Whistleblowing – advice for practitioners
Whistleblowing is the term used when a worker passes on information concerning wrongdoing.
Government guidance calls it “making a disclosure” or “blowing the whistle”. The wrongdoing will typically (although not necessarily) be something witnessed at work.
All organisations working with children, young people and adults at risk should be responsive to concerns raised by staff about another person’s practice or behaviour. It is important that all professionals have the confidence to come forward to speak or act if they are unhappy with anything and that they will be supported by the organisation to do this.
Whistleblowing occurs when a person raises a concern about dangerous, illegal activity or any wrong doing within their organisation, e.g:
- potentially vital information about health and safety risks
- possible fraud
- harm of children or adults
- concern worried about someone’s behaviour.
It is essential these issues are addressed immediately, so, ‘blowing the whistle’ as early as possible is important in order to prevent further harm being done.
What should practitioners do?
Each agency should have its own policy on whistle blowing that can be referred to – ensure you know where to find yours.
Every situation is different so it is advisable to seek advice before blowing the whistle from someone independent to an allegation.
Where the care of children and young people are concerned, the MSCB has adopted the GMSP procedures in relation to whistleblowing these can be found at greatermanchesterscb.proceduresonline.com
Whistleblowing advice line for professionals
The NSPCC have set up an advice line for anyone concerned about how child protection issues are being handled in their or another organisation.
The website also has resources such as posters for specific sectors and professions which can be downloaded and displayed.
NHS Whistleblowing helpline
The Whistleblowing Helpline is a free-phone service for employees, and organisations working within the NHS and social care sector.
Ofsted whistleblowing policy
Ofsted has updated its whistleblowing policy. Previously it only covered safeguarding in local authority children’s services; however the new policy covers all matters relating to the inspection and regulation of children’s social care: establishments, agencies and providers.
See Whistleblowing to Ofsted about children’s social care services (January 2016) on their website www.gov.uk
- Government guidance on whistle blowing for employees
- ACAS guidance
- Working Together 2018
- Good examples of policy: