Free, confidential whistleblowing advice
020 3117 2520


Time to Transform


Why we launched a Third Sector pilot

Our Advice Line handles around 3,000 cases each year, from workers from all sectors, seeking advice on a wrongdoing they have seen or heard in their organisation. We know from our Advice Line that many charity workers do not feel safe about speaking up or are not confident their concerns will be listened to. Trust is still very much a thorny issue.

In the last three years calls to our Advice Line from the charity sector have risen from 12% in 2017 to 19% in 2019. We see this as a positive, but in a sector so vast in size there is still some way to go to encourage more workers to speak up, for them to feel safe about doing so, and for charities to change their approach and culture to whistleblowing. This is why we wanted to offer a small cohort of charities an access to our Whistleblowing Benchmark to test their organisation’s whistleblowing culture.

In October 2019 more than 40 charities participated in a round table and panel debate where we launched the Third Sector pilot. Delegates were then invited to sign up to the pilot, with 20 charities completing the Benchmark through self-assessment. The pilot participants agreed their results would be collectively and confidentially analysed for this report.

About Protect

With more than 25 years expertise built through supporting over 40,000 whistleblowers through our Advice Line, we understand whistleblowing like nobody else.

The pilot findings

The pilot results, documented in Time to Transform: Insights from Protect’s Third Sector pilot found:

  • Zero charities in the pilot monitored the risk of victimisation through feedback or aftercare process to monitor the wellbeing of staff who had raised concerns
  • Only 52% of charities differentiated between whistleblowing and grievances
  • 86% of charities fail to offer whistleblowing training to staff receiving and acting on whistleblowing concerns

We thank all those who have been involved in the round tables and provided generous feedback.


What next?

We have one goal for our pilot – to help the Third Sector recognise an
effective whistleblowing culture. Protect is a critical friend to the sector,
helping to transform ineffective practices and set ups, which is why we are:

  • Calling on the 20 charities who benefited from this pilot,
    to spread the word about its benefits to 5 or more
    charities they may work closely with
  • Encouraging at least 100 charities to transform their
    approach to whistleblowing and undergo Protect’s
    Benchmark to assess their speak up culture
We are offering a limited time discount to 10 UK charities with a staff count of no less than 100 people to assess their speak up culture using our Whistleblowing Benchmark. The offer includes access to our self-assessment diagnostic tool at a discounted rate of £300 ex VAT, or self-assessment with comparative data for £500 ex VAT. To take advantage of the special offer please contact our Business Development Director Jon Cunningham via email

Download the Third Sector pilot report

Learn about our Whistleblowing Benchmark

Explore our training and consultancy options