Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The Whistleblower

Update on The Whistleblower:

New Whistleblowing Helpline announced by the Home Office and the NSPCC and the Helpline operated by NSPCC call handlers.

Telephone number: 0800 028 0285

Where you can disclose concerns about a child if you cannot raise concerns with an employer.

Safeguarding tips for whistleblowers:

1. Keep yourself safe; take legal advice/citizens advice where possible
2. Remain anonymous if required
3. Be sure you know who is handling your call
4. Ask where your information will be stored
5. Ask who your information will be shared with
6. Ensure you are satisfied you will be protected as a whistleblower
7. Be sure you have thought through any repercussions from your disclosure
8. Ensure you trust the call handler
9. What qualifies the call handler to take your information
10. Ask what happens next / when the call has ended
11. Request legal support where necessary
12. Request counselling/therapist support if necessary
13 Ensure you have a recording, transcript of your call
14. Take a friend/colleague/witness to a face to face meeting

Any concerns about a child should be reported to your Local Safeguarding Children's Board LSCB) by telephoning the local First Response Telephone Number or calling Social Services or if a child is in immediate danger dial 999 immediately 

Updated: 15.02.16 at 1.30pm

The Whistleblower

In my opinion, and using my ethics and morals, whistle blowers are generally good people with their heart and minds in the right place. Few might not be, but most are. I certainly had my morals, ethics and values in the right place when I whistle blew. And I have tried to do it twice to no avail. I lost my job twice and I was told on one occasion "to keep my mouth shut".

I have worked in the education system in four continents of the world for over thirty years; I am well known and respected in the industry. I am a published author in many eminent professional magazine and websites all over the world. I have helped to set up three schools - one in the UK and two in Africa. I have turned many educational settings in specials measures around to receive a "good" rating from Ofsted in various parts of the UK. I have sat on many very challenging and bitterly sad child protection case conferences and I am often used as an expert advisor in this area. I also managed a Child Contact Centre supporting separated parents to have contact with their children and I am also a trained McKenzie Friend supporting litigants in person. I was the senior education consultant at the National Association for Gifted Children in the UK and worked as the SEN coordinator, Gifted and Talented Coordinator and Reception teacher in an International School in the Middle East. I was an early years teacher for six years in the USA. I have assisted various schools with writing their policies and procedures and I now train staff in schools all over the UK and deliver an educational charter for a eminent training company in the UK.

I don't tell you all this to brag. I tell you this to qualify my knowledge and experience and to give you a flavour of my background. You can read more on my LinkedIn Profile is you so desire.

So...I feel I know how and when to recognise bad or illegal practice in education at all levels. So when I reported same to the authorities and was told "to keep my mouth shut" or "pretend it didn't happen" or "sorry we cannot help you" you can imagine how horrified I was. I was made out to be the "bad guy"; I was made to take the blame for voicing my concerns. I was asked to forget the situation and carry on or "maybe I should consider resigning quietly or be sacked".

I resigned in all three cases. My life at work was made so uncomfortable and difficult that I had no option. I visited a lawyer but was advised that I should just "go quietly" as in all three cases the establishments had the money and power to pursue me through the courts to the bitter end. Legally I was advised that I would undergo undue stress at a very vulnerable time and possibly come out with nothing, not even a couple of grand. It was extremely distasteful at its best.

It was never about the money. It was never about a payout. It was about unethical and illegal behaviours and practices that put children's lives in danger. It was about "my duty of care" as a qualified and moral practitioner with a deep sense of right and wrong. It was about keeping children safe. It was about safeguarding practices. It was about being true to my values, morals and ethics. But I got no sense of justice as I resigned and walked away "because" of money and power. You see the establishments wagged their finger at me, threatened me and used money and power to ensure someone like me was never a thorn in their side again. 

I am not alone in this. There are many out there who have attempted to do the right thing in a variety of businesses and establishments and have either had to walk away or been threatened, imprisoned, exiled, stalked, harassed, assaulted or even murdered. It's scary to whistle blow; it's not something someone does on a whim. Whistle blowers are, generally, brave courageous people willing to take a risk and put others before themselves. Whistle blowers put themselves out there and know the risk they are taking to themselves, their families and associates, but they have high moral codes and cannot operate knowing others human rights are suffering and no one is wiling to speak up and out. Where is the outrage? Where is your outrage? Where is societies outrage?

This post has not been easy for me to write; but I have wanted to write it for a long time. It has gone over and over in my mind for years. When I see whistle blowers ostracised or imprisoned in the press or on the internet it makes me angry and sad. It's time we took a different approach to these individuals who are trying to do the right thing. It's time we listened and believed the concerns these individuals have to report. It's time we had a system where whistle blowers are protected and safe to report. And it's time to value the human rights of the individuals who are doing the right thing to safeguard vulnerable children, young people and adults in establishments where those employees and employers "have a duty of care" to do so.

It's is time we had mandatory reporting in regulated activities in order that individuals feel safe to report and will be given protection and will not loose their jobs for doing the right thing morally and ethically.

I thought this was fundamental to a democracy?

So will you do the right thing in the future, give it some thought and spare a thought for those who have tried and lost, but suffer the trauma, loss of family and employment, homelessness, addictions, depression and for some, suicide. This type of trauma and suffering in the name of morals is damaging and lasts a lifetime. We need to pull together and end the stereotyping of "all whistle blowers are after an easy buck" not so in my case, not so at all.

Working Together to Safeguard Children

Keeping Children Safe in Education

@mandatenow - Why the NSPCC / Home Office Helpline won't work by Mandate Now:

WhistleBlowersUK @WBUK2014
Victim Blaming @EVB_now



  1. In schools and other regulated activities, we need a change in the law so that it becomes mandatory (with criminal sanctions for failure) to report reasonable suspicions of child abuse to outside authority.

    Unless and until that happens, whistleblowers will always be in a vulnerable position. With mandatory reporting, a person can go past management if they refuse to pass on a concern, and report not only the original concern (in accordance with his/her own legal obligation) but also the criminal conduct of management in not passing it on.

    The balance of power is instantly transformed. It would be a very foolhardy management that then attempts to suppress whistleblowers who report suspected abuse. Who would be willing to risk jail time for covering up somebody else's abuse?

  2. Thank you for taking the time to comment, sharing your opinion and thoughts and supporting my call for mandatory reporting in regulated activities. It's about time there was significant change to safeguard whistle blowers. Thank you again.

  3. Mandatory Reporting is the only way. I find it quite disturbing why Members (MP's) in The House do not and cannot understand many of the realities in life. Their refusal to enact Mandatory Reporting baffles as I cannot see any evidence of negative sway if enacted.

  4. Thank you for commenting and your support, Michael. Some think that MR will push abuse further underground as individuals will be concerned about prosecution. NSPCC do not agree with MR although I did see a tweet from them recently that said non-reporting should be illegal. Currently there is only a statutory "duty of care" to report, there is no MR with legal consequences and no protection for whistleblowing.

  5. The NSPCC's position is hopelessly compromised as a result of the proportion of its income which comes from government. In effect, they dare not criticise any government policy lest the government in a fit of pique decides to pull their funding.

    And if you think I'm being overly alarmist, remember that Kids Company funding got cut soon after Camila Batmanghelidjh criticised the child protection system in this country as being broken.

  6. Am aware, totally agree and understand. And they are now a prescribed provider of services which includes operating the new Whistleblowing Helpline. Charity on the government prescribed suppliers list?