New SCIE film - Whistleblowing: improving organisational practice

09 July 2014

We have an open door policy at Daleside Nursing Home, which I find very important... any concerns raised, no matter how big or small, can always have a positive impact on our future practice if we learn from them.

Stevena Burke, Nurse Manager, Daleside Nursing Home speaking in SCIE’s new film on how organisations manage whistleblowing.

Staff who raise concerns over bad practice in health and social care are increasingly being seen in a positive light, especially because of the benefits their whistleblowing can bring to the quality of care and support organisations provide. A new film looks at how whistleblowing can be a vital opportunity to stop poor practice at an early stage, before it becomes normalised.

The freedom to raise genuine concerns, without fear of consequences, means that staff can go ahead and ‘do the right thing’ and organisations can learn to improve practice. The film is launched today by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), providing support for health and social care staff and managers over whistleblowing.

The film will be useful for:

  • managers
  • health and social care staff
  • housing staff
  • social workers
  • care providers
  • care staff
  • people who use services.

SCIE’s Chief Executive, Tony Hunter, says:

Well-led organisations, with people’s experiences and outcomes at their heart, have an open culture in which staff, carers, family and service users feel confident in raising concerns with staff and managers. Where worries persist, or unacceptable practice is observed, whistleblowing can be the right thing to do and a way of putting things right. This new film shows how having a work culture that is open to listening to concerns is critical to addressing bad practice. This then makes it easier for care providers to monitor and improve the quality of care and support.

Rosemary Crockett, Policy Manager at the Whistleblowing Helpline agrees that a positive approach to staff who raise concerns really helps: “I think that we are actually in the middle of quite a big sea change in attitudes to whistleblowers and recognising the value of what they do.

In the film, Anna Patterson from Care Watch Lewisham, agrees that creating the right working environment means that care providers benefit from the observations and ideas of their staff. She says: “If you foster an open culture it makes your life much easier”.

Key messages for practice:

  • Raising concerns at work should be seen as part of normal day-to-day good working practice
  • Managers and staff should listen to what the whistleblower is saying and make sure the concerns raised are managed well
  • Whistleblowing isn't always easy. However, if seen as part of routine practice, organisations have a better chance of making quality improvements for staff and the people who use their services
  • An open culture where concerns can be raised helps to build a safe working environment and effective learning organisation.

Key areas for improvement

The film encourages organisations to build an open culture, where raising concerns is seen as part of normal working practice, rather than developing into a situation where staff feel they need to become a whistleblower in order for action to be taken. This means that organisations need to actively develop a working environment where staff, carers, family and service users feel able to raise concerns and be listened to. The film also aims to help organisations feel confident in hearing concerns and taking action, seeing it as a key part of successful and positive practice.

The film supports the recent guideline, Raising Concerns at Work: Whistleblowing Guidance for Workers and Employers in Health and Social Care.


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