Call made to back Whistle-blowers

The National Care Standards Commission should
help promote whistle-blowing as an integral part of workplace
culture, according to the campaigning organisation Public Concern
at Work.

Its legal officer, Anna Myers, told a
conference on whistle-blowing organised by Community Care,
PCW and umbrella body NCVCCO, that central government also had a
role to play: “If there was a message from government that this is
important, it would do a lot to promote a culture of
whistle-blowing. But it’s also something the NCSC could take

Acknowledging the culture of fear that
surrounds whistle-blowing, Myers said: “People keep quiet because
they only have a suspicion and don’t feel they can prove it.

“They don’t want to be seen as sneaks. All of
us grew up in this culture and it’s hard to change.”

One of the obstacles to blowing the whistle is
the process for doing so, said Myers. Many people are reluctant to
report concerns to their line manager because they feel that they
would not be listened to. A system that allows staff to bypass
their line manager was needed, she said.

Myers added: “Whistle-blowers should be
treated as witnesses not complainants. It should be a normal part
of work, not deemed deviant behaviour. If you are dealing with
children, you are giving the message that they should keep quiet,”
she said.

Lynne Berry, chief executive of the General
Social Care Council, said at the event that whistle-blowing was a
key part of upholding standards in the social care profession.

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