Police Scotland published its first Whistleblowing Policy and supporting Guidance in June 2017 to sit alongside our ‘Integrity Matters’ reporting process (Anonymous Reporting). These documents were developed with the aim of providing an environment where individuals would feel confident in raising concerns openly when they reasonably believed that wrongdoing was being or had been done.
Recognising potential gaps in provision, I, in my role as Chief Inspector within the Professional Standards Department of Police Scotland, was tasked shortly thereafter with revising the guidance and in procuring external expertise to provide an independent advice line and to assist the Force in the design and delivery of a bespoke training package for our officers and staff.
Through research and attendance at seminars and conferences in England, Police Scotland became aware of the work of Protect and the external services already available within the UK for individuals and companies/bodies. Having determined what Police Scotland was looking to achieve, as detailed above, we engaged in a formal procurement process and Protect were successful in their bid.
The staff at Protect have always been professional and helpful. The support provided through the development and delivery of training was exemplary, both in personal attendance here in Scotland for courses for selected personnel on two occasions, and in the development of our Intranet based ‘Moodle’ Package, which is a mandatory training package for all officers and staff. This, coupled with the provision of the ongoing Advice Line and a Whistleblowing Benchmark review of our new processes has ensured that Police Scotland is best placed to facilitate and support anyone who wishes to report wrongdoing within our organisation.
Clarke L Callaghan
Chief Inspector, Professional Standards, Police Scotland
G4S, headquartered in the UK, is a global security company, operating in around 80 countries. G4S’ UK operations include integrated security services, cash management and transportation, and the management of four prisons. Together these operations employ over 28,000 people in the UK and more than 500,000 worldwide.
Protect previously provided advice to G4S in 2014, when they reviewed their whistleblowing arrangements for employees.
Since its subsequent launch in 2015, usage of G4S’ Speak Out service has increased significantly, and it continues to be a critical element of the company’s culture and ethics processes. In 2020, recognising the need for regular review and continuous improvement, G4S began an end to end review of its whistleblowing service, updating its policy, evaluating the case management process and external service provider and refreshing communications materials.
To support this, G4S commissioned Protect to conduct an in-depth assessment and to suggest improvements. Stage one of the review was the Whistleblowing Benchmark, a tool designed to help organisations review their whistleblowing arrangements and identify strengths and weaknesses, and develop an action plan.
To complement this work, Protect conducted interviews with management of various levels, to gauge their level of understanding of whistleblowing and their roles and responsibilities. A thematic report detailing the results was shared with G4S. Actions from the Whistleblowing Benchmark and interviews have been reviewed by G4S’ leadership and are helping to inform improvements to their Speak Out service, which will be relaunched in the first quarter of 2021.
“Completing the Whistleblowing Benchmark was an instructive exercise, which has helped us to highlight further improvement opportunities for G4S’s whistleblowing arrangements. Coupled with the additional guidance, insight and support from the team at Protect, we fully expect to realise additional growth in the awareness and trust of our employees in the relaunched Speak Out service.”
Debbie Walker, Group Corporate Affairs Director at G4S
Protect were approached by Gloucestershire County Council to conduct an independent review of its whistleblowing arrangements following an inspection of its children’s services, which were rated ‘inadequate’ in June 2017. At the time, 33 children’s services departments across England were rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, so Gloucestershire was not alone in facing such concerns.
The Ofsted report highlighted significant shortcomings in social care practice relating to children and young people. As part of their findings, inspectors uncovered concerns about the culture of children’s services, commenting on the integrity of some senior management, with some staff left feeling, “vulnerable, unsupported and fearful of challenging or exposing poor practice.”
Following the review, Protect provided a report of in-depth next steps for council wide improvements which have been enthusiastically adopted.
We loved the discussion and interactive style, and everybody got so much more out of it than they would have done from content just presented ‘at’ them.
All the case studies were very thought provoking and tailored. They took a long time to work through, but we can see how that was necessary to bring the learnings back to the fundamental points.
There was a lot of information to take on board, but it didn’t feel overwhelming because of the way it was presented, and the way we were involved. We will be using this as a launch pad to catalyse further thinking.
Our Whistleblowing Benchmark
We have developed a unique Benchmark framework to help your organisation reach best practice when it comes to whistleblowing standards
What our training delegates say
Good content, great presenter who clearly knew the subject matter. It made me think about whistleblowing from all perspectives.
Online training delegate, September 2020
Having time to discuss with others in the same sector was helpful and insightful. Very well run, the best ‘virtual’ experience I’ve had with an external organisation – no technical issues!
Online training delegate, September 2020
It flowed well and had the right balance of presentation and activity.
Online training delegate, March 2020