Issue - meetings

Whistleblowing Report

Meeting: 11/04/2024 - Corporate Governance and Standards Committee (Item 88)

Whistleblowing: Guildford Borough Council - The Woking Road Depot

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report by the Monitoring Officer in respect of various allegations raised formally under the Council’s Whistleblowing Policy regarding the behaviour/conduct by certain staff based at Woking Road Depot.  The incidents in question covered a five-year period.

In October 2023, an investigation into the Whistleblowing complaint was commenced.  Following the investigation, recommendations were made to the Council’s Corporate Management Board, which led to an action plan being implemented.  Details of the outcome of the investigation and the action plan were set out in the report submitted to the Committee.

During the debate on this matter, the Committee raised a number of questions and concerns including:

·      Whether the first of the alleged incidents referred to in the report should have been reported to the Police. In response the Monitoring Officer reiterated that the alleged incident had taken place around five years ago and was therefore very difficult to investigate and substantiate. 

·      The reason why it was not felt necessary to inform the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in relation to the second allegation.  In response the Monitoring Officer indicated that advice had been taken from the Information Governance Officer who had advised that due to the historical nature of the allegation and that there had been no evidence of any data having left the control of the Council it was not in the remit of what would be required to report an incident to the ICO.

·      In response to a suggestion that the data referred to never was in the Council’s control, the Monitoring Officer explained that there was actually no evidence of any data having been recorded and, if it was, the Council did not know where it was now and so could not be sure that it had left the Council’s control.  It would therefore be very difficult to make a referral to the ICO without any knowledge of what data may or may not have been breached.   The Monitoring Officer acknowledged that more work should have been done to determine whether the matter should have been referred to the ICO and would ask the Information Governance Officer to conduct an audit of the ICO recommendations to determine why the conclusions in the report had been reached.

·      In relation to the recently adopted Whistleblowing Policy, it was suggested that the Leader, relevant Executive member, and the chair and vice-chair of this Committee should be informed at the outset when a Whistleblowing matter was received.

·      In response to a query as to whether the Whistleblowing Policy covered a councillor making a whistleblowing complaint against another councillor, the Monitoring Officer confirmed that if the complaint was an issue of conduct, the matter would be dealt with through code of conduct processes, but if the matter alleged wrongdoing or misdemeanour in some other way then it would be covered by the Whistleblowing Policy. It was also suggested that it should be made clear in the Policy that whistleblowing can be about a councillor’s wrongdoings too.


·      It was also suggested that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 88