One of the advantages of this time of the year is that we can catch up on stories that landed in in our tray but we never got round to because we were distracted by another story and/or we needed to do some further research.
For this story we are indebted to John Brace for having the patience to wade through Wirral Council invoices and publish the details on his website way back in August in a post titled What has Wirral Council been spending money on in 2017 and 2018 (part 2)
The information that particularly caught our eye was the fact that Wirral Council have paid Public Concern at Work £11,250 for a whistleblowing advice line. Since the publication of these details the whistleblowing charity has since had a re-branding and changed their name to the snappier, if rather ambiguous, Protect.
Now you may be wondering as to why we took a particular interest in this payment . Surely you may think that it would be money well spent ,even for cash-strapped Wirral Council, especially when you consider their chequered history when it has come to dealing with various high profile and damaging whistleblowing cases. Indeed Wirral Council first bunged the charity £10K + in 2012 when they involved them in re-writing their woeful whistleblowing policies and procedures. However what we take issue with is that Protect already offer a free whistleblowing advice line , so why are Wirral Council paying a premium for a dedicated advice line and how can this possibly be value for money? It would be interesting to know how many workers have taken advantage of this advice line and what monitoring information that Protect provide to Wirral Council.
What’s more surely there are conflict of interest issues involved if Protect are supposed to be giving impartial, independent advice to Wirral Council workers who have concerns about their employer when ultimately Wirral Council are paying for that advice!
From what we’ve gathered from local whistleblowing sources Protect are not held in high regard anyway, often advising whistleblowers to leave their employment rather than risk the threat of victimisation for the heinous crime of telling the truth. Whilst this sometimes may indeed be in the workers best interest it does nothing to address their whistleblowing concerns and ultimately it is not in the public interest to allow employers to ignore the following disclosures that a worker reasonably believes are happening, has taken place, or is likely to happen in the future.
- A criminal offence
- The breach of a legal obligation
- A miscarriage of justice
- A danger to the health and safety of any individual
- Damage to the environment
- Deliberate attempt to conceal any of the above.
Which makes us wonder what’s the Protect money is for ? – to protect whuistleblowers or to protect the reputation of Wirral Council? We certainly know were we’d put our £11,250…
what are Wirral Council trying to ‘protect’ their staff orwho is to protect