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. 

Draw the Line

In February 2015 we also launched the Draw the Line campaign which we have been commissioned to deliver by NHS England. The campaign includes the publication of a series of new on-line resources for managers.  All are targeted at supporting NHS organisations to implement and embed frameworks that affect a change in culture and raise awareness of the different approaches being successfully adopted across the country and across sectors, to share that journey of learning.   

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 national Whistleblowing Helpline (for health and social care), health unions, and other interested parties.

Information and resources

Further reading

We all have a responsibility  - Dean Royles talks about the importance of raising concerns.
HSJ raising concerns feature - this HSJ feature on raising concerns contains commentary from Dean Royles and includes case studies from East London NHS Trust Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Whistleblowing we have two problems - Dean Royles looks at some of the more challenging issues and different approaches

Francis - one year on - another interesting blog from Dean Royles about the changes one year on from the Francis report into Mid Staffordshire

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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 -a new 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

Have your say on the Freedom to Speak Up recommendations, principles and actions 

Designed to assist with the local implementation of the Freedom to Speak Up recommendations, this consultation seeks your views.

View article

Capsticks new consultancy service

The Capsticks Consultancy Service (CCS) brings together a range of specialist non-legal skills under one roof that are intended to help organisations run more effectively.

View article

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