Escalating and Concern & Whistleblowing
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 Access Point on 01273 295555 and /or police as appropriate. The whistleblowing process can continue separately or in conjunction with this alert.
Brighton & Hove Safeguarding Adults Board is committed to ensuring best practice and protection for all the adults in this region.
Supporting and empowering staff to report concerns is an essential part of keeping our vulnerable adults safe.
Whistle-blowing do’s and don’ts
- Keep calm
- Think about the risks and outcomes before you act
- Remember you are a witness, not a complainant
- Phone Public Concern at Work (PCaW) for advice: 020 7404 6609
- Forget there may be an innocent or good explanation
- Become a private detective
- Use a whistle-blowing procedure to pursue a personal grievance
- Expect thanks
Escalating a Concern
It is important for staff in the first instance, to be able to raise concerns at work, or across agencies. Effective complaints, allegations and whistleblowing processes demonstrate that an organisation is open, willing and able to respond to concerns. Creating regular opportunities to raise issues before they escalate can increase the opportunity for early intervention
Occasionally situations arise when workers within one agency feel that the decision made by a worker from another agency on a safeguarding adult case is not a safe decision. Disagreements could arise in a number of areas, but are most likely to arise around:
- Threshold for intervention
- Roles and responsibilities
- The need for action
The safety of adults at risk is the paramount consideration in any professional disagreement and any unresolved areas should be addressed with due consideration to the risks that might exist for the adult. All workers should feel able to challenge decision-making and to see this as their right and responsibility in order to promote the best multi-agency safeguarding practice.
Effective working together depends on an open approach and honest relationships between agencies. Problem resolution is an integral part of professional co-operation and joint working to safeguard adults at risk. Resolution should be sought within the shortest timescale possible to ensure the adult at risk is protected. Disagreements should be resolved at the earliest possible time.
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 whistle-blowing 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 organisations/agencies whistle-blowing procedures.
Where concerns are held about a vulnerable adult regarding malpractice or misconduct in a workplace or by employees of an organisation/agency, those concerns should in most circumstances be raised with the organisation/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, i.e. 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