Taskforce urged to end victimisation of whistleblowers

Trade union Aspect has urged the Social Work Task Force to ensure that social care staff can blow the whistle on their employers without being victimised. 

The call was made in the union’s submission of evidence to the taskforce after a series of high-profile cases of whistleblowers being sacked for challenging alleged bad practice and abuse.

Aspect, which represents children’s and education professionals, said:  “If social work is to regain public confidence and provide safe and effective services, it requires a management culture which ensures such concerns can be raised, and without fear of subsequent detrimental treatment.”

Code of practice

It also criticised the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 for failing to protect people who speak out against their employer.

Aspect called for the GSCC code of practice to become part of the contract of employment for all social workers and social care staff and for it to be given “mandatory force”.

The union said that if social services directors felt they might be breaching their statutory duties they should be given specific protection so that they could make disclosures without detriment. This would include incidents where lack of resources threatened statutory duties.


Writing for www.communitycare.co.uk, Aspect general secretary John Chowcat said: “Aspect’s submission to the Social Work Taskforce suggests that it is a priority for the taskforce to ensure that those who raise concerns are not victimised. Where possible, of course, concerns should be raised via effective professional supervision, backed up by an audit trail. Where this is not possible, those who do blow the whistle – managers as well as frontline staff – need protection.”

The news came as it emerged that more than 40,000 people have so far signed an online petition backing nurse Margaret Haywood, who was struck off for exposing ill-treatment of older people for Panorama.

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