Freedom to Speak Up Guardian

At NHFT, Freedom to speak up is not just about having a guardian.

It is a part of our culture and helps to empower our staff to keep service users, patients and their families and carers safe. We want NHFT to be an open and transparent place to work, where all staff feel able to speak up about any issues or concerns that they have.

All NHS trusts are required to have a named freedom to speak up guardian. The guardian role works alongside the Trust leadership teams to support open and transparent working where all staff are actively encouraged and enabled to speak up safely.

The guardian role is there to support staff to speak up but also to proactively improve the culture of the Trust to focus on learning and improvement. Whether it is the potential for things to go wrong or in response to an incident, it is important that all staff feel able to speak up so that potential harm is prevented. Even when things are good, but could be even better, we should feel able to say something and should expect that our suggestion is listened to and used as an opportunity for improvement. Speaking up is about all of these things.

Who is the guardian at NHFT?

The Trust has a Freedom to speak up guardian, Beth Brand.

To ensure that all staff are supported to raise concerns and have a voice, the trust has 29 Freedom to Speak Up Champions. Freedom to speak up champions are voluntary roles spread across the organisation to champion the principles of Freedom to speak up and support colleagues to be able to speak up.

Our champions are well-placed to support staff with how to raise concerns about patient safety or quality of care and supporting the Trust’s Freedom to Speak Up guardian, Beth Brand, to promote an open and authentic culture based on the principles of speaking up. The champion model is being used by several other trusts across the country and has shown to be successful in creating a network of staff available to support colleagues to speak up.

Champions have completed training on their new role and are available to support any member of staff who has concerns and is unsure what to do. 

The Trust’s Executive lead for speaking up is our CEO Angela Hillery and the Non-Executive Lead for speaking up is Melanie Hall.

Our strategy

Our strategy is made up of the following objectives:

  • Increase diversity of Freedom to Speak Up champions to support speaking up in the organisation
  • Maintain the top five position in the Freedom to Speak Up index
  • Work with 'core leaders' to build a listening culture where speaking up is recognised and valued
  • Embed process for monitoring and investigating detriment; where staff who have spoken up feel they have been disadvantaged as a result
  • Provide targeted support for Leicestership Partnership Trust (LPT) around the governance of Freedom to Speak Up
  • Enhance parntership working with staff networks and Staff Side colleagues

Things we are proud of

The work NHFT has done on speaking up has been recognised nationally, being highly commended at the HSH 2019 awards. The Trust is 3rd nationally in the “Freedom to speak up index” based on results from the staff survey which show:

  • 70% feel staff involved in errors or near misses are treated fairly
  • 93% of staff feel the organisation encourages reporting of errors
  • If concerned about unsafe practice, 98% of staff say they know how to report
  • 79% of staff would feel secure speaking up about unsafe practice

As a member of the public can I contact the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian?

The Freedom to speak up guardian role is in place as an independent source of support for all workers and volunteers in NHFT.

As a member of public, if you have any questions or concerns about the care the Trust provides, you can direct them through our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) or the Trust’s Complaints team.

If you have any questions about Freedom to speak up you can email:

  • Freedom to speak up guardian Beth Brand