Whistle Blowing Policy

Next Steps believes whistle-blowing to be the informing to the management by staff, with the good of the individuals we support, of any malpractice or of mistakes or of causes for concern to do with other staff members.  Next Steps recognises that in many Care Establishments in the past, a culture of secrecy or intimidation existed whereby staff were discouraged from expressing concerns about the practices of colleagues.

Policy Statement

All organisations face the risk of things going wrong or unknowingly harbouring malpractice.  Next Steps believes it has a duty to identify such situations and to take the appropriate measures to remedy the situation.  Next Steps believes that by encouraging a culture of openness within the organisation it can help to prevent malpractice.

Next Steps fully complies with The Care Act 2014.

Aim of the Policy

This policy is intended to set out the values, principles and policies underpinning Next Steps approach to whistle-blowing.

Whistle Blowing Policy

All staff working for Next Steps are encouraged to raise any genuine concerns about any malpractice, suspected crime, breach of legal obligation, miscarriage of justice, danger to health and safety or the environment, financial malpractice, fraud, corruption, and breach of home regulations or any cover up of these, that they may come across, which affects the people we support or other staff.

Staff may be worried that by reporting such issues, they will be opening themselves up to the risk of victimisation or may be risking their job security.  This policy is designed to give staff that raise concerns about other staff, the opportunity to discuss concerns and protection from intimidation and / or victimisation.

At Next Steps:

  • Staff should not hesitate to blow the whistle on suspected or actual malpractice.
  • All staff have statutory protection in line with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, provided that concerns are raised in the right way and that they are acting in good faith.
  • The fear of being mistaken should not prevent a member of staff from raising their concerns, provided they are acting in good faith and have a reasonably held suspicion.
  • All staff who have a reasonably held suspicion who raise concerns in the right way and are acting in good faith will be protected from reprisal or victimisation and will not be risking their job security.

The types of disclosure that this policy is intended to cover include but are not limited to the following:

  • A criminal offence.
  • Conduct which is an offence or breach of the law
  • Alleged miscarriage of justice
  • Serious Health and Safety risks
  • The unauthorised use of public funds
  • Possible fraud and corruption
  • Sexual, physical or verbal abuse, bullying or intimidation of employees, people who use our services
  • Abuse of authority
  • A failure to comply with a legal obligation.
  • A miscarriage of justice.
  • Endangering the health and safety of any individual.
  • Damage to the environment.
  • Financial malpractice, including fraud, theft, corruption, and deliberate damage to property.
  • Bad care practice.
  • Other unethical conduct
  • Concealment of information relating to any of the above.

Staff who fail to follow this procedure and knowingly withhold information or evidence on any of the above occurrences or areas may be subject to disciplinary action, or criminal proceedings in the event of a criminal investigation.


If concerned about any form of malpractice or any of the areas listed above staff should:

  • Normally first raise the issue with the immediate line manager.
  • In cases where staff feel that they cannot tell their immediate line manager for whatever reason, they should raise the matter with the Service Manager or Director this can be in writing or verbally.
  • If these channels have been followed, and staff still have concerns, or if they feel the matter is so serious that they cannot discuss it with any of the above post holders, then staff should contact the Local Authority responsible for the service: Hertfordshire County Council, London Borough of Barnet, Essex County Council, Northampton County Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The contact details for relevant local authorities can be found in Next Steps Safeguarding Policy.

The contact number for the CQC is: 03000616161

Failure to follow the appropriate route for raising concerns may constitute a disciplinary offence.

Staff who are unsure whether to use this procedure or who want independent advice at any stage should contact their Union’s legal representative for advice. Alternatively, or if they are not a member of a union, they may contact the independent charity Public Concerns at work on 0207 4046609.  Their lawyers can give confidential advice on any stage about how to raise a concern about serious malpractice at work. Or the Whistleblowing Helpline 08000 724725 who offer free independent advice 8 am – 6 pm.


All new staff are required to read the policy on whistle-blowing as part of their induction process.  Whistle Blowing will also be included in regular in-house training updates.

Next Steps is committed to the highest standards of transparency, probity, integrity and accountability. This procedure is intended to provide a means of making serious allegations about standards, conduct, financial irregularity or possible unlawful action in a way that will ensure confidentiality and protect those making such allegations in the reasonable belief that it is in the public interest to do so from being victimised, discriminated against or disadvantaged.


Last Modified: Sept 2023