19 / 4 / 2016 Midnight
If you are considering raising a concern, it is worthwhile familiarising yourself with the available information:
Access you organisation's raising concerns/whistleblowing policy
You should be able to locate this on your organisation's intranet site. If not, your HR/personnel department, manager/supervisor/mentor or a union representative will be able to signpost you.
Understand how to raise a concern
The policy will outline who you should raise a concern with, and the appropriate route for escalating it if necessary. Knowing the process is key in ensuring the issues you raise are listened to, properly investigated and that your employer has an opportunity to resolve the issue quickly and effectively. It is also worth remembering that by following the process correctly you are protected by the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA). PIDA exists to protect individuals to genuinely raise a concern using a correct process, and where there is clear evidence that they have suffered some form of victimisation as a result. More information is available in the PIDA legislation.
Find out who you can talk to in your organisation
Where possible, we would always recommend you try and raise any concerns as soon as possible with your line manager/supervisor or mentor either informally or formally. If you feel you are unable to raise the concern with your manager, then you may need to speak to another member of the management team, or other identified person/mechanism as identified in your organisation's raising concerns (whistleblowing) policy.
The policy should also outline who you can talk to for advice before raising a concern. This could be a raising concerns ambassador or champion, HR advisor or union representative. More recently, organisations have begun to appoint Freedom to Speak Up Guardians so it may be you have one in your organisation who you can talk to.
Know where you can access independent advice
If you are unsure about an incident you may find it helpful to seek independent advice from the national Whistleblowing Helpline, Public Concern at Work or Citizen's Advice.
The national Whistleblowing Helpline provides free, independent and confidential advice to all staff and contracted workers within health and social care. While the helpline cannot investigate concerns on behalf of individuals, it can provide invaluable advice on whether your concern is indeed a whistleblowing one and to talk you through the process to ensure it is followed correctly. They are also able to advise on how you can escalate the concern with a relevant prescribed body if needed.
To speak to a helpline advisor call 08000 724 725 between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday. An answer machine and ring-back service is available for calls outside of these times. Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Understand when and how to escalate a concern
If you are unable to raise your concern with your employer, perhaps because you don't feel listened to or are worried the concern hasn't been taken seriously or dealt with, you do have an option to refer your concern to a prescribed body/person (recognised regulatory body) who can intervene if needed. A list of relevant prescribed bodies can be accessed here.
Further guidance and support
Guidelines of how to escalate a concern with a regulatory body, can be found on the websites below:
Additional guidance for staff outside of England
For NHS staff in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you may find it helpful to refer the following websites: