NHSScotland whistleblowing helpline evaluation: 1 February to 31 October 2019

Evaluation by Protect of the NHS Scotland whistleblowing helpline during the period 1 February 2019 to 31 October 2019.

This document is part of a collection

Advice from Protect

We cannot provide specific detail about the advice given by us on the advice line as legal professional privilege applies. We can only provide non-identifying information where this does not breach confidentiality. Set out below is data on where we advised individuals to raise a matter.

The data below reflects the various options provided to callers about where they might raise a concern and/or what they should do. In some cases we provide callers with multiple options to raise concerns.

  • 3 cases were advised to raise with their line manager
  • 2 cases were advised to raise with a senior manager
  • 12 were advised to speak to contact their trust's designated whistleblowing contact
  • 3 cases were advised to speak with their trade union
  • 5 cases were advised to speak to an external regulator

(Note that in some cases, we would advise callers to speak to more than one body)

In four of these cases we were not able to provide direct advice. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as lacking details about the concerns, the call ending before we could advise them or the advisor not being sure if they could give appropriate advice.

There were no cases in which we passed the information on to a contact within a Health Board on the individual's behalf. We will only make such direct referrals where we have the individual's express consent to do so. This type of request is usually made when an individual is worried about their position and would prefer for us to contact the Health Board.

There were no cases in which we found it necessary or appropriate to encourage callers to engage with an internal investigation process. Where do we encourage callers to co-operate, it may occur in cases when an individual has already raised their concern internally and has been told there is an investigation ongoing but is unclear on the process or might be seeking advice on escalating the matter prematurely. In some cases, this can be triggered by a lack of clarity provided to the whistleblower about the next steps for investigation and/or where the individual feels that the initial recipient of the information did not appear to take the concern very seriously. Where the individual is informed that the matter will be looked into, we encourage them to feed into that process in order to ensure the organisation has all of the relevant information. It is best to wait until there is some feedback on outcomes before escalating the matter as to do so too early may undermine the ability of line management to investigate issues and may lead to additional senior resources being diverted to a matter that is already being considered elsewhere in the organisation.


Email: John.malone@gov.scot

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