Raising concerns at work (whistleblowing)


Of all the recommendations, analysis, commentary and follow up reports coming out of the public inquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, the key area that gets the most press attention is the issue of raising concerns (more commonly referred to as 'whistleblowing'). There has been much debate recognising that legislative drivers and guidance will only take us so far, and that taking action quickly and effectively is absolutely crucial – we are all well aware of the catastrophic effects when concerns are not raised and dealt with appropriately. 

The Freedom to Speak Up review led by Sir Robert Francis QC, recognises that since reporting on the failings at Mid Staffordshire, much progress has been made in the NHS but there are still a number of issues that need to be addressed if we are to continue building a culture of improvement and learning. 

Protecting patients from harm and ensuring dignity of care requires an open and transparent culture at all levels of the system, but getting it right is no easy task.  

As an organisation that represents employers in the NHS across England, we have hosted a number of debates, webinars and seminars on the issue of raising concerns in the workplace.  We have updated guidance and produced a number of on-line materials for organisations to download to raise the profile of the importance of raising concerns. 

We are fully engaged in the range of programmes that are underway to help influence the changes that need to happen to embed the right kind of culture and behaviours which enable NHS staff to raise concerns.  We also work closely with the professional and system regulators, national Whistleblowing Helpline (for health and social care), health unions, and other interested parties.  

Information and resources

  • guidance for employers - signposting employers to guidance, policy and legislative drivers, and our responses to the various reviews and consultations about the issue of raising concerns
  • tools and resources - see our free downloadable communication tools and frequently asked questions
  • campaign activity - for further information about our Draw the Line campaign launched in February this year, and to access our on-line resources for managers, including a logo which can be used to drive local campaign activity, an outline presentation to gain board commitment, self assessment tool to temperature gauge your organisation's raising concerns culture, and guidance for managers
  • guidance for staff - signposting staff to further information, advice and support 
  • Sir Robert Francis review of whistleblowing processes - the latest information about the 'Freedom to Speak Up' review into whistleblowing in the NHS
  • shared learning - keeping you up to date with different approaches being undertaken by other NHS organisations across the country
  • the Speaking Up Charter (2012) - working collaboratively with professional and system regulators, health unions, and other professional bodies to influence a change in culture in the NHS

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Speaking Up Charter

The 'speaking up' charter, launched on 15 October 2012 was developed as one of the outcomes following our Whistleblowing Summit in May.

Draw the Line

Draw the line - managers' toolkit for raising concerns

New tools and resources for managers to help raising concerns become a normal part of employment in the NHS.


Guidance for employers

NHS Employers provides advice and guidance to support the development of whistleblowing policies and procedures in the NHS.


Sir Robert Francis - review of whistleblowing processes in the NHS

The latest information about the review into the raising concerns culture in the NHS led by Sir Robert Francis QC

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Tools and Resources

Useful tools and resources for you including free downloadable posters and flyers.

Open book

Whistleblowing legislation and policy 

This section of the website provides a summary of supporting legislation and policy drivers.

Doctor consultation

Shared learning and good practice examples

Use this section to submit your shared learning and good practice examples and find out what other NHS organisations are doing to encourage staff to raise concerns early and what support mechanisms they have in place to enable staff to do so safely.

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Guidance for staff

Find out what raising concerns advice and support are available through the National Whistleblowing helpline and other regulatory bodies.

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Raising concerns newsletter

Regular online newsletters sharing the latest news on raising concerns.


Guidance on the use of settlement agreements and confidentiality clauses

This page provides guidelines for employers when considering the use of settlement agreements (formerly known as compromise agreements) and confidentiality clauses.

Related News

Raising concerns share and learn meeting - last chance to book

Reserve your place at our raising concerns meeting for NHS managers on 12 August 2015 in Leeds.

View article

Trusts can appoint guardians in the absence of any guidance

The Department of Health has published its response to Sir Robert Francis Freedom to Speak Up report end encourages trusts to consider appointing a guardian.

View article

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