Four in 10 people working in the care sector who have sought advice on whistleblowing have tried to raise their concerns with management, which were either denied or ignored, research has revealed.
Independent charity Public Concern at Work, which operates a whistleblowing advice line, conducted the research into the problems faced by whistleblowers in the care sector.
The results of the study show that in 40% of cases managers failed to act on problems raised by whistleblowers, while 80% of those who called had already spoken of their concerns before seeking advice.
Half of calls taken related to worries over abuse in care, and in 50% of all cases the whistleblower was addressing issues that were known to other staff members, who were too scared to speak up .
Acting director of Public Concern at Work, Cathy James, said: “Our research demonstrates there are systemic deficiencies that prevent care workers from speaking up effectively to protect vulnerable adults. This must be addressed. We have to ensure that every worker who is in a position to speak up is encouraged and supported. Whistleblowers should not be lone voices in the workplace. This is all the more important when safeguarding those who cannot speak up for themselves.
“We are calling for the proactive promotion of good whistleblowing arrangements and the support available for whistleblowers. This includes training and guidance for managers on how to handle concerns, employers providing feedback when responding to concerns, a greater awareness of rights, zero tolerance of whistleblower victimisation, and clearer guidance about how and when to approach relevant authorities.
“Many of these steps are straightforward and cost effective. Employers can do so much more to protect vulnerable adults by making it safe for care workers to question wrongdoing and malpractice.”
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