an animated image with a blue loud speaker and the words 'Speak Up' in white.

Freedom To Speak Up Guardian Appointed

Posted on 30 March 2023

Southdown Board Member, Tara Osbourne-Wallace, has been appointed as Freedom To Speak Up Guardian as part of our commitment to a ‘speak up’ culture in the organisation.

Tara tells us why speaking up is important and how employees, tenants, clients, family members and carers can raise any concerns they have through an independent channel:

Southdown is committed to an open and transparent culture; one in which all employees and people who use our services feel empowered to raise concerns, with confidence that these concerns will be acted upon and without detriment for speaking up. To support this commitment, Southdown has appointed me as it’s Freedom To Speak Up Guardian, a role which I will carry out alongside my responsibilities as a Board Member.

This role is in place to offer employees, service users and carers an independent channel to raise any concerns that they may have which they do not feel able to raise directly with the person or service with whom they have the concern. It is an independent and impartial role, ensuring that the focus is on the safety issue that has been raised and that it is investigated and addressed.

Speaking up is about highlighting anything that gets in the way of providing good care and support. Examples of when you might want to speak up may include:

  • Unsafe care and support
  • Unsafe working conditions
  • Poor response to an incident
  • Inadequate training and induction
  • Bullying culture
  • Suspicions of fraud

Everyone who works at Southdown or comes into contact with our services should know how to raise concerns and feel safe to do so. Having worked within safeguarding for many years, I know how difficult speaking up can be. However, if you see something happening that is not in keeping with Southdown’s values, policies and practices, I urge you to be brave and speak up. This is key to supporting the organisation to continue to deliver high standards of care and support to service users and employees.

What happens when you speak up?

  • You will be thanked for speaking up and listened to.
  • Next steps will be discussed and we will talk about confidentiality.
  • The concerns will be handed over to the most appropriate person to investigate.

How to raise a concern:

If you are a member of staff and you have a concern, you can raise this directly with your manager in the first instance. If you don’t feel you have been listened to or if you feel worried about raising a concern for fear of repercussions, you can raise this with me via Southdown’s Assistant Company Secretary, Clare Musham. The ‘Confidential Reporting (Whistleblowing) Policy’  provides further guidance on how to raise concerns.

If you use Southdown services or are a family member or carer of someone who uses our services, you can either raise a concern via the complaints process or contact me as Southdown’s Freedom to Speak Up Guardian via Southdown’s Assistant Company Secretary, Clare Musham.