The social care team at law firm Royds Withy King has come up with practical tips for dealing with whistleblowing disclosures.
The advice comes after the firm urged care providers to have robust whistleblowing procedures in place so that their staff have the confidence to report them internally, rather than directly to the CQC.
Data recently obtained by the Daily Express showed that whistleblowing by care staff increased by 66% over three months.
Staff made 2,043 complaints to the CQC between March 1 and May 21, a figure equal to 25 a day, and up from the 1,230 complaints made during the same period last year.
Partner James Sage, head of the Health & Social Care at Royds Withy King, said that while it comes as “no surprise” that the pandemic has created an increased risk of whistleblowing disclosures, it is a “concern” that staff are bypassing employers and making reports directly to the CQC.
Here are the firm’s nine tips for dealing with whistleblowing disclosures:
- Ensure managers are alert to the increased risk of whistleblowing disclosures during Covid-19 and have sufficient training to spot them.
- Have a clear policy on how concerns should be raised.
- Reassure staff that they are positively encouraged to raise concerns so that you can investigate and address any failings and learn from any mistakes that have been made.
- Reassure staff that the disclosure will not adversely affect their position at work.
- Having a facility for anonymous reporting is also likely to encourage concerns being raised internally in the first instance.
- Remember that a worker only has to have a reasonable belief in the alleged wrongdoing and can still be protected even if they are mistaken about the wrongdoing.
- Discuss with the worker what additional support they might need during what can be a difficult or anxious time with access to mentoring, advice and counselling.
- Keep the worker informed of the progress of the investigation.
- Record the number and nature of whistleblowing disclosures and regularly audit them to spot any patterns.