Staff report safeguarding concerns to Ofsted hotline

Regulator Ofsted received 27 calls from staff blowing the whistle on problems around the safeguarding of children in the four months since the launch of a new hotline for reporting concerns.

The whistleblower line, which is available to anyone working with children or young people in a service inspected by Ofsted, went live on 1 April.

To qualify as a genuine whistleblowing case, a caller must has reasonable belief that a criminal offence or miscarriage of justice has taken place or is likely to take place, that someone has failed to comply with their legal obligations or that the health and safety of an individual has been put at risk.

Figures released by the regulator show that between 1 April and 31 July 680 of the 707 total calls did not qualify and were dealt with by Ofsted’s normal complaint procedure. Some of the calls were also about services that were already under investigation.

Outside of the hotline, Ofsted also received 14 whistleblowing concerns by email, 12 by letter and a further eight through telephoning regional offices from April to July. Two cases were also picked up during inspections.

A spokesperson said: “The action taken by Ofsted in response to concerns identified by whistleblowing is dependent on the nature and severity of the issues raised.

“Where there are any concerns which relate to the safeguarding of individual children we take immediate action to ensure that the safety of the children concerned is secured, working with the relevant local authority and police as appropriate.”

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