Skip to main content

Blog & News

How can software help support your Freedom to Speak Up initiatives in 2024?

A safe and supportive environment where staff feel safe, supported and confident enough to speak up is crucial – but how can software help facilitate a just and positive culture?
| Heather Lowery | Healthcare

In 2022, the healthcare sector faced a concerning revelation: a 1.5% decrease in the Freedom to Speak Up (FTSU) sub-score among NHS workers, translating to approximately 9,000 individuals feeling less safe to voice concerns.

This decline underscores a critical issue in the healthcare system: the need to prioritise the psychological safety of staff in raising clinical concerns. As highlighted in a report by the National Guardian, fostering an environment where staff feel confident in speaking up and assured that their claims will be addressed is paramount for ensuring patient safety and staff well-being.

The Problem

Despite the imperative nature of speaking up in healthcare settings, several challenges hinder staff from doing so effectively. Firstly, many may be unaware of who their designated Speak Up Guardian is within their organisation. Additionally, the process for raising concerns and reporting channels may be unclear or insufficiently communicated. Moreover, there exists a fear of backlash among staff, deterring them from speaking up due to concerns about potential consequences.

The Guidelines

The CQC guidelines emphasise the necessity of fostering a culture that is both safe and positive, where staff feel empowered to speak up. Central to this ethos is the "We Statement” for Freedom to Speak Up outlined in the CQC Single Assessment Framework:

We foster a positive culture where people feel that they can speak up and that their voice will be heard.

This statement underscores the importance of cultivating an environment where individuals feel comfortable voicing concerns and confident that their voices will be heard and respected. Key components of this statement include promoting openness, transparency, and staff empowerment, as well as ensuring support for those who raise concerns and facilitating timely resolution and improvement.

Creating an Open, Positive, and Just Culture

To create the necessary environment where speaking up is encouraged and valued, proactive measures must be taken. Firstly, widespread dissemination of policies and procedures related to speaking up is essential. This can be achieved through various channels such as newsletters, website announcements, and staff meetings to ensure that all employees are aware of their rights and avenues for raising concerns.

Moreover, clarity regarding the role and availability of Speak Up Guardians is crucial. Staff should be made aware of who these Guardians are and how they can be contacted for support and guidance. Additionally, it is imperative to embed the principle of speaking up without fear of retaliation as a core tenet of organisational culture. This involves fostering a supportive environment where individuals feel safe to voice concerns without fear of reprisal.

How software can foster a just and positive culture where patients and staff feel empowered to speak up

Software can play a vital role in the facilitation of an open, honest and just culture in your organisation. The right software tool can support your Freedom to Speak Up policy by providing a clear reporting channel for staff.

It can also help to alert the Freedom to Speak Up guardian within your organisation and help them to provide a timely response to the concerns raised. With the support of the right software, organisations can also identify what the people who are confident to speak up have in common, and create organisation-wide plans to help support demographics who aren’t speaking up, nor feel supported enough to do so.

In addition, software also facilitates easier and quicker reports, reducing the time and effort it takes to submit the quarterly and annual reports to the Guardians Office and lessening the chance of data corruption from Spreadsheets.

To find out more about how software can help support a positive and just culture, join us on May 2nd at 11 am alongside Jacqui Coles, Vice Chair of the London Freedom to Speak Up Network and FTSU Guardian at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to see how King’s College Hospital plan to use the software.

.Register your digital seat here

In just a click, your job gets easier. Speak to the team.