The Francis Report – Whistleblowing in the NHS: Independent review

‘Freedom to speak up?’ is an independent review into creating an open and honest reporting culture in the NHS.

The review, chaired by Sir Robert Francis QC, will provide independent advice and recommendations to ensure that:

  • NHS workers can raise concerns in the public interest with confidence that they will not suffer detriment as a result
  • appropriate action is taken when concerns are raised by NHS workers
  • where NHS whistleblowers are mistreated, those mistreating them will be held to account.

The review will consider independent mediation and appeal mechanisms to resolve disputes on whistleblowing fairly.

The review will engage closely with individual NHS workers who say they have suffered detriment as a result of raising legitimate concerns, as well as with employers, trade unions, professional and system regulators and professional representative bodies.

Terms of reference

Read Terms of reference (PDF, 71.7KB, 1 page)

The review will not re-open a case or comment upon any judicial findings.

Advisors from the NHS and other fields chosen for their experience and knowledge in the relevant areas will support the review.

The review will complete its work by the end of November 2014.


The review shortly intends to put in place protocols regarding the evidence that it requests and receives. Until then, the review cannot offer clarity about the extent to which the confidentiality of any information received by it can be maintained. In light of this, at the present time those who want to offer information or evidence to the review may wish to restrict the information they give to their contact details and to identifying in non-confidential terms the nature of the evidence which they would like to provide.

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