Organisational approach


There are many simple things employers can do to educate and support staff to effectively raise and respond to concerns. This section highlights the national integrated raising (whistleblowing) concerns policy which all trusts are expected to use, the importance of joined-up working with your Freedom to Speak Up (FTSU) guardian and the role of the National Guardian's Office. 

Employers can also find a suite of resources, frequently asked questions and the legislation that underpins and supports raising concerns.

National raising (whistleblowing) concerns policy

In April 2016, NHS Improvement and NHS England published Freedom to Speak Up: raising concerns policy for the NHS, mandated within the NHS Standard Contract.  

All NHS organisations in England are expected to use the policy to help standardise and normalise the raising of public interest concerns. There is space in the policy template for organisations to add local processes and additional information. 

Importance of working with your guardian

Cultural and behavioural change requires cross-organisational engagement and understanding of issues/trends. Key to getting this right is forging strong relationships with your FTSU guardian, who as part of their role, engage with numerous departments such as the communications team, chief executive and board, management teams, safeguarding and staff side representatives. 

The role of the National Guardian's Office

The National Guardian's Office (NGO) is led by Dr Henrietta Hughes who provides leadership and support to FTSU guardians and NHS trust employees who have raised a concern that has then not been effectively dealt with by the employer. The priorities of the national guardian, and her office, include:

  • supporting a strong regional network of FTSU guardians
  • highlighting the NHS organisations that are successful in creating the right environment for staff to speak up safely and share this best practice across the NHS
  • independently reviewing cases where NHS organisations may have failed to follow good practice and working with statutory bodies to take action where needed.

More information about the office, it's functions, publications and a set of FAQs are available on the NGO website.

Supporting staff who raise concerns

Raising a concern can be a stressful and difficult process for staff. As well as fostering a positive and open culture to allow staff to raise concerns, employers should ensure staff are supported through the process. There are a number of resources available on our health and wellbeing pages, as well as resources to ensure staff are supported with their mental health.


LKady writting notes meeting

Resources, learning and guidance 

Access a suite of resources, including our draw the line manager's toolkit and shared learning examples. 

Book stack

Legislation and policy

Here we highlight the legislation and policy that underpins raising concerns.

Related News

New fitness to practise research

The GMC have published new research about reducing disproportionality in fitness to practise concerns

View article

New factsheet on settlement agreements and speaking up

NHS Employers has launched a new resource to help employers and workers understand their rights when entering into a settlement agreement.

View article

Latest Tweets

Latest Blog Post

Stay curious and open - key messages from ODN Europe

17 / 7 / 2019 12.48pm

OD practitioner Ruth Ball shares her experiences from the ODN Europe conference.

Why Register?

Great reasons to register with NHS Employers

  • A personalised website
    Manage your profile and select topics of interest to you
  • Access your dashboard
    Bookmark useful content to help you quickly find what you're looking for
  • Get involved
    Contribute to our Talking Points discussions, comment on and rate our webpages
  • Keep up to date
    Receive the latest newsletters and media summaries

Log In