Research perspectives

Charities failing on whistleblowing training and whistleblower “aftercare” for staff

Many charities are failing to offer appropriate training to staff receiving and acting on whistleblowing concerns. In a project supported by twenty mid-to-large-sized charities using Protect’s ‘Whistleblowing Benchmark’ it was found that whilst more than 80% claimed to have a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to whistle blower victimisation, none of them monitored the risk of victimisation through any aftercare process, to check the wellbeing of staff who had raised concerns.

The project report  Time to Transform: Insights from Protect’s Third Sector Pilot found that only 52% of the charities differentiated between whistleblowing and grievances, making it much harder for staff to know where to go with concerns; and of the 20 charities, 86% failed to offer whistleblowing training to staff receiving and acting on whistleblowing concerns.

The project follows a period in which a number of charities have been accused of having bullying and other safeguarding issues, and the proportion of calls to Protect’s advice line coming from the charity sector has risen from 12% in 2017 to 19% in 2019.

Protect says that it now wants to conduct a wider scale pilot to help raise awareness amongst charities in England and Wales. It is also hoping to work more with smaller charities to help them to adopt good whistleblowing processes.