Enabling our colleagues to ‘speak up’ is key to Locala being able to proactively tackle potential issues and learn lessons when things do go wrong; ensuring colleagues feel comfortable in raising issues and are confident they will be listened to and suitable actions will be taken.
Speaking Up is an approach adopted by all providers of NHS services in England, including Locala, to help normalise the raising of concerns for the benefit of all patients. It was one of a number of recommendations of the national review by Sir Robert Francis aimed at improving the process for “whistleblowing” in the NHS.
We have a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian (FTSUG) – a practising clinician. They, along with colleagues from our Members’ Council – and Associate FTSUGs - are there to listen to the concerns of staff colleagues. The first port of call for a colleague raising a concern would normally be their line manager but the findings from the Francis Review highlighted that other routes need to be available. In Locala’s case these include:
A further option is to contact: Karen Jackson, Chief Executive - our executive director with responsibility for speaking up , or Carrie Wollerton - our non-executive director with responsibility for speaking up.
The Freedom to Speak Up Guardian attends the Board meeting every 6 months and presents a report on ‘Speaking Up’ activity for the previous 6 month period. This is fully anonymised but is vital to ensure all Board members understand the concerns raised by colleagues. There were 22 concerns raised via our FTSUG in the period April 2020 to March 2021. Our associate FTSUGs from Members’ Council also gather suggestions, queries and concerns from colleagues via a Colleague Feedback Log. These are routinely reviewed by our Executive Directors – of the 76 entries in Log over the 3 years to February 2021 only the most recent ones are not yet fully addressed.
Colleagues can highlight concerns about risk, malpractice or wrongdoing they think are harming the services we deliver. Just a few examples of this might include (but are by no means restricted to):
If they raise a genuine concern they will not be at risk of losing your job or suffering any form of reprisal as a result. Locala will not tolerate the harassment or victimisation of anyone raising a concern. Nor will Locala tolerate any attempt to bully the colleague into not raising any such concern. Any such behaviour is a breach of our values as an organisation.