Whistleblowing in social care

    Fear of bullying prevents social workers from whistleblowing

    Many social workers and care professionals are too afraid to blow the whistle on poor practice. We look at the latest advice, analysis and resources

    ‘My career ended within months’

    Man leaving building   We asked 30 social workers about their experiences of whistleblowing. Many gave detailed accounts of trying to report their concerns, only to come up against bullying colleagues, managers with selective hearing and processes that protect the organisation over its staff. Here are some excerpts:  
    “Senior managers tried to brush it under the carpet, but I insisted it be taken forward. It did me no good in the career stakes, but I didn’t care as I was only interested in being the best social worker I could be.”

    “At my last job, I told inspectors that I had been given a child protection case the morning of the inspection and told to pretend it was mine and that I had been working on it. My career with that local authority was ended within months.”

    Quote mark “I once blew the whistle on a colleague who did something illegal. This person was quite dominant in the office and I was worried about reprisals from her and her friends. […] It was dealt with informally – and that person is now a manager within the same organisation.”

    “Years ago, when I was a social work student, I did a placement where I witnessed what I considered to be abuse of an elderly woman. […] I took it to my work colleagues, practice teacher, university lecturer, etc, but there seemed to be an apathy and acceptance of ‘that’s what happens’.”

    And on the positive side…
    “I highlighted dangerous practice after going on a home visit and suggested ways to improve things. My ideas were taken on board and now the process has been changed.”
    (Pic: Image Source/Rex Features)
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