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INWO update

Given the understandable disruption to NHS services during COVID-19, we are working closely with our colleagues in the Scottish Government to ensure that the launch of the INWO and implementation of the National Whistleblowing Standards comes at a suitable time and takes into account both the pressures caused by the pandemic and the usual pressures the winter season presents. We expect to announce a revised date for implementation soon, but to be clear, it will NOT be July 2020 as originally advised. Read more

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January 2020: The following information is shared to prepare for implementation - date to be confirmed

Case study

  • Date:
  • Category:
    Concern involving HR
    Health and social care setting
    Using the confidential contact
    Where business as usual has not worked

Example

A social care worker in an integrated health and social care team raises concerns that staff from across the service are wasting time traveling to appointments when they could be seeing people in a more logical order.  They say the current way of working is inefficient, wasteful of time and travel expenses, and is creating stress as there is not enough time for paperwork/time in the office.

The service is an integrated service for older people, providing a mix of health and social care visits, with staff from both the local authority and the NHS.  

The social care worker (a local authority employee) raises the concern with their line manager (also a local authority employee) but no changes are made.

Three months later, and after staff absences, the social care worker feels the situation is becoming critical.  At a team meeting they suggest reviewing the appointment booking system to reduce travel, but again no action is taken.  They go off work with stress, and while off they raise a concern with the health and social care partnership's confidential contact to seek advice.

The confidential contact identifies any support that can be provided to assist the worker with the situation.  They log the concern at stage 2 of the whistleblowing procedure and share the information with the social care worker’s senior manager.  The manager requests a conversation with the care worker.  They are reluctant to attend as they are concerned about the consequences, but agree to attend, with their union rep.  

The senior manager takes the concerns seriously and listens carefully.  They also speak about the potential solutions the social care worker would like to see introduced.  

The investigation by the senior manager is concluded within three weeks, and the senior manager recommends changes to the booking of visits and to the way staff monitor their time on visits.  The social care worker is informed of the outcome and is signposted to the INWO if they do not think that this concern has been resolved.

Meanwhile, the social care worker’s manager makes disciplinary allegations against them.  The social care worker contacts HR because they don’t think this should be happening when they have used the Standards to raise a concern.  HR oversee the disciplinary investigation, and ensure that it is fair.  The allegation is not upheld.

Updated: January 9, 2020