Blowing the whistle.. has anybody done it?(13 Posts)
Please forgive my evasiveness, this is to keep myself and my colleagues anonymous.
We work in a very tightly regulated public sector. Our employer is responsible for following the regulations and regardless has broken many of them, some of the rules are very serious and if were found out we would be shut down immediately. We did not realise how bad things were until very recently as we are not very knowledgeable in our field. We never keep staff very long as our employer is, to be blunt, an awful, nasty person and likes to hire people with no previous experience, apparently so they are unaware of what is happening.
The governing body has received a complaint about our service and it is being investigated, and it is only now that we have realised how many regulations and rules our company is in breach of. Our employer is taking steps to cover his previous tracks. We want to inform our governing body of what is going on but because our company is so small it would be immediately obvious that an employee has complained, and our employer is very spiteful and petty. We have had lots of complaints from people who use our service and we honestly think our employer is losing the plot, and is not fit to be working in the sector.
We have no HR, no "policies", nothing. As I said if we complained to the regulatory body it would be immediately obvious it was one of us, and our employer would make our lives hell. I know I have been extremely vague, but if anybody has any advice I would be most grateful, we desperately need to do something but are too scared.
Oops forgot to add, we also work in appalling conditions. Our building doesn't even have gas or hot water.
Make sure your CV is up to date and get a new job
Seriously that is about the most useful piece of advice I can give you.
Trust me, we're trying. I've been looking for six months.
Hi you say you work in the public sector but then go on to say that you have no HR. If people are at risk or if public money is being misspent then you should blow the whistle if you feel able to and to whoever you can. If laws are being broken you can report it to the police. Anything else report it to your governing body and keep clear records of what is going wrong and keep feeding it up as high as you can go.
I have no idea what sector you are in but bear in mind that the vulnerable patients at Winterbourne would still be there and would still be being abused if someone had not blown the whistle.
I know you are scared but if everything falls apart then blame can be spread far and wide and those who stood by and did nothing are sometimes seen to be as culpable as those doing wrong in the first place.
I find your post really odd and I am racking my brains to think what your workplace could be. If you really have no HR Dept, no union, and no dispute procedure you really need to blow the whistle. Do you have a reasonable MP for the constituency your workplace is in that may be able to give you advice? Are the H & S breaches so great that you could complain anonymously about those alone. Are there financially irregularities, Data security or information breaches, the National Audit Office or Information Commissioner will be interested in those.
Who is investigating the complaint - is it a another government department or a private company, can you not contact them in strict confidence and let them know what is going on? Who are the governing body - are there any "outside" people on it who might be interested in what is really going on?
You mentioned there are users of your service who have complained. Would it not be possible to feed information to them anonymously? Are they are individuals or is it a group? Would a journo be interested?
Thanks for the replies, I firstly want to point out we are not in the care sector, if we were there would be no hesitation about any of this, Winterbourne is horrible. Nobody's wellbeing is at risk.
The people investigating the complaint are a very large regulatory body, the business has to be registered with this body in order to provide the service we do, they are able to (and do, frequently) prosecute people through the Courts as well.
There are plenty of outside people who would be very interested to know what's going on, journalists probably not so much.
hatgirl what you have said is absolutely true, I know for a fact if and when it all goes wrong it will be us who get the blame, not the employer.
Dude, don't agonise, whistle-blow, but be aware that you may be attacked. if you do, you either fight - might be hard work, or resign quickly if you feel your reputation might be damaged.
If your employer is earning money whilst lying their head off and spending public money then you have a duty to report and absorb any cost to you. There might be none.
Who will they take action against - you (the employees) or your employers?
I once blew whistle on an abusive very senior nurse and the wicked 'care' practices he promulgated. I was ostracised, harassed and damn near lost my mind. He was removed but the ugly misogynist culture he created meant i was scapegoated as some other influential and dysfunctional nurse managers had benefited from his largesse so to speak. I changed trusts. If you could get colleagues to complain with you then that'd protect you more. Being a lone wolf means risking much. Only you can decide. I had no choice as vulnerable people were being harmed.
How many are you? If everyone is aware of what is going on then you need to join together and whistle-blow together.
1) You will feel mucky and dirty about not reporting for months and months afterwards if you don't.
2) You may be partly blamed if you don't
You are legally protected from being sacked for whistle-blowing but atmosphere would be awful regardless, which is why I think a group move may be better than going it alone. If it is as serious as you say then the company may possibly collapse or - depending on what type of body it is - regulator may put in someone to run it on interim basis. If company does go to the wall, will the demand for services remain? If so the remnants of business (ie processes and staff) may be attractive to a new investor. all depends on what you do and how.
But even if you are at risk of losing job, you should still do it.
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