Freedom to Speak Up – the Sir Robert Francis report

Comment from Leo Martin, director of GoodCorporation

While we welcome the recommendations set out in the Freedom to Speak Up Review, putting an effective speak up culture into practice can be a challenge.

A demonstrable commitment from senior management that concerns can genuinely be raised without any fear of reprisal is essential; NHS Trusts will have to work hard to rebuild confidence in this regard.

With regard to whistleblowing systems, care must be taken to ensure that any reporting line is clearly separate from the process used for reporting personal employment grievances. Unless this is achieved there is a danger that real concerns about patient welfare will be clogged up with other employment issues and become lost in the system.

To have credibility, such a whistleblowing system and indeed the ‘guardians’ recommended in the Freedom to Speak Up Review need to be as independent as possible from mainstream management. The recommended training for staff is essential but there must also be clear and highly visible communication of the reporting process so that staff and patients know where to turn.


Notes to editors:

  • Leo Martin, founder and director of GoodCorporation is available for interview
  • GoodCorporation is a leading business ethics consultancy and has worked with over 100 organisations since 2000 to assess and improve their ethical behaviour, including their whistleblowing systems. We have worked in a wide range of commercial and public sector organisations including the BBC, the NHS and at the Department of health

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