UK – ENGLAND – Safeguarding children: Ofsted’s whistleblower hotline


What is whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing is the term used for an employee raising concerns about practices and procedures in their workplace.

Every organisation – be it a business or public body – may face the risk of misconduct in their workplace. When this happens, usually the first people to realise or suspect will be those who work in or with the organisation.

We want you to be able to contact us easily, so that we know about your concerns as soon as possible. To do this we have set up a pilot whistleblower hotline for circumstances where children and young people are affected or at risk.

When to contact our whistleblower hotline

There may be times when council employees and those working with young children will want to report to us concerns about practices and procedures for the safeguarding of children and young people.

You can contact our hotline in three ways:

  • Call us on 08456 404046 (Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm).
  • Email us at
  • Write to us at:
    Royal Exchange Buildings
    St Ann’s Square
    M2 7LA.

How is whistleblowing different to complaining?

Whistleblowing is very different from making a complaint.

If you are someone who wishes to complain about a service you use that we inspect or regulate, we will deal with your concerns through our normal complaints procedure. For further information please go to the how to complain section available via the navigation on the left.

Before you contact our hotline

If you have a concern you may wish to contact us. However, we suggest that you first read your employer’s whistleblowing policy and then raise your concerns with your employer.

If your employer does not have a whistleblowing policy or if you are still not sure how to raise your concerns with your employer or someone else, we suggest you first get advice from the independent whistleblowing charity Public Concern at Work.

You can get free, confidential advice from Public Concern at Work. If you have witnessed wrongdoing at work and are unsure about what to do, a Public Concern at Work adviser can help you to decide whether and/or how to raise your concern. You can call on 020 7404 6609 or email

You can visit their website for further information: The website has guidance on whistleblowing legislation:

Staff report safeguarding concerns to Ofsted hotline

Regulator received 27 calls from whisteblowers in first four months of hotline

Posted: 04 September 2009 | Subscribe Online
writes Corin Williams

Regulator Ofsted received 27 calls from staff blowing the whistle on problems around the safeguarding of children in the four months since the launch of a new hotline for reporting concerns.

The whistleblower line, which is available to anyone working with children or young people in a service inspected by Ofsted, went live on 1 April.

To qualify as a genuine whistleblowing case, a caller must has reasonable belief that a criminal offence or miscarriage of justice has taken place or is likely to take place, that someone has failed to comply with their legal obligations or that the health and safety of an individual has been put at risk.

Figures released by the regulator show that between 1 April and 31 July 680 of the 707 total calls did not qualify and were dealt with by Ofsted’s normal complaint procedure. Some of the calls were also about services that were already under investigation.

Outside of the hotline, Ofsted also received 14 whistleblowing concerns by email, 12 by letter and a further eight through telephoning regional offices from April to July. Two cases were also picked up during inspections.

A spokesperson said: “The action taken by Ofsted in response to concerns identified by whistleblowing is dependent on the nature and severity of the issues raised.

“Where there are any concerns which relate to the safeguarding of individual children we take immediate action to ensure that the safety of the children concerned is secured, working with the relevant local authority and police as appropriate.”

Related articles

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Trade union Aspect wants change in management culture

Lack of protection for whistleblowers

Senior social worker paid undisclosed sum by Haringey Council

Jersey whistle-blower fears he will be silenced


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