Revealed: The five whistleblowing cases at Sheffield Council

A manger working for Sheffield Council was given a final written warning for his behaviour – one of several whistleblowing cases revealed.

By Lucy Ashton, Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 21st January 2022, 2:44 pm

The council has a whistleblowing policy so employees can raise concerns that are in the public interest to be investigated and, where appropriate, action taken.

The number of issues raised under the whistleblowing policy, which dates back 2016, remains very low but this could be because there’s a range of other ways for employees to flag up concerns.

What did whistleblowers say?

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City centre.

The council has revealed the allegations reported since April 2018:

January 2019 Complaint about recruitment practice but there was no evidence to support the allegations

March 2019 Staff complained of a “bad atmosphere in the team due to the way a manager behaves, belittling staff and making them feel awkward and tense.” The complaint was raised anonymously, investigated and evidence found to substantiate concerns. The employee received a final written warning

July 2019 During an Ofsted inspection someone complained that a senior manager was not a qualified or registered social worker. Anonymous concerns were raised about their ability to carry out the role without the correct training or qualifications. The council said the senior manager post does not require the person to be a qualified social worker. No further action was needed.

March 2020 A support worker accused by a colleague of looking through a service user’s bedside cabinet. There was insufficient evidence to proceed with the case and no further action was required

August 2021 There is an ongoing investigation into alleged improper payments for annual leave.

Monitoring Officer Gillian Duckworth says in a report: “Sheffield Council is committed to the highest standards of ethics, transparency, integrity and accountability.

“It seeks to conduct its affairs in a responsible manner taking into account the requirements of the proper use of public funds and the standards required in public life.

“If employees feel that this is not happening the council encourages them to tell us.

A targeted campaign in January 2022 will recruit more contact advisors who will be given specific training to help whistleblowing investigations.