In March, we asked our members to help us seek views and perceptions of CIRAS from their staff. Thanks to all of you who shared the ‘Have Your Say’ survey with your colleagues. Here, we share some insight from the findings and what they might mean for how our members promote the service to staff. 

We received 812 responses – just over half from managers and office workers and the remainder from staff working in frontline operational roles. We’d like to have heard more from frontline staff - typically around three quarters of our reports come from them. We’ll look for lessons on how to distribute any future surveys to give this critical group a greater voice – and if you have any suggestions we would be delighted to hear from you!

What did our respondents tell us? 

86% had heard of CIRAS which is testament to all the hard work members are doing to raise awareness of the scheme. However, 18% said they had not seen CIRAS promoted in their organisations. If you are not actively promoting CIRAS, think about doing so. CIRAS can give you the peace of mind of knowing there will always be a way for your staff to share safety intelligence with you – potentially information which you might not otherwise hear about. 

If youre concerned that telling people about CIRAS might discourage them from using your other reporting channels, promote all the choices alongside each other so staff can choose the best option for them.  

We also asked staff how they preferred to find out about CIRAS. Most popular were staff briefings supported using posters and leaflets, and the ‘Frontline Matters’ newsletter.   

How are you promoting CIRASDo you include it in your induction and safety stand down events? Are you ensuring Frontline Matters gets to all staff? Find help in our new guide How to promote CIRAS to your staff on our members’ portal. You can order promotional materials by completing an order form.

Dispelling the myths 

We found that understanding of CIRAS - how we work and what to reportis generally good but there are some common misperceptions: 

  • 11% of respondents dont believe that CIRAS is truly confidential   

Reassure your staff that the service is 100% confidential – we’ve not had a breach in 22 years of operation. Find details of how we protect confidentiality in the CIRAS overview presentation on our members’ portal. And if you receive a CIRAS report, please discourage colleagues tempted to take any action to identify the source. 

  • 27% of respondents don’t realise that CIRAS complements internal channels 

CIRAS is not a replacement for your internal channels. We are a safety net for any occasion when someone feels they can’t report internally – or where they have and didn’t get the response they hoped for. CIRAS is not a regulator or an ombudsman we’re another way of sharing concerns so they can be addressed by members themselves. 

  • 20% of respondents don’t realise they can report concerns regarding another company 

Let your staff know that they can use CIRAS to report any health and safety concern they come across when they are working – even if it’s not about their employer. They might be worried about a client or partner organisation, for example. In fact, 23% of our reports this year so far have fallen into this category.

  • There’s still some confusion over what can be reported to CIRAS 

A significant number of respondents thought that CIRAS can take reports on personal issues or grievances, or safety issues that need to be resolved immediatelywe can’t.  If we receive calls on these matters we’ll offer the reporter advice on where to go, but you can also help by making this clear in your own communications. You could also display posters which show examples of what can be reported to us – find these on our members’ portal.

Read the full survey report on our members’ portal.  If you have any questions or observations about the findings contact Katie Healy at katie.healy@ciras.org.uk