It is important for individuals to feel safe and listened to when raising concerns. An open approach to whistleblowing promotes the values of openness, transparency and candour and ensures wellbeing and safety of children and young people are part of the culture.
It gives an opportunity to stop poor practice at an early stage before it becomes normalised and serious incidents take place. The freedom to raise concerns without fear means that employees have the confidence to go ahead and “do the right thing”.
See Raising concerns at work for more information.
- The Public Interest Disclosure Act
- The Professional Duty of Candour for Health Professionals
- Who to contact about concerns
- Further information
The Public Interest Disclosure Act
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) offers protection to workers from any detriment from their employer that arises from the worker making a ‘protected disclosure’.
To qualify as a ‘protected disclosure’, the disclosure must satisfy a number of requirements:
- The worker must have made a ‘qualifying disclosure’. This is a disclosure of information which, in the reasonable belief of the worker, tends to show one or more of the following:
- That a criminal offence has been committed, is being committed, or is likely to be committed.
- That a person has failed, is failing, or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation to which he is subject.
- That a miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring, or is likely to occur.
- That the health and safety of any individual has been, is being, or is likely to be endangered.
- That the environment has been, is being, or is likely to be damaged.
- That information tending to show any matter falling within any of the preceding paragraphs has been, or is likely to be deliberately concealed. A disclosure of information is not a qualifying disclosure if the person making it commits a criminal offence in doing so.
- The qualifying disclosure must be made in good faith.
- The worker must make the qualifying disclosure to one of a number of ‘specified persons’ set out in PIDA, which include:
- The worker's employer or, if they reasonably believe that the failure relates solely or mainly to (i) the conduct of a person other than their employer or (ii) any other matter for which a person other than their employer has legal responsibility, that other person.
- A 'prescribed person'. However, the worker must reasonably believe that the information disclosed and any allegation contained in it is substantially true.
The Professional Duty of Candour for Health Professionals
Every healthcare professional must be open and honest with patients when something goes wrong with their treatment or care which causes, or has the potential to cause, harm or distress. This means that healthcare professionals must:
- Tell the patient (or, where appropriate, the patient's advocate, carer or family) when something has gone wrong;
- Apologise to the patient (or, where appropriate, the patient's advocate, carer or family);
- Offer an appropriate remedy or support to put matters right (if possible); and
- Explain fully to the patient (or, where appropriate, the patient's advocate, carer or family) the short and long term effects of what has happened.
Healthcare professionals must also be open and honest with their colleagues, employers and relevant organisations, and take part in reviews and investigations when requested. Health and care professionals must also be open and honest with their regulators, raising concerns where appropriate. They must support and encourage each other to be open and honest and not stop someone from raising concerns.
Who to contact about concerns
Employees should in the first instance follow their own organisation’s whistleblowing policies or procedures. If the issue that requires disclosure sits outside of these policies or procedures, or related to how board member agencies are operating together under the safeguarding partnership arrangements, the employee can write to the Independent Chair of the relevant local safeguarding partnership. They will need to outline what the issues are and how it meets the whistleblowing criteria.
- Whistle blowing helpline
- Raising Concerns at Work
- Whistle blowing to Ofsted about children's social care services: Policy and guidance for whistleblowers
- Complain about a school, or childminder
- Early years compliance handbook
- Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
- Public Concern at Work
- What to do if you're worried a child is being abused
- NSPCC Whistleblowing Advice Line
- Whistleblowing for Employees