To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps his Department is taking to ensure that local education authorities have proper procedures in place to protect whistleblowers.
The Department for Communities and Local Government has the overall responsibility for local authorities’ whistleblowing procedures. The Department for Education does take steps to ensure that the schools maintained by local authorities have adequate arrangements.
Maintained schools are required to submit to their local authorities a Schools Financial Value Standard return. Question 20 of the return requires schools to confirm that all staff are aware of the school’s whistleblowing arrangements and to whom they should raise concerns. The return defines whistleblowing as the confidential raising of problems or concerns within an organisation. The accompanying guidance suggests that schools' arrangements should be based on local authority policies and that staff should be made aware of the protections that are available to them.
The Department also requires that local authorities’ Schemes for Financing Schools should contain a provision requiring authorities to set out the procedure to be followed by persons working at a school or school governors who wish to complain about financial management or financial propriety at the school, and how such complaints will be dealt with.