In every setting there should be a policy and procedures on whistle blowing. The whistle blowing Policy is put into place to provide protection against the person in the work place against victimisation or any form of punishment (physical or verbal) when concerns are genuine. If you suffer any victimisation or punishment due to whistleblowing you may be able to take your case to an Employment Tribunal.
If you have any concerns about misconduct or malpractice that is occurring in your work setting you should report it to your manager/supervisor. All information given is confidential. The whistleblower is a person that discloses wrongdoing that threatens others, rather than a complaint about their own treatment.
The procedure to follow if an employee wishes to raise a concern is as follows:
• All staff should act in good faith when they suspect misconduct or malpractice within the setting.
• The whistle blower should think hard about what is worrying them and why.
• They should then report their concerns to the manager/supervisor in charge, do this when you feel that the time is right.
• Write your concerns down giving background details, history, names, witness names (if any) dates and places if you can.
• During an investigation both parties are adequately informed with any progress that has been made by the manager/supervisor, they will also give a timescale on how long the investigation will go on.
• Support is offered to both parties if they require this.
• Both parties can defend any complaints and give their version of events that have happened.
• All information disclosed from both the whistleblower and the accused are
all kept confidential and they are investigated discreetly (Data Protection Act).
• However, if a situation arises where a case cannot be resolved without revealing identities, they will discuss how they can proceed.
• If nothing happens about your concerns you would take the next step. If you feel that you cannot talk to your manager/supervisor or if you feel nothing has been done you can contact The Early Years Advisor or Ofsted on 0845 601 4772 for further advice on steps to follow.
If you lose your job or suffer as a result of whistle blowing you are protected by law under The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, this was brought in to protect whistleblowers, this covers any offence that has been committed (A miscarriage of justice, Danger to health and safety of an individual and/or environment, any deliberate concealment of any information given. The Standards Board for England’s whistleblowing Policy and Procedure, are set out, in line with the Act.
It is the role of the whistleblower to appropriately report or respond to possible misconduct, however it is not the whistleblower’s role to investigate the misconduct or to give out their own justice.
Protection of the accused party/parties:
• The manager/supervisor will assess whether it is necessary to protect the accused / accusers until the concerns have been investigated.
• The accused/accusers will be informed of the seriousness of the allegations of misconduct by their manager/supervisor they will also provide any supporting evidence.
• The accused or accusers will be advised in writing of the procedure to be followed.
• The accused/accusers will be given the opportunity to respond by a meeting or put their response in writing to the claims made against them and speak about any relevant evidence. The accused/accusers will be given the opportunity to be accompanied by a representative of a trade union or a work colleague.
• They will be provided with support, counselling or mediation to those subject to investigation in order to resume normal working relationships as soon as possible.
Remember that Whistleblowers are protected for public interest, to encourage people to speak out if they find malpractice in an organisation or workplace.
Also see Whistle blowing policy and procedures.
An explanation of how practitioners can take steps to protect themselves within their everyday practice in the work setting and on off site visits. An important part of a practitioner’s role would be to read all policies and procedures these are put into place to protect them and the children that you look after.
In the workplace you can protect yourself by:
• Always follow your settings the policies and procedures.
• You should avoid being alone in a closed room with a child.
• If a child is late being collected then two members of staff stay with the child until parents/carers arrive.
• Staff and children’s times on arrivals and departures are recorded in the register.
• When incidents or accidents occur always get a witness to sign.
• If an incident happens before the child enters the setting, write up information in incident book and get parent to sign before they leave.
Off site visits you protect yourself by:
• Always follow your settings policies and procedures.
• Carry out a full risk assessment. Think of age/stage of children and where and when and how you are getting to the venue, always have the child’s safety in mind.
• Get parental/carers consent.
• Make sure insurance covers the outing.
• Staff ratio is in line within the guidance of Ofsted (possibly go lower with ratio)
• Take emergency contact numbers, mini first aid box and any medical notes that could be relevant in case of accidents or emergencies.