Councils should advocate whistleblowing, MPs say

The Communities and Local Government Committee has said that local authorities should ensure whistleblowers are taken seriously, to prevent incidents such as those at Tower Hamlets and Rotherham, from repeating themselves.

The Committee investigated how the whistleblowing procedure worked and also what aspect could be improved to ensure future interventions are effective and transparent.

The report urged the Local Government Association (LGA), local authorities and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to learn lessons about how to monitor and mitigate the risks of the failings seen in East London and South Yorkshire.

Highlighting Rotherham and Tower Hamlets’ past failures to take whistleblowers seriously, the committee’s report stresses the importance of local authorities encouraging people to come forward with their concerns.

The report also called on the government to take legislative action to ensure whistleblowers who approach commissioners have legal protection.

Clive Betts MP, chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, commented: “The Department for Communities and Local Government must carefully examine what worked and what could have been done better with these interventions so that the process can be improved for possible future cases.

“It is also vital that the failings in Rotherham and Tower Hamlets and the work done to address them are identified and shared so that similar issues can be addressed in other local authorities at an early stage to avoid them hitting rock bottom and having Commissioners imposed upon them.

“The DCLG and LGA clearly have important role to play in this, but local authorities must also take responsibility themselves for seeking out and sharing this best practice.”