Karen Hawley FTSU Guardian

A member of the Domestic Team spoke up to Karen Hawley, Freedom to Speak Up Guardian at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. They were concerned about lack of support, staffing levels, poor communication within the team, equipment issues and health and safety issues. Morale within the team was very low.

The Freedom to Speak Up Guardian escalated the concern confidentially to the Deputy Director of Facilities.  All the issues were reviewed and a response in relation to actions was received within a week.

The person who spoke up was thanked for raising the concerns and was updated on plans to ensure more consistent staffing in their area.  The equipment issues were acknowledged, and an explanation was provided as to why these issues had been occurring. Actions were taken to improve the situation.

The health and safety issues were overcome by the procurement of an alternative means of transporting heavy equipment and waste bags.

The management team acknowledged that there was low staff morale and assurance. They were working hard to address this by ensuring all workers had access to team meetings, 1:1s and appraisals, and were supported to have a good work-life balance. An open-door policy now exists within the area and workers are encouraged to speak up so that any issues can be addressed.

The worker was thanked for speaking up.  They said they were reassured and satisfied by the responses they had received.  Following their experience, they said they would speak up again if they had further concerns.

They said: “I spoke to the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, [the guardian] was very friendly and helpful. It is very good that we have the Freedom to Speak Up as things can be sorted and it makes you enjoy coming to work and do your job. My job is better than it has been in the past”.

Karen reflected: “It was great to see that the concerns were responded to swiftly and in a positive way. The feedback from the management team was thorough and addressed each point the worker raised. This has had a positive impact on other workers feeling able to speak up.”

This case study features as part of our 100 Voices campaign. If you would like to share a speaking up story for this campaign, please contact [email protected] for more information.