Issue - meetings

Meeting: 29/11/2022 - Governance and Audit Committee (Item 36)

36 Review of Whistleblowing Activity pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Additional documents:


Members considered a report which provided a review of whistleblowing activity by the Monitoring Officer for the 2021/22 year.


The policy was reviewed by the Governance and Audit Committee in 2021 with recommendations made for the Joint Staff Consultative Committee to consider. The reviewed policy was presented to the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee in April 2022 and was agreed for adoption.


There had been 5 referrals made to the Whistleblowing helpline in the period April 2021 to March 2022. 1 referral was made in April 2022 which fell outside of this reports period but was been included for information.


4 referrals were passed to the DWP

1 referral was made regarding planning permission and was passed to the service as a planning query

1 was made by a fraud investigator from Crawley Borough council to locate a person suspected of committing social housing fraud (this was the April 2022 case)


There had been no incidents of whistleblowing raised internally within the Council. It was still vitally important that the Authority maintained and continued to publicise the reporting mechanisms and Officers outlined the various mediums by which such promotion was undertaken. The Counter Fraud Team were the gatekeeper for all whistleblowing referrals for the District Council. The policy continued to be communicated to staff and was included in the quarterly corporate.


Debate ensued, and Members questioned the value of the service. The Monitoring Officer explained the services and reporting comes through all related activity, with its cost forming part of the package of internal audit work, such as counter fraud investigations, and that the results in the report were from the whistleblowing helpline. Regarding the value for money, it was considered essential for staff, residents, and contractors to be able to raise whistleblowing concerns externally to the organisation and this was provided by the Partnership.


In responding to further queries, Members heard the service formed part of the Corporate Induction, with the Policy advertised further to the Wider Management Team. It also formed part of the consideration of the 2023/24 Council's work. The Monitoring Officer referenced further outreach, such as the Parish Newsletter and broader publication schemes was possible.


In the concluding part of the debate, the Monitoring Officer clarified that whistleblowing could be considered in the next year's audit plan. 


            RESOLVED that: -


(a)         the contents of the report be noted; and


(b)        the Committee continue to receive annual reports in relation to policy implementation and incidents.