What is whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing is the raising of a concern, either within the workplace or externally, about a danger, risk, malpractice or wrongdoing which affects others.
If you have a safeguarding concern, you can and should advise Children's MASH or our LADO. If your concern is about an adult, please contact Adult MASH or police as appropriate. The whistleblowing process can continue separately or in conjunction with this alert.
Supporting and empowering staff to report concerns is an essential part of keeping our children and vulnerable adults safe.
Whistleblowing dos and don’ts
- keep calm
- think about the risks and outcomes before you act
- remember you are a witness, not a complainant
- contact NSPCC to report a concern confidentially
- phone Protect for advice on 020 3117 2520
- forget there may be an innocent or good explanation
- become a private detective
- use a whistleblowing procedure to pursue a personal grievance
- expect thanks
Every organisation faces the risk that something will go badly wrong, the first people to know of the risk will usually be those who work in or with the organisation.
Whistleblowers can provide an additional safeguard for patients or service users, where organizations are failing to act on concerns.
Most organisations providing services to vulnerable people are required to have a whistle-blowing policy and procedures.
A whistleblowing system essentially allows staff to bypass internal systems if they feel that overall management is engaged in improper conduct. This could include situations where a staff member feels serious abuse by other staff is not being addressed by management. In some cases this can be referred to as ‘institutional abuse’.
Ask to see your organisation's or agency's whistleblowing procedures.
Where concerns are held about a vulnerable adult regarding malpractice or misconduct in a workplace, or by employees of an organisation or agency, those concerns should in most circumstances be raised with the organisation or agency involved. This provides workers with the greatest degree of protection and the employer with a chance to address the concerns.
However, there may be some circumstances where the person feels at risk of being victimised, dismissed by their employer or has good reason to believe that the employer will not take the appropriate action, for example, having already raised concerns with the employer and received an unsatisfactory response. The provisions of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 may protect a person for raising concerns outside the workplace providing:
- the disclosure is made in good faith
- the disclosure is substantially true
- the disclosure is not made for personal gain
- there is good reason to believe that they would be victimised, that a cover-up would occur or that the matter has already been raised
For more information on whistleblowing, visit GOV.UK - what is a whistleblower.
If you do not want to whistleblow to your employer, you can contact a prescribed person or body.