The Freedom to Speak Up (FTSU) Guardian is an important role identified in the Freedom to Speak Up review to act as an independent and impartial source of advice to staff at any stage of raising a concern. Essentially the role is to ensure that a culture of speaking up is instilled throughout the organisation and effective processes are in place to support staff.

The FTSU Guardian for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group is Astakahr Ahmed (Ash for short), Governing Body Independent Lay Member Patient and Public Involvement – Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Ash was appointed to his CCG Lay Member role in April 2021. He is a Senior Solicitor who brings a wealth of expertise from practicing law since 1994 and having his own practice for over 20 years specialising in criminal defence work. He is a former Council and Criminal Law Committee member of the Birmingham Law Society.

Ash also works as a Hospital Lay Manager for Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust where he undertakes a strategic role in both hearing appeals from patients and considering the legality of the detention of patients under the Mental Health Act. He is an Independent Panel Member for Police Misconduct Hearings of the Office of West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner responsible for adjudicating on police conduct and deciding on appropriate sanctions to ensure that there is an independent and impartial voice. He is also a School Governor for an academy primary school where he serves as Vice-Chair.

For more information on Ash’s Freedom to Speak Up Guardian role and to understand the CCG’s policy on raising concerns at work please go to the following link to the website where you can find the policy that outlines the designated officers who you can raise your concern with in the first instance and the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian contact details;

For any queries about the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian role or the Raising Concerns at Work policy please contact the executive lead, Alison Smith Director of Corporate Affairs –

Page last updated 4 November 2021