There have been 271 incidents of whistle-blowing in the last year, Ofsted has reported.
Ofsted has revealed for the first time how many whistle-blowing reports it receives from those working in children's services and its annual report showed that the inspectorate received 271 reports where there was a serious concern from April 2017 to the end of March 2018.
“HMCI is a ‘prescribed person’ under The Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 2014 which provides the statutory framework for protecting workers from harm if they blow the whistle on their employer,” said the report. “Workers may tell the relevant prescribed person about suspected wrongdoing they believe may have occurred, including crimes and regulatory breaches. Passing information like this is known as making a ‘disclosure’. HMCI is prescribed under the order in relation to the children’s social care services.”
The vast majority of the disclosures – 178 – were in residential children’s care. The report shows that 78 were made in local authority children’s services, 10 in Independent Fostering Agencies, three in residential family centres, three in accommodation by boarding schools and further education colleges and one in accommodation by residential special school.
The report also revealed that:
- 42 disclosures related to concerns that a specific child or children may be at risk of harm.
- 84 were about concerns that there are wider or systemic failures in safeguarding practice.
- 96 disclosures were made about concerns that children are not receiving the right quality of care but that do not suggest a risk to their safety.
- 49 regarded concerns that a social care service is not meeting regulatory requirements.
In 154 of the cases, Ofsted contacted the appropriate person at the children’s social care service and asked them to investigate and respond to Ofsted with more information while in 147 of cases, the inspectorate held the information for a follow-up at the next planned inspection/visit. In 30 cases, Ofsted reviewed the timing of the next inspection/visit and brought it forward if appropriate
Twenty three cases were referred to the child protection team in the relevant local authority while Ofsted undertook a compliance visit (this action applies only to services that Ofsted regulates) if it was considered the registered person is failing, or has failed, to comply with a regulatory requirement.