‘managing close relationships at work’, and as a result of these workers speaking up, a policy has now been drafted which will be implemented in due course.

The policy outlines workers’ responsibilities to ensure that any close personal relationships at work do not interfere with their duties and responsibilities. It also helps managers to deal promptly and sensitively with issues involving close personal relationships at work and to manage these matters in a consistent, fair and reasonable manner.

“In the short term, workers felt listened to, supported and guided,” said Pamela. “And in the medium term, we have achieved greater clarity with signposting, process and policies as a result of these workers speaking up.”

“In the longer term, team dynamics have improved and workers felt confident about speaking up in the knowledge that action would be taken. This has strengthened trust in the Freedom to Speak Up service.

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]