October is Freedom to Speak Up month

Freedom to Speak Up

October is Freedom to Speak Up month and this year we are focussing on some of the major developments and the ethos and principles of Freedom to Speak Up (FTSU) at EEAST.

Over the month we will be providing advice and guidance to managers and supporting them with how to have difficult conversations as part of the Managers Passport Early intervention training, there will even be the opportunity to make a Speak Up pledge. 

Firstly, I would like to say sorry. We have been incredibly busy, as you will see below, and I have not been able to maintain as much contact with staff as I initially promised. I'm delighted to say that we now have some additional resource so you will start to see a change in the service we are able to provide. My professional and personal integrity means I am reluctant to close a case until there is a fair resolution, as you will appreciate that this can take some time.

What do FTSU do? 

  • Talking with staff about, and through, their concerns.
  • Supporting staff with emotional and mental wellbeing support.
  • Signposting to the relevant part of the service or guiding them through.
  • Active engagement with staff in the field.
  • Liaising with HR, managers, senior leaders.
  • Providing supportive information to staff based on their concerns.
  • Developing the FTSU infrastructure in EEAST.
  • Internal relationship building with service areas.
  • Finding innovative ways to navigate the layers within the service for the benefit of staff.
  • Communicating and promoting the service to all staff.

What difference has FTSU made?  What impact have we had?

  • Staff raising concerns via FTSU are listened to and supported, they are also encouraged to self-reflect and to be realistic in their expectations.
  • More staff have spoken up to the Guardian since October 2020. There were 366 new cases in comparison to 44 for the same time period last year.
  • FTSU have closed 258 cases via the methods detailed above.
  • FTSU have developed a stronger working relationship with HR to assist in resolving cases.
  • We know, the top three concerns reported to FTSU are: bullying and harassment, the application of Trust processes and the behaviours and relationships which have an impact on how valued, appreciated and acknowledged staff feel.
  • The leadership have a clear and honest understanding of what staff really experience when they try to speak up.
  • The FTSU Executive Lead and Non-Executive Lead, support FTSU by breaking down barriers in some cases where support is needed. They also continue to check and challenge the Board with regards to the culture and behaviours in support of FTSU agenda.
  • We have a FTSU Policy and Strategy fully sighted and approved by the Board, an implementation plan is being developed.
  • We have revised re-started the Raising Concerns Forum to assist in formally identifying themes of concerns across the service areas and to have open and honest conversations about how they can be fully addressed.
  • NHS England have conducted a comprehensive review of the FTSU function and have identified some areas for development – more about FTSU ambassadors to follow.
  • Managers and staff are more aware that all staff have a right to speak up, be listened to and thanked for raising their concerns, but also for their concerns to be resolved in some way.
  • The Trust has increased the size of the team temporarily and secured funding for a new permanent Full time Advisor.
  • The FTSU posters and leaflets, below, have been redesigned and should be with you by the end of this month.


It’s been a very busy year and we anticipate that the next year will be just as demanding, yet hugely rewarding.

Finally, we are also in the middle of Black History Month and the theme is Proud to Be!

I am proud to be a Black woman working for EEAST. This is because I have worked continuously and exceptionally hard to be and do “better” than my White counterparts as I and probably most Black people have been instructed by parents and carers. My hard work has put me in a position to be able to ask leaders and managers the questions “what are you doing to promote equity in the way we recruit and promote staff?”, “How do we deal with racism in our service area?” and “how are we protecting our staff and our patients from racism, prejudice, bias and discrimination?”. 

So, I pose the question to those reading this. What are you doing to promote, protect and better the experiences of our Black staff and care for our Black patients?

If you would like to discuss a concern, how to address a concern or answer some of the questions posed above, please do feel free to get in contact with us.

Janice Scott
Freedom to Speak Up Guardian

07562 158013

Linda Morris
Freedom to speak Up Consultant

07729 107999

Published 14th October 2021