Health Education England is launching a new drive to champion a more open and supportive culture aimed at improving staff wellbeing and making HEE the best place to work.
It aims to ensure staff throughout the organisation have the capability, knowledge and skills they need to speak up for themselves and to support others in speaking up.
Ten regional Freedom to Speak Up Guardians will spearhead the initiative, led by Professor Simon Gregory, HEE's Deputy Medical Director for Primary and Integrated Care.
As National Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, Professor Gregory’s role includes overseeing a Board Development programme to up-skill HEE's most senior leaders and ensure those raising concerns are actively and routinely listened and responded to, and that HEE’s policy and processes are effective, fit for purpose and continually improved.
Sir David Behan, Chair, Health Education England, said: "My ambition, and that of the Board, is for HEE to be the best place to work where every member of staff can bring their best self to work and feel valued and supported.
“Creating an open culture, where staff can raise comments and concerns with their managers and feel listened to, is key. We know from the Mid Staffordshire Inquiry what can happen when staff do not feel able to raise concerns.”
Professor Ian Cumming, Chief Executive, HEE said: "Everyone working in HEE should feel supported to speak up about anything that affects their working lives and gets in the way of ensuring high quality care to those that we ultimately serve - patients. All regional guardians will have ring-fenced time to do this valuable and rewarding role which will help HEE effect change and embed learning."
Staff across HEE - both national and regional - should link in to the regional guardian allocated to their office.
Trainees and other learners not directly inside HEE should use the existing systems where they are working or placed, including their Freedom To Speak Up Guardian.
Freedom to Speak up Guardians are well established in clinical settings, and all arms' length bodies are expected to demonstrate good practice as part of their own work in improving workplace cultures and staff wellbeing.
The role was introduced following a review of whistle-blowing in the NHS by Sir Robert Francis QC in 2015, in the wake of the failings in Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
Professor Gregory and the regional guardians will now undergo training to ensure they have the necessary skills and knowledge for their new roles ahead of the network being launched in the organisation from 1 April 2020. Details of how to contact the guardians will be issued in due course.