Whistleblowing is a term used to describe circumstances where a worker seeks to expose malpractice or wrongdoing within their organisation or place of work.
What should I do if I am thinking of blowing the whistle?
Speak to your NEU rep or local officer first before taking any action. Always seek to ensure that you are fully aware of the consequences of blowing the whistle. In certain circumstances, e.g., child protection and fraud, you may have a moral and a contractual duty to expose wrongdoing. This can be very stressful so seek professional support from the union.
Also seek support from trusted colleagues. If you have noticed wrongdoing or malpractice, the chances are that others have too. Take collective action to expose wrongdoing whenever possible.
Who is protected by the whistleblowing provisions?
The protection is for workers as well as employees. The term ‘worker’ includes agency workers and trainees on placement at a school or college. It applies to both former and existing workers, and to individuals who are self-employed and provide services directly to schools, colleges and local authorities.
Will I be able to blow the whistle anonymously?
Always check your school or college whistleblowing policy if you wish to make an anonymous disclosure. Most policies allow anonymous disclosures to be made in certain circumstances, but anonymity may mean that the person investigating your disclosure will be unable to contact you to make follow-up enquiries, which may hamper the investigation. You could ask for follow-up questions to be passed to your union rep if your school/college policy allows this.
What protection is given to whistleblowers?
Whistleblowers are protected from unfair dismissal and from any other detriment relating to their employment, provided the dismissal or detriment is as a result of blowing the whistle. School and college staff dismissed for exposing malpractice or wrongdoing will automatically be treated as having been unfairly dismissed.