Enabling our staff to speak up and share information in a prompt way allows us to identify risks, agree on next steps, share lessons learnt and assess our performance.

To ensure this can happen we appointed our first dedicated Freedom to Speak Up (FTSU) Guardian who has established a network of more than 170 FTSU Ambassadors around the organisation to further embed an open culture. In addition we have introduced an ‘Amber Button’ on our intranet whereby people can submit concerns, anonymously if they wish, via an online form.

Our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian operates independently, impartially and objectively. They:

  • Seek guidance and where appropriate escalate matters to bodies outside of the organisation
  • Have open, honest conversations with leaders in Cygnet to promote change
  • Support staff who speak up and agree next steps with them collaboratively
  • Support the right to confidentiality wherever possible whilst also taking concerns forward
  • Work closely with Freedom to Speak Up Ambassadors at sites, supporting them to influence change

Watch our Speak Up animation to learn when and how you should speak up →

Hearing the service user voice

Our service user voice is integral to our governance processes. Our People’s Councils and advocacy provision allow us to hear directly from those we look after so that we can act, and react, in a way that is responsive to their needs and views.

People’s Councils

The People's Council logoThe People’s Council is a regular forum which aims to ensure that service user and family carer voices are heard. They provide an opportunity to discuss views and share experiences with our teams locally in the spirit of co-production.

Held at service level, we now have People’s Councils at all our services and they continue to be recognised as an example of best practice within the sector.

The views and discussions from these meetings are reported through local governance structures to identify any areas that may require further focus and identify if any themes or hotspots are emerging. The feedback and insight is also shared at regional People’s Council forums and then via the Quality Risk and Safety Executive Committee to the Executive Management Board (EMB), ensuring a clear line of sight from ‘ward to board’.

A service user story is shared at the beginning of every EMB as a clear focal point from the outset.


Independent advocacy is provided across Cygnet services to give a voice to our service users. Making sure people’s views and feelings are heard helps the individuals we care for to understand their rights and ensure they feel able to participate in decisions affecting them.

Independent advocates work with people in a way that is appropriate to their communication needs and enables them to express their views. It is impartial, supportive and quality assured. By creating a space to listen, we are able to focus on an individual’s needs and wishes so that we enable them to participate in their care.