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I haven’t blown the whistle…

You’ve seen something that concerns you at work but you’re not sure how or whether you should whistleblow.

Think about raising the concern internally – there is the added advantage of your employer acting quickly on your concerns.

For instance, you may want to consider approaching your line manager or supervisor.  If for whatever reasons you can’t approach blow the whistle with them, maybe they are involved in the wrongdoing, you don’t trust them to act properly, you have a poor working relations then here are some other options to consider:

  • Look at your employers whistleblowing policy, it may be referred to under a different name such as a ‘Speak Up Policy’ or maybe ‘Raising Concerns Policy’, either way this document will give you an idea of how to blow the whistle within your organisation.
  • The whistleblowing policy is a guide rather then something that is a binding document and you could also consider approaching a manager that you personally trust
  • Depending on the concerns you looking to blow the whistle about their maybe a specific department you could approach. For instance, a financial concern could mean an internal audit department or finance manager might be the person to raise the concerns with.

If you’ve tried all the above without success, see “I’ve raised my concerns but they have been ignored by my employer button” or call us for advice.

Actions to take

  • Talk to your senior manager or even a Board member or Trustee
  • Many organisations have a whistleblowing policy which may include a whistleblowing contact who you could raise your concern with.
  • Another option is to approach human resources, or an audit or compliance department.
  • What if I’m wrong? It doesn’t matter. You simply need to report and raise either the incident you have witnessed or describe your concerns.
  • I don’t know how to go about investigating the concern and I’m scared about taking confidential documents and paperwork.…It’s not your job to investigate. It’s more important to raise your concerns as soon as possible so any action can be taken quickly, to stop the harm sooner. We’d caution against taking confidential documents or accessing confidential files to try to stand up the concerns. It could cause you more problems in the long run.
  • Should I raise my concern anonymously? The differences between raising concerns anonymously, openly and confidentially….How you raise your concern is important, as is understanding the difference between openly, confidentiality or anonymously raising your concerns. Anonymously raising concerns means no one knows who you are. This may seem an appealing option but there are some downsides in that the person who receives your concern will be unable to ask you follow up questions. It will also make it harder for an employer or regulator to protect you from victimisation as they will struggle to confirm you as the whistleblower. Finally, you will not be able to use the legal protection for whistleblowers, the Public Interest Disclosure Act (see our guide for more information) as the protection is based on an ability to demonstrate you have blown the whistle which if the recipient of the concerns doesn’t know who you are is impossible.
  • Openly raising your concerns, where you are not worried about being identified, or confidentially raising you concerns, where the person you take you concern to promises not to reveal your identity, are more effective ways to raise the concerns. Both of these methods mean follow up questions can be asked, action can be taken against any victimisation against you, and both mean you can demonstrate blowing the whistle for the purposes of legal protection (see our guide to PIDA for more details).

If you feel the only way to raise your concerns is to progress on an anonymously, please contact us for advice.

Things to consider

  • What if I’m wrong? It doesn’t matter. You simply need to report and raise either the incident you have witnessed or describe your concerns.
  • I don’t know how to go about investigating the concern and I’m scared about taking confidential documents and paperwork.…It’s not your job to investigate. It’s more important to raise your concerns as soon as possible so any action can be taken quickly, to stop the harm sooner. We’d caution against taking confidential documents or accessing confidential files to try to stand up the concerns. It could cause you more problems in the long run.
  • Should I raise my concern anonymously? The differences between raising concerns anonymously, openly and confidentially….
    How you raise your concern is important, as is understanding the difference between openly, confidentiality or anonymously raising your concerns. Anonymously raising concerns means no one knows who you are. This may seem an appealing option but there are some downsides in that the person who receives your concern will be unable to ask you follow up questions. It will also make it harder for an employer or regulator to protect you from victimisation as they will struggle to confirm you as the whistleblower. Finally, you will not be able to use the legal protection for whistleblowers, the Public Interest Disclosure Act (see our guide for more information) as the protection is based on an ability to demonstrate you have blown the whistle which if the recipient of the concerns doesn’t know who you are is impossible.
  • Openly raising your concerns, where you are not worried about being identified, or confidentially raising you concerns, where the person you take you concern to promises not to reveal your identity, are more effective ways to raise the concerns. Both of these methods mean follow up questions can be asked, action can be taken against any victimisation against you, and both mean you can demonstrate blowing the whistle for the purposes of legal protection (see our guide to PIDA for more details).

If you feel the only way to raise your concerns is to progress on an anonymously, please contact us for advice.

When to call us for advice

There are various reasons that prevent people from raising their concerns. If any of these situations sound familiar, talk to us.

  • You fear being victimised from co-workers or actions from mangers within the organisation
  • You are worried concerns will not be dealt with if raised with your employer because in the past, concerns you or colleagues have raised, have not been dealt with by the employer
  • The senior manager, director, owner or chief executive is directly involved in the wrongdoing
  • You are considering contacting an outside body such as a regulator or the media
  • You are considering raising your concerns either confidentiality or anonymously either with your employer or with an outside body such as a regulator, police, media
  • You have any fears, apprehension, or doubts about raising your concern and need support

Do’s & Dont’s:

Do:

  • Raise a concern that affects others rather than something that purely affects you and is a personal matter
  • Raise your concern as soon as you’re aware of it, you do not need to be wholly accurate
  • Raise what you have seen, or personally aware of, and where possible stick to situations or incidents you have seen for yourself rather than what colleagues may have told you
  • Call us for advice if you fear victimisation from raising your concerns.
  • Talk to any manager or director and send a follow up email or letter – this is a good way of sending an audit trail proving what has happened further down the line.
  • Create a diary to record what happened once you raised the concern and then any reaction from managers.

Don’t:

  • Raise concerns that have been witnessed by others – call us for advice in this situation.
  • Raise your concerns anonymously without speaking to us first for advice.
  • Use the grievance policy to raise a whistleblowing concern, this should be reserved for issues that affect your personal employment rights or are about your own treatment in the workplace.
  • Your trade union or ACAS which is available for everyone, can provide more information about this process.

CALL NOW TO STOP HARM: 020 7404 6609