Speak Up Week 2023: Why is reporting on learning and improvements important?

"Reporting on learning and improvements from whistleblowing concerns demonstrates a commitment from leadership to be openly accountable and to drive continuous improvement.  Openly sharing and promoting learning and the progress made as a result of it, is a key element of driving positive change.  If leaders and managers are open, colleagues are more likely to be confident in speaking up and sharing the opportunities they see for learning and improvement in the knowledge it will be listened to and valued."

Here’s the official bit - reporting has been a requirement under the National Whistleblowing Standards (the Standards) for the NHS in Scotland since April 2021. The Standards require NHS boards to produce quarterly reports for internal governance, and to publish an annual report setting out performance in handling whistleblowing concerns.

A fundamental principle of the Standards and whistleblowing procedure is to identify and act on learning from the outcome of whistleblowing concerns, the aim being to improve NHS services.

So we know that we are required to report but there’s more to it than that. Reporting on learning and improvements will support your organisation’s speak up culture.

Who sees your organisations annual report?

The public, patients, staff, the INWO, other NHS boards. The reports should be well sign posted and accessible.

What will the annual report tell people about your organisation?

It should make it clear that your organisation has a speak up culture where people feel safe to raise concerns, that they are listened to and supported, and that action is taken to ensure that learning and improvements take place as a result.

Producing the annual report

Ensure that your organisation has structured systems for capturing and recording whistleblowing concerns, their outcomes, and any resulting action taken to resolve the concern.

Remember anonymisation. It is key that every effort is made during the preparation of the annual reports to ensure that the identities of those involved in whistleblowing concerns cannot be discerned from the information or context provided in the report.

Consider how you will effectively report against KPI 1, which requires a statement outlining learning, changes or improvements to services or procedures as a result of consideration of whistleblowing concern. These give real opportunities for demonstrating your organisation’s speak up culture.

Use available resources

We encourage you to use the INWO's Good practice guidance for annual whistleblowing reporting or contact the INWO team advice phone line on Freephone: 0800 008 6112 or [email protected].

Speak Up Week is an opportunity to engage staff about the benefits of speaking up and the difference it can make within the NHS in Scotland.  For more information, visit the Speak Up Week webpage.

Updated: October 6, 2023