Whistleblowing policy

Introduction and scope

We want to make sure that we are providing excellent services to the residents of Lincolnshire.  Our staff, Councillors, partners and contractors have an important role to play in achieving this goal. We expect everyone to be committed to our high standards of service which are based on the principles of honesty, openness and accountability.

We know that we face the risk that something may go wrong or that someone may ignore our policies, procedures or the law resulting in some very serious consequences.  Experience shows that staff, or others who work on behalf of an organisation, often have worries or suspicions. By reporting their concerns at an early stage they could help put things right or identify and stop potential wrongdoing.     

A whistleblower is a term used for a person who works in or for an organisation and raises an honest and reasonable concern about a possible:

  • fraud
  • crime
  • danger
  • other serious risk

The issue of concern could threaten:

  • colleagues
  • service users
  • customers
  • members of the public
  • the success and reputation of the organisation

We want you to feel that it is safe and acceptable to tell us about your concerns so that we can investigate and take action as soon as possible.  We recognise that you may be worried about reporting for a number of reasons:

  • fear of reprisal or victimisation (for example loss of job)
  • too much to lose (for example reputation, damage to career)
  • feelings of disloyalty
  • worries about who may be involved
  • you have no proof only suspicions
  • fear of repercussions if there is no evidence or you are proved wrong

We welcome all genuine concerns and will treat your issues seriously.

This policy explains:

  • how to raise a concern
  • the types of activity you should report
  • the protection we can provide
  • confidentiality
  • our response
  • how you can take matters further, if necessary  

We want to assure you that there is no reason to remain silent.  Your decision to talk to us may be difficult but, if you believe what you are saying is true, you have nothing to fear.  You are following our code of conduct and helping to protect the users of our services and the residents of Lincolnshire.  We will not tolerate any harassment or victimisation.  We will take action to protect those of you who raise concerns that you believe to be in the public interest.

UK law protects employees from dismissal, harassment or victimisation if such treatment occurs as a result of having made a whistle-blowing disclosure considered to be in the public interest.  In addition to the employer’s liability, the individual who subjects the employee to such treatment may also be held personally liable.

This policy does not replace our existing employment policies: 

You should use these policies if you have a personal grievance or are unhappy with the way you are being treated.  Our whistleblowing arrangements are not intended to give you a further opportunity to pursue a grievance or complaint once you have exhausted the relevant employment procedures.

You may be a member of the public with concerns or information which you think we should know about or look into.  You should follow the corporate complaints process if your concern is about a particular service that we have provided to you.


You can use our whistleblowing arrangements if you are:

  • a Councillor
  • Council employee
  • employee of a Local Authority school or a school governor (if the school has adopted our policy)
  • a contractor
  • partner
  • member of the public 

Our policy also applies to agency staff, contractor staff and suppliers providing goods or services to us, or on our behalf. 

Our whistleblowing arrangements do not replace the following:

  • child protection safeguarding reporting 
  • adult care safeguarding reporting
  • corporate complaints procedure
  • disciplinary policy
  • grievance policy

You should only consider raising concerns through our whistleblowing arrangements if:

  • you have genuine reasons why you cannot use the above policies and procedures 
  • you have reason to believe that these policies are failing or are not being properly applied
  • there is a public interest aspect