We are pleased to announce the publication of Whistleblowing: the inside story which analyses the experiences of 1,000 whistleblowers. The report looks at the lesser known but far more common experience of whistleblowing. The report follows the whistleblower’s journey, starting with nature of the wrongdoing that was witnessed, the reactions whistleblowers expect and experience from colleagues and managers, through to when they call for advice. This journey is often fraught with threats, fears and contradictions, and can be incredibly stressful for the individual involved.
Headlines from the research:
- 83% of workers blow the whistle up to two times, usually internally
- 15% of whistleblowers raise a concern externally
- 74% of whistleblowers say nothing is done about the wrongdoing
- 60% of whistleblowers receive no response from management, either negative or positive
- The most likely response is formal action (disciplinary or demotion) (19%)
- 15% of whistleblowers are dismissed
- Senior whistleblowers are more likely to be dismissed
- Newer employees are most likely to blow the whistle (39% have less than two years' service)
Cathy James, Chief Executive of Public Concern at Work commented:
"Media attention on whistleblowing makes for contradictory reading: ministers and employers say whistleblowing is vital for an open and transparent workplace culture, but ask the whistleblowers and the story is starkly different: they are gagged in the NHS, arrested in our police forces and blacklisted in many industries.
"The combination of the findings in our report demonstrate why speaking up in the workplace may seem futile or dangerous to many individuals. While organisations may be getting better at addressing wrongdoing, they are still shooting the messenger and overlooking crucial opportunities to address concerns quickly and effectively.
"Too many workers still suffer reprisal which will not only impact negatively on the whistleblower, but will deter others from speaking up and allow a culture of silence to pervade. We must learn from past mistakes and make sure that whistleblowing protects individuals, organisations and society as a whole."