I’ve raised my concerns with my employer – (e.g line manager, Board or Trustee member or HR) – but nothing has been done and I’m being ignored.
What should I do?
Why do you believe your concerns have been ignored?
It may well be that your employer has taken action on the concerns but have not feedback this information. Feedback is not something that can be demanded legally, but it is recognised best practice for an employer to provide as much feedback as they safely can to someone who has raised a concern.
If you’re aware that the concerns or wrongdoing you’ve blown the whistle about is being repeated, or a serious issue that should be dealt with in a certain way, for example, a safeguarding incident, is still being ignored – please consider calling us urgently for advice.
Things to consider
Choosing to raise the concerns openly, confidentially or anonymously can shape the ability to ask for feedback.
Raising concerns anonymously means the employer will have no idea a concern (also known as a ‘disclosure’) has been raised, so will be unable to ask follow up questions or give feedback on decisions about the concern. In this situation, it is a good idea to call our advice line, regardless of whether you have already raised the concerns or thinking of using this method in the future.
In our experience, openly raising concerns (i.e. where you have blown the whistle with your employer but have not asked for it to be kept confidential) is the safest way to get feedback and then approach the employer if victimisation occurs (see our victimisation pages if you have been victimised for blowing the whistle).
Confidentially raising the concerns (where the employer, MP, or media offers to protect the identity of the whistleblower) is a good way of raising the concern and keeping your identity secret. But there are times when this won’t work, for example, if you work in a small office or workplace, or where it’s well known you are concerned about the issue among managers and work colleagues. Basically, colleagues may guess your identity despite the best efforts of your employer to keep your identity confidential.
Actions to take
- Make a note of when you raised the concern, is it a couple of weeks ago or months ago?
- Make a note of the feedback or follow up from your employer, if any
- Make a note of the reaction to the concerns you received from your manager, HR or whoever you raised the concerns with
- If you feel your local line manager has not dealt with the issue, consider looking beyond them and approaching more senior manager or looking at the whistleblowing policy.
- If you are considering taking your concerns outside of your organisation and approaching a regulator, an MP or even the media because you believe you have exhausted all employer options, or you feel your employer is not going to get the concern dealt with – call us for advice.
SOCIAL WORKER’S INAPPROPRIATE RELATIONSHIP
AM was a residential social worker in a children’s home. He grew increasingly concerned that a colleague, PE, seemed to have developed a close relationship with a 12 year-old girl in the home.
Colleagues raised eyebrows and some of the children joked that PE was becoming rather infatuated with the girl. During a holiday trip, AM was alarmed that PE insisted that the girl should travel in his car alone with him and that he spent a lot of time with her during the holiday. AM raised the issue with PE who just laughed it off. On return from the holiday, AM decided with a colleague that they should raise their concerns discreetly with the Council. They were told they had a duty to report them formally. When they did, an investigation was launched and PE was given special leave and told to stay away from the home. AM contacted us when he learned that the investigation had finished and that PE would be returning to the home. He and colleagues were worried that this was not the right decision.
WHAT WE ADVISED
We advised him to contact the Council’s head of child protection and explain his concerns. However, we pointed out it was the Council’s job to decide what action to take and that what mattered was that the Council felt sure that PE was not a risk. We also said that the fact that PE was returning to the home did not mean that no action had been taken.
After discussing the matter with the Council, AM felt happier with its decision as he knew the Council would be keeping a watchful eye over the home and that staff would be reminded of the whistleblowing policy.
When to call us for advice
- Call our advice line if you have any doubts about raising a concern openly, confidentially or anonymously.
- If you believe there has been a breach in confidentiality from the employer, co-workers, investigators, we can help.
- If fear of victimisation or acts of victimisation are preventing you from escalating your concerns
- If you are considering raising your concerns with an external body such as a regulator, MP, the police, the press etc. but are still working for your employer
- If the wrongdoing or malpractice you have reported to managers has not stopped or increased in seriousness.
Dos and Don’ts
- Ask for feedback from your employer, this could be a line manager, investigator, the manager you approached, HR etc., to get an idea what action has been taken
- If conversations with managers about feedback was verbal, send a follow up email confirming the details of what was agreed
- Keep your own notes of the any conversations regarding feedback
- Keep calm and don’t assume your concerns have been ignored unless you are aware of the wrongdoing repeating itself or escalating in seriousness
- Seek advice from us if the wrongdoing repeats itself or escalates in seriousness
- Seek advice from us if considering escalating your concerns anonymously or confidentially
- Seek advice from us if you fear victimisation or you have suffered victimisation and this is preventing you from getting feedback or escalating your concerns
- Seek advice from us if your considering making a disclosure to a regulatory body, the police, an MP or the media
- Assume your employer has not acted on the concerns until you have asked for feedback
- Assume you have no options for escalating the concerns if they have been ignored by your managers, or the feedback from them is negative, call us for advice
- Assume you have no options to escalate the concerns if you’re having a difficult time in the workplace, whether you fear victimisation or you have experienced it, call us for advice and support
- Approach an external body such as a regulator, MP or the media while still working for your employer without contacting us for advice first