A key theme in the NGO Strategic Framework  is to promote the universal principles for speaking up and how they are applied across the healthcare system.

National organisations must set the tone and role-model the good practice they require of others.

Sometimes, workers may feel that speaking up using internal arrangements is not appropriate, either because they have tried to speak up before and no action has been taken, or they have been met with a negative response.

Yet recent reviews have shown that when workers then speak up to national bodies, they have a variable, and sometimes poor response.

When workers speak up, wherever they speak up, there needs to be a high quality, consistent response. The National Guardian’s Office is bringing together national bodies to develop an aligned, consistent and supportive response when workers speak up to them.

Together with the members of the Speak Up Partnership Group, we have developed twelve key principles to support this aim. The principles serve as a framework for national bodies to use as they work towards implementing and embedding policies and procedures to ensure that workers who speak up are supported and the right actions taken.

Principles for Responding to Speaking Up

  1. There will be clear and accessible information on how to speak up.
  2. Speaking up processes will be designed so that all workers can speak up easily.
  3. Everyone who speaks up will be thanked.
  4. Where appropriate, workers will be encouraged and supported to speak up locally.
  5. If another organisation (e.g. another national body) better addresses a matter, workers will be supported to speak up to that organisation.
  6. Workers will be offered information on other sources of advice and support.
  7. Workers speaking up will be provided with a response in a timeframe that is made clear to them.
  8. Responses to speaking up will include details setting out how the information provided was used for learning and improvement.
  9. The confidentiality of those who speak up will be respected, subject to the need to ensure safeguarding requirements are met.
  10. Where matters are raised anonymously, they will be responded to in accordance with these principles to the extent possible.
  11. Workers will be given the opportunity to feedback on their experience of speaking up.
  12. The speaking up arrangements’ effectiveness will be monitored, and opportunities to improve taken.