FAQs: About the INWO

Who is the INWO?

The INWO is the Independent National Whistleblowing Officer.  The INWO provides the final independent review stage for whistleblowing concerns raised about NHS organisations in Scotland.

The aim of the role is to help anyone who provides services for the NHS in Scotland to raise concerns when they see things that are wrong or harmful. The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) has been appointed to carry out the INWO role because of their extensive experience of investigating public service complaints.

There is more information on the INWO’s role on our website.

Is the INWO independent from the NHS?

Yes, we are completely independent of the NHS.

By way of background, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) has been appointed to carry out the INWO role. The Ombudsman's terms of appointment are in the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002.

The Ombudsman is nominated by the Scottish Parliament, and appointed by the Queen, for a period of no more than eight years.

The SPSO is not subject to the direction or control of any member of the Scottish Government, Parliament or the Parliamentary corporation.

We have robust measures in place to identify and manage any risk of bias or conflict of interest, real or perceived.

Who investigates whistleblowing complaints?

Whistleblowing complaints are investigated by a small, independent team of complaints reviewers. Our staff have the skills, competencies and experience to investigate complaints and are selected on the basis of these skills.

We also use independent professional advisers when looking at some of our complaints. Our professional advisers provide us with independent advice on health, HR and health and safety matters.

Our advisers are experienced professionals with relevant and current expertise in their field of practice. They are all registered with their professional body or regulator and are selected on the basis of their knowledge and skills. The advice they provide is subject to quality assurance checks.

Investigations are overseen by the Independent National Whistleblowing Officer, who also holds the role of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO). More information can be found about the INWO and their senior management team on our website.

Updated: February 17, 2022