You are here

Frequently asked questions about the National Guardian

  • Public

The National Guardian now has a new website, please visit

1. Who appoints Freedom to Speak Up Guardians?

All NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts are required by the NHS contract (2017/19) to nominate a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian.

Read the 2017/19 NHS standard contract

2. How will the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian role be implemented and funded?

The way the role is implemented and paid for is determined by each trust.

3. Who is my Freedom to Speak Up Guardian?

Your trust will have information about your Freedom to Speak Up Guardian. Our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian Directory is available here.

4. Is the National Guardian's Office a Prescribed Body under the  Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 as contained within the Employment Rights Act 1996


A worker can make a disclosure to a prescribed person/body depending on the nature of the issue the want to raise. A worker who makes a qualified disclosure within the meaning of the relevant legislation to their employer, a prescribed body or a wider public disclosure is protected by the law and should not be treated unfairly or lose their job for so doing.

5. If I want to speak up about something that concerns me, what should I do?

In the first instance, you should refer to your local processes. Usually your line manager will be your first point of call. Your Freedom to Speak Up Guardian will be able to offer guidance and support if you are not able to speak up through your normal line management chain.

6. Why can't I just bring my concerns directly to the National Guardian?

The role of the National Guardian is to advise NHS trusts and Freedom To Speak Up Guardians on best practice to encourage and enable staff to speak up safely within their own workplaces. The office is not seeking to replace local responsibility for enabling staff to speak up. It is generally best for issues to be addressed locally where appropriate action can take place quickly and effectively.

You can also raise concerns with the CQC about how patients and people are being treated.

7. What if I am worried about the safety of a service?

If you want to tell someone about the safety of a service, especially where you think that someone is a risk of harm, you can contact the relevant local authority safeguarding team directly.

8. Will the National Guardian intervene in my whistleblowing concern?


The National Guardian's Office is not an arbitration or appeals service and cannot investigate the detailed concerns raised in specific cases. NHS workers should raise concerns through their local process or the relevant health service regulator.

9. Will the National Guardian protect people from being sacked for speaking up?

The National Guardian does not have a remit to arbitrate the outcome of individual cases or to advise individuals on the specific details of their case. It will not replace existing legal processes such as employment tribunals, or those of professional regulatory bodies.


Last updated:
11 October 2019