If you think someone else at the council is doing something dangerous, illegal or unethical, then you should report it. You’re legally protected from being treated badly because of reporting something.
Whistleblowing is when someone believes that someone else at work is doing something dangerous to others, breaking the law or acting unethically, and reports them for it.
Here are some of the reasons you might raise concerns:
- Damage to the environment
- Abuse of clients
- Safeguarding concerns relating to children, young people or adults with care and support needs.
- Health and Safety risks
- Fraud or corruption
- Unauthorised use of council funds
- Unfair pressures on staff
You don’t need to have proof, you just need to have reasonable concerns (but you can’t just be complaining about a colleague you don’t like).
As a council, we want our people to work to high standards, and we want to hear about it if anyone is abusing their position here.
If you raise a concern you think is in the public interest, you’re legally protected by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. You can’t be treated badly at work because of it.
Equally, if you think someone has blown the whistle on someone else, you shouldn’t treat them badly for it. You could be disciplined if you do.
First of all you should tell your manager about your concerns. If you’re concerned about your manager then tell their manager.
And if you’re worried about someone who works with children, young people or vulnerable adults, you can tell a Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) on 01296 382070.
You can raise a concern and ask for it to be kept confidential. If so we won’t let anyone know about your involvement.
You can also raise an issue anonymously through the Whistleblowing Hotline, but it could make it harder for us to investigate things.
After having a meeting with you to find out more, your manager can then take action or launch an investigation. This could end up leading to a full internal investigation or even, in serious cases, getting the police involved. The council will let you know what action is being taken and the outcome. In more serious cases, the council might not be able to let you know the full details.
At the end of the process, if you’re not satisfied with what the council has done you can raise your concern with someone outside the council. You can talk to:
- A county councillor or MP
- The District Auditor
- The police
- Public Concern at Work (www.pcaw.co.uk or 020 7404 6609)
- A relevant professional body or inspectorate (e.g. Ofsted)
- A trade union or professional association
- The Local Government Ombudsman