Agenda item

Whistleblowing Policy Review

Report of the Interim Director of Legal and Governance



The Committee received a report from the Interim Director of Legal and Governance which updated the Committee on the review of the Council’s Whistleblowing Policy and application.



The Head of HR, Elyse Senior-Wadsworth explained that Whistleblowing policies were important in order to give employees within an organisation safe passage and security when making disclosures.



It was explained that the current policy ‘See It Say It’ had been in place since 2018 and the last time that policy was brought to this Committee, one recommendation was to review it which had now been carried out.



The Head of HR informed the Committee that under the current policy, there was an average of 1 complaint per year. With only 1 progressing to the investigation stage within the last 3 years. One reason could be that the Council has a good recourse measures in place for people to raise concerns. Although, the Council was seeing an increase in complaints raised generally and that people were reluctant to raise formal complaints therefore not seeing complaints through the whistleblowing procedure was something we should be curious about and investigate.



The Head of HR mentioned how the procedure was communicated and how people understand and use it, were the most important aspect to look at. She added that the HR service along with Corporate Leadership team were doing some work on performance and accountability in April 2023 therefore, there was a natural opportunity to look at this further.



It was stated that there are contact advisors within the Council who’s role were to give advice to anyone who may have a complaint. Although, the number of contact advisors had decreased therefore, work needed to be done to train employees to become contact advisors and discharge that responsibility well.



Members of the Committee asked questions and following responses were provided: -



The Head of HR confirmed there would be consultation with the Officer Tarde Unions and agreed this was an important aspect to review. She added that Trade Unions are good at challenging officers and policies in order to ensure they read clearly to their members. It was stated that an piece of engagement had recently began to review how the policy could target the minority groups within the organisation.



RESOLVED: That the Committee agree for HR to (1) benchmark with core cities on numbers and nature of Whistleblowing complaints; (2) rewrite of policy but no substantive changes, launch with communication in April; and (3) local communication to highlight local delivery context.


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