What's the difference between active and passive listening? What difference does it make to how we listen to your safety concern? We put listening in focus.
Listening: it's not hard... is it? It shouldn't be. But there are ways to listen actively and more effectively instead of passively.
This is the difference between listening to understand fully what someone is saying (active) and listening out for something you want to hear or to work out what you’ll say next (passive). If you listen passively, you don’t really hear what’s being said.
Why is active listening important? It allows for true understanding of a situation or of what someone thinks and feels. It means the listener’s personal interpretation or agenda doesn’t distort this truth.
At CIRAS, our reporting analysts are our professional listeners. You speak to them when you raise a concern with us. All have a background in psychology and are fully trained to listen – to really hear you.
This means they will ask you questions to seek a full understanding of your concern. It’s not just to check that we can protect your confidentiality, but also to make sure the report for the relevant company captures the potential safety or wellbeing consequences of the issue raised.
The CIRAS process
There are different ways to speak up about a safety, health or wellbeing concern. You can raise it to your company through their internal reporting systems or by talking to your manager, you can tell a union rep, or close call it – but there’s also another option, if you want to share a concern with a company but don’t want them to identify who you are: CIRAS’ confidential reporting service. We will always protect your identity.
We take concerns for companies that aren’t your employer too. So, you can raise concerns through us for a site owner or a contractor.
To raise your concern with us, either call our hotline on 0800 4 101 101, submit the form at ciras.org.uk/raise-a-concern or post your concern to Freepost CIRAS.
Once we’ve heard from you initially, one of our analysts will give you a call, at a suitable time for you: our online form lets you tell us when is best for us to call.
After we’ve spoken to you, the analyst will write up a report and make sure you are happy with it. We then send this to the company so they can address your concern.
The company will take action and follow up by writing a response to us. We will share this with you, so you can see the result of your decision to speak up. You will have the chance to ask further questions to the company through us, and you can offer your feedback.
Above: the CIRAS process
Here’s what our analyst team says: ‘When we speak to you on the phone, it is your opportunity to fully explain the issues you are experiencing, and for us to listen. We take all concerns seriously and understand that what you are going through may be distressing.
‘You can have an open and frank discussion with us about how the issues in your concern are impacting you. As we’re independent and confidential, you may be more comfortable sharing details with us.
‘Listening to you talk about your concern means that the report we write up reflects your personal experience of the issue and captures details that other reporting channels might miss.
‘We understand that it can be frustrating to not be heard, and we give you the space you need to talk. We’re also aware that it can feel uncomfortable raising a concern about your company, which is why it’s important that we’re an independent confidential reporting service.
‘We never focus on the “who”. We just want to understand why an issue has come about – and how to stop it becoming a safety incident.
‘We’re with you and your concern from beginning to end.’
Find out more
- Confidential reporting